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RECONSTRUCTION 1865 - 1877. Presidents of the United States. George Washington; Federalist (1788) John Adams; Federalist (1796) Thomas Jefferson; Democratic-Republican (1800) James Madison; Democratic-Republican (1808) James Monroe; Democratic-Republican (1816)

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presidents of the united states
Presidents of the United States
  • George Washington; Federalist (1788)
  • John Adams; Federalist (1796)
  • Thomas Jefferson; Democratic-Republican (1800)
  • James Madison; Democratic-Republican (1808)
  • James Monroe; Democratic-Republican (1816)
  • John Quincy Adams; Democratic-Republican (1824)
  • Andrew Jackson; Democrat (1828)
  • Martin Van Buren; Democrat (1836)
  • William Henry Harrison; Whig (1840)
  • John Tyler; Whig (1841)
  • James K. Polk; Democrat (1844)
  • Zachary Taylor; Whig (1848)
  • Millard Fillmore; Whig (1850)
  • Franklin Pierce; Democrat (1852)
  • James Buchanan; Democrat (1856)
  • Abraham Lincoln; Republican (1860)
  • Andrew Johnson; Democrat (1865)
  • There are many questions America has to answer after the Civil War.
    • What does freedom and the end of slavery mean?
    • What would happen to the 4 million freed slaves?
    • What should happen to Confederate leadership, soldiers and supporters?
    • On what terms should Congress restore the Confederate states to the Union?
    • How do you rebuild the South?

Between 1865 and 1877, the federal government carried out a program to repair the damage to the South and restore the southern states to the Union.

This program was known as Reconstruction



  • Human toll of the Civil War: The North lost 364,000 soldiers. The South lost 260,000 soldiers.
  • Freedmen(freed slaves) were starting out their new lives in a poor region with slow economic activity.
  • Plantation owners lost slave labor worth $3 billion.
  • Poor white Southerners could not find work because of new job competition fromFreedmen.
  • The war had destroyed two thirds of the South’s shipping industry and about 9,000 miles of railroad.



(Lincoln’s Plan)


President Lincoln’s Plan

  • 10% Plan
    • Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction(December 8, 1863)
    • Wanted to regain trust of southern whites
    • He believed the South never legally withdrew from the U.S. - therefore restoration would be simple
    • A state could be re-entered into the Union once 10% of its 1860 election votes pledged allegiance to U.S. and emancipation
radical republicans
  • The Radical Republicans viewed Lincoln’s plan as too lenient.
  • In July, 1864, Congress passed a stricter Reconstruction plan, the Wade-Davis Act.
  • Among its provisions
    • It required ex-Confederate men to take an oath of past and future loyalty
    • 50% of state’s voters take oath of allegiance
    • Had to swear that they had never willingly borne arms against the United States.
    • This was pocket-vetoed by Lincoln



(Andrew Johnson)


President Andrew Johnson

  • Jacksonian Democrat.
  • Anti-Aristocrat.
  • White Supremacist.
  • Agreed with Lincolnthat states had neverlegally left the Union.

President Johnson’s Plan

  • Offered amnesty upon simple oath to all except Confederate civil and military officers and those with property over $20,000 (they could apply directly to Johnson)
  • In new constitutions, they must accept minimumconditions repudiating slavery, secession, and state debts.
  • Named provisional governors in Confederate states and called them to oversee elections for constitutional conventions.

1. Disenfranchised certain leading Confederates.

2. Pardoned planter aristocrats brought them back to political power to control state organizations.


3. Republicans were outraged that planter elite were back in power in the South!

power restored
  • Not one southern state enfranchised blacks
  • Johnson began issuing pardons to many ex-Confederates and restored all of their property and political rights
    • Hundreds of ex-Confederates were getting elected to office
    • former generals, military officials, and Confederate Congressmen get elected to Congress
    • Appears the South is closer to capturing Washington in peace than they were in war
reconstruction plans
Reconstruction Plans

Lincoln’s plan

Johnson’s plan

  • Each state could create a new constitution without Lincoln’s 10 percent allegiance requirement.
  • States had to void secession, abolish slavery, and repudiate the Confederate debt.
  • Although it officially denied pardons to all Confederate leaders, Johnson often issued pardons to those who asked him personally.

Denied pardons to officers and anyone who had killed African American war prisoners.

Permitted each state to create a new constitution after 10 percent of voters took an oath of allegiance.

Offered pardons to Southerners who swore allegiance.

States could then hold elections and rejoin the Union.


Growing Northern Alarm!

  • Many Southern state constitutions fell short of minimum requirements.
  • Johnson granted 13,500 special pardons.
  • Revival of southern defiance.




