Chapter 16

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					      Chapter 16

The Crises of Reconstruction
• The ending of the Civil War and the Reconstruction
  period that followed constituted a “crucial turning
  point” in American history
   – Between 1865 and 1877
• Vital problems had to be solved
• How and under what conditions the South should be
  readmitted to the Union
• What the rights and status of the 3.5 million
  freedmen should be
            Introduction (cont.)
• 1.) How did the Radical Republicans gain control over
  reconstructing the South, and what was the impact
  of their program on the ex-Confederates, other white
  southerners, and black southerners?
• 2.) How did freed blacks remake their lives after
• 3.) What political and economic developments
  occurred in the North during the Reconstruction Era?
          Introduction (cont.)
• 4.) What brought about the end of
Reconstruction Politics, 1865-1868
• Lincoln’s Plan
   – Differences between President Lincoln and Congress on
     reconstruction of the Confederate states began as early as
   – Would allow the formation of a new state govt. when as
     few as 10% of the state’s voters took an oath of loyalty to
     the Union
   – Also had to recognize the end of slavery
   – This plan said nothing about votes for freedmen
   – Lincoln hoped to win over southern Unionists and draw
     them into the Rep. Party
             Lincoln’s Plan (cont.)
• Wade-Davis Bill
   – Passed by Congress
   – Republicans who disagreed with Lincoln’s plan
   – Required at least 50% of the voters take an oath of
   – It excluded from participation in govt. all those who had
     cooperated with the Confederacy
• Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill
• At the time of his death, he and Congress were at an
      Pres. Reconstruction Under
• President Andrew Johnson announced his
  Reconstruction Plan in May 1865
   – Unconcerned about the blacks but wished to promote the
     interests of the poorer whites in the South
• Johnson required whites to take an oath of allegiance
  to the Union
   – After which they could set up new state govts.
      • These had to proclaim secession illegal, repudiate Confederate
        debts, and ratify the 13th Amendment (abolished slavery)
      Pres. Reconstruction Under
            Johnson (cont.)
• Whites who had held high office under the
  Confederacy and all those with taxable property of
  $20,000 or more could NOT vote or hold office
   – They had to apply for and receive a special pardon from
     the Pres.
• During the summer of 1865
   – Johnson undermined his own policy of excluding planters
     from leadership by handing out pardons to them
      Pres. Reconstruction Under
            Johnson (cont.)
• The new govts. created under Johnson’s plan were
  soon dominated by former Confederate leaders and
  large landowners
• Some of the Johnson govts. refused to ratify the 13th
• And all showed their intention of making black
  freedom only nominal by enacting “black codes”
     Pres. Reconstruction Under
           Johnson (cont.)
• Horrified by such evidence of continued
  southern defiance in Dec. 1865:
  – Republican-dominated Congress refused to
    recognize these govts. or to seat the men they
    sent to the House and the Senate
            Congress vs. Johnson
• Radical Republicans were in a minority in 1866
   – They wished to give black men the vote
   – Transform the South into a biracial democracy
• Moderate Republicans were in the majority
   – Wanted to get rid of the black codes
   – And protect the basic civil rights of blacks
     Congress vs. Johnson (cont.)
• The moderates attempted to accomplish these
  limited goals by continuing the Freedmen’s Bureau
  and passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866
• Johnson vetoed both of these measures
• This drove the moderates into an alliance with the
   – Together they overrode his vetoes
• This alliance would create the 14th Amendment
         14th Amendment, 1866
• For the 1st time, the federal govt. defined citizenship
  and intervened to protect person from state govts.
• It stated that all persons born in the U.S.A. or
  naturalized were citizens
• No state could deny any person’s rights without due
  process of law or deny equal protection of the law
   14th Amendment, 1866 (cont.)
• States that refused black men the vote could have
  their representation in Congress reduced
• Former Confederate officials were excluded from
  voting and office-holding until pardoned by 2/3’s
  vote of Congress
   14th Amendment, 1866 (cont.)
• The southern states (except for TN), refused to ratify
  the amendment
• Pres. Johnson denounced it
   – In the Congressional elections of 1866, the Republicans
     won huge majorities
      • This gave them a mandate to force ratification of the 14th
      • Also it allowed to proceed with congressional Reconstruction of
        the South
• 14th Amendment
    Congressional Reconstruction,
• Congress enacted its Reconstruction program over
  Johnson’s vetoes
• The earlier Johnson govts., black codes, and all other
  laws the southern states had passed were invalidated
• TN had been readmitted
• All other former Confederate states were divided into
  districts under the temporary rule of the military
   Congressional Reconstruction,
        1866-1868 (cont.)
• Each state was required to write a new
  constitution enfranchising black men
• And they had to ratify the 14th Amendment
• When these things were done, Congress could
  readmit the state to the Union
    Congressional Reconstruction,
         1866-1868 (cont.)
