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  • black survivors and vic-

    deadly 1921 Tulsa raceriot.

    Critical ThinkingWhat are your thoughtsabout reparations? Shouldwe pay reparations for actsof slavery or racism thatoccurred in the past? Whyor why not?

    Should we also pay repara-tions to victims of the Holo-caust and Japanese-American victims of WorldWar II internment camps?Why or why not?


    Forty Acres and a MuleIn the year 1867, RadicalRepublican Thaddeus Ste-vens introduced a bill that,had it been suc-cessful, wouldhave grantedeach freed adultmale slave 40acres of land and$100.

    Since then, anumber of otherattempts have been made tolegislate reparations makefinancial payment to vic-tims for the evils of slav-ery.

    In 1989, RepresentativeJohn Conyers of Michigan,proposed the first in a se-ries of bills that would cre-ate a commission to studythe impact of slavery. If thecommittee found that repa-rations were called for, itwould recommend appro-

    priate measures for Congressto take.

    In 1999, Conyers introduceda bill that would re-quire the governmentto issue a formalapology for slavery.So far, these propos-als and others likethem have not beenpassed into law.

    However, a group ofprominent class-action law-yers met in 2000 to beginstudying the suit against thegovernment and against busi-nesses that profited fromslavery.

    Some victims of post-slavery racism haveactually been grantedreparations (financialpayment). Early in2001, a state commis-sion in Oklahomaawarded $12 million to

    Then & Now:

    Being a Historian6.6: Students use historical methodology to make interpretations concerning history, change, and continuity.


    Enduring Understanding

    Reconstruction was an era of

    social, political, and constitu-

    tional conflict that had noble

    intentions but limited suc-


    Essential Questions

    1. What were the social, politi-cal, and constitutional founda-tions and challenges of Recon-struction?

    2. What arguments supportwhether or not Reconstructionwas a success or a failure?

    3. How are the same chal-lenges of Reconstruction evi-dent in the reconstruction ofIraq/Afghanistan?

    4. What arguments supportwhether or not Reconstructionin Iraq/Afghanistan has beena success or a failure?

    The Three Major Problems of Reconstruction: Social, Political, ConstitutionalIn the aftermath of the Civil War, theSouth was devastated, physically, eco-nomically, even spiritually. The postwarSouth, it has been said, was worse offthan Europe after either of the 20th Cen-tury world wars.

    The Confederate defeat left most whitesoutherners in a state of shock. The ap-palling loss of life was a disaster withoutparallel in the American experience.

    Over one-fifth of the South's adult whitepopulation of military age died during theCivil War.

    The death of nearly 260,000 Southernsoldiers meant that women would con-tinue to fill many roles in society, even asthey struggled to help surviving hus-bands and sons adapt to the reality ofdefeat.

    During this time period, the nation facedthree huge problems that would chal-

    as our desire to move forward and re-

    tent for freedom and equality for allAmericans. The three major problemsincluded:

    1. The Social Problem: What are we to

    to help them to earn a living for them-selves, especially when most of thenewly freed slaves could not read orwrite.

    2. The Political Problem: How do wereconstruct our nation? How do webring the South back in to the Union?Do we do so with open and forgiving armsor do we punish them for the damagescaused by the Civil War?

    3. The Constitutional Problem: Whoshould have the authority to reconstruct

    the nation? Should it be up to the Presi-dent? Should it be up to Congress?Should it be up to them both?

    (Story continued on top of page 2)

    Rep. Conyers


  • The Three Major Problems of Reconstruction (continued)

    lent opposition to the new world beingcreated around them. In fact, shortly af-ter the war, several southern statesstarted to adopt a series of so-called,

    Furthermore, former slaves were really nobetter off when they realized that whitesin the South were economically holdingthem back through share cropping andtenant farming. Sharecroppers weresupposed to have a chance to climb theeconomic ladder, but by the time they

    had shared their crops andpaid their debts, they rarelyhad any money left. In fact asharecropper often becametied to one plantation, havingno choice but to work until hisor her debts were paid. If theywere lucky, they might eventu-ally have the chance to be-come tenant farmers, but thechances were slim.

