Chapter 17

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History, The Civil War And Reconstruction (1850-1880), Civil War
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Chapter 17 Reconstruction 1863 - 1877

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Part One: Introduction

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Chapter Focus Questions What were the competing political plans for reconstructing the defeated Confederacy? How did African Americans negotiate the difficult transition from slavery to freedom? What were the most political and social legacies of Reconstruction in the southern states? How did economic and political transformations in the North reflect another side of Reconstruction?

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Part Two: American Communities: Hale County Alabama: From Slavery to Freedom in a Black Belt Community

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American Communities: Hale County Alabama: From Slavery to Freedom in a Black Belt Community In Hale County, former slaves showed an increased sense of autonomy, expressing it through politics and through their new work patterns. One planter described how freed people refused to do “their former accustomed work.” Former slaveholders had to reorganize their plantations and allow slaves to work the land as sharecroppers, rather than hired hands. Freed people organized themselves and elected two of their number to the state legislature. These acts of autonomy led to a white backlash, including nighttime attacks by Ku Klux Klansmen intent on terrorizing freed blacks and maintaining white social and political supremacy. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Part Three: The Politics of Reconstruction

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The Defeated South The South had been thoroughly defeated and its economy lay in ruins. The South resented its conquered status. The bitterest pill was the changed status of African Americans whose freedom seemed an affront to white supremacy.

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“Decorating the Graves of Rebel Soldiers,” Harper’s Weekly, August 17, 1867. After the Civil War, both Southerners and Northerners created public mourning ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers. Women led the memorial movement in the South that, by establishing cemeteries and erecting monuments, offered the first cultural expression of the Confederate tradition. This engraving depicts citizens of Richmond, Virginia, decorating thousands of Confederate graves with flowers at the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery on the James River. A local women’s group raised enough funds to transfer over 16,000 Confederate dead from Northern cemeteries for reburial in © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. 8 Richmond.

Photography pioneer Timothy O’Sullivan took this portrait of a multigenerational African American family on the J.J. Smith plantation in Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1862. Many white plantation owners in the area had fled, allowing slaves like these to begin an early transition to freedom before the end of the Civil War. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Abraham Lincoln’s Plan Lincoln promoted a plan to bring states back into the Union as swiftly as possible protecting private property and opposing harsh punishments. Amnesty was promised to those swearing allegiance. State governments could be established if 10 percent of the voters took an oath of allegiance.

Lincoln used a pocket veto to kill a plan passed by Congressional radicals Redistribution of land posed another problem. Congress created the Freedman’s Bureau.

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“Office of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Memphis, Tennessee,” Harper’s Weekly, June 2, 1866. Established by Congress in 1865, the Freedmen’s Bureau provided economic, educational, and legal assistance to former slaves in the post–Civil War years. Bureau agents were often called upon to settle disputes between black and white Southerners over wages, labor contracts, political rights, and violence. While most southern whites only grudgingly acknowledged the Bureau’s legitimacy, freed people gained important legal and psychological support through testimony at public hearings like this one. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Andrew Johnson and Presidential Reconstruction Andrew Johnson, the new president, was a War Democrat from Tennessee. He had used harsh language to describe southern “traitors” but blamed individuals rather than the entire South for secession. While Congress was not in session he granted amnesty to most Confederates. Initially, wealthy landholders and members of the political elite had been excluded, but Johnson pardoned most of them.

By December, Johnson claimed that “restoration” was virtually complete.

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The Radical Republican Vision Radical Republicans wanted to remake the South in the North’s image, advocating land redistribution to make former slaves independent landowners. Stringent “Black Codes” outraged many Northerners. In December 1865, Congress excluded the southern representatives. Congress overrode Johnson’s vetoes of a Civil Rights bill and a bill to enlarge the scope of the Freedman’s Bureau. Fearful that courts might declare the Civil Rights Act unconstitutional, Congress drafted the Fourteenth Amendment.

Republicans won the Congressional elections of 1866 that had been a showdown between Congress and Johnson over Reconstruction and the amendment. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Congressional Reconstruction and the Impeachment Crisis Map: Reconstruction of the South, 1866–77 The First Reconstruction Act of 1867 enfranchised blacks and divided the South into five military districts. A crisis developed over whether Johnson could replace Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. In violation of the Tenure of Office Act, Johnson fired Stanton.

The House impeached Johnson but the Senate vote fell one vote short of conviction. This set the precedent that criminal actions by a president—not political disagreements—warranted removal from office. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


MAP 17.1 Reconstruction of the South, 1866–77 Dates for the readmission of former Confederate states to the Union and the return of Democrats to power varied according to the specific political situations in those states.

