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Reconstruction Era

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Reconstruction Era - Page Text Content

BC: By Lauren Lawson & Alexander Son

FC: Reconstruction Era | Lauren Lawson

1: Political Cartoon | Alexander Son

2: 10% Plan | After the Union winning multiple battles, President Abraham Lincoln began preparing his Reconstruction Plan to unify the North and South again. Lincoln believed that the South had never legally seceded from the Union so his plan for Reconstruction was based on forgiveness. The Ten-Percent Plan was a part of his plan. It said that southern state could be readmitted into the Union once 10% of its voters swore an oath of allegiance to the Union.

3: Voters could then elect delegates to draft revised state constitutions and establish new state governments. Lincoln guaranteed southerners that he would protect their private property, though not their slaves. Most moderate Republicans in Congress supported the President's proposal for Reconstruction because they wanted to bring a quick end to the war. The 10% Plan was more of a political maneuver than a plan for Reconstruction. Lincoln wanted to end the war quickly. He feared that a protracted war would lose public support and that the North and South would never be reunited if the fighting did not stop quickly. His fears were justified: by late 1863, a large number of Democrats were clamoring for a truce and peaceful resolution. Lincoln's 10% Plan was therefore lenient—an attempt to entice the South to surrender. | Lauren Lawson pg. 2-18

4: Black Codes | The Black Codes were laws after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks. These laws imposed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working certain jobs. The Civil Rights Bill was made to protect freed slaves from the Southern Black Codes but President Andrew Johnson vetoed the bill. He said that this country was for white men and shall be a government for white men.

5: Radical Republicans repassed the Civil Rights Bill. But despite these acts, white control in the Southern state governments was gradually restored when organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan who were able to frighten blacks from voting in elections.

6: Carpetbagger | Carpetbaggers is a derogatory term Southerns gave to Northerners who moved to the South during Reconstruction to make money. The term referred to the observation that these newcomers tended to carry carpet bags, a common form of luggage at the time. Most intended to settle in the South and take advantage of speculative and commercial opportunities there. With the support of the black vote, the carpetbaggers played an important role in the Republican states.

7: Scalawags | Native white Southern politicians who joined the Republican party after the war and advocated the acceptance of and alliance with congressional Reconstruction were called scalawags. Many Southerners believed the scalawags joined the Republicans for their own personal gain even though most scalawags were sincere about joining. Some of the scalawags had opposed the Confederacy in earlier times and later wanted a new South to emerge from the rubble. Others cooperated or served the Republican governments in order to avail themselves of money making opportunities.

8: 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments | The 13th amendment formally outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. The 14th amendment granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States”. Also, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or deny any person “within its jurisdiction to equal protection of the laws”. The 15th Amendment prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on their race, color, or previous condition of servitude (slavery)

10: The Port Royal Experiment | The Port Royal Experiment is a program in which former slaves successfully worked on the land abandoned by plantation owners. In 1861, the Union liberated the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina, and their main harbor, Port Royal. The white residents fled, leaving 10,000 black slaves. Several private northern charity organizations helped these slaves become self-sufficient. The African Americans demonstrated their ability to work the land efficiently and live independently of white control.

11: They assigned themselves daily tasks for cotton growing and spent their extra time cultivating their own crops, fishing and hunting. By selling their surplus crops, the locals acquired small amounts of property. In 1865, President Andrew Johnson ended the experiment and returned the land to the previous white owners.

12: Sharecropping v. Tenant Farming and The Port Royal Experiment | Radical Republicans tried to convert freedmen into small free-holding farmers, but the former slaves weren’t ready to manage their own farms. Instead of working in gangs, freedmen became tenants. The planter/landowner assigned each family a small tract of land to farm and provided food, shelter, clothing, and the necessary seeds and farm equipment. When the crop was harvested, the planter took the cotton to the market and, after deducting for the furnish, gave half of the proceeds to the tenant.

13: Tenant farming became a way of life in the Cotton Belt. A sharecropper could climb to share tenant if he had enough equipment and money. Share tenants kept of the crop. If he progressed to a point of depending on needing nothing but the land, he could become a cash tenant by paying a fixed rental. They kept all the proceeds from the crop.

14: The Military Reconstruction Act | This act sought to rebuild the governments of the southern states using the governments of the northern states as examples. It also implemented to ensure that the civil rights of the free blacks in the South by requiring the states in the South to include the rights of free blacks in their constitution in order to seek readmission into the Union. This act was successful in many ways. The newly freed slaves in the South were given civil rights that were now supported in the South’s constitution. This act showed that all men are equal. The bill reduced the secessionist states to little more than conquered territory, dividing them into five military districts, each governed by a Union general. Congress declared martial law in the territories, dispatching troops to keep the peace and protect former slaves.

15: Ku Klux Klan | The KKK was formed as a social club by a group of Confederate Army veterans. In1867, the Klan became the “Invisible Empire of the South”. Dressed in robes and sheets, intended to prevent identification by the occupying federal troops, the Klan quickly became a terrorists organization in service of the Democratic Party and white supremacy. From 1869-1871, its goal was to destroy Reconstruction by murdering blacks- and some whites- active in either Republican politics or educating black children. This is a part of the bad side of Reconstruction. With every movement for change, there is always a group or organization that oppose it. The KKK was one of several organizations and groups who fought against slavery.

16: Ulysses S. Grant | Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States. He was very successful during Reconstruction. Under him, The Union Army was able to defeat the Confederate Army and effectively ended the war with the surrender of Robert Lee’s army at Appomatox. He led the Radical Republicans in their effort to eliminate all traces of Confederate nationalism and slavery. He effectively destroyed the Ku Klux Klan in 1871.

