History 202 American History II Survey
Reconstruction To The Conservative Revolution Steve Strickland (ABD)
Reconstruction Intro: American has been split apart by
three major wars—The American Revolution, The Civil War, and the Vietnam War. All affected the participants and the
generations engaged dramatically—we will look at the Civil War and How America North and South viewed Reconstruction.
Reconstruction Three Important Questions: 1) Can the U.S. truly be united? 2) Can Black and White Americans coexist
peacefully? 3) Who runs this country—President or Congress,
Supreme Court, or the American People?
Reconstruction First define Reconstruction—Dictionary
states “to build again.” Certainly the Southerners preferred this definition.
The Radical Republicans chose this
definition—”to build anew.”
Change the South’s economy, social system
and race relations.
Reconstruction “Winners write the History—Losers write
the statistics—caveat, concerning Civil war—Losers did a good job of writing the history.[victor gets the spoils] What were the spoils—how had the South
suffered? 3 ways to answer this: 1) Physically; 2) Legally or Constitutionally; 3) Most importantly—emotionally and psychologically.
South Devastated Physically—From Richmond to New
Orleans lay in ruins. Transportation, communications,
economically, financially and Socially. 4 Billion dollars worth of slave property
liquidated with no compensation
Legally—Biggest most immediate issue.
Southern states had acted treasonous, left the Union, and now had to be reannexed; Reannexed with severe stipulations. Debates begin before war actually ends.
South and Stipulations Lincoln’s 10%
Compromise; acceptance of the 13th amendment (citizenship) The Wade-Davis Bill and Mainfesto; acceptance of the 14th amendment(due process 1867) “Black Codes” Civil Rights Bill of 1866;
acceptance of the 15th amendment(suffrage1870)
South and Stipulations 3) Emotionally—the South suffered a
devastating blow to their ideals and who they thought they were—everything had failed—died of a theory to quote Davis. Their former friends France and England
had deserted them in their hour of need, many of their slaves had deserted and joined the Union Army; Worst of all, they had to accept utter defeat
and Military occupation.
Southern Reconstruction The actuality of reconstruction would prove
much harder to deal with than simple definitions. (moral and social victory—in spite of military defeat) In the Proclamation of Amnesty and
Reconstruction issued in 1863, Lincoln stated that the South had never technically left the Union; therefore the loyalty oath, lay down arms, and emancipation of slavery was all that was required; His attitude was “… malice toward none.
With charity to all.”
Southern Reconstruction Countered with the Wade-Davis Bill in July 1864; (Benjamin Wade[Ohio] and Henry Davis[Maryland]) It required 50% of the population swear a loyalty oath, and prove they had never been disloyal to the Union; or taken up arms against the Union; disloyal people lose Vote This eliminated almost all southerners and especially all the antebellum Slavocracy.
Southern Reconstruction Thaddeus Stephens of Pennsylvania the most
radical forced into the Wade-Davis Bill, each state constitution not only had to guarantee full citizenship to ex-slaves, but also assure total equality in the political, economic, and suffrage arenas; Deny all ex-confederates the right to vote or hold
public office—and each confederate state must repudiate its debt. This assures that the first question on unity will be slow in coming. It also assures that peaceful coexistence and equality will also be hampered.
Southern Reconstruction Lincoln realized this would prolong and
even create another war; Pocket vetoed it. Result was the Wade-Davis Manifesto-
reminding Lincoln it was his job to obey and execute the laws they pass. Segues into who runs the country? The
Executive or Congress (Neither cares about the People equation at this time).
Four Reconstruction Theories 1) Presidential Theory 2) Southern Theory 3) Conquered
Provinces Theory 4) “Forfeited Rights
Presidential Theory The South never truly out of Union; they
needed restoration not reconstruction; President had full say over so-called
reconstruction; Johnson wanted to pardon the states and state leaders; Appoint sympathetic Provisional Governors
and bring them back into Union peacefully; as if nothing happened
Southern Theory To Southerners the war itself had proved
secession could not happen; therefore states had not really left the Union; There was no constitutional question about
re-entering; should be no conditions; Therefore they should be welcomed back in
the Union and everything revert to pre-War status
Conquered Province Theory This was the most extreme view; from Thaddeus Stephens; Southern states had acted criminally and treasonous; The constitution or due process did not apply to them—congress should deal with them harshly;
Treat them as conquered provinces and exert international laws of occupation and martial law.
“Forfeited Rights” Theory This is the theory implemented; declared
Ordnance of secession Null and Void; draft new state constitutions; Secession did cause them to forfeit their rights as
American citizens; Had to reapply for status; Congress would ensure every southern state had a
Republican form of government; ratify the 13th amendment; Military Governors would over see occupation and
enforce Martial law—this was the undercarriage of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867.
Radicals in Power Passed the Freedman’s Bureau Bill and the
Civil Rights Acts of 1866 (citizenship)— Johnson vetoed both(invasion of state’s rights)—they overrode the vetoes; Convened the Joint Committee of 15—
essentially charged with the radical oversight of reconstruction—the radicals now had their way with the South. It created the Tragic Era, The Dreaded Decade and the Age of Hate!!