• Congressional Reconstruction was more radical than
  Lincoln’s or Johnson’s
   – It enfranchised blacks and temporarily disfranchised many
• It did not go as far as the Radicals wanted
   – It failed to confiscate southern land and redistribute it to
     blacks and poor whites
   Congressional Reconstruction,
        1866-1868 (cont.)
• Johnson dragged his feet in enforcing
  congressional Reconstruction
   The Impeachment Crisis, 1867-
• Tenure of Office Act
   –   Passed by Congress
   –   March 1867
   –   Aimed at reducing the president’s power
   –   Tenure of Office Act
   –   Johnson violated it by firing Sec. of War Edwin Stanton
• Republicans in Congress began impeachment
   The Impeachment Crisis, 1867-
           1868 (cont.)
• Some Republicans wavered
   – Feared that removal of Johnson would upset the
     constitutional balance of power
• The vote to convict and remove President Johnson
  fell 1 vote short of the necessary 2/3’s of the Senate
• Impeachment Trial
   The 15th Amendment and the
   Question Of Woman Suffrage
• Congress passed a final amend. To complete its
  Reconstruction program
• 15th Amendment stated that the right to vote could
  not be denied because of race, color, or previous
  condition of servitude
• 15th Amendment
     The 15th Amendment and the
      Question Of Woman Suffrage
                       (cont.) amendment to:
    The Republicans hoped with this
    – protect southern blacks
    – extend suffrage to northern blacks
    – gain many new voters for their party
• When Congress refused to include woman suffrage,
  some feminists denounced the amendment and its
  Republicans sponsors
     The 15th Amendment and the
      Question Of Woman Suffrage
    The 3 new amendments
•   Ending slavery
•   Guaranteeing the rights of citizens
•   Enfranchising black men
•   By 1870:
    – these new amendments were a part of the Constitution
    – Congress had readmitted all the former Confederate states
• Thereafter congressional efforts at Reconstruction
    Reconstruction Governments
• The Reconstruction laws of 1867-1868 created a new
  electorate in the South by enfranchising blacks
   – Also they temporarily disfranchised 10-15% of the whites
• This new electorate put in power Republican govts.
  what were made up of a coalition of carpetbaggers,
  scalawags, and blacks
   Reconstruction Governments
• Carpetbaggers=northerners who had come
  south for a variety of reasons
• Scalawags=cooperating southern whites
                 Republican Rule
• The Republican Reconstruction govts. democratized
  southern politics by:
   – abolishing property and racial qualifications for voting and
   – redistricting state legislatures
   – making formerly appointive offices elective
• They undertook extensive public works, offered
  increased public services, and established the
  South’s first public schools
          Republican Rule (cont.)
• All of this cost money=taxes rose
• Southern landowners bitterly resented the increased
   – accused the state govts. of corruption and waste
      • Some of their charges were true
      • But many were exaggerated
• In no state was the land of ex-Confederate planters
  confiscated and redistributed to freedmen
• White southern Democrats refused to accept black
  voting and office-holding
   – Launched a counterattack to drive Republican govts. from
• White vigilante groups began a campaign of violence
  and intimidation against blacks, Freedmen’s Bureau
  officials, and white Republicans
           Counterattacks (cont.)
• Congress investigated this reign of terror
   – Congress attempted to suppress it with the Enforcement
• But only a “large military presence in the South could
  have protected black rights” and preserve the black
         Counterattacks (cont.)
• By the 1870’s, Congress and President Grant
  were no longer willing to use military force to
  remake the South
     The Impact of Emancipation
• Confronting Freedom
  – Freedmen left the plantations where they had been
     • Usually lacked property, tools, capital, and literacy
  – Often searched for family members from whom they had
    been separated
  – Once reunited, many took the 1st opportunity to legalize
    their marriages
     • Raise their children and live as an independent family
     African-American Institutions
• The desire to be free of white control led blacks to
  establish their own institutions
• Most important were the black churches
   – Played major religious, social, and political roles
• Many black schools were started with the help of the
  Freedmen’s Bureau and northern philanthropists
   – Howard, Fisk, Grambling, Southern
     African-American Institutions
• Segregation of all facilities in the South became a
  way of life
• Charles Sumner’s Civil Rights Act of 1875
   – It promised that all persons, regardless of race, color,
     or previous condition, was entitled to full and equal
     employment of accommodation in "inns, public
     conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other
     places of public amusement."