17: Charles Sumner | Charles Sumner was an American politician and senator from Massachusetts. He was the leader of the Radical Republicans, working to punish the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the Freedmen. Sumner was the most vigorous advocate of emancipation, of enlisting blacks in the Union army, and of the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau. He fought to provide equal civil and voting rights for the freedmen on the grounds that “consent of the governed” was a basic principle of American republicanism and in order to keep ex-Confederates from gaining political offices and undoing the North’s victory in the Civil War.

18: Hiram Revels | Hiram Revels was the first African American to serve in the United States Senate and the first African American in the U.S. Congress. He devoted his life to improving the spiritual, educational, and political lives of his fellow African Americans. He settled in Baltimore in 1860, where he pastored a church, helped recruit two black regiments, and helped lead a school for African Americans. In Mississippi, he worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau to create schools for African American children.

19: Civil Rights Act of 1866 | The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed on April 9, 1866. It granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States "without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude." Johnson's veto of the bill was overturned by majority in both houses of Congress and the bill became a law. | Alexander Son pg. 21-28

20: Panic of 1873 | The Panic of 1873 started on September 18. It started with the failure of the Philadelphia investment house of Jay Cooke.Cooke had played a large role in financing the Union war effort by marketing federal bonds to farmers and workers. | After the war, his firm had become the government's agent in financing railroad construction.In September of 1873 the whole venture came crashing down. Cooke's failure drove panicked banks to demand payment of loans. Investors rushed to sell stocks in order to protect their capital. As stocks on the New York exchanges sunk lower, borrowers had no money with which to pay their debts. Businessmen released workers.

21: Civil Rights Act of 1875 | Civil Rights Act of 1875 was a federal law proposed by Senator Charles Sumner and Representative Benjamin F. Butler in 1870.the act guaranteed that everyone, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, was entitled to the same treatment in public accommodations (inns, theaters, and other places of public amusement). If found guilty, the lawbreaker could face a penalty anywhere from $500-$1000 and/or 30 days to 1 year in prison.

22: US v. Cruikshank (1876) | The US v. Cruikshank was an important decision in US constitutional law, one of the earliest to deal with the application of the Bill of Rights to state governments following the adoption of the 14th Amendment. the Supreme Court ruled on a range of issues and found the indictment faulty. It didn't incorporate the Bill of Rights to the states and found that the 1st Amendment right to assembly "was not intended to limit the powers of the State governments in respect to their own citizens" and that the Second Amendment "has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government." Some members of the white mob were indicted and charged under the Enforcement Act of 1870. Among other provisions, the law made it a felony for two or more people conspired to deprive anyone of his constitutional rights.

23: The Slaughterhouse Cases | The slaughterhouse cases ruled that a citizen's "privileges and immunities," as protected by the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment against the states, were limited to those spelled out in the Constitution and did not include many rights given by the individual states. Slaughterhouse was the Court's first interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, arguably the most important addition to the Constitution after the Bill of Rights.

24: The Colfax Massacre | On April 13, 1873, violence erupted in Colfax, Louisiana. The White League, a paramilitary group intent on securing white rule in Louisiana, clashed with Louisiana's almost all-black state militia.Only 3 members of the White League died and 100 black men were killed. The incident once again showed President Ulysses S. Grant how hard it would be to guarantee the rights and the safety of blacks in the South. Since the end of the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations had been growing in strength in the South. Prior to the war, white Southern Democrats had enjoyed a great deal of governmental power. But when the war ended, Democrats were no longer powerful.

25: "Redemption” | Redemption is the term used by white Southerners to describe a political coalition in the South during Reconstruction. Redeemers were the southern wing of the Bourbon Democrats, the conservative, pro-business faction in the Democratic Party, who sought to get rid of the Republican coalition of freedmen, carpetbaggers, and scalawags.

26: Compromise of 1877 | The Compromise of 1877 informal, unwritten deal that settled the disputed 1876 Presidential election, regarded as the second “corrupt bargain”, and ended Congressional Reconstruction. The compromise took effect even before Hayes was sworn in as President Grant removed the soldiers from Florida. As President, Hayes removed the remaining troops in South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many Republicans also left and the “Redeemer” Democrats took control.

28: Was reconstruction a time of progress? | The main reason President Abraham Lincoln started the Reconstruction Plan was to reunify the Union by bringing the North and South back together. Looking from this point of view, Reconstruction was successful. There were many successful events and important figures during Reconstruction. A successful event that happened during the Reconstruction Era of the United States is congress passing the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. During these amendments, it outlawed slavery, gave “all persons born or naturalized in the United States”, and also prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on their race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Another successful event that took place was The Port Royal Experiment. This showed that African Americans were able to live independently and work together without the whites looking over them. It showed that they weren’t uncivilized people. The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson allowed Radical Republicans to take over Reconstruction. President Johnson was

29: charged with violation of the Tenure of Office Act and bringing into "disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt, and reproach the Congress of the United States." Although he escaped removal from office, the Radical Republicans continued their Reconstruction plan. Ulysses S. Grant was a very important figure during the Reconstruction era. He was able to defeat the Confederacy with the Union Army and got rid of Confederate nationalism and slavery. Even though there were many successful events, they were also some negatives during Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan was formed, terrorizing blacks and active Republicans. The Black Codes were made, setting restrictions of newly freed slaves. The Colfax Massacre occurred, where some 100 black militia men were killed by the White League even though they had already surrendered. The Panic of 1873 also occurred where the United States suffered bank closings, increased food prices, decreased wages, and high unemployment. In conclusion, this is why we believe Reconstruction was a success. Although there were some downfalls of Reconstruction, there were also a lot of successful and important figures that contributed to the success of Reconstruction. | Alex Son and Lauren Lawson

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