Chapter 16 Reconstruction 1865–1877
Key Questions: • What were African American aspirations and southern white expectations? • What were the federal government plans to bring the South back into the Union and secure freedom to former slaves? • How and why did Reconstruction end?
RECONSTRUCTION • Civil War Accomplishments • Reconstruction • Who controls? • Congress moves to take control
III. Who controls? • Lincoln’s 10% Plan • Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) & his plan • March-Dec Congress out of session • Why Johnson’s plan fail? • Balance of power questions • Black Codes
IV. Congress moves to take control • Freedman’s Bureau fight • Radical Republicans • Civil Rights Act, 1866 • Fourteenth Amendment • Submitted 1866 • South votes against • First (or Military) Reconstruction Act, 1867 • Attack on Presidency • Tenure of Office Act, 1867 • Johnson fires Secretary of War • Charged • Vote on Impeachment, 1868
White Southerners and the Ghosts of the Confederacy,1865 • Confederate soldiers returned to devastated homes that they could hardly recognize. • Southerners lived surrounded by ghosts of lost loved ones, happy and prosperous times, slavery, and self confidence. • Southerners viewed the war as the lost cause that existed not just in memory but as a three-dimensional picture of Southern history celebrated in rituals and as the educational foundation for future generations. • Equally important, white Southerners were determined to maintain strict racial boundaries.
More than Freedom: African American Aspirations in 1865 • Education • Black Southerners viewed the war as a victory for freedom and Reconstruction as a time of possibilities that were helped by the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau. • The Freedmen’s Bureau helped establish more than 3,000 schools serving 150,000 men, women, and children. • At the end of the Civil War, about 10 percent of black Southerners were literate. Within a decade, that percentage had grown to 30 percent. • Black colleges were also established.
More than Freedom: African American Aspirations in 1865, cont’d. • “Forty acres and a mule” • Land ownership offered ex-slaves the prospect of economic independence. • During the war, General Sherman had set aside abandoned land for African Americans. In 1866, the Southern Homestead Act gave African Americans preferential access to public land in the southern states. • By 1890, one out of thee black farmers in the Upper South owned land, compared to one in five for the entire South.
More than Freedom: African American Aspirations in 1865, cont’d. • Migration to cities • Between 1860 and 1870, the African American population rose in every major southern city. • Most black migrants in the city worked at unskilled jobs.
More than Freedom: African American Aspirations in 1865, cont’d. • Faith and freedom • The church became a primary focus of African American life, providing an opportunity to develop skills in self-government and administration. • The church and the congregation were a cohesive force in black communities.
Federal Reconstruction,1865–1870 • Presidential Reconstruction, 1865–1867 • Because Congress was not in session, President Johnson developed a Reconstruction plan that extended pardons and restored property rights to most Southerners swearing an oath of allegiance to the Union and the Constitution. • Northerners initially supported the Johnson plan but southerners opposed it. They enacted black codes that turned northern opinion against Johnson. • The Republican-dominated Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment.
Federal Reconstruction,1865–1870, cont’d. • Congressional reconstruction, 1867–1870 • Radical Republicans began taking control of Reconstruction and divided the South into five military districts. • Other acts secured the right to vote for freedmen, made it likely that Republicans would run southern states, and set harsh standards for southern readmission. • The Tenure of Office Act prohibited the president from removing certain officeholders without the Senate’s consent. Johnson violated the Act and was impeached but not convicted. • Republicans passed the Fifteenth Amendment.
Federal Reconstruction,1865–1870, cont’d. • Southern Republican governments, 1867–1870 • The Republican regimes in the southern states passed constitutions that promoted vigorous state governments and the protection of civil and voting rights. • Southern Republicans consisted of three groups; white yeoman farmers, former Whigs were called scalawags by opponents and Northern transplants were called carpetbaggers. The largest constituency was African Americans. • Southern African Americans served in government positions including the U. S. Congress and state legislatures. • Republican state governments were criticized for waste and corruption.
Counter Reconstruction,1870–1874 • The uses of violence • Racial violence was widespread before Republican rule. • The Ku Klux Klan unleashed a wave of terror throughout the South and often had political objectives. • The federal government sought to combat violence by passing the Fifteenth Amendment, the Enforcement Act of 1870, and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.
Counter Reconstruction,1870–1874, cont’d. • The failure of Northern will • After 1871, political violence succeeded in showing the lack of northern Republican will to follow through on commitments to southern Republicans. • Northern support for Congressional Reconstruction began eroding in 1868. • At local and federal levels, political corruption was widespread in the 1870s. • African Americans and immigrants were targets of racial theory that saw them as inferior. • A reform movement arose to address the ills of government.
Counter Reconstruction,1870–1874, cont’d. • Liberal Republicans and the election of 1872 • Liberal Republican reformers advocated civil service reform to reduce the abuses of patronage. They also supported tariff reduction and an end to federal land grants to railroads. • The Democrats forged an alliance with the Liberal Republicans nominating Horace Greeley for president in 1872. • Grant won re-election in 1872.
