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The Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)

The Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)

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The Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)

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  1. The Reconstruction Era(1865-1877) Think about: What lasting consequences arose from the struggles over Reconstruction? Charleston, SC after the Civil War. What does this picture represent?

  2. Section 1: Rival Plans for Reconstruction • Focus Question: How did the Radical Republicans’ plans for Reconstruction differ from Lincoln’s and Johnson’s? • PROBLEMS: • At the end of the Civil War, parts of the South lay in ruins – homes were burned, businesses closed, and property abandoned • African Americans – even though emancipated, lacked full citizenship and the means to make a living • Federal government struggled with how to return the Southern states back to the Union, give rights to African Americans, and rebuild the South

  3. How Will the Southern States Rejoin the Union? • One important issue, deciding the political fate of the Confederate states. • Many questions arose as to what should be done… • The Constitution provided no guidance on succession or readmission of states. • Some argued that it should be done simply and quickly • Others thought the Southern states should satisfy certain stipulations…

  4. How Will the Southern Economy Be Rebuilt? • Between 1860 & 1870, the South’s share of the economy fell from 30% to 12% • The Union army had destroyed factories, plantations, and railroads. • Nearly ½ of the Region’s livestock and farm equipment was gone. • ¼ of Southern white men between 20 and 40 had died in the war. • More than 3 million newly freed African Americans were now without homes and jobs. • Arguments also rose over who should control the South’s only valuable asset – Land.

  5. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman • Proposed that millions of acres abandoned by planters or taken by the federal government should be given to former slaves. • “Forty acres and a mule” • Many northerners agreed and thought this was the answer to restoring the South’s productivity, economy, and provide employment and income to former slaves

  6. Not Everyone Agreed • Southern landowners rejected the idea that the government could just give away their land. • Many white Northerners thought that this violated the Constitution. • Even some Southern African Americans thought that the white landowners should be compensated for their land, and then be able to sell it off

  7. What Rights Will African Americans Have? • 13th Amendment -- Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude • 13th granted freedom, but did not grant privileges of full citizenship • The dominating Republican Party supported programs to extend these rights to former slaves… • Most white Southerners opposed the idea because it would undermine their own power and status in society

  8. Lincoln’s Course • The President’s first major goal was to reunify the Union • In 1863, he issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction known as the “Ten Percent Plan” • The plan stated that as soon as 10% of a state’s voters took a loyalty of oath to the Union, the state could set up a new government • Also, if the state’s constitution abolished slavery and provided education for African Americans, the state would regain representation in Congress

  9. Lincoln’s Course (cont.) • Lincoln was also generous in other ways to white southerners. • He was willing to grant pardons to former Confederates, and considered compensating them for lost property. • Lincoln did not require a guarantee of social and political equality for African Americans.

  10. Radicals Oppose the Ten Percent Plan • Member’s of Lincoln’s own party (Rep.) opposed the plan • “Radical Republicans,” led by Representative Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner, in Congress insisted that the Confederates had committed crimes (?) • The Radical Republicans advocated full citizenship for African Americans, including the right to vote • They favored punishment and harsh crimes for the South, and supported Gen. Sherman’s “40 acres and a mule plan.” Thaddeus Stevens Charles Sumner

  11. Wade-Davis Bill • Rejecting Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan, Congress passed the Wade-Davis Bill in 1864 • It required that a majority of a state’s prewar voters swear loyalty to the Union before the restoration process could begin. • The bill also demanded guarantees of African American equality • President Lincoln killed this plan with a “pocket veto” by withholding his signature beyond the 10-day deadline at the end of the congressional session. Davis (left); Wade (right)

  12. Government Aids Freedmen • One Radical Republican plan did receive Lincoln’s support • The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands known as the Freedmen’s Bureau • It’s goal was to provide food, clothing, healthcare, and education for both black and white refugees in the South. • It helped reunite families separated by slavery and war • It also negotiated fair labor contracts between former slaves and white landowners • And by representing African Americans in court, it established a precedent that black citizens had legal rights. • Efforts were continued until 1872.

