Reconstruction (1864 – 1874)
AP US History Study Terms: Reconstruction, civil war, 13th Amendment, desegregation, black suffrage, Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan, 10% Plan, Lincoln’s Reconstruction plan, Edwin Stanton, black codes, Congressional Reconstruction plan, radical republicans, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, George Julian, Freedmen’s Bureau, 14th Amendment, Reconstruction Act, Tenure of Office Act, President Johnson impeached, Southern railroad system, carpetbaggers, scalawags, Ku Klux Klan, sharecropping, Ulysses S. Grant, Horatio Seymour, Amnesty Act, Civil Rights Act, Panic of 1873, Greenbacks, Sound Money, William Sward, Midway Islands, Lambdin P. Milligan
I. When was Reconstruction?
Reconstruction took place after the civil war. It was a tumultuous period that brought bout tremendous change. The North embraced emancipation, black suffrage, and constitutional amendments that strengthened the central govt. The south, however, was filled with many pple who opposed emancipation and tried their hardest to hold onto their slaves. Segregation was becoming a more common practice, most of the schools were.
II. How did Reconstruction give former slaves a chance to explore freedom?
Land. The former slaves spent generations caring for other peoples land and finally they had the chance to farm for themselves. Landownership allowed the blacks to have homes of their own and be independent. Black testimony was now accepted in fed courts and the 13th Amendment was made a law. Democrats fought against racial equality.
A. Why did the African-Americans desire land?
1. Land represented a chance to farm for themselves & independence
a. Want homes of their own
2. 1864-the federal courts accepted black testimony
a. 13th Amendmentàlaw
3. Desegregated streetcars, public accommodations laws in states
a. However, Democrats fought against equality
b. CT, Minn, WI rejected black suffrage in 1865
III. What was Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan?
Lincoln proposed in 1863 his 10% Plan. If 10% of the voters in 1860 took an oath of loyalty to the Union a state govt could be established. Confederate officials would be denied this offer. This plan was seen as too mild and Congress wanted a stricter one. After the assassination, Johnson took over Reconstruction. He devised a set of rules that would keep the wealthy planter class out of power. Southerners still had to swear an oath of loyal to gain amnesty however, several were banned from this chance. Those who were banned had to have Johnson personally pardon them. Appointed provisional governors held conventions to draft new state constitutions that eliminated slavery and invalidated secession. New black codes were enforced that discriminated against equality for blacks.
A. What was Lincoln’s Reconstruction plan?
1. Dec 1863-Lincoln proposed the “10% plan”
a. A state govt could be est as soon as 10% of those who voted in 1860 took an oath of loyalty to the Union
b. High ranked Confederate officials would be denied this
2. Congress backed a 50% voters swear an oath
3. Lincoln gave tentative approval to a plan, drafted by Sec of War Edwin Stantonàto impose military authority & appt provisional governors
a. Johnson began w/Stanton’s plan
b. Johnson favored black suffrage if only the S states adopted it voluntarilyàchampion of states rights
B. How did the oaths of amnesty remove the rich from power? How were new state governments formed?
1. Johnson proposed rules to keep the planter class out of power
2. Southerners had to swear an oath of loyalty to gain amnesty (pardon) but several were banned from it
a. Former fed officials who aided the Confederacy
b. High-ranked Confederate officers or grads of West Point or Annapolis who fought for the South
c. All Southerners who aided the rebellion & whose taxable property was more than $20,000
3. All had to ask the president for pardon personally
4. Leadership class of the Old South removed from power b/c they needed Johnson’s special pardon
5. Provisional governors called constitutional conventions to draft new constitutions
a. Eliminated slavery & invalidated secession
b. After ratification new govt could be elected & states restored to the Union
c. Unpardoned whites & former slaves couldn’t vote
6. Old rich planters regained their poweràrestored the old elite
a. Johnson believed in white supremacy & wanted southern support in 1866 elections
b. Many prominent rebels were elected-troubled the north
C. What were the black codes?
1. Former slaves had to carry passes, observe a curfew, live in housing provided by a landowner
2. Stiff vagrancy laws & restrictive labor contracts bound them to plantations-anti-enticement laws
a. Schools, orphanages in south excluded blacks
3. Republican controlled Congress took a closer look at Reconstruction
IV. What was the Congressional Reconstruction plan?
The radical republicans were a minority within their party. They had clear set goals that they wanted to accomplish to transform the South. Congress and Johnson didn’t see eye to eye on things. There was a struggle for a compromise. Johnson destroyed the compromise by vetoing both bills (Congress overrides it). Congress establishes the 14th Amendment, which was their alternative to Johnson’s program of Reconstruction. Johnson urged the South not to ratify the Amendment. All did except TE. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 forced southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment and set up the South into 5 military districts with Union generals in charge. Johnson was impeached but was allowed to stay in office by 1 vote. The 15th Amendment was passed.
