Overheads - History 110
Below are the overheads for
Our discussion today - of the years between 1865 and 1877 - mark the end
of one era and the beginning of another:
To explain how the federal government designed its plan for reconstructing
the United States.
To explore the consequences of Reconstruction and determine whether or
not this period erased the traditional barriers - political, social, and
economic divisions - that had arisen between the North and South over the
past 250 years.
the end of the first era of United States History - an era in which the
United States were born, torn asunder, and put back together again,
the beginning of the second era of U.S. History - an era in which the United
States was born from the evolutionary consequences of a 250 year
The Federal Government's Reconstruction Plans
Lincoln's Reconstruction Program required bringing the
seceded states back into the Union as quickly as possible by passing the
Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction of December 1863.
The Radical Republican Program was designed to re-construct
the fabric of southern society and reshape southern communities to reflect
their beliefs: equal political rights and equal economic opportunity for
all people, both of which would be guaranteed by a powerful national government.
To help their plan along, they sponsored a new amendment and a new organization.
If at least 10% of citizens in a state who voted in 1860 elections swore
an oath of allegiance to the Union and accepted the terms of the Emancipation
Proclamation, state could form a new government.
Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia moved toward readmission under
LincolnÕs plan, but Radical Republican Congress refused to seat
their delegates as wanted higher stakes for readmission in order to reassure
that the old South was not resurrected. In the middle of the political
battle, Lincoln was assassinated.
President Johnson's Restoration Program. Johnson, a southern
Democrat, placed the responsibility for restoration under executive
control. In May 1865, when Congress was out of session, he announced his
restoration intentions - to create functioning governments that
would restore the United States, but would not make major political and
social changes designed to reconstruct Southern society.
The Thirteenth Amendment declared "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as punishment for crime...shall exist within the United States."
Ratified by three-fourths of the states in December 1865.
The Freedman's Bureau offered provisions, clothing, fuel to destitute former
slaves, as well as supervised and managed "all the abandoned lands in the
South and the control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen."
His plan pardoned and granted amnesty to all southerners (except Confederate
officials and military men) who took an oath of allegiance, and restored
their property rights (slaves excluded); appointed governors for 7 of the
former Confederate states; and required those states to hold elections
for constitutional conventions where participants must collectively repudiate
secession and acknowledge the abolition of slavery.
By the end of 1865, the President declared the Union had been restored.
Every new government had reelected large planters and Confederate officers
to both state and federal legislatures; passed strict "Black Codes" de-signed
to restrict the freedom of the black labor force and keep freed blacks
as close to slave status as legally possible. Most states prohibited racial
intermarriage; denied blacks their civil rights by barring them from jury
service and from testifying in court against whites; and created a system
of labor contracts that stipulated that anyone who did not sign was a vagrant
and subject to arrest. Some established segregation in public facilities
and barred blacks from owning land.
In December 1865 when the 39th Congress was convened, the Republican majority
prevented the seating of all white southerners elected to Congress under
Congress took four avenues to destroy Johnson's plan for reconstruction
and create a new plan of their own.
1. Civil Rights Legislation consisted of two bills, both of
which were vetoed by President Johnson and then overturned by Congress.
2. New Amendments
One enlarged the scope of Freedmen's Bureau by empowering it to build schools
and pay teachers, and to establish courts to prosecute those charged with
depriving blacks of their civil rights.
Civil Rights Act of 1866 - made all persons born in the U.S. national citizens
(except Native Americans), enumerated specific civil rights, and overturned
the Dred Scott Decision (1857) and the Black Codes.
3. The First Reconstruction Act (passed in March 1867 over Johnson's
veto). The South was initially divided into 5 military districts subject
to martial law. Then, each state was given a series of instructions to
be followed prior to applying for readmission to the union.
- The Thirteenth Amendment – Passed by Congress Jan. 1865; ratified Dec. 1865.
- Prohibited “slavery” and “involuntary servitude”(except those convicted of a crime) in the United States.
- Implemented and enforced immediately upon ratification.
- The Fourteenth Amendment – Passed by Congress June 1866; ratified in July 1868.
- Defined blacks as citizens of the United States, thereby promising them full constitutional protection of their civil rights.
- Prohibited states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
- Guaranteed “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
- Required election of Representatives be apportioned according to the actual numbers of person, “excluding Indians not taxed.”
- Denied former Confederates the right to hold office.
- Implemented and enforced by the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Fifteenth Amendment – Passed by Congress Feb. 1869; ratified March 1870.
- Prohibited the denial of the vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
- Implemented and enforced by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
4. Impeachment proceedings. On February 24, 1868, the
House of Representatives impeached Johnson for eleven high crimes and misdemeanors
- the last being seeking to disgrace Congress and failing to enforce the
States must first call new constitutional conventions elected by universal
After states drafted new constitutions, guaranteed blacks the vote, and
ratified the 14th Amendment, they became eligible for readmission.
