Chapter 16 - Reconstruction: An Unfinished Revolution, 1865-1877
The end of the Civil War brought profound changes to the United States. Reconstruction changed some things, but it did little regarding social equality and political turmoil. In the end, the government established black suffrage, but this reform proved insufficient to remake the South or to guarantee human rights.
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A. Lincoln’s 10 Percent Plan Lincoln planned for a swift and moderate Reconstruction process.Under his 10 Percent Plan, he proposed that as soon as 10 percent of the voting population in the 1860 election took an oath and established a government, it would be recognized. Replaced majority with loyal rule, promised pardons to ex-confeds B. Congress and the Wade-Davis Bill Congress was not happy Lincoln didn’t consult them. Responding negatively to Lincoln’s Reconstruction plan, Thaddeus Stevens advocated a “conquered province” theory, the South waged war as a foreign nation, thus, they should be treated like one, and Charles Sumner advanced a “state suicide” theory.
In July 1864, Congress passed the Wade-Davis bill by which the process of readmission to the Union was to be harsh and slow. Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill. Wade-David Bill- To reenter the Union 1. A majority of white males had to participate in government 2. To vote or be a delegate in Constitutional conventions they had to take an ironclad (oath saying they never supported the confederacy) 3. All ranks above Lieutenant couldn’t become citizens of the United States C. Thirteenth Amendment and the Freedmen’s Bureau Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment on January 31, 1865.
On March 3, 1865, Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands to aid southern refugees- provided food, medical services, schooling, and jobs for refugees. Petitions were started by women and the public, the amendment outlawed involuntary slavery and said the govn’t couldn’t change it The landscape was in ruins along with the economy, many families faced starvation .
The Meanings of Freedom
A. The Feel of Freedom Many former slaves began to explore freedom by searching for family members or exercising their right of mobility. Others reacted more cautiously.Most settled as workers on their former farms or plantation but attempted to control the conditions of their labor. B. Reunion of African American Families Relying on the black community in the South, thousands of former slaves began odysseys to find family members. Ads were put in the papers. C. Blacks’ Search for Independence Many blacks tried to avoid contact with overbearing whites by abandoning their slave quarters and relocating their houses. Some even established all-black settlements. They wanted the sense of freedom D. African Americans’ Desire for Land Next to freedom, blacks wanted land most of all. Since they could not secure solid support in the North, however, few obtained their dream of independence. Blacks were given land but President Johnson took it away and gave it back to the Whites. They wanted a secure promise the land would still be theirs after they cultivated it E. The Black Embrace of Education Many African Americans eagerly sought an education. They paid $1-1. 50 a month for education if needed. They really wanted to learn. Federal aid and northern charity helped start thousands of schools for freedmen in the South.
Many black leaders were very well educated; they established many universities and colleges alongside the whites. F. Growth of Black Churches In an effort to gain more independence from whites, African Americans established their own churches, which became the social center of their new freedom. Black establishments used to be hidden; now they could freely worship. The church was the wealthiest institution in Black life. G. Rise of the Sharecropping System Blacks could not get credit, and sharecropping became widespread.
Sharecropping was where the landowner would receive payment by the crop grown on their land, usually half would be given to them and the other half would be for the black farmer. Owners often cheated their tenants. The main crop was cotton which lost its value
Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan
A. Who Was Andrew Johnson? Johnson was the only senator from a seceded state (Tennessee) who refused to follow his state out of the Union. At heart he was really a Jacksonian Democrat, not a Republican. He believed in limited government and was a white supremacist. As a senator he favored the small farmers over the aristocrats.
B.Johnson’s Leniency and Racial Views Johnson’s belief that black suffrage could never be imposed on a southern state by the federal government put him on a collision course with the Radical Republicans. C. Johnson’s Pardon Policy Johnson hoped to keep prewar leaders from participating in the Reconstructed South. Nevertheless, he ended up pardoning most of them and thus restored the old elite. People had to apply directly to Johnson for pardoning. He appointed his own governors to keep the old ones out of power. Only southerners who took the oath of loyalty could vote for or against reconstruction so there was little opposition in the votes.
Unpardoned men and former slave couldn’t vote. Many former elites were returned into power, even the VP of the confederacy D. Black Codes Johnson’s pardons upset many Republicans, but the discriminatory black codes revealed the depth of southern defiance. Blacks had to abide by the rules of their landowners, almost returning them to their slave status.
Reconstruction Plan Congress had the power of admission of states. They believed they had the right to change and alter the reconstruction plans. What was the relationship between the South and Union now that the war happened?
Conservatives believed that the South was conquered and it was subject to the rule of the conquering country. A. The Radicals The Radicals wanted to transform the South, and they were willing to exclude it from the Union until they had achieved their goal. By refusing to work with conservative and moderate Republicans, Johnson and the Democrats forced them to work with the Radicals. B. Congress Wrests Control from Johnson Congress worked to extend the Freedmen’s Bureau and to pass a civil rights law counteracting the black codes. Johnson vetoed these bills, ending hopes of compromise.