A. Who were the Radicals?
1. Radical Republicans led by Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, & George Julian wanted to transform the South
a. Essential to democratize the South
b. Est public education & ensure rights of the freed pple
c. Favored black suffrage
d. Supported land confiscation & redistribution
B. Why did Congress struggle for a compromise with the president?
1. Republicans, spring of 1866-compromise w/Johnson
a. Extension of the Freedmen’s Bureau which was est in 1865 to feed the hungry, negotiate labor contracts, schools, civil rights bill to counteract the black codes
b. This bill would force south to practice equality
c. 1st major bill to enforce the 13th Amendment
2. Johnson vetoed the bills (lateràa law-Congress overrode)
3. Daily violations of blacks’ rights in the South-anti-black violence
C. What did the 14th Amendment say?
1. Confederate debtànull & void
a. Northerners rejected the notion of paying taxes to reimburse those who financed a rebellion
2. Barred Confederate leaders from state & fed office
3. Citizenship of freedmen
4. Barred any state from taking a person’s life, liberty or property “w/o due process of law” & from denying “equal protection of the laws”
5. States did not have to grant black men the right to vote but if they didn’t their representation would be reduced proportionally-if they did it would increase
a. Raise possibility of black men suffrage but not female black & white
D. How come the South rejected the 14th Amendment?
1. Pres urged southern state legislatures to vote against it
a. All did except TE
b. Johnson organized a Natl Union Convention-view rejected
2. Election of 1866-victory for Republicans
a. Repubs form new state govts in the South & enfranchise the freedmen
E. What was the Reconstruction Act of 1867?
1. Until new govts set up, Union generals assumed control in 5 military districts in the South
2. Guaranteed freemen the right to vote in elections fro state constitutional conventions
3. Each southern state was required to ratify the 14th Amendment & ratify its new constitution & submit it to Congress for approval
4. To restrict Johnson-Congress passed controversial laws:
a. Set the date for Congress reconvening
b. Limited Johnson’s power over the army by requiring the pres to issue military orders through the Gen of the Army
c. Tenure of Office Act-gave the Senate power to interfere w/changes in the pres cabinet
a. Issued orders to military commanders in the South limiting their powers & increasing the powers of the govt he did in 1865
b. Removed officers who were enforcing Congress’ law
c. Tried to remove Sec of War Stanton
F. How was President Johnson impeached?
1. 1868-House indicted Johnson
a. His violation of the Tenure of Office Act & impede enforcement of the Reconstruction Act of 1867
2. Prosecution led by Thaddeus Stevens & Ben Butler
3. Johnson remained in office by 1 vote
G. What did the 15th Amendment say?
1. 1869-forbade states to deny the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”
2. Became a law in 1870
V. What was Reconstruction Politics like in the South?
From the start, Reconstruction encountered the resistance of white southerners. They desperately tried to keep control over their slaves and not lose them to emancipation. Blacks supported the Republican Party, the party that freed them. Southern industry began to gain strength and nearly doubled. Almost all schools became segregated. The Ku Klux Klan emerged and terrorized blacks with violence.
A. How did whites resist?
1. White southerners opposed emancipation
a. Some tried to deny the events to postpone slave freedom
3. Blocked blacks from acquiring land
4. Regulators terrorized blacks
5. Many boycotted the polls to defeat Congress
a. Blacks voted Republican
b. New southern Republican Party came to power
1) Eliminated property qualifications fro voting/holding office
2) Provided schools, institutions for the mentally ill, blind, deaf, orphaned
3) Broadened women’s rights
B. In what way did Republican governments triumph?
1. Republican party-majority in southern state govts
a. 1868-1st time black southerners as state legislators
2. Voted against the disfranchisement of Confederate leaders
a. Reality of white power & majority
b. Blacks believed in universal suffrage & reconciliation
1) Treated leading rebels w/fairness
C. What emerged from Reconstruction?
1. Reconstruction govts promoted industry
a. Reflected northern ideals
2. Southern railroad system rebuilt & expanded, steel plants
3. Manufacturing doubled-debts/taxes increase
D. What were other Republican policies?
1. Nearly all schools established in the South were segregated
a. Republicans weren’t looking for revolutionary changes
2. Laws requiring equal accommodations were approved in the South but often went unenforced
3. Many whites felt that blacks were taking over politics
E. Who were carpetbaggers and scalawags?
1. Carpetbagger–white from the North who was seen as taking advantage of the Southern goods, industry, economy, etc. before returning to the North