    Black ResponsesImmediately after the Civil War, formerslaves sought to give meaning to freedomby reuniting families separated underslavery, establishing their own churchesand schools, seeking economic independ-ence, and demanding equal civil and po-litical rights.

    Reuniting families separated under slav-ery, and solidifying existing family rela-

    tions, were essential to the black defi-nition of freedom. The family stood asthe main pillar of the postwar blackcommunity.

    Most slaves had lived in family units,although they faced the constant threatof separation from loved ones by sale.Freed people made remarkable effortsto locate loved ones - a Northern re-porter in 1865 encountered a formerslave who had walked more than 600miles searching for his wife and chil-dren, from whom he had been soldaway during slavery.

    Before the war, slave marriages had nolegal standing; now tens of thousandsof freed people registered their unionsbefore the army, Freedmen's Bureau,and local governments.

    Family and kinship ties, together withthe church, remained the foundation ofthe black community.

    An Uncertain FutureThe question as to whether or not astate has the legal right to secede wassettled on the battlefield. The Unionclearly won that argument. However,the assassination of Lincoln and hisunfinished work concerning Recon-struction would have to be sorted outbetween a Democratic President and aRepublican controlled Congress.

    Social Problems: Black and White Responses to the End of Slavery in the SouthOverviewThe Confederate defeat and the end ofslavery brought far-reaching changes inthe lives of all Southerners. The destruc-tion of slavery led inevitably to conflictbetween Blacks seeking to breathe newmeaning into their freedom by fighting fortheir independence from white control,and whites seeking to keep as muchpower as possible of the old order.

    The meaning of freedom itself became apoint of conflict in the ReconstructionSouth. Former slaves rel-ished the opportunity toflaunt their liberationfrom the many rules ofslavery.

    White ResponsesMost white southernersreacted to defeat andemancipation with dis-may. Many families hadsuffered the loss of loved ones and thedestruction of property. Some thought ofleaving the South altogether, or retreatedinto nostalgia for the Old South and theLost Cause of the Confederacy.

    In 1865 and 1866 many white Southern-ers joined memorial associations thatestablished Confederate cemeteries andmonuments throughout the region. Oth-ers, unwilling to accept a new relation-ship with former slaves, resorted to vio-

    For much of this century, Reconstruc-tion was widely viewed as an era of cor-ruption and misgovernment, supposedlycaused by allowing blacks to take partin politics.

    This interpretation helped to justify theSouth's system of racial segregation anddeny the vote to blacks, which survivedinto the 1960s.

    Today, as a result of ex-tensive new research andprofound changes inAmerican race relations,historians view Recon-struction far more fa-vorably, as a time ofgenuine progress for for-mer slaves and the Southas a whole.

    For all Americans, Reconstruction was atime of fundamental social, economic,

    and political change. Five dayssurrender at Appomattox, President Lin-coln was shot while attending the theater.He died at 7:22am the next morning onApril 15, 1865.

    The new president, Andrew Johnson ofTennessee, was faced with many cruciallyimportant questions.

    political career, he hadsaid,made odious (horrible),and the traitors must be

    a sentencethat he had used inmany speeches, includ-ing his 1864 acceptanceof the vice presidency.

    Yet almost immediatelyafter his assumption ofthe presidency, Presi-

    dent Andrew Johnson changed course.

    At first he appeared to side with Radi-cal Republicans in Congress (whowanted nothing more than to punishthe South and allow Blacks to vote).

    Johnson however, soon took a differentpath, granting numerous pardons to ex-Confederates. These presidential par-dons allowed these former rebels toreclaim their former property, hold of-fice, vote, and not support the right ofBlack suffrage.

    The social, political, and constitutionalstage was set. How was this country toproceed and provide for the needs ofmillions of newly freed slaves? Wouldwe honor the plan of our assassinatedPresident? Could we trust his newreplacement to steer us down the roadtowards an easy peace or would Con-gress assume the power?