This showed Johnson’s own racism against colored people C. The Fourteenth Amendment This amendment gave citizenship to freedmen, prohibited states from interfering with constitutional rights, declared the Confederate war debt null and void, barred Confederate leaders from holding state and federal office, and punished any state that restricted extension of the right to vote to black men. This was a major move in African American rights. It excluded women altogether in the right to vote and gained much protest from women’s rights groups. D. The South’s and Johnson’s Defiance, 1866
At the urging of President Johnson, all southern states except Tennessee rejected the Fourteenth Amendment. Having won overwhelmingly in the 1866 congressional elections, Republicans decided to form new southern state governments. Johnson personally went and spoke about how Radicals were traitors for taking over reconstruction E. The Reconstruction Acts of 1867-1868 Congress set up five military districts in the South, guaranteed freedmen the right to vote in elections for state constitutional conventions, required congressional approval of all new state constitutions, and declared that southern states must accept the Fourteenth Amendment.
First Reconstruction Act admitted all states back into the Union. F. The Failure of Land Redistribution Thaddeus Stevens (radical) failed to win approval for his plan to confiscate and redistribute land in the former Confederate states. G. Constitutional Crisis Congress passed a number of controversial laws, including the Tenure of Office Act (gave the senate the power to approve changes in the president’s cabinet), by overriding presidential vetoes. Johnson proceeded to take several belligerent steps, including removal of Secretary of War Stanton and giving power to civil governments and the military.
These all got vetoed by Johnson then overridden by a 2/3 vote in congress.. Congressional tyranny? H. Impeachment of President Johnson After Johnson removed Secretary of War Stanton, Congress impeached the president. This had been tried twice before. Although acquitted in the Senate, Johnson suffered politically. I. Election of 1868 Grant, a supporter of congressional Reconstruction and of black suffrage in the South, won the 1868 presidential election against Horatio Seymour. Republicans supported congressional reconstruction and black suffrage in the South where Democrats supported white supremacy and denounced reconstruction J.Fifteenth Amendment In 1869, Radicals succeeded in passing the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibited denying the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude. ” Voting rights of women could still be denied and other tests could be enacted to deny voting to other groups. With this many saw reconstruction as finished.
Politics in the South A. White Resistance Whites in the South resisted Reconstruction. Some denied freedom to their slaves, while others prevented blacks from getting land. B.Black Voters and Emergence of a Southern Republican Party Thanks to a large black voter turnout and restrictions on prominent Confederates, a new southern Republican Party controlled the state constitutional conventions of 1868-1870. C. Triumph of Republican Governments Republican victory in the South meant that for the first time black citizens gained political office. Southern Republicans worked to build white support for the party. D. Industrialization Republican governments tried to industrialize the South, but higher taxes for that purpose drew money away from education and other reforms.
E. Republican Policies on Racial Equality Economic progress remained uppermost in the minds of most southern blacks. They accepted segregated facilities in return for other opportunities. F. The Myth of “Negro Rule” Southern Conservatives used economic and social pressure on blacks as well as inflammatory racist propaganda to undermine congressional Reconstruction. G. Carpetbaggers and Scalawags In their propaganda, Conservatives labeled northerners seeking economic opportunity as “carpetbaggers” and white southerners who supported the Republicans as “scalawags. H. Tax Policy and Corruption as Political Wedges Although an increase in taxes was necessary just to maintain traditional services, Republican tax policies aroused strong opposition. The corruption with which Republicans were charged was often true. I. Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan terrorized black leaders in an effort to curb their support for the Republicans. J. Failure of Reconstruction A number of things brought about the collapse of the Republican regimes, forcing them out of office before they instituted social and economic reforms.
Reversed A. Political Implications of Klan Terrorism Congress passed two Enforcement Acts in 1870 and 1871 in an effort to counteract Klan violence. The laws were enforced selectively. Congressional opponents of these laws charged that Congress was infringing on states’ rights. B. The Liberal Republican Revolt Although Grant won reelection in 1872, the revolt of the Liberal Republicans in conjunction with opposition from the Democrats reinforced Grant’s desire to avoid confrontation with white southerners. C. A General Amnesty
In 1872, Congress offered amnesty to most remaining former Confederates, and in 1875 it offered a watered-down Civil Rights Act that the Supreme Court eventually struck down. D. Reconciliation and Industrial Expansion Both industrialization and immigration surged in the years immediately after the Civil War. Then came the Panic of 1873. E. Greenbacks Versus Sound Money Many Americans wanted to keep “greenbacks” in circulation, but Grant, along with many Congressmen, industrialists, and financiers, supported sound money. F. Judicial Retreat from Reconstruction
Supreme Court decisions, by narrowing the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment and by denying equal rights, encouraged the northern retreat from Reconstruction. G. Disputed Election of 1876 and the Compromise of 1877 The disputed election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden resulted in the Compromise of 1877, effectively ending Reconstruction in the South. H. Betrayal of Black Rights and the Exodusters Tens of thousands of southern African Americans felt betrayed by the election of 1876 and decided to leave the South where they could no longer hope for equal rights.
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