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The Agony of Reconstruction 1865-1877

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The Agony of Reconstruction 1865-1877
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The Agony of Reconstruction 1865-1877

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  1. The Agony of Reconstruction1865-1877

  2. The human costs of the Civil War • Union soldiers dead—360,000 • Confederate soldiers dead—258,000 • Thousands more disabled • Unemployed returning soldiers—800,000

  3. Problems in the North • Unemployment since factories shut down • Short economic recession • Destruction of factories, railroads, plantations, small farms • Burned cities • Miles of railroad track destroyed • Businesses and factories destroyed or dismantled • Unemployment • Evaporation of investment capital and labor pool (slaves) Problems in the South

  4. Competing Ideas About How to Implement Reconstruction Minimalists hoped for quick restoration of rebel states without protection for freed Blacks beyond the outlawing of slavery

  5. Lincoln’s Hope for Gradual Reconstruction 15—A** • Restore friendly relations as soon as possible • Pardon to Confederates (excepting certain classes of leaders) if they swore an oath of loyalty to the Union • Lincoln’s “Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction”—“The 10% Plan,” December 1863. It placed emphasis on forgiveness

  6. A state could be readmitted to the Union after 10% of its voters • Abolished slavery • Subscribed to an oath of loyalty to the Union • Formed a government loyal to the U.S.

  7. Lincoln’s inauguration speech of 1865 “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

  8. Congress—“Wade-Davis” Reconstruction Bill passed July 1864 15—B** • Radicals wanted to make readmission to the Union dependent on “loyalists” who would replace the former Confederate elite and the extension of basic American rights and citizenship to Blacks. • Vote extended only to those who swore they never willingly supported the Confederacy Radicals wanted to make readmission to the Union dependent on “loyalists” who would replace the former Confederate elite and the extension of basic American rights and citizenship to Blacks.

  9. Wade-Davis Provisions Continued • Refusal to honor Confederate war debts • States had to cancel acts of secession • States had to abolish slavery • Federal courts empowered to enforce emancipation “The resulting struggle between Congress and the chief executive was the most serious clash between two branches of government in the nation’s history.”

  10. President Andrew Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan** • Restoration of the prewar federal system as soon as possible • Provisional governors in former Confederate states selected from prominent Southern politicians who had opposed succession • Those governors to convene constitutional conventions at which three things had to be achieved:

  11. Declare ordinances of succession illegal • Repudiate Confederate debt • Repudiate Confederate debt

  12. Flaws perceived in Johnson’s plan 15—A** • Resulting state constitutions limited suffrage to whites • Institution of various “Black Codes” that subjected former slaves to “special regulations and restrictions on their freedom” Collectively, all this appeared to be the old institution of slavery just dressed up in new clothes—a new and creative system to keep Blacks in subjugation.

  13. Congress Takes Charge • In early 1866, Johnson’s vetoed to two bills passed by Congress precipitating an irreconcilable break: • Bill to extend life of Freedmen’s Bureau (established March 1865) • Civil rights bill to nullify Black Codes • It sought to guarantee “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property as is enjoyed by all white citizens”

  14. Johnson’s vetoes shocked moderate Republicans who heretofore had hope to work with the White House. The president thereby alienated those who might have worked with him.**

  15. Congressional response: 14th and 15th amendments 15—B 1 & 4** • Congress feared Johnson would not enforce civil rights legislation • Congress passed 14th and 15th amendments

  16. To the left, “Reconstruction—How it Works,” Thomas Nast cartoon in Harper’s Weekly. Using Shakespearian imagery that would have been familiar to mid-19th century American readers, Nast casts Johnson as Iago from Othello. A wounded Black Union veteran represents Othello. On the wall, Johnson’s slogans—"Treason is a crime and must be made odious" and "I am your Moses"—appear. At center left one sees a flurry of presidential pardons issued by Johnson to Confederate offenders; at center right, presidential vetoes abound.

