Could the attempt to secure equality for the freedman after the war have been successful? What steps needed to be taken to secure equality? Could Lincoln have made a difference?
Had Lincoln lived, perhaps Reconstruction would have had some good effect. But as it was, the Civil War just continued under the surface.
the Freedmen had more equality before the war. There were fewer of them. They were almost a novelty. After the war they were everywhere. People saw them as a threat or a burden. Lincoln might have made a difference. He had expressed a wish to welcome the South into the union rather that punish them with the brutal policies of reconstruction. Had reconstruction been easier on the South, they might not have been so bitter and angry. The 14th amendment denied the vote to virtually all white southerners. They were dominated by carpet baggers and freedmen. When reconstruction ended, they were angry. Instead of extending the olive branch, they jabbed a sharp stick in the eye of the south. I think a more amicable reconciliation could have made things better.