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Reconstruction - Page Text Content

FC: Reconstruction Era | Lauren Tran & Corrina Brabham

1: Andrew Johnson's Impeachment | In this political cartoon, Andrew Johnson is reaching out to pick up the U.S. Constitution. In result, he is crushed by the book itself. Andrew Johnson is described as a little boy who attempted to take on the Constitution, but it was a failure simply because he was not suitable for handling it. Therefore, Andrew Johnson was impeached during the Reconstruction era.

2: Charles Sumner | Charles Sumner was an American politician and senator from Massachusetts. He was the leader of the Radical Republicans in the United State Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. He worked to punish the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal right to the Freedmen. He changed his political party several times. He also gained fame as a Republican.

3: Freedmen's Bureau | \The Freedmen's Bureau was also known as the Bureau of Refugees, and Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. It was a U.S. federal government agency that helped distressed freedmen during the years of 1865-1869 during the Reconstruction era of the US. It was created by President Abraham Lincoln and was to last only a year after the end of the Civil War.

4: A carpetbagger was a pejorative term Southerners gave to Northerners, another term was also Yankees, who moved to the South during the Reconstruction era. This term derived from observation because newcomers tend to carry “carpet bags”. Another term used was scalawags. A scalawag is a derogatory nickname for southern whites who supported Reconstruction during the Civil War. | Carpetbaggers and Scalawags

5: Hiram Revels | Hiram Revels was the first African American to serve in the United States Senate. Since he also preceded any African American in the House, so he was the first in the U.S. Congress as well. He represented Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction Era.

6: The Ku Klux Klan | The name of three distinct pass and present far-right organizations in the United States which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism. The first Klan flourished in the South in the 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s, but there are still supporters to this day

7: The Colfax Massacre occurred on Easter Sunday in Colfax, Louisiana, the seat of Grant parish. A white militia armed with rifles and a small cannon, overpowered freedmen and state militia trying to control the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax. | The Colfax Massacre

8: It was the first United States Supreme Court interpretation of the relatively new Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It is viewed as pivotal case in early civil rights law, reading the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the “privileges or immunities” conferred by the virtue of the federal United States citizenship to all individuals of all states within it, but not those privileges or immunities incident to citizenship of a state. | The Slaughter House Cases

9: The Port Royal Experiment was basically a program that occurred during the Civil War where former slaves successfully worked on the land abandoned by plantation owners. | The Port Royal Experiment

10: 18th president of the United States who was dominant in his role in the second half of the Civil War. Under Grant, the Union defeated the Confederate military and effectively ended the war with the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox. As president, he led the Radical Republicans in their effort to eliminate all vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery. | Ulysses S. Grant

11: Redemption | Redemption were terms used by white Southerners to describe a political union in the Southern United States during the Reconstruction era. Redeemers were the southern wing of the Bourbon Democrats, the conservative group in the Democratic Party, who wanted to drive the Republican group of freedmen, carpetbaggers, and scalawags.

12: The Amendments

13: The 13th amendment :had officially outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House on Jan. 31, 1865, and adopted on Dec. 6, 1865. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted after the Civil War. | The 14th Amendment was another reconstruction amendment adopted on July 9, 1868. It’s citizenship clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling by the Supreme Court that held that blacks could not be citizens of the US. Its Due Process cause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness. Its Equal Protection clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. | The 15th Amendment had prohibited each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s race color or previous condition of servitude.

14: Sharecropping Vs. Tenant Farming | Sharecropping came into good use during the Reconstruction era. The South had been severely damaged by the war as planters had land but little money to pay for any taxes. Most former slaves had labor but no money or land to spare. They rejected gang labor that represented a form of slavery. The sharecropping system focused on cotton which was a crop that could create cash for croppers, landowners, merchants, and the tax collector. Poor white farmers also had to get into this force in order to have money. Tenant farming is one who lives on and farms land that is owned by a landlord. This type of farming is an agricultural production system where landowners offer their land as tenant farmers give their labor. These farmers were able to make payments to the owner.

15: Andrew Johnson's Presidency | Because Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson as vice president had to take up the role as president. He was a Democrat who preferred a stronger state government and believed that the federal government should stay out of certain affairs of the people. Although he disliked the southern planter elite, his actions proved to be a different case. He opposed the Freedmen’s Bureau because he felt as though they targeted former slaves for special needs and that would be harmful to the South. In retaliation, Congress revised it to include special legal courts that could override southern courts. This bureau was weakened eventually and Congress did terminate it. By restoring the Union, he began to create a plan known as Presidential Reconstruction. Johnson’s impeachment was due to his high crimes and misdemeanors. The House said that Johnson violated the Tenure of Office Act. He had removed the Secretary of War and replaced him with Ulysses S. Grant.

