Chapter 12. Section 4: Reconstruction collapses. The Grant Administration. Democrats had been regaining political control Many (most?) Southerners viewed Republican leaders as Union control of the South Grant had won the presidential election in 1868 to become the 18 th president
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Section 4: Reconstruction collapses
Democrats had been regaining political control
Many (most?) Southerners viewed Republican leaders as Union control of the South
Grant had won the presidential election in 1868 to become the 18th president
Was the famous war hero
NOT a politician
Thinks the president is to carry
out policy, not to make it.
Caused by the bankruptcy of Jay Cooke & Company
Bad investments in railroads
Small banks closed
Stock market fell
Tens of thousands out of work
Political impact: hurts the Republicans in the 1874 midterm elections; Democrats win back control of the House of Representatives
Began investigating the scandals, which further hurts Grant’s administration and his party.
Present political issues in racial terms
Urge whites to end Republican (read: African American) control in the South
Regain the support of poor white farmers
By 1876, the Democrats had regained the majority in state legislatures in most of the Southern states
The ones that still had Republican majorities still had Union troops in place to protect African Americans’ voting rights (SC, LA, FL)
1876 is an election year
Republicans view Grant as too damaged to nominate him for a third term
Nominate Rutherford B. Hayes, former governor of Ohio
Democrats nominate Samuel Tilden, former governor of New York
Did Republicans cut a deal with Democrats in the House to let Hayes become president?
What would they want in return?
End of federal troops in the South
Basically means the end of Reconstruction
Historians can’t really prove or disprove a “corrupt bargain”
Hayes did become president, troops were removed
Remaining Republican-controlled state legislatures soon collapsed
Phrase coined by Henry Grady, editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper
Recognition that the South can’t return to an agriculturally based economy
Will need to develop industry and improve transportation
By 1890, 40,000 miles of railroad tracks
Iron and steel industry (Birmingham)
Cotton mills and tobacco processing
Farming not completely replaced
New systems developed: tenant farming & sharecropping
Tenant farming—many former slaves rent the land from their former masters
Many start out as tenant farmers but become sharecroppers as they get into debt by borrowing from furnishing merchants.
Crop liens, very high interest rates (40%)
Debt peonage—can’t file bankruptcy and can’t quit or will go to jail (and hard labor)
This economic system significantly weakened many of the political and social gains made by African Americans.