- Those states still "unreconstructed" by 1869 - Mississippi, Texas, and
Virginia -must ratify the Fifteenth Amendment before they could be readmitted.
- Senate trial failed to impeach him by one vote - JohnsonÕs
lawyer had success- fully argued that Johnson was guilty of no crime indictable
in a regular court.
Thus, the significant precedent set by the acquittal was that only criminal
actions - not political disagreements - warranted removal from office.
The End of Reconstruction - and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Struggle
In the Election of 1876, the Republicans nominated Rutherford B. Hayes, Governor of Ohio – a safe man with no radical views.
His Democratic opponent was Samuel J. Tilden, Governor of New York – a wealthy lawyer with ties to Wall Street.
Tilden received 51% of the popular vote to Hayes’ 48%.
But in three southern states – Florida, So. Carolina, and Louisiana – the Republicans controlled the counting and reporting of ballots. They rejected enough ballots so that the official count gave Hayes majorities and a one-vote margin of victory in the Electoral College. Democrats cried fraud and submitted their own electoral versions of the vote count.
For the first time in history, Congress had to deal with disputed electoral votes that could decide the outcome of an election. It created a 15-member commission that held behind-the-scenes informal discussions with leading Republicans and Democrats.
The result – the Compromise of 1877 – was that Hayes was declared president. So, what did the Republicans give the Democrats in order for them to agree to Hayes?
- Federal promise of no interference in Southern race-related politics - which brings on Jim Crow laws and marks the beginning of the modern Civil Rights struggle.
- Federal subsidies for railroad and waterway construction in the South.
- Federal withdrawal of its troops from the South.
And what did the Republicans get? The economic reunion of north and south – a cooperative south dedicated to healing the economy, promoting industrialization, and developing the west.
CONSEQUENCES OF RECONSTRUCTION
- Reconstruction was evolutionary rather than revolutionary
in nature. Rather than radically reconstructing the nation's economic structure,
by the end of Reconstruction, the federal government:
- continued to favor the needs of Northern industrialists and Southern businessmen-planters
over working-class Americans; and
- guaranteed southern politicians political autonomy and federal nonintervention
in matters of race in return for an economic reconciliation between southern
and northern elites.
- Increased industrialization and the depression of 1873 exacerbated
already-existing social class divisions between capitalists and working
classes and contributed to the rise social class and economic violence.
- At the same time that the 14th and 15th Amendments and various
laws designed to protect the civil rights of emancipated blacks created
a legal framework for racial equality, most southern blacks had no
economic or social framework to reinforce such legal equality.
- White southern violence, and the threat of violence, against
blacks, as well as Jim Crow laws, became a common method for keeping blacks "in their place."
- By 1877, most emancipated blacks had become victims of a type
of economic and social slavery that was reinforced by state and local governments.
- The Compromise of 1877 set into a motion a 77-year old struggle to end the Federal government's decision not to interfere in the racial relations of the South.
- The Civil War and Reconstruction forced white southerners to
redefine the political attributes of their world so that they could become
more easily integrated into the United States. But neither the war nor
reconstruction erased two long-held traditions:
Both maladies - racism and regional mistrust - were too deeply ingrained
in the southern spirit. They had evolved for over 250 years and would continue
to fester for next 100 and more years.
southern white domination and the racist attitudes that kept white
supremacy alive; and
the political, economic, and social mistrust between the regions.
"I THOUGHT THE YANKEES WOULD HAVE HUNG YOU LONG BEFORE THIS"
by Jourdan Anderson
Dayton, Ohio, August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter and was glad to find you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Col. Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again and see Miss mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville hospital, but one of the neighbors told me Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here; I get $25 a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy (the folks here call her Mrs. Anderson), and the children, Milly, Jane and Grundy, go to school and are learning well; the teacher says grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday School, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated; sometimes we overhear others saying, "The colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks, but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Col. Anderson. Many darkies would have been proud, as I used to was, to call you master. Now, if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free- papers in 1864 from the Provost- Marshal- General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you are sincerely disposed to treat us justly and kindly- - and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty- two years and Mandy twenty years. At $25 a month for me, and $2 a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to $11,680. Add to this the interest for the time our wages has been kept back and deduct what you paid for our clothing and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams Express, in care of V. Winters, esq, Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night, but in Tennessee there was never any pay day for the Negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
In answering this letter please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up and both good- looking girls. You know how it was with Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve and die if it comes to that than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood, the great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
P.S.- - Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,
(Source: Cincinnati Commercial, reprinted in New York Tribune, August 22, 1865.)
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