  17. Columbia (left, representing the U.S.) pardons Robert E. Lee while right, the Black Freedman is no so easily accommodated

  18. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments** • S Thirteenth Amendment—Congressional passage January 1865; ratification December 1865 Prohibited slavery in the U.S. • C Fourteenth Amendment—Congressional passage June 1866; ratification July 1868 15—B 1 Gave right of citizenship to freedmen • VFifteenth Amendment—Congressional passage February 1869; ratification March 1870 15—B 4 Prohibited denial of franchise because of race, color, or past servitude

  19. Congressional Plan—Radical Reconstruction, 1866-1867 15—B During these two years, Congress passed a series of acts nullifying Johnson’s program and reorganizing the South on its own terms. It was a Republican compromise The two leading Radical Republican politicians of the day: Charles Sumner (1811-1874, above left) and Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868, above right)

  20. The By-election of 1866** • Johnson aggressively campaigned nation-wide for candidates who supported his program for Reconstruction • He slandered his opponents in crude language • He engaged in undignified exchanges with hecklers • His behavior alienated Northern voters and Radical Republicans

  21. Reconstruction Act of March 1867** • Adopt state constitution barring former Confederates from office • Grant African-American men the vote • Ratify the 14th amendment • Military occupation for states until they were readmitted (all Southern states readmitted by 1871) 15—B 2

  22. Readmission to the Union** • The South was reorganized into five military districts • Quick readmission to the Union could be achieved for any state that framed and ratified a constitution providing for Black suffrage

  23. Tenure of Office Act** • Required approval of Senate for removal of Cabinet members or other officials whose appointment had required Congressional consent • On February 21, 1868, Johnson dismissed the only Radical Republican Cabinet member, Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton (right—a Lincoln appointee)

  24. The Upshot • Grant (eying the presidential nomination of 1868) did not comply • Johnson ordered General U.S. Grant to replace Stanton • Johnson appointed General Lorenzo Thomas to the post The House voted overwhelmingly on February 24, 1868, to put Johnson on trial—impeachment—for what representatives considered a violation of the Tenure of Office Act.

  25. The Trial—March 25-May 26, 1868

  26. 35-19 Not Guilty** Senator Ross (left) from Kansas denied the Radicals the 36th vote that was necessary for conviction.

  27. The Central Issue** Should the President be impeached for “political” reasons? Richard M. Nixon, 1913-1994, 37th president President Bill Clinton ( 1946- ), 42nd president

  28. If so, he/she is in fear of being removed for making an unpopular political decision • Such action threatened the constitutional balance of powers • It opened the way to legislative supremacy over the executive

  29. The Freedman The Old Order changed forever—“freedmen” were neither slaves nor completely free. Their dream of “forty acres and a mule” was largely disappointed.**

  30. The New Players**

  31. The Carpetbaggers** Some have described “carpetbaggers” as men of bad character who moved from the North to the South to manipulate and exploit the Black vote, political office, and economic privilege, all to aggrandize themselves.

  32. Scalawags** The “collaborators”—white Southerners who supported Reconstruction

  33. The Freedmen** The First Vote by A. R. Ward (Part of the Historic New Orleans Collection) Freedmen—only in South Carolina did African-Americans win a majority in one House of legislature

  34. Ascension of the Democratic Party in the South** • Because of deep resentment against Radical Republican Reconstruction politics—and its association with loss of the Civil War—led most Southerners of means embraced the Democratic Party for the next hundred years • Southerners justifiably resented the dishonesty, embezzlement, graft, bribery, and waste—all common occurrences among ruling cliques—of Radical Republican Reconstruction

  35. Republican achievements during Reconstruction** • Republican achievements during Reconstruction • Democratization of state and local government • Appropriation of funds for huge expansion of public services and responsibilities • Fostering economic development and prosperity through railroad construction and other internal improvements • Improvement of prison conditions • Establishment of centers for care of mentally and physically handicapped

  36. Election of 1868 and the Grant Administration • Grant (right) would be the only president elected for back-to-back terms of office between the administrations of Andrew Jackson (1828-1836, left) and Woodrow Wilson (1912-1920, far right)

  37. The Evolution Of a President

  38. Ku Klux Klan and Resistance to Reconstruction Main threat to Republican administrations in South from 1868-1872** The Klan adopted two revered cultural symbols—the cross (see vestment, above) and the American flag (right).