2. Scalawag–any native white Southerner who cooperated w/the Republicans
a. Most were yeomen who had something to gain by teaming up with freemen
3. Republicans were charged w/corruption & poor taxation policies
F. What was the Ku Klux Klan?
1. Intimidation & reprisals against blacks who tried to improve their status
2. Attacked blacks & Republican organizations
G. How did Reconstruction fail?
1. Combination of fiscal problems, Republican mistakes, racial hostility, and terror brought down the Republican regimes
2. Radical Reconstruction lasted only a few years and failed to reorganize the Southern socioeconomic order
VI. What were the social and economic meanings of freedom?
With freedom, African-Americans started schools. Thousands of freed people embarked on odysseys in search of a husband, wife, child, or parent. The secret churches of slavery came into the open. Black farmers and white landowners therefore turned to sharecropping, a system in which farmers kept part of their crop and gave the rest to the landowner while living on his property. Southern agriculture slipped deeper and deeper into depression.
A. How were blacks provided for in education?
1. Schools for blacks opened, many by the Freedmen’s Bureau
a. 600,000 African-Ams in elementary school by 1877
2. Black universities opened by Freedmen’s Bureau and The American Missionary Association
3. Howard University
B. How were former slave families reunited?
1. Search for family members who had been sold away during slavery
2. Many blacks wanted to minimize all contact with whites
C. Why were black churches founded?
1. Desire to gain independence from all white institutions
D. What was the sharecropping system?
1. Landlord or a merchant “furnished” food & supplies needed before harvest, and he received payment from the crop
2. System was corrupted by the Democrats eventually
E. What was the over-dependence on cotton problem about?
1. Loss of markets during the Civil War
2. Cotton prices began a long decline that coincided w/the civil war
3. Overspecialization depressed the price of cotton
VII. How did Reconstruction decline and then fall?
Northerners were beginning to lose interest in bringing about change in the South. Democrats were rising again in the southern states and they denounced Reconstruction. KKK was put to a stop for their violent actions. Congress adopted the Amnesty Act which would pardon many of the rebel leaders.
A. What happened during the election of 1868?
1. Ulysses S. Grant (Repub) defeated Horatio Seymour (Dem)
2. Grant was not a Radical, but his platform supported congressional Reconstruction and endorsed black suffrage n the South
3. Dems denounced Reconstructionàrenewed sectional conflict
4. In office Grant acted as an administrator of Reconstruction but not as its enthusiastic advocate
5. On occasion Grant called out federal troops to stop violence or enforce acts of Congress
6. In 1870 & 1871 the violent campaigns of the KKK forced Congress to pass two Enforcement Acts and an anti-Klan law
a. These laws made actions by individs against the civil & polit rights of others a fed criminal offense for the 1st time
b. Many Klansmen fled to avoid prosecution-the Klan officially disbanded, the threat of violence did not end
B. What was the liberal republicans revolt?
1. Unhappy with Reconstruction, a group named the Liberal Republicans bolted the party in 1872 and nominated Horace Greeley for pres
2. The Democrats also gave their nomination to Greeley in 1872
3. Dissatisfaction with Grant’s administration grew during his second term
4. The Republican Party faced more unfavorable publicity in 1875, when several of Grant’s appointees were indicted
C. What did the Amnesty Act say?
1. In 1872 Congress adopted the Amnesty Act – pardoned most of the remaining rebels and left only 500 barred from political office-holding
2. In 1875 Congress passed a Civil Rights Act purporting to guarantee black people equal accommodations in public places
3. Democrats regained power in the South quickly
a. IN the North Democrats successfully stressed the failure and scandals of Reconstruction govts
4. Both industrialization and immigration were surging
a. Many good advantages such as low taxes on investment and high tariffs on manufactured goods – aided industrialists
5. The Panic of 1873 ushered in over 5 years of economic contraction
D. Which was chosen: Greenbacks or Sound Money?
1. Should paper $be kept in circulation?
2. Congress voted in 1874 to increase the # of greenbacks in circulation b/c of the panic, but Grant vetoed the bill in deference to the opinions of financial leaders
3. Next year “sound money” interests prevailed in Congress
4. In 1867 Sec of State William Sward arranged the purchase of Alaska from the Russian govt for $7.2 million
5. In 1867, US took control of the Midway Islands
6. In 1870, Grant tried to annex the Dominican Republic-Senator Sumner blocked the attempt
7. Arranged financial settlement of claims on Britain for damage done by the Alabama and other cruisers built in England and sold to the Confederacy
8. Supreme Ctà in the northern retreat from Reconstruction
9. During the Civil War the Court declared that black pple could not be citizens in the Dred Scott case
a. Reaction to this had been so violent that the Court avoided interference w/ govt actions
10. The Ex parte Milligan case though reached the court
a. Lambdin P. Milligan of Indiana had plotted to free Confederate prisoners of war and overthrow state govts
b. Sent to death
c. Court declared that military trials were illegal when civil courts were open and functioning