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U.S. History: 1865 - Present-ish Class Three Reconstruction: 1865 - 1877. NOVA Spring 2012 Professor Rushford. What’s On. Rashomon: Brief review - Peer Edit Lecture/Discussion: Reconstruction: 3 questions: Race? Unity? Power?

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U s history 1865 present ish class three reconstruction 1865 1877
U.S. History: 1865 - Present-ishClass ThreeReconstruction: 1865 - 1877

  • NOVA Spring 2012

  • Professor Rushford

What s on
What’s On

  • Rashomon:

    • Brief review - Peer Edit

    • Lecture/Discussion:

      • Reconstruction: 3 questions:

        • Race? Unity? Power?

  • Preview What’s next . . . Reconstruction - Primary Sources on Thursday


  • A thief sees a husband and wife go by him one summer day:

    • Who killed the husband?

  • Explain WHY you think your answer (thesis) is correct

    • Review . . .

      • NB: Peer Editing

Next class
Next Class

  • Reconstruction (1865 - 1877)

    • America has been split apart by three major wars:

    • The American Revolution in the 1770's

    • The Vietnam War in the 1970's

    • and, in the middle of this period, the Civil War.

  • Each war has dramatically changed the generation engaged in battles as well as the generations that followed.

  • We will be examining the repercussions of the Civil War, its effects on the American people, and the agreements and disagreements within the nation over the meanings of "Reconstruction."

  • Keep these questions in mind:

    • The first of those questions: Can the United States be truly united?

    • The second: Can black and white Americans coexist peacefully and equally with one another?

    • The third question: Who runs this country anyway?

      • President? Congress? Supreme Court? The “People?”


  • Begins, really, when ‘the South’ surrenders, April 9, 1865 (Lee-Grant)

  • And what was left?

    • "The countryside looked for many miles like a broad, black streak of ruin and desolation, the fences all gone, lonesome smokestacks surrounded by dark heaps of ashes and cinders. The fields along the road wildly overgrown by weeds, and here and there a sickly patch of cotton or corn cultivated by Negro squatters." - Carl Schurz

  • Means to “build again”- What did we have to build again?


  • How did “we” try?

  • First, Let’s look at “we”: 4 Theories at Play - all have plans to make “Union” whole

    • 1. Radical Republicans: Congress/Northerners

      • Remake South, especially around social issues

        • Thaddeus Stevens, a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania

        • the actions of Southern states and Southern individuals had been so criminal they had shattered the Constitution. If the Constitution did not apply, then Congress had the right to reconstruct Southern states in any way it chose. Southern states, Stevens said, must be treated as conquered provinces under international law.

Reconstruction theories
Reconstruction: Theories

  • 2. Presidential Theory: Andrew Johnson (‘southen-er’-ish)

  • that Southern states had never been out of the Union, but "only been sleeping."

  • What was needed, Johnson said, was not Reconstruction but "Restoration."

  • Southern states had acted treasonably, however, and under the Constitution the president had the full say over so-called Reconstruction.

  • Johnson promised to use his pardoning power and to appoint provisional governors sympathetic to the Southern cause, wake the sleeping states, bring them back into the Union.

Reconstruction theories1
Reconstruction: Theories

  • 3. Southern Theory:

    • argued that the results of the war proved secession could not take place and that therefore Southern states never had left the Union. There was no Constitutional question.

    • Everything should revert to its pre-war status.

  • 4. Forfeited Rights:

    • declared secession null and void while also emphasizing that governments had rebelled against the Union.

    • Because Southern governments had rebelled, they had forfeited their rights under the United States Constitution.

    • Under the Constitution it would be both the duty and right of Congress to ensure every state a republican form of government.

Conflict over unity race
Conflict over Unity/Race

  • So, there are differing plans to re-build political unity, by Congress and President

  • Comes to head very quickly. [NB: 1865 - 1867, early]

  • Johnson vetoes 2 bills:

    • Freedman's Bureau Bill, designed to educate newly freed slaves while also providing "forty acres and a mule" to aid freedmen in farming.

    • Johnson vetoed the bill on the grounds that until the former Confederate states returned, Congress did not have the right to set up such provisions.

    • 2nd Bill, the first civil rights act in American history, the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Essentially, all it did was bestow citizenship on the newly freed slaves, but Johnson vetoed it as an unnecessary invasion of states' rights.

    • The Radicals interpreted the President's vetoes as evidence that he himself, personally, was a racist and stepped up their demands for control over Reconstruction.

Conflict over unity race1
Conflict over Unity/Race

  • They gained control of the powerful Joint Committee of Fifteen, the committee on Reconstruction, and it was in that committee that the Forfeited Rights theory was applied to the South.

  • Myths . . . [NB: D.W. Griffiths, Birth of a Nation (1922)]

    • “Lost Cause”"The Tragic Era;" "The Dreadful Decade;" "The Age of Hate;" "The Blackout of Honest Government."

  • Realities:

    • Southern Armies:

    • Confederate Civil leaders:

    • 20,000 Union troops in South, 1/3 of which were in LA & TX (Native Am’s)

    • African - American Political Figures

      • See Black Americans in Congress, e.g.

New south
New South

  • Out of these myths and language came the rhetoric of the “New South”:

    • Different economically (-ish)

      • Industry

        • Cotton, Coal, Tobacco

        • - grow and process

        • 15% more or less

    • Committed to keeping SOCIAL structure of Old South in place

      • ‘Separate but Equal/Jim Crow/Segregation

        • e.g., “give white a break” in industrial jobs

New south1
New South

  • But . . . colonial economy . . . tied to North

  • Socially: No Slaves (13th: 1864) BUT -

    • Black Codes - e.g, Mississippi

    • So, 14th (1868): Section 1 [Equality clause]. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, withoutdue process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    • and 15th (1870): Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude

New south2
New South

  • But . . . not really enforced . . . 1954

  • Voting Restrictions on Blacks:

    • Mississippi plan (1890) Williams v. Mississippi

      • "To restore purity to the governance of the state of Mississippi blacks must no longer be allowed to vote."

    • Literacy tests

    • Property tests

    • Grandfather Clause (e.g., LA (1/1/1867 . . .)

  • Jim Crow Laws:

    • Segregation: More socially strict than before War

Jim crow
Jim Crow

  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

    • Homer Plessy

    • Jim Crow car of train

Next class1
Next Class . . .

  • Bring Rashomon Peer Edit back . . .

  • Focus on Primary Sources:

    • Black Codes and 2 short readings

  • and be prepared to chat . . .

  • Precis?