  39. The Ultimate Failure of Radical Reconstruction** • Without the protection afforded by Reconstruction, white supremacists gradually stripped away the civil and political rights of African-Americans • Southern capitalists and large landowners ignored the interests of the lower-class whites • The “New South” remained vulnerable to exploitation by Northern business interests

  40. The Historiographical Debate over Reconstruction** • Early-20th century—an “orgy of misrule” • 1915-1940s—efforts to enforce equal rights was grave mistake • 1920s-1930s—minority view that racism overcame momentum of 13th-15th amendments • 1950s-1960s—praise of idealism of Radical Reconstructionists • 1970s-1980s—carpetbaggers and scalawags cast as selfish opportunists

  41. Reasons Grant’s Administration failed** • Grant allowed corruption within the administration • Grant was inconsistent and hesitant with use of presidential power • Grant’s “Southern Policy” failed—Republican regimes in the South were • corrupt and tottering • Grant’s highest priority was to be loyal to old friends and the politicians who supported him • Grant lacked a clear sense of duty

  42. Sins of Omission vs. Sins of Commission “There is no evidence that Grant profited personally from any of these misdeeds of his subordinates. Yet. . . he failed to take firm action against the malefactors, and even after their guilt had been clearly established, he sometimes tried to shield them from justice .”

  43. Election of 1876 Hayes Wins Rutherford B. Hayes, 1822-1893 Samuel J. Tilden, 1814-1886 But How?

  44. The “Compromise of 1877”** • Federal aid to build new Southern railroads • Federal aid to build flood controls along the Mississippi River • Removal of last federal troops from the South (April 1877) • Promise from Southerners to treat African-Americans fairly, protect their rights

  45. In fact, Hayes abandoned Southern Blacks “to their fate. . . . [Moreover,] the entire South was firmly under the control of white Democrats. The trauma of the war and Reconstruction had destroyed the chances for a renewal of two-party competition among white Southerners For all intents and purposes, Hayes extended “Home Rule” to the South**

  46. The New South • Rule of the “Redeemers”—late-1870s-1880s involving: • The restoration of the planter class of the Old South • Those of middle class origin and outlook who favored commercial interests and industrial development over agrarian groups • The rise of professional politicians

  47. Joseph E. Brown (1821-1894, left) was a dramatic representation of the professional politician who emerged in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction. These men blew with the prevailing political winds. In his long career, Brown was a secessionist, the governor of Georgia during the war, a scalawag Republican, and finally a “Redeemer” from the Democratic Party.

  48. Abuse of African-American suffrage and civil rights** • The white ruling class intimidated Republican Black voters • Threatening loss of jobs • Eviction from tenant farms • Physical abuse (e.g., whippings, beatings, lynchings) • Control of the electoral machinery through which the whites could stuff ballot boxes, discard unwanted votes, or report fraudulent totals • Establishment of complicated and discriminatory voting requirements (e.g., literacy tests, poll taxes)

  49. Abuse of African-American suffrage and civil rights continued** • Jim Crow Laws • Jim Crow laws barred African-American from certain jobs or access to various public facilities like restaurants or hotels “Jim Crow” may have been the creation of a minstrel show performer—one Thomas “Daddy” Rice—of the 1830s. Rice used charcoal paste or burned cork to blacken his face and danced a jig while singing to the song, “Jump Jim Crow.” Rice’s skit represents one 19th century stereotypical image of Black inferiority.

  50. Abuse of African-American suffrage and civil rights continued** • Supreme Court Decisions Affecting Black Civil Rights • Hall v. DeCuir, 1878** Struck down Louisiana law prohibiting racial discrimination by common carriers (e.g., railroads, steamboats, buses).