  • As southern states were restored to the Union under President Johnson’s plan, they began to enact black codes
    • These were laws passed in the fall of 1865 that restricted freedmen’s rights.
  • The black codesestablished virtual slavery with provisions such as these:
    • Curfews: could not gather after sunset.
    • Vagrancy laws: Freedmen convicted of vagrancy– that is, not working– could be fined, whipped, or sold for a year’s labor.
    • Labor contracts: Freedmen had to sign agreements in January for a year of work. Those who quit in the middle of a contract often lost all the wages they had earned.
    • Land restrictions: Freed people could rent land or homes only in rural areas. This restriction forced them to live on plantations.
    • Could not own weapons


  • Sharecropping is primarily used in farming
  • Landowner provided land, tools, animals, house and charge account at the local store to purchase necessities
  • Freedmen provided the labor.
  • Sharecropping is based on the “credit” system.


1. Poor whites and freedmen have no jobs, no homes, and no money to buy land.

6. Sharecropper cannot leave the farm as long as he is in debt to the landlord.

2. Landowners need laborers and have no money to pay laborers.



  • 3. Hire poor whites and freedmen as laborers
  • Sign contracts to work landlord’s land in exchange for a part of the crop.
  • 5. At harvest time, the sharecropper is paid.
  • Pays off debts.
  • If sharecropper owes more to the landlord or store than his share of the crop is worth;

4. Landlord keeps track of the money that sharecroppers owe him for housing, food or local store.



  • Advantages
  • Part of a business venture
  • Raised their social status
  • Received 1/3 to 1/2 of crop when harvested
  • Raised their self esteem
  • Disadvantages
  • Blacks stay in South
  • Some landowners refused to honor the contract
  • Still poor and in debt
    • Economic slavery
freedmen s bureau
  • To prevent these laws from being enacted and to help blacks merge into free society; the U.S. government took action
  • The Freedmen’s Bureau was created in March 1865
    • Became the principle agency for overseeing relations between former slaves and owners
      • Tried to establish minimum wages
      • Also used sharecropping
    • Staffed by army officers
    • Established posts throughout the South to supervise labor contracts between free people and landowners
    • Issued daily food rations to thousands, including whites


1865, Congress created the Freedman’s Bureau to help former slaves get a new start in life. This was the first major relief agency in United States history.

Bureau’s Accomplishments

  • Built thousands of schools to educate Blacks.
  • Former slaves rushed to get an education for themselves and their children.
  • Education was difficult and dangerous to gain.
  • Southerners hated the idea that Freedmen would go to school.

Freedmen’s Bureau Seen Through Southern Eyes

Plenty to eat and nothing to do.

  • Some black farmers did manage to save enough money to buy small plots of land
  • Black soldiers purchased land with army payments
    • Some pooled their money together to buy plantations
  • Several northern radicals proposed legislation to confiscate ex-Confederate land and redistribute it to freed people
    • These proposals failed
  • The most promising effort to put slaves on land of their own was led by General William T. Sherman
    • After his march through Georgia in 1865 he issued a military order setting aside thousands of acres of abandoned plantation land for settlement by freed slaves
    • “40 Acres and a Mule”
  • However, Johnson’s pardons of ex-Confederates restored much of their land by 1866




congressional reconstruction
  • By December 1865 Congress is determined to control the Reconstruction process by which former Confederate states would regain representation
    • They refused to admit Representatives elected under Johnson’s supervision
    • Set up special committees to set new terms
the 14 th amendment
  • On April 30, 1866 the special committee proposes to Congress the 14th Amendment
  • It passed by 2/3 vote in Congress and was ratified by the states
  • Provisions:
    • Section 1 – defined all native-born persons as citizens regardless of color, all citizens allowed equal protection underneath the law and provided due process of law
    • Section 2 – black enfranchisement or loss of Congressional seats
    • Section 3 – disqualified several ex-Confederates from office
reconstruction acts of 1867
  • In March 1867, Congress voted over Johnson’s vetoes and enacted two laws for a stronger form of Reconstruction
    • Divided 10 Southern states into 5 military districts
    • Army officers would preside over voter registration and elections
    • When states had adopted a new constitution that granted equal rights, ratified the 14th Amendment it would be declared reconstructed and allowed back into Congress
  • These voting procedures angered many white southerners
  • They branded Southern white Republicans as “scalawags”
  • “Carpetbaggers” were northerners who settled in the South to help with voter registration
  • For the first time in history the Government is not being led by the President, but is working in spite of the President


During Radical Reconstruction, the Republican Party was a mixture of people who had little in common except a desire to prosper in the postwar South. This bloc of voters included freedmen and two other groups: carpetbaggers and scalawags.

  • Northern Republicans who moved to the postwar South became known as carpetbaggers.
  • Southerners gave them this insulting nickname, which referred to a type of cheap suitcase made from carpet scraps.
  • Carpetbaggers were often depicted as greedy men seeking to grab power or make a fast buck.


  • White southern Republicans were seen as traitors and called scalawags.
  • This was originally a Scottish word meaning “scrawny cattle.”
  • Refers to one who is a “scoundrel”, reprobate or unprincipled person.
  • Some scalawags were former Whigs who had opposed secession.
  • Some were small farmers who resented the planter class. Many scalawags, but not all, were poor.


  • Many former northern abolitionists risked their lives to help southern freedmen.
  • Called “carpetbaggers” by white southern Democrats.

