The Republican Party In The South. Reconstruction winds down. Republican Success?. Their strength was tied to the number of freedmen voting. 14 African Americans were elected to Congress. Including both senators from Mississippi. . Hiram Revels. James Rainey. Pushing the Republican Agenda.
Reconstruction winds down
Their strength was tied to the number of freedmen voting.
14 African Americans were elected to Congress.
Including both senators from Mississippi.
In order to ensure that freedmen were receiving the recently guaranteed constitutional protections. The North had to take military control of the South.
Military districts were established.
Draft a new constitution for the state in question. This would need to be approved by both congress and the people of the state.
Adopt the “reconstruction amendments” 13-15
Protecting freedmen from KKK violence and encouraging them to use their rights of suffrage.
Modernizing southern society
Creating public school systems for both races
Building a “northern style” judicial system
Updating infrastructure: railroads, hospitals, prisons, etc…
Rebuilding destroyed cities
Tax rates were roughly ½ of what they were in the north.
However, that was 3-4x was they had been in the south!
They were also collected regularly, something foreign to southerners at the state level.
Whites felt that this benefitted freedmen and were outraged.
Most southern Democrats believed in “redemption”
Redemption: driving Republicans and the north out of the south and re-establishing the southern way of life.
How? Win elections
Ulysses Grant elected in 1868. Pledged to defeat the KKK and move nation towards reconstruction.
KKK efforts were successful until the Supreme Court declared the “Enforcement Acts” unconstitutional.
Grant soon became sidetracked with other issues.
Occupied with dealing with scandal in his own administration.
Occupied with the new fascination of the nation—settling the frontier and relocating Native Americans.
Panic of 1873
Violence and distraction prompted the North to refocus its assets.
Redeemers pushed their message: low taxes, home rule, and restoration of southern values.
Mississippi had elected two African-American senators. Mississippi had a black majority.
“Carry the election peacefully, forcibly if we must”.
Grant wouldn’t send in troops to protect voters.
The result…3 districts which had overwhelming majorities for Revels and Rainey in previous elections—now saw 0, 2, and 4 Republican votes.
Republican dominance was in trouble.
Economy, trouble on the plains, failed reconstruction, were the messages of the Democrats.
Samuel Tilden v. Rutherford B. Hayes
The most controversial election in US History?
Three states were contested—southern states.
A commission made up of a majority of Republicans was appointed to decide those states.
Compromise of 1877…end reconstruction and you can have Hayes in the White House.
They faced a daunting challenge to restore the confederacy to the union and transform southern society to resemble the north in terms of social attitudes.
To be successful: Republicans would have had to rebuild the southern economy while reshaping the southern social structure.
Were they successful? The hatred and bigotry of slavery would take nearly a century to erode in the south.
The reconstruction amendments
Union was restored
Schools were built
Families were reunited
Yet…for the most part Reconstruction failed and its long lasting achievements didn’t match the goals. For the rights granted to freedmen won’t be finally realized until the 1960’s…for until then they lived a life of exploitation, discrimination, and segregation.
The South also became a one party region with limited economic success until the 1960’s!