  • fol-lowed a plan that included a Proclama-tion of Amnesty (forgiveness) and Re-construction.

    A lenient plan, it offered a full pardonand restoration of all rights (exceptslaves) to all persons who took an oathof loyalty to the Union and promised toaccept emancipation. This pardon how-ever, did not include high-ranking civiland military officers of the Confederategovernment, who could in fact, accord-ing to Lincoln, run for political office a

    notion that many Radical Republicansopposed as they wished to be muchharsher towards the defeated Confeder-ates.

    10 percent of the number of legal voters inthe rebel state had taken the loyalty oath,a new state government could be estab-lished and the state was permitted to takeits regular place in the Union. Nothing was

    original plan.

    plans actually were,especially with regardto who would be ableto vote in the postwarSouth, will never beknown, for he diedless than a week after

    His last public speech nevertheless hintedthat he was moving toward embracinglimited African American suffrage (right tovote).

    bondage to a fairer future of liberty and

    replace Hannibal Hamlin, whowanted to return to the Senate),his eyes almost naturally fell onAndrew Johnson.

    Plan began as one that would

    plan and readmit each state ifthe state would declare that secession isillegal, swear allegiance to the Union, andratify the 13th Amendment (which abol-

    When senators from the seceding stateswalked out of Congress in 1861, John-son was the only southern senator whorefused to leave; he continued to occupya seat until Lincoln appointed him mili-tary governor of Tennessee on March 3,1862.

    By late August 1863, he had reversedhis position on emancipation (as he wasoriginally opposed to it), energeticallyaided in the recruitment of twenty thou-sand African American soldiers for theUnion army, and later promised blacks,

    you through the Red Sea of war and

    ished slavery). In return, the Southwould not have to pay off any war

    debts/damages that occurredduring the Civil War.

    But how would Johnson resume

    tion? How would this newPresident (who was a Democratby the way) work with a unifiedRepublican Congress?

    The political and constitutional stageswere set for disaster.

    Amnesty and Reconstruction

    Where Does He Stand?

    was too weakand forgiving towards the rebellioussouthern states.

    Second, Radicals feared that once thesouthern states were restructured, south-

    ern politicians would then beeligible to run for office andthen challenge the Republi-

    apower that the Radicals werereluctant to concede at thistime.

    And third, the Radicals hoped-

    nomination in 1864 in lieu tohis lenient policies with theSouth.

    The Wade-Davis Bill chal-

    manding a more stringent plan of Recon-struction. Specifically, the bill endorsed:

    1. the congressional control of Recon-struction;

    2. an end to slavery;

    3. the placement of Confederate statesunder temporary military rule;

    4. the imposition of an ironclad oath ofloyalty to the Union;

    5. the enforced readmission of any se-ceding states to an allegiance of atleast 50% of the voters of 1860; and

    6. the exclusion of more Confederateofficials from government office than

    Although they outdid each other in theirfuneral speeches to the fallen president,secretly the Radical Republicans were not

    For one thing, Lincoln could be used as amartyr for their own cause, which in-cluded building a strong national govern-ment through a strong Republican party.

    It became very clear to the Radical Re-publicans that in order to stay in power,they must allow African Americans theright to vote, while denying the right ofpro-Confederate whites their legal andpolitical rights.

    The South is Conquered But They Are Not Loyal!called

    for a much harsher plan than that ofRadical

    Republicans in Congress wanted thepolitical power of the slave owning classdestroyed, give blacks full citizenship,and make the South payfor their actions.

    The Radicals believed theSouth to be conquered butnot necessarily loyal to theUnion.

    In February of 1864, twoRadical Republicans,Senator Benjamin F. Wadeof Ohio and RepresentativeHenry W. Davis of Mary-land, sponsored a bill in

    for Reconstruction. Particularly, theWade-Davis bill was proposed to coun-teract three political factors that threat-ened their Republican power in Con-gress.

