Many historians have come to the conclusion that the period of Reconstruction, between 1860 and 1877 was a revolutionary time in our nation's history. However, in order to determine whether or not Reconstruction really was a revolution, it is necessary to define exactly what a successful revolution is. From a historical point of view, a revolution is a series of events that causes significant change in the lives of many people and whose effects can still be felt today. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution of 1917 are all examples of successful and significant changes in the societal, economical, and political status of a large group of people. Therefore, these can be classified as revolutions. Post-Civil War Reconstruction, on the other hand, was not a successful revolution, as is evident in the continued oppression of black Americans, the factors surrounding the rebuilding of the South, and the conflicts regarding reunification and deciding who would hold governmental power.
Although blacks gained the right of citizenship and suffrage from the Reconstruction, lawmakers of the time could not make sufficient progress in improving the economic condition of black Americans, and many former slaves found themselves broke and starving once again. Many blacks went to work for their former masters, picking cotton for pitiful wages. In addition to the economic plight of blacks, former Confederate officials once again took over the legislature of the South and created new .
laws to accommodate their bigotry and racism. Among these new laws were the hated Black Codes, basically a legalized reinstitution of slavery. These Codes helped to provide a relatively permanent and cheap labor supply by limiting the rights of blacks to vote, travel, and change jobs. Many jobless blacks were picked up for vagrancy and forced to work off their fines by picking cotton once again.