|Posted on March 19, 2018 at 5:55 PM|
The Reconstruction Era, it was a time period between 1863(or 1865 which ever you prefer) to 1877 in which the United States attempted to recover following several issues including the Civil War, slavery and the transition of states back into the union. While the era had it’s benefits and good days, the era was mostly hard on mostly everyone and left it’s mark as a hard way for people and communities to recover. Whether it was slavery, recovering from the Civil War or a transition from a south state back into the union the progress was the same for all, difficult. I could write a small book on this because of the amount of information on it but instead I am putting my focus on reconstruction in connection with the Civil War and western states and how it effected them. I also want to focus on the down side to reconstruction because it was certainly not a walk in the park or breath of fresh air, it was a time where the society that once destroyed themselves only years before had to come together to rebuild. One question haunts me however, has President Abraham Lincoln not been assassinated would reconstruction have been different? Easier? A smoother transition for the entire united states?
The Civil War, it’s one of the most fascinating yet most ridiculous wars we’ve ever seen. Fascinating in the sense of now as you look back at it as nostalgia and rustic feeling but ridiculous in the sense that it was a war that we fought...against ourselves. The aftermath of the war was just as hard on people as the war itself. People had to reclaim land, property, but most of all they had to clean up and rebuild their towns which turned into utter decay and wastelands of rubble. For some it took a mere few months, for others they simply moved on somewhere else and for most it took years to not only reclaim but to replace what they once had. You can add all the treaties, policies and acts that you want that factor in but in reality what is a piece of paper to something that needed to be physically done, fixed and rebuilt? The years after the Civil War were just a cruel to people who battled in it. It’s hard to imagine what was worse, a soldier who survived and went through reconstruction or a person who didn’t who lost someone and had to carry on through an era to which they never wanted to go back into. The Civil War left imprints and foreshadowed the U.S to a massive cleanup that no one could have seen coming despite a horrendous war.
The violence didn’t end when the war did. Let that sink in. When some men returned from the war they just weren’t the same men they were before they left. Some could get over what they felt was right but none could recover from what they saw or felt. One reason violence still reigned supreme was because there was still tension between the North and South states. Many southerners would kill after the war because they still believed in the confederacy and northerners would kill simply out of spite, hatred or because it’s all they knew. It was called reconstruction but tell that to the countless lives lost well after the war ended.
To them it was resuming and continuation of something that was just pointless to begin with. Small towns were sometimes swallowed whole with three reasons to their downfalls, wreckage, politics and other people coming in to destroy what little remained. One book that does a great job of portraying people against one another during reconstruction is Skin Medicine by Tim Curran, a horror western. The main character Tyler Cabe who fought comes into a town where the Sheriff is someone who punished him during the war. The point is that thr Wild West and reconstruction go hand in hand and they have violence to that for that.
The Civil War era, The Wild West and Reconstruction era were a deadly time in our history which as we look back we ask, why did some of it if not all of it need to happen? All accounted for bloodshed, death and destruction that never needed to happen. Perhaps the only benefit is the shape and direction our country took after the war and the era. The horrors of reconstruction impacted so many people, rich and poor, well known or not well known, it just didn’t matter. If you were anybody you accounted for everybody and the effects were felt by all those who involved or were bystanders to the destruction. Was reconstruction supposed to be an easy clean up? A simple era? A time where we could simply move on and forget the war ever happened and live happily ever after? Not in the slightest. The error with man is that it is in our nature to destroy ourselves even if it means actually fighting our own people in our own country in our own backyards because in the end, we will move on slowly and we learn. We learn from our errors and our ways...