    First, the Radical Republicans believed

    Page 3

    Senator Benjamin Wade


  • the South, by the end of May 1865, Radi-cals were increasingly alarmed that thepresident either had misled them or hadchanged his mind with regard to the re-construction of the South.

    In May of 1865, with Congress out ofsession, Johnson appeared to do a 180and surprise Congress by announcing hisown plan for Reconstruction. Johnsondeclared that each of the remaining Con-federate states could be readmitted into

    the Union if it would meetseveral conditions:

    1. Each state would haveto withdraw its right of se-cession;2. Each state would haveto swear their allegiance tothe Union;3. The federal governmentwould annul (cancel) thewar debts; and4. Each state would haveto ratify (approve) the 13th

    Amendment, which abol-ished slavery.

    the Radical Republicans who wantedstricter measures. In addition, the Radi-cals would become more frustrated when

    for Reconstruction.

    Johnson vs. Congress

    presidency, thebelieved that Andrew Johnson would bemore sympathetic to their cause, whichincluded a harsh and thorough recon-struction of the southern economy, soci-ety, and life. After all, Johnson hadbeen a loyal unionist and a harsh mili-tary governor of Tennessee during theCivil War.

    In addition, John-son said manytimes that treason

    ous, (horrible) andthe traitors must bepunished and im-

    Radi-cal Republicansbelieved Johnson tobe sympathetic toBlack suffrage (anda harsh reconstruc-tionist more thanLincoln had been.

    And yet the RadicalRepublicans seri-ously misjudged President Johnson.Although many of his initial statementsand speeches as president had givenRadicals the impression that he sup-ported a strict policy of reconstruction of

    Johnson did not think it necessary torequire most high-ranking Confederatesand wealthy southern landowners totake the loyalty oath. Furthermore,Johnson failed to address the needs offormer slaves in three areas: land, vot-ing rights, and protection under the law.

    Southerners were relieved with John-

    of a strong federal government. He alsodenied former slaves from gaining theright to vote and then pardoned morethan 13,000 former Confederates be-

    With the exception of Texas, all of theremaining southern states (Alabama,Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, NorthCarolina, and South Carolina) quickly

    established new state constitutions, setup new state governments, and electednew members of Congress to send toWashington D.C.

    The Radicals were not amused by John-



    Social Problem:

    The Plot Thickens: The Constitutional and Political Problems Between Johnson and Congress

    was a specialorganization to help former slaves andpoor whites in the South. In 1865, Con-gress established the Freedmen's Bureauto provide assistance to former slaves.Union Army general Oliver O. Howardwas the Bureau's Commissioner.

    The was to aid andprotect the newly freed blacks in theSouth after the Civil War. Established byan act of Mar. 3, 1865, under the name

    year after the close of the war.

    A bill extending its life indefinitely andgreatly increasing its powers was vetoed(Feb. 19, 1866) by President AndrewJohnson, who viewed the legislation as anunwarranted (and unconstitutional) con-tinuation of war powers in peacetime. Theveto marked the beginning of the Presi-dent's long and unsuccessful fight withthe Radical Republican Congress overReconstruction.

    In slightly different form, the bill was

    passed over Johnson's veto on July 16, 1866.Organized under the War Dept., with Gen.Oliver O. Howard as its commissioner, andthus backed by military force, the bureauwas one of the most powerful instruments ofReconstruction. Howard divided the ex-slavestates, including the border slave states thathad remained in the Union, into 10 districts,each headed by an assistant commissioner.

    The bureau's work consisted chiefly offive kinds of activities:1. relief work for both blacks and

    whites in war-stricken areas,2. regulation of black labor under the

    new conditions,3. administration of justice in cases

    concerning the blacks,4. management of abandoned and con-

    fiscated property, and5. support of education for blacks.

    To a great degree the bureau operated asa political machine, organizing the blackvote for the Republican party and as a

    made it thoroughly hated in the South.

    However, because of political scandalswithin the bureau caused by corruptagents within the bureau itself, an eco-nomic panic, and southern white resis-tance, the work of the Freedmen's Bureauwas discontinued by July 1, 1869. Its edu-cational activities, however, were carriedon for another three years and helpedthousands of former slaves to be able toread and write.