16: Presidential Reconstruction | A few months after the Freedmen’s Bureau Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This act guaranteed citizenship to all Americans despite race and allowed slaves the right to own property, testify in court and sign contracts. Johnson vetoed it, but the Radical Republicans were able to pass it. It also reversed the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, giving African Americans more equality.

17: Radical Reconstruction | Radical republicans ended up taking full control over Congress. They began to pass the Military Reconstruction Act which divided secessionist states into five military districts. This kept the peace and protected former slaves. The second Reconstruction Act, placed Union troops in charge of voter regulations. Daily lives of blacks and whites changed dramatically. The newly formed southern governments had created public schools. They were still segregated but black literacy rates had increased greatly. The South wanted to do anything in their power to decrease opportunities for blacks. Black codes outlawed everything from marrying a white person to entering public areas.

18: In 1868 Ulysses S. Grant won the presidency. His second term was more difficult than his first. During the economic boom of his first term, Americans had taken out too many bad loans and spent over the limit in railroads and business industries. This led to the Depression of 1873, a first major economic collapse that occurred in U.S. history. This had lasted for 5 years and millions of Americans lacked jobs. The Radical Republicans last successful try was to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1875. This allowed social discrimination to not happen in public places. In result, the act turned to be ineffective. Blacks had to file claims to protect their rights and many were too poor to do so. The shift of political power was the one reason that reconstruction reached a ending point. The 1873 slaughterhouse cases involved a suit against a New Orleans slaughterhouse. The Supreme Court ruled that the 14th amendment protected US citizens from rights on a federal level and not a state level.

19: United States V. Cruikshank and The Compromise of 1877 | United states v. Cruikshank In 1876, the Supreme Court ruled that only states not the federal government could prosecute individuals under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The Compromise of 1877 Congress passed the Electoral Count Act in 1877 to form a special committee to recount votes in a fair way. This result was the compromise of 1877 where Democrats agreed to let Hayes become President in exchange for a complete withdrawal of federal troops.

20: Successes | The reconstruction period allowed the United States to be unified. All of the Southern states had drafted new constitutions, ratified the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendment and pledged to the Union. The fifteenth amendment not only gave voting rights to blacks but also to poor whites with no property. Reconstruction also settled states’ fights and federalism debate that had been going on since the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions and the Nullification Crisis. The South and North's economy had expanded tremendously. The Freedmen's Bureau helped prevent poverty.

22: Failures | Political power in the South turned to be useless. Most of the legislation that Radical Republicans had passed through Congress. Rutherford B. Hayes removal of federal troops from the South in 1877 allowed several Confederated and slave owners to regain power. To the whites this power meant that they could gain the old policy back in the South. Black codes, voter qualifications, and the sharecropping system managed to thrive with the support of the Supreme Court, whose court rulings repealed the 14th and 15th amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Reconstruction to the North became a hard battle against southerners, scandal and radicalism. The KKK, a threatening group was also let loose during this period.

23: Even though the newly added amendments would finally give African Americans rights, they forgot another group of people who were also like blacks in a way. Both blacks and women strived to gain political and civil rights for the underrepresented in society. Women felt betrayed in a way by their exclusion from the newly added amendments. The only reason for women not gaining their rights also are because the Republicans thought that if Congress granted all men and women the right to vote, their party would lose support in both the North and the South. The Depression of 1873 also politically damaged the Republicans in Congress at the time.

24: The Union merely was saved from splitting. The South started rebuilding its cities. Those who had left were coming back to live a better life. As farms began to emerge, they grew crops that allowed their wealth to increase. Blacks had earned better rights due to the amendments passed. Slavery was banned, blacks were now citizens, and the right to vote was in place. Blacks could not regain the support from the federal government until the civil rights movements which occurred years later. | Effects on Reconstruction

25: Conclusion | Reconstruction ended for a number of reasons. Northerners were tired of these efforts and had became weary of the South. The intense hardships in the Depression 1873 made citizens less interested. The conservative Supreme Court reiterated the Radical Republican legislation, enforcing rulings that had a profound effect on blacks. Many southern white groups were formed to drive Republicans out of office.

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Lauren Tran
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  • Title: Reconstruction
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