Myths of Reconstruction Harshness of Radical caused two
perceptions: 1) Infuriated the South even more than normal; 2) began to create sympathy in the North for the abused Southerners. However, carpetbaggers (northerners) and
scalawags (turncoat southerners) and African American malfeasance was not much of a true issue—mostly myth.
Myths Cont’d Like all myths some
truth, but there is always some corruption in politics; Black office holders
very small portion of political appointments, never held a political majority; The South was not
Myth’s Cont’d the southerners were allowed to lay down
arms and return as citizens; Pardoned, allowed to vote, hold office, and in many instances retained their pre-War land holdings … Many of the ex-Confederate Civil Leaders were never brought to trial, they were returned to full citizenship, most of their property, except the slaves, was returned to them; “Moonlight and Magnolia”
Occupation Myth by 1868, Military rule had ended in all
southern states except for Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi;(15th amendment passed in 1868) In these states military occupation ended by
1870—sounds as if 1877 wasn’t much of a compromise at all; Compromise of 1877—ended reconstruction, left the Freedmen unprotected, allowed for the rise of the KKK—mostly because the North had tired of the War;
Compromise of 1877 Disputed vote totals in SC,
Miss, Fla and Ore—20 electoral votes. Hayes Needed these to
secure the Presidency— North compromised: Southerner on Hayes cabinet, state control of federal jobs in the state, internal improvement monies for infrastructure, support for Texas and Pacific railroad, removal all troops, and economic support for industrial improvements.
Black Reconstruction Emancipation came to Slaves in different
ways; First the Emancipation Proclamation; Second during the war as Union forces entered an area; Third, when the war was over after the Confederacy’s collapse; Fourth, during reconstruction when occupying Union forces declared them free; Regardless Freedom was a precious
Black Reconstruction Many African Americans
took to the roads—some in search of family members—many because it was a new experience; Many however, stayed put;
the South was all they knew; they were born here, worked here, suffered here, made a family here—it was as much their land as it was the old slave owners land
Black Reconstruction One former slave, even though offered
decent wages to stay—replied, “I can’t, if I stay, I will never know I’m free …”
Taking a full name was very important(14th
amendment and due process and equal protection clauses demanded)—symbolized freedom and individuality … Names were equated with prominent people many just took the last name of their former owners … Kept their first name … regardless it was their decision alone to make …
Black Reconstruction Many also sought out courts to make their
marriages legal; to separate from other marriages formed in slavery; Black husbands as white husbands deemed
themselves as head of the family; They acted for their wives and many refused to allow their wives to work in the fields; Black fathers also demanded control of their
children’s labors and actions—if an issue, one was to see the father—not react on the child …
Education and Religion Education became the
hallmark of true freedom; next to land ownership education was the most coveted item; Freedman’s Bureau set
up 100s of schools in the South; cost 10% of one’s monthly wages to attend school—still the schools were packed …
Black Reconstruction Antebellum, most Blacks
attended White churches; Post bellum, African
Americans were quick to establish their own congregations and hire Black Itinerant Preachers; Center of the Black
Community; organizing center; cornerstone of respective leaders were the Black Preachers
Freedman’s Bureau With all the changes, the South and the
Freedmen still needed a governing body to supervise the transition from slavery to freedom; March 1865, The Bureau of Refugees,
Freedmen, and abandoned land or the Freedman’s Bureau came into being; Though castigated as a failure and corrupt
organization, it was relatively successful.
Freedman’s Bureau Relieved much suffering of Both Black and White
displaced people; It started schools, it issued millions of rations (food and clothing); It issued approximately 5 million rations to White
families; It also issued 15 million rations to Black families; It issued medical treatment; helped resettle many
families Black and White—It enforced the right to work; choose one’s own employer; receive fair wages for a fair days work … negotiated contracts favorable to the Freedmen .. Good conditions and good pay …
End of Reconstruction 64$ question, is Reconstruction over?
Politically over with the Compromise of
1877; In reality it was over around 1872, but by
1877 the North had tired of the War, the South had replaced almost all political leaders with antebellum “Redeemers” or “Bourbons” political leaders—a new name, but the same old Slavocracy resumed political power in the South.
Legacy of Reconstruction Made some important contributions to the
American landscape; there was redistribution of income; Though limited there was also landownership redistribution; There also was the emergence of a greater more cohesive African American community and culture; Not as disastrous to the White elites as myth suggests; The Redeemers had reestablished “Home Rule” in the South …
Legacy of Reconstruction The southern political structure fell under the auspices of a
powerful, conservative former Slavocracy oligarchy, who called themselves the “Redeemers” or the “Bourbons.” There also was an emerging new class of industrialists, developers and financiers—very powerful in this Redeemer movement … These guys replaced the old planter aristocracy … No real drastic economic changes enforced on the South;
nothing political except the abolition of slavery; In most cases it failed, because it failed to resolve racial
issues in America; in fact such disillusionment, it would be 100 yrs before society would attempt at resolution again— the 14th and 15th amendments did, however, set the constitutional stage for the “Second Reconstruction” in the 1950s and 1960s …