   – In 1883 the Supreme Court declared it
      • Congress did not have the power to regulate the conduct and
        transactions of individuals
  Land, Labor, and Sharecropping
• Above all, freedmen wanted to become landowning,
  independent farmers
  – Few did because the Republicans believed that property
    rights were too sacred to be violated by confiscation and
    redistribution of the white planters’ lands
  – Also, blacks did not have the capital to buy land and
    agricultural tools
   Land, Labor, and Sharecropping
• Landless laborers and landholding planters
  developed sharecropping
   – A tenant farmer who farms land for the owner and is paid
     a share of the value of the yielded crop
• Many white small farmers also lost their land and
  became sharecropping tenants
• By 1880, 80% of the land in the cotton states was
  worked by landless tenants
     Toward a Crop-Lien Economy
• Rural merchants often sold supplies to sharecroppers
  on credit
   – A lien on the tenants’ share of the crop as collateral
• Sharecroppers fell deeper and deeper into debt
   – Interest rates were exorbitant, cotton prices low, and
     merchants often dishonest
    Toward a Crop-Lien Economy
• Southern law prohibited their leaving the land
  until they had fully repaid their debt
  – Sharecroppers were locked into poverty and
   New Concerns in the North,
• Grantism
  – Ulysses S. Grant won
    the presidency in 1868
     • Republican
     • Popular war hero
              Grantism (cont.)
• His administration was marred by rampant
  – Many state and local govts. of the time also had
• In 1872, some Republicans broke from Grant
  and formed the Liberal Republican Party
  – Disgusted with the scandals
             The Liberals’ Revolt
• In 1872, the Liberal Republicans nominated Horace
  Greely for president
   – The Democrats endorsed him as well
• The regular Republicans renominated Grant
• Grant won the election
• The split in the Republican ranks seriously weakened
  Republican efforts to remake the South
                 The Panic of 1873
• During Grant’s 2nd term, the nation suffered a
  financial panic and a severe economic depression:
   –   business failures
   –   mass unemployment
   –   heightened labor-management conflict
   –   disputes over the country’s currency system
• All these issues further divided Republican attention
  from Reconstruction
         Reconstruction and the
• The Supreme Court in the last quarter of the 1800’s
  also undermined Republican Reconstruction
• In a series of decisions, the Supreme Court
  interpreted the 14th and 15th Amendments in a way
  that made them all but useless for protecting black
• It declared the Civil Rights and Enforcement Acts
  unconstitutional and upheld state segregation laws
         Republicans in Retreat
• By the 1870’s, the Republicans were abandoning
  their Reconstruction policy
• Most of them were more interested in economic
  growth than in protecting black rights
• The Radicals who were committed to biracial
  democracy in the South were dead or had been
  defeated in elections
   Republicans in Retreat (cont.)
• Many northerners wanted to normalize
  relations with the white South
  – They shared the racial belief that blacks were
    inferior to whites, and the federal govt. could not
    force equality
Reconstruction Abandoned, 1876-
• Redeeming the South
  – After 1872, congressional pardons restored voting and
    office-holding rights to all ex-Confederates
  – The Democratic Party attempted to redeem the South
    from Republican rule
     • These men pardoned and the South’s rising class of business
     Redeeming the South (cont.)
• By 1876, the Democrats had regained control of all
  the southern states but SC, FL, and LA
   – Used economic pressure, intimidation, and violence
• Once in power the Democrats:
   – Cut taxes and public works and services
   – passed laws favoring landlords over tenants
    Redeeming the South (cont.)
• Some blacks responded to the deteriorating
  situation by migrating from the South
  – Most were trapped where they were
     • Debt and poverty
The Election of 1876
          • Republicans=Rutherford
          • Democrats=Samuel Tilden
          • Tilden won the popular
             – But because of fraud and
               intimidation at the polls,
               the electoral votes in 4
               states were disputed
      The Election of 1876 (cont.)
• A special congressional electoral commission
  awarded all the disputed votes to Hayes
   – Commission was stacked in favor of the Republicans
• The Democrats refused to accept the finding until a
  compromise deal was worked out by Southern
  Democrats and Republican supporters of Hayes
      The Election of 1876 (cont.)
• In exchange for southern acceptance of Hayes as
  president, the Republicans promised:
   – 1.) to let Democrats take over the last Republican
     Reconstruction govts. in LA and SC
   – 2.) to remove the remaining troops from the South
   – 3.) to give more federal patronage to southern Democrats
   – 4.) to provide federal aid for building railroads and for
     other internal improvements in the South
     The Election of 1876 (cont.)
• This so-called Compromise of 1877 struck the
  final blow to Radical Reconstruction
  – Also it ended all federal protection for the
• Compromise of 1877--summary and map
• By the end of the Reconstruction era the
  Republicans had firm support in the Northeast
  and Midwest
• The Democrats were solidly entrenched in the
  – Would remain so for nearly a century
             Conclusion (cont.)
• Many historians today look back on
  Reconstruction as a democratic experiment
  that failed
  – Partly because Congress did not redistribute land
    to freedmen
     • without any property freedmen were too economically
       vulnerable to hold on to their political rights
            Conclusion (cont.)
• Also, it failed because the Republicans were
  unwilling to continue using military force to
  protect blacks and remake southern society
• Reconstruction did leave as a lasting legacy of
  the 14th and 15th Amendments
             Conclusion (cont.)
• During the brief Reconstruction Era, southern
  – reunited their families
  – created their own institutions
  – for the first time participated in govt.