  13. Lincoln’s Assassination • Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, just 5 weeks after his 2nd inaugural address • Lincoln was the first American president to be assassinated • The assassination of Lincoln was planned and carried out by the well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth, as part of a larger conspiracy in a bid to revive the Confederate cause.

  14. Andrew Johnson Becomes President • Lincoln’s VP, became President after Lincoln’s assassination • Did not have formal schooling • Became a skilled public speaker • Entered Tennessee politics as a Democrat • When TN seceded in 1861, Johnson was the only southern senator who refused to join the Confederacy • Lincoln appointed him military governor in 1862, hoping to attract Democratic voters • Chosen as VP in 1864

  15. Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan • Like Lincoln, Johnson wanted to restore the political status of the southern states as quickly as possible • He offered pardons and the restoration of land to almost any Confederate who swore allegiance to the Union and the Constitution. • His main requirement was that each state ratify the 13th Amendment and draft a constitution that abolished slavery

  16. Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan (cont.) • However, Johnson resented wealthy planters and required that they and other Confederate leaders apply for pardon by writing him personally • He also did not desire to elevate African Americans and did not want them to have the right to vote and showed them little sympathy • Believed in “government for white men.”

  17. Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan (cont.) • Johnson supported states’ rights, which would allow the laws and customs of the state to outweigh federal regulations. • This would limit freedoms to former slaves • How did Johnson’s attitude toward African Americans affect his approach to Reconstruction?

  18. Southerners Aim to Restore Old Ways • Southern leaders proceeded to rebuild their prewar world • Many states limited the right to vote to white men. • All of the states instituted black codes – laws that sought to limit the rights of African Americans and keep them as landless workers • The codes required African Americans to work only in a limited number of occupations, most often servants or farm laborers.

  19. Southerners Aim to Restore Old Ways (cont.) • Some states prohibited African Americans from owning land, and all set up vagrancy laws • Vagrancy laws stipulated that any black person who did not have a job could be arrested and sent to work as prison labor. • Even though the South remained under Union military occupation, white southerners openly used violence and intimidation to enforce black codes.

  20. Congress Fights Back • Both Radical and moderate Republicans were mad about the South’s disregard of the spirit of Reconstruction • Southern representatives were denied their seats by Congress in Washington D.C. • Congress also created a committee to investigate the treatment of former slaves

  21. Political Situation Grew Worse • While the Radicals claimed that federal intervention was needed to advance African Americans rights, President Johnson accused them of trying to “Africanize the southern half of our country.” • When Congress passed a bill to allow the Freedmen’s Bureau to continue its work and provide it authority to punish officials who failed to extend rights to African Americans, President Johnson vetoed it.

  22. Civil Rights Act of 1866 • Created to try to overturn the black codes • Created federal guarantees of civil rights and superseded any state laws that limited them. • Once again, Johnson used his veto power to block the law. • Johnson was now openly defying Congress

  23. Congressional Reconstruction • As violence against African Americans increased in the South, both moderate and Radical Republicans blamed it on the lawlessness and leniency of Johnson’s policies • Congress then did something unprecedented • For the first time ever, Congress passed major legislation over a President’s veto with the required two-thirds majority vote. • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 became a law.

  24. Radical Reconstruction Begins • With their strength in Congress, Radical and moderate Republicans spent nearly a year developing a Reconstruction program • They passed the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equality under the law for all citizens. • Under this Amendment, any state that refused to allow black people to vote would risk losing seats in the House of Representatives, and it counteracted the presidential pardons by barring Confederate officials from holding federal or state offices

  25. Radical Reconstruction Begins (cont.) • Congress again passed legislation over Johnson’s veto with the ratification of the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867. • This act divided the 10 southern states that had yet to be readmitted into the Union into 5 military districts governed by former Union generals. (map) • The act also outlined how each state could create their new state government and receive congressional recognition. • In each state, voters were to elect delegates to write a new constitution that guaranteed suffrage for African American men. • Once a state ratified the 14th Amendment, it would then re-enter the Union.