Reconstruction Acts of 1867

  • Military Reconstruction Act
  • Command of the Army Act – “voter registration”
  • Tenure of Office Act

The Tenure of Office Act

  • The Senate must approve any presidential dismissal of a cabinet official or general of the army.
  • Designed to protect radical members of Lincoln’s government.

Edwin Stanton


President Johnson’s Impeachment

  • In February 1868 Johnson removes Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office
    • This appeared to violate the Tenure of Office Act
  • Stanton administered the war department to support Congressional Reconstruction
  • Congress begins impeachment hearings, mostly due to his defiance of Reconstruction
    • By a vote of 126 to 47 the House of Representatives impeaches Andrew Johnson on February 24, 1868
    • On May 16, the Senate fell one vote shy of the needed 2/3 majority and Johnson stayed in office
  • Johnson quietly serves out the rest of his term
andrew johnson biography
Andrew Johnson Biography






the 1868 election
The 1868 Election
  • Republican nominee was Ulysses S. Grant
    • No political experience
    • Commanded greater authority and prestige than anyone due to his military background
    • Opposed Johnson and his policies from 1866-68
  • Grant wins the electoral vote 214 to 80 and will serve 2 terms in office

Waving the Bloody Shirt!

Republican “Southern Strategy”

the grant administration
  • Grant is usually labeled a failure as a President
    • This isn’t as much about Grant himself as it is the people he chose to lead
    • Grant was too trusting of subordinates
    • He appointed many former military contacts, relatives, and others who were hardly qualified
  • Grant’s inexperience and poor judgment led him to several unwise appointments of officials who were later convicted of corruption
  • His 8 years in office were plagued by scandals
    • His secretary of war was impeached for selling Army posts
    • Several other officials resigned after corruption suspicions arose
    • New York City was run by Boss William Marcy Tweed and Tammany Hall
    • Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel made millions and paid their workers little
the biggest scandal
The Biggest Scandal
  • Credit Mobilier
    • It was a construction company for the Union Pacific Railroad
    • Many railroad companies received loans and land from the federal government to encourage expansion out west
    • Several Congressmen accepted stock in the company
    • This lead to lax enforcement of regulations as Credit Mobilier overbilled the government for work that was actually done

15th Amendment

  • Ratified in 1870.
  • The right of citizens of the United States to vote 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 Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
  • Women’s rights groups were furious that they were not granted the vote!


  • 13th AmendmentAbolished slavery(1865)
  • 14th AmendmentProvided citizenship & equal protection under the law. (1868)
  • 15th AmendmentProvided the right to vote for all men which included white and black men. (1870)
ulysses s grant
Ulysses S. Grant




of Reconstruction

the mississippi plan
The Mississippi Plan
  • Democrats devised the “Mississippi Plan” in the 1875 state elections
    • First step: persuade 10-15% of Republicans to switch to the Democrats
    • Second step: intimidate black voters
  • This method worked as the state became a Democratic majority
  • This leads to the creation of the “Solid South”

The Compromise of 1877

  • “Corrupt Bargain”Part II?

1876 Election

  • Tilden did not receive enough electoral votes.
  • Special Commission gives votes to Hayes.
  • Hayes wins the election
  • Democrats refuse to recognize Hayes as President


*Disputed Electoral votes


369 total electoral votes, need 185to win.




Rutherford B. HayesSamuel Tilden

  • The Democrats and Republicans work out a deal to recognize Hayes as President
  • In return, President Hayes must end Reconstruction and pull the Union troops out of the South.
  • Once this happens, there is no protection for the Freedmen and the South will regain their states and go back to the way it was.
reconstruction ends
Reconstruction Ends
  • Corruption: Reconstruction legislatures & Grant’s administration symbolized corruption & poor government.
  • The economy: Reconstruction legislatures taxed and spent heavily, putting the southern states deeper into debt.
  • Violence: As federal troops withdrew from the South, some white Democrats used violence and intimidation to prevent freedmen from voting. This tactic allowed white Southerners to regain control of the state governments.
  • The Democrats’ return to power: The pardoned ex-Confederates combined with other white Southerners to form a new bloc of Democratic voters known as the Solid South. They blocked Reconstruction policies.
  • The Country: The Civil War was over and many Americans wanted to return to what the country was doing before the war.

There were five main factors that contributed to the end of Reconstruction.

successes and failures of reconstruction



Union is restored.

Many white southerners bitter towards US govt & Republicans.

South’s economy grows and new wealth is created in the North.

The South is slow to industrialize.

14th and 15th amendments guarantee Blacks the rights of citizenship, equal protection under the law, and suffrage.

After US troops are withdrawn, southern state governments and terrorist organizations effectively deny Blacks the right to vote.

Freedmen’s Bureau and other organizations help many black families obtain housing, jobs, and schooling.

Many black and white southerners remain caught in a cycle of poverty.

Racist attitudes toward African Americans continue, in both the South and the North.

Southern states adopt a system of mandatory education.

Successes and Failures of Reconstruction
causes of the civil war cartoon style
Causes of the Civil War – Cartoon Style