Monday, April 15, 2013

President Lincoln dead

At the end of a war that took the lives of almost 750,000 American's it is hard to say that one death mattered more than another.  However, the death of Abraham Lincoln, on this day in 1865, may have had greater impact than that of any of the combatants.  Lincoln alive and healthy meant no reconstruction.  Lincoln dead brought devastation to the south.



brohammas said...

so are you blaming reconstruction for death and devastation in the south?
How do you view reconstruction? honest question.

Toad said...

Fair question, and one that deserves a bit of thought. I'll get back with you shortly.

Toad said...

Obviously, the death and economic devastation in the south was a by product of the war, and the ending of slavery, which accounted for the loss of the greatest store of wealth in the southern states. Post war the south lacked cash and credit, and still had debt to repay.

However, Cotton was still king, a large, cheap labor pool existed, and speculators filled the breach by buying what assets they could on the cheap, and lending at usurious rates wherever they could. No federal or state policy could have stopped that.

I believe that Lincoln's terms for reconstruction were radically different from Andrew Johnson's. Johnson was a southerner (Tennessee) and believed that the fastest way to restore normalcy in the south was to restore the old southern legislatures and politicians as quickly as possible.
Lincoln, as he proved during his tour of Richmond, wanted no part of restoring the old way of life. Johnson vetoed all of the Reconstruction Acts and was overridden each time by Congress.

If the aims of Reconstruction were to enforce the 14th amendment, the military district commanders failed miserably.

Brohammas said...

Many would argue that reconstruction was never really enacted till Johnson left office and no one argues against it completely ending when Hayes struck a deal to end it in order to gain office.

You may say the federal troops failed to enforce the 14th amendment, but they apparently did it well enough that black Americans reached a level of success that would remain unmatched till 1980.

When the troops left and the federal government refrained from interference, the explosion of violence against black people was so profound and drastic that it set the tone for American race relations that still exists today. The social, financial, and economic relationships between black and white populations today is much more a result of ending reconstruction than it is of slavery.

From that perspective I would say reconstruction was a success and that it's premature ending represented one of our nation's darkest hours.


Toad said...

I think we most likely agree especially on your major points.

Reconstruction COULD have been the GREATEST success of the post war era, alas it was not, due to lack of political will and a willingness of the north to turn their backs on the south and focus on the west