  26. Congress Impeaches the President • The power struggle between the President and Congress reached a crisis in 1867. • To limit the President’s power, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act. Under its terms, the President needed Senate approval to remove certain officials from office… • After the incident, the House voted to impeach Johnson. • The trial in the Senate ended with one vote short of the required two-thirds majority • During the trial, Johnson promised to enforce the Reconstruction Acts. • In his remaining time in office, he kept that promise.

  27. 15th Amendment • In 1868, former Union general, Ulysses S. Grant was elected President • In 1869, Congress passed the 15th Amendment which forbid any state from denying suffrage on the grounds of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. • Unlike before, this guarantee applied to northern and southern states • Both the 14th and 15th Amendments were ratified by 1870, but contained loopholes for evasion. • States could still impose voting regulations based on literacy and property qualifications which still would exclude most African Americans. Ulysses S. Grant

  28. Questions • Did southerners of various social classes experience war differently? • Why did the federal government have difficulty in formulating its Reconstruction policies? • How did the South’s share of the nation’s wealth change from 1860 to 1870? • How did the Radical Republicans‘ plans for Reconstruction differ from Lincoln’s and Johnson’s? • What made Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, and their followers radical? • What was Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan? • How did the Wade-Davis Bill differ from the Ten Percent Plan? • Why did Lincoln support the Freedmen’s Bureau while rejecting other initiatives of the Radical Republicans?

  29. Questions • When was Lincoln assassinated and who succeeded him as President? • How did the southern states try to reestablish conditions before the war? • How did Johnson’s attitude toward African Americans affect his approach to Reconstruction? • How did the 14th Amendment penalize states that refused to allow citizens the right to vote?

  30. Section 2: Reconstruction in the South • Almost 1500 black men – some born free and some freed slaves helped bring the Republican Party to the South • New black citizens served the South as school superintendents, sheriffs, mayors, coroners, police chiefs, and state representatives • 6 served as lieutenant governors • 2 state legislatures (MS, SC) had black Speakers of the House • Between 1870 & 1877 – 2 African American senators and 14 African American congressmen served in the U.S. Congress. • Millions of southern African Americans were now voters.

  31. Reconstruction in the South • Since the Radical Republicans required a loyalty oath, many white southerners were now not eligible to vote • Many chose to stay away from the elections • Black men lined up to use their new right of suffrage • By 1868, many southern states had both black officials and a strong Republican Party • SC (the state that started the Civil War) became the one state where a black majority ruled the legislature

  32. Scalawags & Carpetbaggers • Scalawags– a white Southerner who supported Republican policy during Reconstruction, often for personal gain. (?) • Found allies in northern white or black men who relocated in the South • Many southern whites resented this “invasion” of people seeking opportunity • Southerners called these men carpetbaggers after the cheap carpet suitcases they carried

  33. Opportunities • New land to be purchased • New career opportunities • Comparable to “Westward Expansion” • Offered northern women (white and black) opportunities in medical facilities, orphanages, and other relief agencies • Women also participated in the shaping of a public school system

  34. Schools System • Public schools grew slowly • Only half of the southern children attended by the end of the 1870s • Expensive • Southerners opted for segregation – operating two school systems severely strained the economy • Radical Republicans suggested integration– unpopular with most Republicans • Considered a major Reconstruction success

  35. South’s Challenges • Many southerners remained illiterate • Quality of medical care, housing, and economic production was far behind the North • Legal protection for blacks was limited • Racial violence remained a problem

  36. Across the Country • New reality – political offices were now a road to wealth and power • People everywhere were willing to bribe politicians in order to gain access to things like loans or contracts • Developing railroads attracted corruption

