Chapter 22: The Ordeal of Reconstruction 1865-1877

  • Problems facing the nation:
  1. How would South be rebuilt?
  2. How would blacks be free?
  3. How would South be reintegrated into Union?
  4. Who would direct reconstruction? President, Congrees, Southern States?

The Problems of Peace:

  • All rebel leaders pardoned by President Johnson 1868
  • Southern economy in ruins - banks and businesses closed, factories vacated, transportation broken down.
  • Agriculture crippled! Weeds, no cotton. Slave-labor gone! Cotton Kings, slave-investors humbled.
  • South retained bad attitudes.

Freedmen Define Freedom:

  • Many Southern slaveowners resisted and protested emancipation
  • Some slaves showed loyalty and stayed with masters, while some joined the Union army and opened a can of whoop-ass on their masters.
  • Family, "slave marriages"
  • Many moved to towns and cities. Kansas!
  • Black churches - Baptists, Methodists, Episcopals
  • Education -> development of black schoolhouses

The Freedmen's Bureau:

  • Congress created Freedmen's Bureau 1865 - welfare agency (provide food, clothing, medical care, and education to freedmen and white refugees) - run by Oliver O. Howard
  • Taught 200,000 blacks how to read
  • White-supremacist Southerners (including President Johnson) tried to kill Bureau - expired in 1872.

Andrew Johnson: The Tailor President:

  • Johnson - humble orphaned tailor from Tennessee
  • Ran with Lincoln because Union party needed support from War Democrats
  • Loved states' rights and the constitution
  • Wrong man, wrong place, wrong time.

Presidential Reconstruction:

  • 1863, Lincoln claimed "10% Reconstruction Plan": A state could be reintegrated w/ the Union when 10% of voters pledged oath to US and pledge emancipation
  • 1864 Congress' Wade-Davis Bill: 50% of voters take oath and safeguards for emancipation, Lincoln didn't sign.
  • Republicans: there were moderates like Lincoln, and radicals that thought S should be punished, emancipation protected
  • Johnson recognized 10% plan and issued Reconstruction Proclamation - 1865 - disfrachised leading Confederates, states required to repeal secession ordinances, ratified 13th amendment, disowned Confederate debts.

The Baleful Black Codes:

  • Black Codes - first acts of S regimes sanctioned by Johnson to ensure a stable and subservient labor force.
  • Blacks had labor contracts - had to work for same employer 1 year - low wages -> violaters were made to forfeit back wages or be forcibly dragged back to work.
  • Blacks couldn't serve on juries, barrd from renting/leasing land, punished for "idleness"

Congressional Reconstruction:

  • Many former Confederate leaders came to claim seats in Congress 1865.
  • Republicans angry - they had enjoyed control of Congress during Civil War (Morrill Tariff, Pacific Railroad Act, Homestead Act)
  • Realized South would have 12 more votes in Congress and electoral votes now that blacks were 5/5 of a person.
  • Johnson considered Union restored :O

Johnson Clashes with Congress:

  • 1866 - Johnson vetoed extension of Freedman's Bureau
  • 1866 Congress passed Civil Rights Bill (struck at Black Codes). Johnson vetoed, but Congress overcame it. Johnson "dead dog of White House"
  • Civil Rights Bill -> 14th amendment: conferred civil rights and citizenship on freedmen, reduced representation of a state if it denied blacks the vote, disqualified former Confeds. from office, guaranteed federal debt and disowned Confed. debt.
  • All "sinfull 11" states except Tennessee rejected amendment.

Swinging 'Round the Circle with Johnson:

  • Reconstruction with 14th amendment or without?
  • 1866 - Congressional elections
  • Johnson travelled, making speeches accusing Congress radicals of planning anti-black riots. Immature. Got votes for Republicans (since he was a Democrat)
  • Republicans got more than 2/3 majority in House and Senate.

Republican Principles and Programs:

  • Radicals in Senate: Charles Sumner (for black freedom and racial equality), Thaddeus Stevens (black lover) - wanted to keep South out as long as possible
  • Moderate Republicans - preferred restraining states from abridging ctiziens rights over federal government to individuals
  • By 1867, both factions agreed blacks NEEDED TO VOTE

Reconstruction by the Sword:

  • Congress passed Reconstruction Act 1867 - divided South into 5 military districts, commanded and policed by Union soldiers and disfranchised 1000s of former Confederates.
  • Also required states to ratify 14th amendment and guarantee black suffrage in their Constitutions
  • 1869 - 15th amednment passed - black suffrage ratified by enough states in 1870
  • 1866 - Ex parte Milligan - Supreme Court ruled that military tribunals could not try citizens (habeas corpus)
  • South organized state governments, by 1877, last federal soldiers removed from states and South reverted to Democrats.

Funny quote: "I was 16 years old before I discovered that damnyankee was two words"

No Women Voters:

  • 13th, 14th, 15th amendments - good for abolitionists but not women's righters (same cause)
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony campaigned against 14th amendment, which used the word "male"
  • Wanted women added to 15th amendment along with blacks
  • It would be 50 years till women would get the vote.

The Realities of Radical Reconstruction in the South:

  • Southern black men formed Union League: network of political clubs that educated members in their civic duties and campaigned for Republicans -> built black churches and schools, recruited militias to protect blacks.
  • Black political participation expanded! - served as Congressmen and state justices
  • Former slaveowners angry at white allies of freedmen ("carpetbaggers")
  • Scams in government

The Ku Klux Klan:

  • Founded in Tennessee in 1866
  • Scared black people - "ghosts." Many blacks stopped voting, the others were hurt or even murdered.
  • Congress passed Force Acts of 1970 and 1871 - Federal troops stopped much, but intimidation remained.
  • White South did a lot to stop blacks from voting.

Johnson Walks the Impeachment Plank:

  • Radicals falsely accused Johnson of having a harrem of "dissolute women" - decided to remove him w/ Constitutional processes.
  • 1867 Congress passed Tenure of Office Act - federal officials could not be removed without consent of the Senate.
  • Johnson dismissed Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton (radical spy) in 1868
  • House voted to impeach Johnson for "high crimes and misdemeanors" - "violated the Tenure of Office Act"

A Not-Guilty Verdict for Johnson:

  • House was prosecution (Benjamin F. Butter and Thaddeus Stevens)
  • Radicals failed to get 2/3 majority for Johnson's removl
  • Johnson's successor would have been radical President of Senate, Ben Wade.

The Purchase of Alaska:

  • Russia wanted to dump frozen Alaska, and thought US would be best purcahser b/c they wanted to strengthen them against enemy, Britain.
  • 1867 SoS Seward signed treaty w/ Russia. Alaska -> US for $7.2 million
  • US bouth Alaska because they wanted to be nice to Russia and land was rumored to have fur, fish, gold.

The Heritage of Reconstruction:



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Tyler said...

Certainly a time of upheaval and progress, with groups like the Freedmen's Bureau making a positive impact.