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Reconstruction. President Lincoln's Last Public Address: Speech on Reconstruction April 11, 1865 .

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We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression can not be restrained… By these recent successes the re-inauguration of the national authority--reconstruction--which has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed much more closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty. Unlike a case of a war between independent nations, there is no authorized organ for us to treat with. No one man has authority to give up the rebellion for any other man. We simply must begin with, and mould from, disorganized and discordant elements… I have been shown a letter on this subject…in which the writer expresses regret that my mind has not seemed to be definitely fixed on the question whether the seceding States, so called, are in the Union or out of it…We all agree that the seceded States, so called, are out of their proper relation with the Union; and that the sole object of the government, civil and military, in regard to those States is to again get them into that proper practical relation.


1. Amnesty (political forgiveness) to Confederates taking loyalty oath

  • 2. 10% of state voters took the oath statehood re-established
  • 3. Attitude: work together
  • 4. Major goal: strengthen Republican Party in the South & speed reconciliation

5. Established Freedman’s Bureau to help former slaves adjust to new circumstances.

    • Purpose: to help find homes, distribute food, establish schools and hospitals, and find new jobs.

B. Lincoln’s plan opposed by Congress,

  • they offered the Wade-Davis Bill.
    • Military governors rule Southern states
    • If 50% of voters in a state took the oath, statehood would be re-established

3. Attitude: South should be treated as conquered territory

  • 4. Bill is vetoed and doesn’t become law- another plan will have to be made.

C. VP Andrew Johnson’s plan:

    • Confederate leaders and wealthy Southerners would have to ask presidential permission to take the loyalty oath.

2. 13th Amendment must be approved

  • by state

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude...shall exist within the United States." The 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.


Viewed as too soft on the South by Radical Republicans

  • Johnson didn’t sympathize with former slaves, and tried to prevent African Americans from gaining any real power or equality.
iii southern reaction to reconstruction
III. Southern Reaction to Reconstruction
  • Many whites in the South did everything they could to stop African Americans from gaining full equality & social status.
  • Former Confederate officials were elected to public office as soon as they were eligible

C. Southern states passed “black codes.” These were laws that severely limited the rights of African Americans


Vagrancy Laws in the South

  • All freedmen...over the age of eighteen years, found on the second Monday in January, 1866, or thereafter, with no lawful employment or business, or found unlawfully assembling themselves together, either in the day or night time, and all white persons so assembling with freedmen...shall be deemed vagrants, and on conviction thereof shall be fined in the sum of not exceeding in the crease of a freedman...fifty dollars, and a white man two hundred dollars, and imprisoned at the discretion of the court....
  • And in case of any freedman...shall fail for five days after the imposition of any fine...for violation of this shall be ...the duty of the hire out said any person who will, for the shortest period of service, pay said fines....

1.  Common provisions:

    • Blacks required to sign annual labor contracts, with penalties imposed
    • Children were subject to compulsory apprenticeship and corporal punishments by masters
    • Vagrants could be sold into private service if they could not pay severe fines.

White southerners organized the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize African Americans and keep them from voting.

  • The whites in the South resented the Freedmen's Bureau and the occupying federal troops

The KKK was in decline from 1868 to 1870 and was destroyed in the early 1870s by President Ulysses S. Grant's vigorous action under the Civil Rights Act of 1871

iv the final accepted plan radical reconstruction
IV. The final, accepted, plan: Radical Reconstruction
  • 14th Amendment defined citizenship & overturned Dred Scott. States required to provide equal protection under the law to all persons (not only to citizens).
  • Southern states that didn’t ratify the 14th Amendment were divided into five military districts.

C. In order to become an independent state again they had to:

  • 1. Establish new state governments
  • 2. Take an oath of allegiance
  • 3. Ratify the 14th Amendment
  • 4. Adopt black suffrage

D. Motives of the Radical Republicans in

  • Congress:
    • To punish the South for the Civil War
    • To make sure the Republican Party stayed in power
    • Aid the freed slaves

Radical gov’t formed in Southern states: African Americans, northern Republicans (called carpetbaggers), and Southern Republicans (called scalawags)

  • Violence increased with the growth of the Ku Klux Klan
v attack on the presidency
V. Attack on the Presidency
  • Johnson opposed the Radical plans, angering Congress
  • In retaliation, Congress attempted to impeach him.
    • Tenure of Office Act, requiring Senate approval to remove Cabinet officials, which Johnson violated.
    • Johnson was one vote short of conviction in (35-19)

C. The inability of Radicals to impeach Johnson preserved the balance of power b/w the executive and legislative branches

vi the end of reconstruction
VI. The End of Reconstruction
  • A. Republican Party interest in Reconstruction shrank as old abolitionists were replaced by liberal Republicans with different interests.

B. Compromise of 1877

    • Removed all federal troops from the South
    • Republican governments turned out of state offices
  • Reconstruction officially over. Former slaves would not get any additional help from the federal gov’t.
vii the new south
VII. The New South
  • A. Labor shortages on the old plantations prompted a new labor system – sharecropping
    • Crop – lien system- In order to buy supplies the sharecroppers would promise to pay for goods when their crops came in.
    • This kept African Americans and poor whites in a kind of economic slavery, tied to the land because of debts.

C. Rise of Jim Crow laws- "separate but equal" status for African Americans. Meaning inferior treatment & accommodations for blacks.


Literacy tests- designed to keep African Americans from voting.

  • Segregation- accommodations, businesses, schools were segregated according to race.

3. Plessy v. Ferguson- upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation, under the doctrine of "separate but equal".


D. Responses to the Jim Crow Era

    • Booker T. Washington- publicly called for cooperation with southern whites. Equality would come when African Americans were economically independent.
    • W.E.B. duBois- urged African Americans to work for full equality immediately and not to go along with segregation.

3. Ida B. Wells- focused on stopping the lynching of African Americans through protest and editorials.

During six weeks of the months of March and April just past, twelve colored men were lynched in Georgia, the reign of outlawry culminating in the torture and hanging of the colored preacher, Elijah Strickland, and the burning alive of Samuel Wilkes, alias Hose, Sunday, April 23, 1899.

The real purpose of these savage demonstrations is to teach the Negro that in the South he has no rights that the law will enforce.

group test
Group Test
  • In order to receive fulfill this assignment you must:
    • 1. Your committee must form a workable solution to the problem.
    • 2. In character, create a memo to President Johnson, recommending a specific policy regarding African Americans. Explain why you think this policy is appropriate for the time period.