Redemption, 1874–1877 • The Democrats’ violent resistance • Violence between 1874 and 1876 was directly and openly connected to the Democratic Party. It aimed to stop Africa Americans from voting. • Backed by violence, Democrats throughout the South swept to political power in 1874. • The Weak Federal Response • Congress responded to the violence in the South with the Civil Rights Act of 1875 but it failed to fulfill this purpose.
Redemption, 1874–1877, cont’d. • The election of 1876 and the Compromise of 1877 • Reconstruction officially ended with the election of 1876. • The Democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden won a majority of the popular vote but disputed returns in three southern states led to a compromise that gave the election to Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. • The Compromise of 1877 gave control of the southern state governments to Democrats.
Redemption, 1874–1877, cont’d. • The memory of Reconstruction • Southern Democrats used the memory of Reconstruction to maintain themselves in power. Reconstruction became the Redemption. • For white Southerners, it represented a horrible time that ended with the rescue of the South from black rule and federal government oppression. • The southern view of Reconstruction was perpetuated in textbooks, films, and some histories of the period.
The Failed Promise of Reconstruction, cont’d. • Modest gains and future victories • Black southerners experienced modest gains during Reconstruction, families provided buffers against prejudice while churches played crucial roles in communities. • Economic gains were evident as black income and property values increased. • The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were bright spots but were diluted by court cases in the 1870s and only provided substantial benefits in the mid-twentieth century.
Conclusion • White Southerners robbed black Southerners of their gains and tried to return them to a dependent servitude. • By 1877, the southern question no longer captured the attention of the public.
MAP 16–1 Congressional Reconstruction, 1865–1877 When Congress wrested control of Reconstruction policy from President Andrew Johnson, it divided the South into the five military districts depicted here. The commanding generals for each district held the authority both to hold elections and to decide who could vote.
MAP 16–2 The Election of 1876 The Democrat Samuel J. Tilden won a majority of the popular vote but eventually fell short of an electoral vote majority when the contested electoral votes of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina went to his Republican opponent, Rutherford B. Hayes. The map also indicates the Republicans’ failure to build a base in the South after more than a decade of Reconstruction.
Barred from literacy during the slavery era, freedmen devoured learning after the Civil War. Their classrooms ranged from one-room cabins to more grandiose structures like this one, the Abraham Lincoln School for Freedmen in New Orleans.
This engraving shows Southerners decorating the graves of rebel soldiers at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery in Virginia in 1867. Northerners and southerners alike honored their war dead. But in the South, the practice of commemorating fallen soldiers became an important element in maintaining the myth of the Lost Cause that colored white southerners’ view of the war.
The Freedmen’s Bureau, northern churches, and missionary societies established more than 3,000 schools, attended by some 150,000 men, women, and children in the years after the Civil War. At first, mostly young white women from the Northeast staffed these schools.
Physics class at Hampton Institute. Hampton, which opened in Virginia in 1868, was one of the first of several schools established with the help of northern philanthropic and missionary societies to allow freedmen to pursue a college education. Hampton stressed agricultural and vocational training. The military uniforms were typical for male students, black and white, at agricultural and mechanical schools.
Freed women washing laundry along a creek near Circleville, Texas, circa 1866. Other than farming, domestic service was the only work open to freed women after the Civil War.
The black church was the center of African-American life in the postwar urban South. Most black churches were founded after the Civil War, but some, such as the first African Baptist Church in Richmond, shown here in an 1874 engraving, traced their origins to before 1861.
Selling a Freeman to Pay his Fine at Monticello, Florida. This 1867 engraving shows how the black codes of the early Reconstruction era reduced former slaves to virtually their pre–Civil War status. Scenes like this convinced northerners that the white South was unrepentant and prompted congressional Republicans to devise their own Reconstruction plans.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast’s interpretation of emancipation as a transformative experience for African Americans. Released from the brutality and limitations of slavery, the freed men and women now have the opportunity for work, education, and a family and home life just like white, middle-class Americans.
As white paramilitary organizations in the South attacked African-American civil and political rights, South Carolina Congressman Robert B. Elliott rose in the House of Representatives in January 1874 to present a ringing endorsement of Charles Sumner’s Civil Rights Bill. The illustration also depicts southern black aspirations for and justification of the basic rights of citizenship, the results of which Elliott embodied. E. Sachse and Company, The Shackle Broken by the Genius of Freedom, Baltimore, Md.; 1874.
The Klan directed violence at African Americans primarily for engaging in political activity. Here, a black man, John Campbell, vainly begs for mercy in Moore County, North Carolina, in August 1871.
As this Thomas Nast cartoon makes clear, the paramilitary violence against black southerners in the early 1870s threatened not only the voting rights of freedmen, but their dreams of education, prosperity, and family life. In this context, the slogan “The Union As It Was” is highly ironic.
The municipal election held at Georgetown, District of Columbia wood engraving after a drawing Thomas Nast from an American newspaper of 1867,
A freedman, John Campbell, vainly begs for mercy from the Ku Klux Klan in Moore County, North Carolina, 10 August 1871: contemporary wood engraving.
A courthouse official, left, administers the oath to voter registration applicants in Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 9, 19 group of almost 200 blacks marched to the registrar’s of a voter drive.