Learning Objectives:

Why did many southerners act as if they had not lost the Civil War? [Hitler after WWI] What made them think they could get away with this behavior?

Examine the means by which white southern Conservatives attempted to regain control in the South. Indicate the outcome of their efforts.

Examine the events and forces that brought a weakening of the northern commitment to Reconstruction and an end to the Reconstruction era.

How much responsibility do white southerners bear for the "failure" of Reconstruction? Do white northerners deserve any criticism? How could Reconstruction efforts have been improved?

Reconstruction (Library of Congress)

Library of Congress American Memory timeline has great material
Click on "Presentations"
Click on "American Memory Timeline"
Click on "The Civil War and Reconstruction"

The following are the three main divisions. Read the division overview first. Then read the following primary sources:

The Freedmen:

Report of the Board of Education for Freedmen, 1864
Startling Revelations from the Department of South Carolina
Letter to the Editor of the "Anglo-African"
Mrs. Emma Falconer
Addresses and Ceremonies at the New Year's Festival to the Freedmen, 1867
Call for the First Anniversary of the American Equal Rights Association
Education Among the Freedmen

Reconstruction and Rights:

Southern Treatment by the Federal Government
Interview with Mr. William P. Jones, Reagan, Texas
The Absolute Equality of All Before the Law
Proceedings of the First Anniversary of the American Equal Rights Association
On the Regeneration of the South
Senators Debate Equal Rights

The Travails of Reconstruction:

The Yankee Element of Designing Politicians
Throwing Off the Yoke of Carpetbag Government
Leroy Dean Discusses Vigilantes in Texas
The Story of Immokalee [Florida]
The Goodings Describe Reconstruction in South Carolina
George Ogden Recalls Reconstruction in the South
Judge J.H. Yarborough Recalls the End of the Civil War

Place Reconstruction in the context of more recent U.S. history.

The civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr., has been called the Second Reconstruction.

Consider also the powerful feelings that arise even today over the issue of affirmative action.

Map of Reconstruction zones:

The Battle Over Reconstruction (EDSITEment)

America's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War

Why we need a national monument to reconstruction

Many players:

North and South
Blacks and whites
Republicans and Democrats
President and Congress.

No guidelines to follow

We the people: pardoning power; President
We the States: republican governments: Congress

Place of ex-slaves in southern society

Prodigal son comparison
Post World War II comparison: former Nazi leaders

Presidential Reconstruction Plans

a. Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan

Lincoln's 10% plan
Many in Congress thought this plan too lenient
Wade–Davis congressional bill proposed 50% loyalty figure
Lincoln vetoed it
Lincoln was assassinated (April 1865)
Andrew Johnson took over
From Tennessee
Former slave owner himself

b. Johnson's Reconstruction Plan

Johnson: "treason is a crime; criminals must be punished"
Northerners hoped he would remove Old South leaders from power
Through most of 1865, Johnson alone controlled Reconstruction policy
Congress recessed shortly before he became President (April)
Congress did not meet again until December
Johnson implemented his own plan
Formed new state governments in the South
Permitted them to pass black codes
Southern lack of repentance and actual defiance
Used his power to grant pardons to white leadership class
Abandoned the ex-slaves (freedmen) to hostile whites
Congress reconvened in December 1865
Angered at lenient presidential Reconstruction policy

Congressional reconstruction plan

Congress believed it had constitutional role in Reconstruction
Saw Constitution as a compact of states
Congress shall decide on whether to readmit Southern states to Union
Congress controlled by Republican party
Congressional Republicans wanted the Southern states that came back into the Union to be Republican.
Southerners would gain power:
Slaves now counted as a whole person; five fifths—
More representatives in House
More clout in electoral college

Radical Republicans (former abolitionists) wanted to go farther than most
Transform southern society
Keep out Southern states until this transformation

Congressional Republican plan: 14th Amendment to Constitution
Their minimum condition
Compromise between conservatives, moderates, and radicals
Amendments could not be easily overturned
14th Amendment.
Freedmen became citizens
States could not halt freedmen's constitutional "privileges and immunities"
States could not deny freedmen "equal protection of the laws"
States could not take away freedmen rights without "due process of law"
All these conditions later helped the black civil rights movement
In 2000 election, Supreme Court accepted "equal protection" argument
In 2010, "anchor babies" issue connected to this amendment.

Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson

Johnson Impeachment Trial (Famous Trials)
My Website Spotlight blog post

Johnson removed Secretary of War Stanton.
Congress accused Johnson of violating Tenure of Office Act
This was only a pretext
Congress actually mad at Johnson for impeding Reconstruction
He urged southern states to reject 14th Amendment.

Impeachment process
House brought articles of impeachment
Senate acquitted Johnson
Important precedent:
President not impeached for mere political or personal reasons

Southern Republican party

Coalition consisted of mutually contradictory parts:

1. Freedmen (ex-slaves)

2. Carpetbaggers: White northerners who moved south after the Civil War

3. Scalawags: White southerners who supported the North during Civil War

All were offensive to most whites in the south.
Most southern whites were Democrats.

Ku Klux Klan prevented Republicans (both white and black) from voting.

Election of 1876/Compromise of 1877

On This Day: Rutherford B. Hayes Named Winner Over Samuel Tilden in 1876 Presidential Election

Graphic showing election results

[Much discussed during the 2000 election controversy in Florida]

Republican Rutherford B. Hayes v. Democrat Samuel Tilden

Twenty disputed electoral votes

Fifteen person commission to decide:

House: Democrats (3); Republicans (2)

Senate: Democrats (2); Republicans (3)

Supreme Court:
Initially: Democrats (2), Republicans (2), Independent (1)
Independent left: Illinois elected him to the Senate
He was replaced by a Republican
Finally: Democrats (2); Republicans (3)

Final compositon of the Committee: Republicans (8) and Democrats (7)

All 20 disputed votes given to the Republican Hayes

Hayes won national electoral vote 185-184 and became President

Loser Tilden decided not to fight the verdict; but demanded concessions

Republicans agreed to end Southern Reconstruction
This so-called Compromise of 1877 effectively ended Reconstruction