Chapter 13: Reconstruction & The New South Section 2: Congressional Reconstruction Pages: 407-414
Congressional Reconstruction • The Moderates Versus the Radicals: (407-408) • Even Republicans, Abraham Lincoln’s Party, disagreed over the course Reconstruction should take • The issue of African Americans voting rights proved particularly divisive. • Most Republicans were moderates who viewed Reconstruction as a practical matter of restoring the southern states to the Union • The Republicans main concern was keeping former Confederates out of government and they favored giving African Americans some civil equality but not the right to vote
Congressional Reconstruction • The Moderates Versus the Radicals: (407-408) • Supporters of African American Suffrage: (407-408) • Radical Republicans like Thaddeus Stevens insisted that African Americans be given the right to vote; reconstruction was to create a new South where all men would enjoy equal rights • Few northerners, even abolitionists, supported giving African Americans the right to vote in the South • Some Republicans even supported giving the vote only to northern African American men
Congressional Reconstruction • The Moderates Versus the Radicals: (407-408) • Supporters of African American Suffrage: (407-408) • Although few Americans publicly supported voting rights for African Americans, Frederick Douglass did. • Douglass demanded, “the immediate, unconditional, and universal ‘enfranchisement [right to vote] of the black man, in every state in the Union.” • After the Civil War, Douglass embraced the policies of Reconstruction and Radical Republicanism.
Congressional Reconstruction • The Moderates Versus the Radicals: (407-408) • Land Reform: (408) • Some saw land reform as a key way to changing southern society. • Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, insisted that “the great plantations…must be broken up, and the freedmen must have their pieces. • According to Stevens, economic independence for former slaves would ensure their freedom. • Despite efforts of Representative Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner, land reform – particularly government seizure of land – never won wide support • Even many Radical Republicans were against land reform. They believed that African Americans could achieve social and economic independence if they were granted civil equality, the right to vote, and the right to labor freely
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410) • The split between moderate Republicans and Radical Republicans did not last long. WHY? • Witnesses before the Joint Committee on Reconstruction presented evidence of postwar violence • African Americans recounted stories of murder and of homes, schools, and churches reduced to “ashes and cinders.” • Southern Unionists told of death threats. • These reports and others like them convinced moderate Republicans to join forces with Radical Republicans
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410) • The Freedmen’s Bureau (409-410) • Freedmen’s Bureau: created by Congress in March of 1865 to aid the millions of southerners left homeless and hungry by the war. • The Bureau distributed food and clothing, served as an employment agency, set up hospitals, and operated schools
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410) • The Freedmen’s Bureau (409-410) • The Freedmen’s Bureau played a major role in providing education for African Americans, who had been denied this opportunity under slavery. • By 1869 thousands of schools for African Americans had been established in the South • Many of the teachers were women from the North • Northerners also helped establish colleges for black southerners, including Atlanta University in Georgia, Howard University in Washington, and Fisk University in Nashville, TN
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410) • The Freedmen’s Bureau (409-410) • The Freedmen’s Bureau also helped settle contract disputes between African American laborers and white planters • In most cases, the Bureau encouraged laborers to continue to work on plantations, even under unfavorable conditions • Congress originally intended for the Freedmen’s Bureau to remain in operation for one year; it went on longer than a year • Many thought that the Freedmen Bureau too often encouraged slaves to remain on plantations and to sign labor contracts. • The Bureau’s presence did force white southerners to recognize the emancipation of the slaves
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410) • The Freedmen’s Bureau (409-410) • In an attempt to weaken the Bureau, President Johnson sent two generals to tour the South in 1866. • Johnson hoped that the generals would uncover complaints about the organization. • Instead, they encountered widespread support among African Americans for the agency • In February 1866 Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill to extend the life of the agency, but President Johnson Vetoed the Bill
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410 • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 were the first civil rights law in the Nation’s history • The Act declared that everyone born in the United States was a citizen with full civil rights, it did not guarantee voting rights • This act overturned ther discriminatory aws and the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott ruling that African Americans were not citizens. • One Ohio senator said, “we shall be obliged to draw our swords…” if the president vetoes this act
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410 • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 • President Johnson did not listen to the senator from Ohio’s warning. Johnson vetoed the bill, arguing that it would centralize power in the federal government • Johnson’s veto eroded his support in Congress and united both moderate and radical Republicans against Johnson. • Congress overrode Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Act.
