Overheads - History 110
Reconstruction

Below are the overheads for today's discussion.


Discussion Goals:

Our discussion today - of the years between 1865 and 1877 - mark the end of one era and the beginning of another:
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. 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.

Congressional Reconstruction.

Congress took four avenues to destroy Johnson's plan for reconstruction and create a new plan of their own.

    2. New Amendments
    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.
      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 Reconstruction acts.
     

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.

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?

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

  1. 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:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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."
  5. By 1877, most emancipated blacks had become victims of a type of economic and social slavery that was reinforced by state and local governments.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

"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, Jourdon Anderson

(Source: Cincinnati Commercial, reprinted in New York Tribune, August 22, 1865.)

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