    President Andrew Johnson

  • When Congress reconvened in Decemberof 1865, the Radical Republicans werenot happy to see the 58 newly electedsouthern Congressmen. This was a di-

    litical power.

    Radical Republicans called for the over-throw of the southern governments es-tablished under President Johnson's Re-construction policy and they began toestablish new state governments so thatblack men as well as white were allowedto vote.

    Congress then adopted two bills; one ex-tending the life of the Freedmen's Bu-reau, the second, the Civil Rights Act of1866, guaranteeing blacks' equality andprotection from discrimination. Johnsonquickly vetoed this act stating that it was

    law. After all, Johnson thought that heshould be in charge of Reconstruction.

    But Johnson's veto of these measuresactually backfired on him. His veto an-gered many Republicans and movedmany moderate Republicans, who were atleast willing to compromise with John-

    son, to side with the Radicals. And sobegan the bitter conflict over whoshould control the policy for Recon-struction.In 1866, Congress passed the CivilRights Act over Johnson's veto, andproceeded to approve the FourteenthAmendment, which forbade states todeprive any citizen of the "equal protec-tion of the laws." This amendmentbecame the first Constitutional guaran-tee of the principle of equal civil rightsregardless of race.

    president denounced Congressional effortsto extend citizenship rights to former

    our institutions and change the character

    In the 1866elections, moderate and Radical Republi-cans won a landslide victory over the De-mocrats in Congress, which would assurethem the numbers to override any futurepresidential vetoes.

    Congress could now move forward with itsReconstruction policies because they had

    enough votes in both houses to overrideany presidential vetoes.

    Although it appeared that the Radicalswere in complete control over the consti-tutional problem of Reconstruction,more trouble lay ahead for the Republi-cans. This time, the trouble existedoutside of Washington D.C.

    Remember, the South is conquered butare they loyal? The Radicals were look-ing for any reason to reconstruct theSouth with very harsh terms. All theyneeded now was an excuse to do so.

    The Constitutional Struggle with the President Heats Up!!!

    the Radical Republicans.

    The Reconstruction Act of 1867 in-cluded the following demands from theSouth:1. Divided the southern states into 5

    military districts.2. Civilian courts are abolished and

    replaced by tribunal courts.3. New state constitutions were adopted

    giving blacks the right to vote.

    4. States could be readmitted into theUnion only if they ratify the 14th


    Despite the fact that Johnson wouldveto this Act, Congress had the majorityto override his veto.

    The South was outraged!

    The Radicals Take Charge...PoliticallyBecause of their severe opposition to Con-

    felt forced to take matters into their ownhands violently.

    A series of violent episodes would soonhaunt the South. For example, race riotsin Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans,Louisiana occurred which caused thedeaths of at least 80 African Americans.

    In addition, most of the southern statesrefused to adopt the 14th Amendment,which gave ALL citizens equal protectionunder STATE laws.

    Such violence and opposition convincednorthern voters that the federal govern-ment must step in and protect the rightsof former slaves. Congress was ready tomove forward with its new Reconstructionpolicy.

    The Reconstruction Act of 1867 did notrecognize the new southern state govern-ments formed under the Lincoln andJohnson administrations. Any of the stategovernments that had already been cre-

    would have to start all over again. In fact,the demands were now set even higher by

    Page 5

  • to promote the region's economic devel-opment. The coming of black suffrage

    under the Reconstruc-tion Act of 1867 pro-duced a wave of politicalmobilization among Af-rican Americans in theSouth. The Forty-Firstand Forty-Second Con-gress included blackmembers for the firsttime in American his-

    Coming of Age of Political RightsUnder the terms of the ReconstructionAct of 1867, Republicangovernments came to powerthroughout the South, offer-ing blacks, for the first timein American history, a genu-ine share of political power.These governments estab-lished the region's first pub-lic school systems, enactedcivil rights laws, and sought

    tory. A total of sixteen blacks served inCongress during Reconstruction. Blackswere joined by white newcomers from theNorth - called "carpetbaggers" by theirpolitical opponents. And the RepublicanParty in some states attracted a consider-able number of white Southerners, towhom Democrats applied the name"scalawag" - mostly Unionist small farm-ers but included some prominent planta-tion owners.(continued on top of page 7)

    Should President Johnson Be Removed From Office?