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The Election of 1868 By 1868, seven of the eleven ex-Confederate states were back in the Union. Republicans nominated Ulysses Grant for president. The Republicans attacked Democrats’ loyalties. Democrats exploited racism to gather votes and used terror in the South to keep Republicans from voting. Republicans won with less than 53 percent of the vote. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


The Election of 1868 The remaining unreconstructed states (Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia) had to ratify both the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to be admitted to the Union. The states ratified the amendments and rejoined the Union in 1870.

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The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, stipulated that the right to vote could not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This illustration expressed the optimism and hopes of African Americans generated by this constitutional landmark aimed at protecting black political rights. Note the various political figures (Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Frederick Douglass) and movements (abolitionism, black education) invoked here, providing a sense of how the amendment ended a long historical struggle. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Woman Suffrage and Reconstruction Women’s rights activists were outraged that the new laws enfranchised African Americans but not women. The movement split over whether to support a linkage between the rights of women and African Americans. The more radical group fought against the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and formed an all-female suffrage group. A more moderate group supported the amendment while working toward suffrage at a state level and enlisting the support of men.

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Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902), the two most influential leaders of the woman suffrage movement. As founders of the militant National Woman Suffrage Association, Stanton and Anthony established an independent woman suffrage movement with a broader spectrum of goals for women’s rights, and drew millions of women into public life during the late nineteenth century.

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Part Four: The Meaning of Freedom

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Moving About For many freed people, the first impulse to define freedom was to move about. Many who left soon returned to seek work in their neighborhoods. Others sought new lives in predominantly black areas, even cities. Former slaves enjoyed the freedom of no longer having to show deference to whites. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


The African American Family Freedom provided the chance to reunite with lost family members. The end of slavery allowed African Americans to more closely fulfill appropriate gender roles. Males took on more authority in the family. Women continued to work outside the home.

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African American Churches and Schools Church building was the most important element of institution building that went on in the postemancipation years. African-American communities pooled their resources to establish churches, the first social institution that they fully controlled. Education was another symbol of freedom. By 1869 over 3,000 Freedman’s Bureau schools taught over 150,000 students. Black colleges were established as well.

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An overflow congregation crowds into Richmond’s First African Baptist Church in 1874. Despite their poverty, freed people struggled to save money, buy land, and erect new buildings as they organized hundreds of new black churches during Reconstruction. As the most important African American institution outside the family, the black church, in addition to tending to spiritual needs, played a key role in the educational and political life of the community. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Land Labor After Slavery Most former slaves hoped to become selfsufficient farmers, but with no land redistribution this dream was not fulfilled. The Freedman’s Bureau was forced to evict tens of thousands of blacks that had been settled on confiscated lands. African Americans preferred sharecropping to gang labor as it allowed flexibility. Sharecropping came to dominate the southern agricultural economy. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Land Labor After Slavery Sharecropping represented a compromise between planter and former slave.

Sharecroppers set their own hours and tasks. Families labored together on adjoining parcels of land. Map: The Barrow Plantation, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1860 and 1881 (approx. 2,000 acres)

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MAP 17.2 The Barrow Plantation, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1860 and 1881 (approx. 2,000 acres) These two maps, based on drawings from Scribner’s Monthly, April 1881, show some of the changes brought by emancipation. In 1860, the plantation’s entire black population lived in the communal slave quarters, right next to the white master’s house. In 1881, black sharecropper and tenant families lived on individual plots, spread out across the land. The former slaves had also built their own school and church. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


The Origins of African American Politics Former slaves organized politically to protect their interests and to promote their own participation. Five states had black electoral majorities. The Union League became the political voice of former slaves.

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“The First Vote,” Harper’s Weekly, November 16, 1867, reflected the optimism felt by much of the northern public as former slaves began to vote for the first time. The caption noted that the freedmen went to the ballot box “not with expressions of exultation or of defiance of their old masters and present opponents depicted on the countenances, but looking serious and solemn and determined.”

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SOURCE: William L. Sheppard, “Electioneering in the South,” Harper’s Weekly, July 25, 1868,

Seeing History Changing Images of Reconstruction. SOURCE: Thomas Nast, “The Ignorant Vote—Honors Are Easy,” Harper’s Weekly, December 9, 1876.

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Part Five: Southern Politics and Society

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Southern Politics and Society Most northerners were satisfied with a reconstruction that brought the South back into the Union with a viable Republican Party. Achieving this goal required active Federal support to protect the AfricanAmerican voters upon which it depended.