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410 • The Fourteenth Amendment: (410) • Congressional Republicans feared that a future Congress controlled by Democrats might repeal the Civil Rights Act. So they wrote the 14th Amendment • 14th Amendment: passed in June of 1866, the amendment required states to extend equal citizenship to African Americans and all people “born or naturalized in the United States.” • The 14th Amendment also denied the states the rights to deprive anyone of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Further, it promised citizens the “equal protection of the laws.”
Congressional Reconstruction • Congress Versus Johnson (409-410 • The Fourteenth Amendment: (410) • The 14th Amendment did notguarantee African Americans the right to vote. • It did, however, reduce the number of representatives a state could send to congress based on how many of the state’s male citizens were denied the right to vote • The more African American men who were not allowed to vote, the fewer representatives that state could send to Congress • Republicans hoped that southern states would give African Americans the right to vote rather than lose their representation in Congress
Congressional Reconstruction • The Radicals Come to Power (411-412) • President Andrew Johnson tried to make the 14th Amendment an issue in the 1866 Congressional Elections. • Calling the Radical Republicans traitors, he campaigned throughout the Midwest in support of candidates who opposed the 14th Amendment • To President Johnson’s dismay, many people felt deeply troubled by the ongoing violence against African Americans in the South
Congressional Reconstruction • The Radicals Come to Power (411-412) • Race Riots: • Riots were becoming increasingly common in the South between whites and blacks • In Memphis, Tennessee, on May 1, 1866, two carriages got into an accident and only the African American driver was arrested. • This led to as three-day spree of violence in which white rioters – consisting mainly of police officers and firefighters – killed 46 African Americans and burned 12 schools and 4 churches
Congressional Reconstruction • The Radicals Come to Power (411-412) • The elections of 1866 and the Reconstruction Acts • Radical Republicans had decided that African Americans must have the right to vote • In January 1867 a bill granting African Americans the right to vote in the District of Columbia passed, despite president Johnson’s veto • Congress also granted the right for African Americans to vote in the county’s territories
Congressional Reconstruction • The Radicals Come to Power (411-412) • The elections of 1866 and the Reconstruction Acts • Republicans passed the Reconstruction Acts of 1867: these acts divided the former Confederacy-with the exception of already-reconstructed Tennessee – into five military districts • Union army troops were stationed in each district to enforce the order. • To gain readmission to the Union, states were required to ratify the 14th Amendment as well as submit to Congress new constitutions guaranteeing all men the vote • The Act further required that African Americans be allowed to vote for delegates to the state constitutional conventions as well as to serve as delegates
Congressional Reconstruction • Presidential Impeachment: (412-413) • Radical Republicans knew that the success of the Reconstruction Acts depended on strong enforcement. They were equally sure that President Johnson would not cooperate • To protect Reconstruction policies and Republican officeholders, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act in 1867: This act required Senate approval of a replacement before the president could remove an appointed official who had been confirmed by the Senate • Believing the Tenure of Office Act to be unconstitutional, President Johnson put it to the test • In February 1868 President Johnson removed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, an ally of the Radical Republicans. • The House of Representatives responded by voting to impeach President Johnson • The House charged Johnson with violating the Tenure of Office Act.
Congressional Reconstruction • Presidential Impeachment: (412-413) • The case against President Johnson was weak • Johnson’s Senate trial began in March 1868. • Seven members of the House of Representatives stated the case for impeachment • The trial lasted eight weeks. • The Senate voted to acquit Johnson • The final tally fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict President Johnson and remove him from office
Congressional Reconstruction • Further Political Differences: (413-414) • The Radical Republicans’ attempt to force President Johnson from office as well as their emphasis on African American suffrage cost them some popular support. • Some NORHTERN legislatures even rejected proposals for African American Voting Rights
Congressional Reconstruction • Further Political Difficulties: (413-414) • The Election of 1868: • Radical Republicans choose Ulysses S. Grant for President; General Grant lacked political experience but was a popular war hero • The Democrats chose former New York governor Horatio Seymour to run against Grant • Seymour had sharply criticized the Lincoln administration during the Civil War • Southern Democrats relied on economic threats against African Americans to keep them from voting for Grant • Despite such tactics by the Southern Democrats the African American voters gave Grant a narrow win
Congressional Reconstruction • Further Political Difficulties: (413-414) • Republicans drafted the 15th Amendment: it stated “the right of citizens of the United States shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” • The passage of the 15th Amendment in February 1869 and its subsequent ratification in 1870 brought triumph to African Americans and Radical Republicans • The 15th Amendment failed to guarantee African Americans the right to hold office. • The 15th Amendment did not prevent states from limiting the voting rights of African Americans through discriminatory requirements. (poll taxes, literacy tests)