    Reconstruction Social Success: Coming of Age for African Americans

    toral college, but the popular vote wasless decisive. Out of the almost 6 millionballots cast, Grant received a majority ofonly 306,592 votes because of other can-didates running under other party plat-forms. About 500,000 southern AfricanAmericans had voted, most of them forGrant, bringing home theimportance of the African-American vote to the Re-publican party.

    After the election, theRadicals feared that pro-Confederate southernwhites might try to limitBlack suffrage. Therefore,the Radicals introducedthe 15th Amendment,which stated that no onecan be kept from voting

    amendment would also affect northernstates, many of which at this time DID

    NOT allow African Americans the right tovote.

    The 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870and was an important victory for the Radi-cals. However, some of the southern gov-ernments refused to enforce the 14th &

    15th Amendments, and somewhite southerners used vio-lence (i.e. KKK) to prevent Afri-can Americans from voting. Inresponse, Congress passed theEnforcement Act of 1870, giv-ing the federal governmentmore power to punish thosewho tried to prevent AfricanAmerican suffrage.

    In his early years in office,Grant would do well to sup-port the Enforcement Act andsquash the KKK, but as his

    years in office grew older, so did his chal-lenges to see Reconstruction through to itsfaithful end.

    Grant Takes Command Again...Shortly after the trial, the Republicansnominated Ulysses S. Grant, theNorth's greatest war hero, for presi-dent. Ulysses S. Grant choseSchuyler Colfax, former Speaker ofthe House, as his running mate in the1868 presidential campaign. "Let ushave peace," the last line of Grant'sletter accepting the nomination, be-came the Republicans' campaign slo-gan.

    The 1868 presidential campaign re-volved around the issues of Recon-struction. The Democrats' nominee,Horatio Seymour, ran on a platformopposing Reconstruction.

    "This Is A White Man's Government"became the slogan of a Democraticcampaign that openly appealed toracial fears and prejudice.

    In November, Grant won the presi-dency by a wide margin in the elec-

    As Reconstruction continued underthe radical watch of the Republicans,Radical leaders felt Presi-dent Johnson was notcarrying out his constitu-tional duty to reinforcethe Reconstruction Act.For instance, Johnsonremoved military officerswho attempted to enforcethe act. The Radicalsthen began to look forgrounds on which to im-peach the president.

    The BaitIn March of 1867, Congress hadpassed the Tenure of Office Act, whichstated that the president could notremove cabinet officers (the Presi-

    Senate. One purpose of this act was toprotect cabinetmember, EdwinStanton, whowas the Secre-tary of War anda Radical Re-publican.

    The HookJohnson be-lieved this act tobe unconstitu-tional so he fired

    Stanton and decided to challenge its legallegitimacy. But by doing so, Johnson hadprovided the Radicals with the opportunitythey needed. The House of Representa-tives (who has the power to impeach, or

    accuse a political official) accused the Presi-dent of violating 9 counts of the Office ofTenure Act.

    The Catch

    by pointing out that President Lincoln, notJohnson, had appointed Secretary Stanton,so the act did not apply. However, thevotes passed in the House and the trial waspassed on to the Senate with the Chief Jus-tice of the Supreme Court presiding.

    The ReleasePeople in the Senate chamber held theirbreath as one by one the senators gavetheir verdicts. When the last senator de-

    one vote short of the two-thirds majorityneeded to remove the president.


  • The Reconstruction Act of 1867 stipu-lated that all former Confederate statesexcept Tennessee hold conventions todraft new constitutions that grantedformer slaves the rights of citizenship.Two-hundred and sixty-five AfricanAmericans, or twenty-five per cent ofthe total delegates, attended these con-ventions held in Southern states in1868-69, making them the first publicbodies in American history with sub-stantial black representation.