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Southern Republicans Republicans drew strength from: white, northern, middle-class emigrants called carpetbaggers native southern white Republicans called scalawags who were businessmen and Unionists from the mountains with old scores to settle

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Reconstructing the States: A Mixed Record Throughout the South, state conventions that had a significant African-American presence drafted constitutions and instituted political and humanitarian reforms. The new governments insisted on equal rights, but accepted separate schools.

The Republican governments did little to assist African Americans in acquiring land. Republican leaders envisioned promoting northern-style prosperity and gave heavy subsidies for railroad development. These plans frequently opened the doors to corruption.

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White Resistance and “Redemption” Many white southerners believed that the Republicans were not a legitimate political group. Paramilitary groups like the Ku Klux Klan used terror to destroy the Reconstruction governments and intimidate their supporters. Congress passed several laws to crack down on the Klan.

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 outlawed racial discrimination in public places. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


The Ku Klux Klan emerged as a potent political and social force during Reconstruction, terrorizing freed people and their white allies. An 1868 Klan warning threatens Louisiana governor Henry C. Warmoth with death. Warmoth, an Illinois-born “carpetbagger,” was the state’s first Republican governor. Two Alabama Klansmen, photographed in 1868, wear white hoods to hide their identities. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


White Resistance and “Redemption” As wartime idealism faded and Democrats gained strength in the North, northern Republicans abandoned the freed people and their white allies. Conservative Democrats (Redeemers) won control of southern states. Between 1873 and 1883, the Supreme Court weakened enforcement of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and overturned convictions of Klan members.

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King Cotton: Sharecroppers, Tenants and the Southern Environment Map: Southern Sharecropping and the Cotton Belt, 1880 The South grew more heavily dependent on cotton. The crop lien system provided loans in exchange for a lien on the crop. As cotton prices spiraled downward, cotton growers fell more deeply into debt. The South emerged as an impoverished region.

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MAP 17.3 Southern Sharecropping and the Cotton Belt, 1880 The economic depression of the 1870s forced increasing numbers of Southern farmers, both white and black, into sharecropping arrangements. Sharecropping was most pervasive in the cotton belt regions of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and east Texas. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Part Six: Reconstructing the North

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The Age of Capital Fueled by railroad construction, the postwar years saw a continued industrial boom that concentrated industries into the hands of a few big businesses. In 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which suspended Chinese immigration for ten years. Several Republican politicians maintained close connections with railroad interests resulting in the Crédit Mobilier scandal.

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Chinese immigrants, like these section gang workers, provided labor and skills critical to the successful completion of the first transcontinental railroad. This photo was taken in Promontory Point, Utah Territory, in 1869. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Liberal Republicans and the Election of 1872 The Republican Party underwent dramatic changes because: party leaders concentrated on holding on to federal patronage; a growing number of Republicans were appalled by the corruption of the party and sought an alternative.

The Liberal Republicans: were suspicious of expanding democracy; called for a return to limited government; proposed civil service reform to insure elites would have federal posts; opposed continued federal involvement in Reconstruction.

In 1872, Horace Greeley challenged Ulysses Grant for the presidency. Grant easily won but the Liberal Republican agenda continued to gain influence.

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The Depression of 1873 In 1873, a financial panic triggered the longest depression in American history. Prices fell, unemployment rose, and many people sank deeply in debt. Government officials rejected appeals for relief. Clashes between labor and capital led many to question whether their society was one with a harmony of interests. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


“The Tramp,” Harper’s Weekly, September 2, 1876. The depression that began in 1873 forced many thousands of unemployed workers to go “on the tramp” in search of jobs. Men wandered from town to town, walking or riding railroad cars, desperate for a chance to work for wages or simply for room and board. The “tramp” became a powerful symbol of the misery caused by industrial depression and, as in this drawing, an image that evoked fear and nervousness among the nation’s middle class. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


The Electoral Crisis of 1876 Map: The Election of 1876 As the election of 1876 approached, new scandals in the Grant administration hurt the Republicans. The Democrats nominated Samuel J. Tilden of New York, a former prosecutor. Democrats combined attacks on Reconstruction with attacks on corruption. The Republican nominee, Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, promised to clean up corruption.

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MAP 17.4 The Election of 1876 The presidential election of 1876 left the nation without a clear-cut winner.

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The Electoral Crisis of 1876 Tilden won more votes than Hayes, but both sides claimed victory. In three southern states two sets of electoral votes were returned. An electoral commission awarded the disputed votes to Hayes. Hayes struck a deal that promised money for southern internal improvements and noninterference in southern affairs. The remaining federal troops were removed from the South. The remaining Republican governments in the South lost power. © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc.


Part Seven: Conclusion

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