  37. Railroads • Building railroads had two big advantages – created jobs and provided a means to transport goods to expanded markets • Many states gave public land or loans to the railroad speculators • Southern leaders found that a number of their loans were stolen or mismanaged • Fewer resources and less expertise than Northern counterparts • North defaulted also though

  38. Freed People Build New Communities • “As long as the shadow of the great house falls across you, you ain’t going to feel like no free man and no free woman.” • For the first time, black men and women could legalize and celebrate their marriages, create homes for their families, and choose where they would live. • Still limited by black codes on where they could work

  39. Freed People Build New Communities • Many blacks headed south where they could develop churches and schools • Hoped to find work • Skilled men as carpenters, blacksmiths, cooks, servants • Women often worked in childcare or domestic work • Still sometimes settled for substandard housing and poor food in exchange for hard labor • If settled in rural areas – worked in lumbering, railroad building or farming for whites or blacks and were usually also poor

  40. Schools • Freed people quickly realized the value of learning to read and do basic arithmetic • Freedmen’s Bureau schools filled quickly – 150,000 students (adult & children) by 1866 and quickly grew • FB also aided black colleges and encouraged churches and organizations to support schools • Taught basics and skills like health, nutrition, and how to look for a job

  41. Churches • Black church was an important component of education • Established throughout the South and often served as schools, community centers, employment agencies, and political rallying sites • Helped develop black leaders • A number of black politicians began their careers as ministers

  42. Remaking the Southern Economy • Many of South’s problems resulted from an uneven distribution of land • Ag region – wealth determined by landownership • 1860, wealthiest 5% owned almost half of Region’s land • Before war had a large number of white citizens with no land • Postwar – many white and black people were now competing for land and jobs

  43. Systems For Sharing the Land • Large land owners had little or no money to purchase supplies or pay workers • Many southerners adopted one of three arrangements • Sharecropping • Share-tenancy • Tenant-farming

  44. Sharecropping • Could be done without cash • Helped most of the South’s black and white poor • How it worked: a landowner dictated the crop and provided the sharecropper with a place to live, seeds and tools in return for a “share” of the harvested crop • Landowners often bought these supplies on credit with high interest and this cost was passed down to the sharecropper • Sharecroppers were in debt to landowners; landowners were in debt to supplier

  45. Share-tenancy • Could be done without cash • Helped most of the South’s black and white poor • Similar to sharecropping • The farmworker chose what crop he would plant and bought his own supplies • The farmworker then gave a share of the crop to the landowner • Farmworker had more control and could grow food for his family • Able to save more money

  46. Tenant Farming • Most independent arrangement for farmer and landowner • The tenant paid cash rent to landowner and then was free to choose and manage his own crop • Free to choose where he could live • Only viable for a farmer who had good money management skills

  47. Violence • KKK – Formed in TN in 1866, mostly in the South • Racial violence eventually spread through the north and south • Arkansas – legislators were murdered • New Orleans – riots

  48. Enforcement Acts • Congressional response to violence • Also known as KKK Acts • 1870 & 1871 • Made it a federal offense to interfere with a citizens right to vote • Congress held hearing asking black politicians and other observers to describe the situation in the south • But also present in north • Hundreds were indicted because of acts and violence declined

  49. Questions • What were the immediate effects of Reconstruction? • How did southern literacy rates benefit carpetbaggers? • How did Reconstruction affect women? • How did the school system in the south represent the successes and failures of Reconstruction? • Why might the south have less financial expertise than the north? • What new groups were active in politics under Republican government? • How did the South's African American population change after the war?

  50. Questions • What institutions helped promote education in African American communities? • Why were schools and churches important to freed people? • What was the distribution of land in the south? • Which of the three systems for sharing land described offered the most independent arrangement for the farmer and landowner? • When and where did the white southerners organize the Ku Klux Klan? • How did the federal government respond to the acts that the Klan committed?