Chapter 16
THE AGONY OF RECONSTRUCTION
 
The President Versus Congress
The North split on reconstructing the South
White House seeks speedy reconstruction with minimum changes in the South
Congress seeks slower reconstruction, demands protection for freedmen
 
Wartime Reconstruction
Lincoln announces lenient policy in 1863
Congress resents Lincoln’s effort to control
Congressmen seek to condition readmission to Union on black suffrage
Congress mistrusts white Southerners
 
Andrew Johnson at the Helm
Republicans initially support Southern Democrat Johnson as enemy of planter class
Johnson, Republicans split on Reconstruction
Johnson instructs Southern conventions to
Declare secession illegal
Repudiate Confederate debt
Ratify the Thirteenth Amendment
 
Andrew Johnson
at the Helm
Southern conventions reluctantly carry out Johnson’s orders
Conventions pass “Black Codes”
Johnson approves conventions’ actions
Congress condemns conventions
 
Congress Takes the Initiative
Republicans insists on black suffrage
They expect to get black vote
Ideological commitment to equal rights, even if some did not believe in racial equality
Fear that South would fall under great planter control without black suffrage
 
Congress Takes the Initiative
1866: Johnson vetoes two bills
Extension of Freedmen’s Bureau
Civil rights bill to overturn Black Codes
Republicans pass Fourteenth Amendment
Johnson’s National Union party runs against Republican congressmen in elections
Elections of 1866 strengthen Republicans
 
Congressional Reconstruction Plan Enacted
South under military rule until black suffrage fully secured
Split over duration of federal protection
Radicals recognize need for long period
Most wish military occupation to be short
Assumption:  black suffrage sufficient to empower freedmen to protect themselves
Reconstruction
The Impeachment Crisis
Johnson obstructs Congressional Reconstruction
Congress limits Presidential power
Tenure of Office Act
February, 1868: Congress impeaches
Senate refuses to convict Johnson
Radical Republicans seen as subversive of Constitution, lose public support
 
Reconstructing Southern Society
Three contending interests in South
Southern whites seek to keep newly freed blacks inferior
Northern whites seek to make money or to "civilize" the region
Blacks seek equality
Decline of federal interest in Reconstruction permits triumph of reaction and racism
 
Reorganizing Land and Labor
Ex-slaves wish to work their own land
Federal government sometimes grants land
Land reverts to white owners under Johnson
Slaveowners try to impose contract labor
Blacks insist on sharecropping
Sharecropping soon becomes peonage
 
Black Codes:
A New Name for Slavery?
South increasingly segregated after War
Black Codes designed to return blacks to quasi-slavery
Codes overturned by Congress
Violence and discrimination continued on a large scale
 
Republican Rule in the South
1867: Southern Republican party organized
Businesspeople want government aid
White farmers want protection from creditors
Blacks form majority of party, want social and political equality
Republican coalition unstable
Republicans break up when whites leave
 
Republican Rule in the South
Republicans improve public education, welfare, and transportation
Republican state legislatures corrupt
Whites control most radical state governments
African Americans given blame for corruption
 
Claiming Public and Private Rights
Freed slaves viewed legalized marriage as an important step in claiming political rights
They also formed churches, fraternal and benevolent associations, political organizations, and schools
Education for children was a top priority
 
Retreat from Reconstruction
Enormous problems 1868–1876
Grant’s weak principles contribute to failure
 
Rise of the Money Question
Panic of 1873 raises “the money question”
Debtors seek inflationary monetary policy by continuing circulation of "greenbacks"
Creditors, intellectuals support hard money
1875: government commits to hard money
1876: Greenback party formed, makes gains in congressional races
 
The Election of 1868
 
Final Efforts of Reconstruction
1869: Fifteenth Amendment passed
Also enfranchised Northern blacks
Women’s rights group were upset that they were not granted the vote
Northern support for black citizenship waned
 
A Reign of Terror Against Blacks
Secret societies used terror tactics to keep blacks out of the political process and near  insurrections against state governments
1870s: Congress tries to suppress Ku Klux Klan, other Southern terrorist groups
By 1876 Republicans control only South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida
Northern support for military action wanes
 
Spoilsmen Versus Reformers
Rumors of corruption during Grant's first term discredit Republicans
1872: Grant wins reelection over Liberal Republican, Democrat Horace Greeley
Grant’s second term rocked by scandal
 
The Election of 1872
Reunion and the New South
North and South reconcile after 1877
Terms of  reconciliation
African Americans stripped of political gains
Big business interests favored over small farmer
 
The Compromise of 1877
Election of 1876 disputed
Special Congressional commission gives disputed vote to Rutherford B. Hayes
Southern Democrats accept on two conditions
Guarantee of federal aid to the South
Removal of all remaining federal troops
Hayes’ agreement ends Reconstruction
“Redeeming” a New South
Southern "Redeemers" not ideologically coherent, more power brokers between major interest groups commerce,  manufacturing, and agriculture
Gain power by doctrine of white supremacy
Neglect problems of small farmers
 
The Rise of Jim Crow
Redeemer Democrats systematically exclude black voters
Jim Crow laws legalize segregation and restrict black civil rights
By 1910 the process was complete
The North and the federal government did little or nothing to prevent it
 
The Rise of Jim Crow
Lynching—187 blacks lynched yearly 1889–1899
U.S. Supreme Court decisions gut Reconstruction Amendments 1875–1896
“Reunion” accomplished as North tacitly acquiesces in Southern discrimination
 
Henry McNeal Turner and the “Unfinished Revolution”
Henry McNeal Turner’s career summarized the Southern black experience during and after Reconstruction
He supported the Union during the war and was elected to GA legislature in Reconstruction
“Redeemed” GA legislature expels him, exemplifying Northerners tacit approval of  oppression of Southern blacks
Turner becomes A.M.E. bishop and major proponent of black emigration to Africa