    Composed of slave ministers, artisans,and Civil War veterans, and blacks whohad been free before the Civil War, ablack political leadership emerged thatpressed aggressively for an end to theSouth's racial caste system.

    African Americans served in virtuallyevery political capacity during Recon-struction, from member of Congress tostate and local officials. Their presencein positions of political power symbol-

    ized the political revolution brought on byReconstruction.

    Political Rights Leads to EducationBy 1870, the former Confederate states hadbeen readmitted to the Union under newconstitutions that marked a striking depar-ture in southern government. For the firsttime in the region's history, state-fundedpublic school systems were established, aswell as orphan asylums and other facilities.

    The new govern-ments passed theregion's first civilrights laws, re-formed the South'sold fashioned taxsystem, and em-barked on ambi-tious and expensiveprograms of eco-nomic development,hoping that railroad and factory develop-ment would produce a better tomorrow

    shared by both races.

    Education, denied them under slavery,was essential to the African-Americanunderstanding of freedom. Young andold, the freed people flocked to theschools established after the Civil War.

    For both races, Reconstruction laid thefoundation for public schooling in theSouth.

    Northern benevolent(charity) societies, theFreedmen's Bureau,and, after 1868, stategovernments, providedmost of the funding forblack education, but theinitiative often lay withblacks themselves, whopurchased land, con-structed buildings, and

    raised money to hire teachers.

    notorious was the Ku Klux Klan, an or-ganization of violent criminals that estab-lished a reign of terror in some parts of theSouth, assaulting and murdering localRepublican leaders.

    Founded in 1866 as a Tennessee socialclub, the Ku Klux Klan was soon trans-formed into an organizationof terrorist criminals, whichspread into nearly everySouthern state. Led byplanters, merchants, andDemocratic politicians, theKlan committed some of themost brutal acts of violencein American history.

    Institutions like blackchurches and schools fre-quently became targets. TheKlan's aim was to restorewhite supremacy in all areasof Southern life -- in government, racerelations, and on the plantations.

    The new Southern governments generallyproved unable to restore order. Only theintervention of federal marshals in 1871,backed up by the army, succeeded incrushing the Klan.

    In 1871 and 1872, federal marshals, as-sisted by U. S. troops, brought to trialscores of Klansmen, crushing the organi-zation. But the North's commitment toReconstruction soon decreased.

    From the outset, Reconstruction gov-ernments created bitter oppositionamong the majority of white Southern-ers. Though they disagreed on specificpolicies, all of Reconstruction's oppo-nents agreed that the South must beruled by white supremacy.

    Growing OppositionTo numerous former Confederates, thenew governments appeared as living

    ambitious programs of economic devel-opment and school construction pro-duced rising taxes and spiraling statedebts.

    The essential reason for the growingopposition to Reconstruction, however,was the fact that most southern whitescould not accept the idea of AfricanAmericans voting and holding office, orthe open policies adopted by the newgovernments.

    Beginning in 1867, southern Democ-rats launched a campaign that op-posed Reconstruction, included racialslogans against Blacks, as well as moremeasured criticisms of Reconstructionpolicies.

    The Rise of the KKKAs soon as blacks gained the right tovote, secret societies sprang up in theSouth, devoted to restoring white su-premacy in politics and social life. Most

    Many Republicans came to believe thatthe South should solve its own problemswithout further interference from Wash-ington.To make matters worse for the Republi-cans and their goals for Reconstruction,in 1872, a group of Republicans wereaccused of wild corruption within the

    Grant administration,


    Despite Grant's reelection,Northerners were growingtired of Reconstruction, areaction accelerated whenan economic depressionbegan in 1873, pushingeconomic issues to theforefront of politics insteadof sectional ones.

    Racism, which had de-creased in the aftermath of the CivilWar, now began to grow. InfluentialNorthern newspapers portrayed south-ern blacks not as upstanding citizensbut as little more than unbridled ani-mals, incapable of taking part in govern-ment.

    When, in 1874 and 1875, anti-Reconstruction violence again reared itshead in the South, few Northerners be-lieved the federal government shouldintervene to suppress it. (Video)

    Reconstruction Social Success (continued from bottom of page 6)

    The Beginning of the End of Reconstruction: Opposition & Violence

    Page 7

  • supremacy became part of the justificationfor the South's new system of white su-premacy.

    Not until the mid-twentieth century wouldthe nation again attempt to come to termswith the political and social agenda of Re-construction. The civil rights movement of

    the 1950s and1960s is oftencalled the SecondReconstruction. Itsachievements werefar-reaching.

    Today, racial seg-regation has beenoutlawed, blacksvote on the same

    In the generation after the end of Recon-struction, the southern states deprivedblacks of their right to vote, and orderedthat public and private facilities of allkinds be segregated by race.

    Until job opportunities opened in theNorth in the twentieth century, spurringa mass migration outof the South, mostblacks remainedlocked in a system ofpolitical powerless-ness and economicinequality. A hostileand biased historicalinterpretation of Re-construction as atragic era of black

    terms as whites, and more blackAmericans hold public office than everbefore.

    Like the first Reconstruction, however,the second failed to erase the economicinequalities that originated in slaveryand were reinforced by decades of seg-regation. Many black Americans haveentered the middle class, but unem-ployment and poverty remain farhigher than among whites.

    Some Americans believe the nation hasmade major progress in living up to theideal of equality. Others are more im-pressed with how far we still are fromthat ideal.

    The Centennial Election: Republican control of the White House in exchange for Democratic

    control of the southern states

    The Unfinished Revolution: Did Reconstruction succeed or fail?

    In 1876, the United States marked thecentennial of theDeclaration ofIndependence. Ayear-long exposi-tion in Philadel-phia celebrated acentury of mate-rial and moralprogress. Yet theyear's electioncampaign wasagain marked by

    violence in the South.

    By 1876, Reconstruction had been over-thrown in all the Southern states exceptSouth Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida.The presidential election hinged on theoutcome in these states, which bothparties claimed to have carried.

    After prolonged controversy and behind-the-scenes negotiations, Democratic and Repub-lican leaders worked out a solution to thedisputed election of 1876. In

    Bargain of 1877publican Rutherford B. Hayesbecame president, and he, inturn, recognized Democraticcontrol of the remainingsouthern states and promisedto end federal intervention inthe South.

    United States troops who hadbeen guarding the statehouses in South Carolina andLouisiana were ordered toreturn to their barracks (notto leave the region entirely, asis widely believed). The Re-deemers, as the southern

    Democrats who overturned Republi-can rule called themselves, nowruled the entire South.

    Although the imageryof the "Centennial" pre-sented the Emancipa-tion Proclamation asthe culmination of theDeclaration's promise,by 1876 American ef-forts to extend equalcitizenship rights toblack Americans hadbegun to wane. TheBargain of 1877

    solved disputes overthe election's results,but it also resulted inthe final abandonmentof Reconstruction.


    Reconstruction: Then and Now Making Historical ConnectionsThe United States government is facing the same social, political, andconstitutional crisis today in Iraq and Afghanistan as it did during theReconstruction era of 1865-1877. Social: how do we help the newlyfreed people in Iraq and Afghanistan? Political: How do we re-establish their governments to assure political and economic stability?Constitutional: Who should be in charge of this new reconstruction:the President or Congress?

    Today, the United States is trying to reconstruct Iraq and Afghanistanthrough four main tasks that could be related to the Reconstructionera of 1865-1877. The tasks include: 1) Maintaining order; 2) Re-building the government; 3) Rebuilding the economy; and 4) SustainingAmerican support for the occupation effort both among US citizens andIraqi/Afghani citizens.

    What do you think we should do?(Video)

    Newsletter Sources:; The Americans: McDougal Littlell; Digital History: Reconstruction;Much About History: Kenneth C. Davis

    President Hayes

    March on Washington