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U.S. History
Mr. Mintzes
Unit Outline & Study Guide:
Reconstruction and the Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)
The Four Major Issues of Reconstruction:
Readmission of the Confederate States into the Union
Treatment of the Rebels, in particular, the officers of the
and the
officials of the Confederate government.
What to do about the newly freed slaves.
Who should be in charge of making the decisions relative to
Reconstruction – the President or the Congress.
Plans for Reconstruction:
Lincoln began preparing his plan for Reconstruction before
the war ended •
plan for Reconstruction was based on
forgiveness since he felt that South
had never seceded
Issued Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in 1863
to announce
his intention to reunite the US - hoped that the
proclamation would rally
northern support and persuade
Confederate soldiers to surrender.
Thirteenth Amendment (1865):
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place
subject to their jurisdiction.
13th Amendment declared slavery illegal in the US
The Ten-Percent Plan (Lincoln):
a southern state could be readmitted into the Union once 10
percent of
its voters (from the voter rolls for the election
of 1860) swore an oath of
allegiance to the Union. Voters
could then elect delegates to draft revised state constitutions
and establish new state governments.
All southerners except for high-ranking Confederate army
officers and
government officials would be granted a full
Moderate Republicans in Congress supported the president’s
proposal for
Reconstruction because they wanted to bring a
quick end to the war.
Lincoln’s Vision for Reconstruction:
self-Reconstruction by the states with little assistance
from Washington. • he offered to pardon all Confederates
he pledged to protect private property.
Lincoln did not want to punish southerners or reorganize
southern society.
The Wade-Davis Bill, 1864 (Radical Republicans)
a southern state could rejoin the Union only if 50 percent
of its registered
voters swore an “ironclad oath” of
allegiance to the United States.
Lincoln used pocket veto to stop the bill from becoming
The Freedmen’s Bureau:
Lincoln & Congress disagree on redistribution of southern
Special Field Order No. 15 set aside land in South Carolina
and islands off
the coast of Georgia for roughly 40,000
former slaves.
Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1865 to
distribute food and
supplies, establish schools, and
redistribute additional confiscated land
to former slaves
and poor whites.
Anyone who pledged loyalty to the Union could lease forty
acres of land from the bureau and then have the option to
purchase them.
Effectiveness of the Freedmen’s Bureau
Southerners did not support it – sometimes cheated Blacks
out of land – saw Bureau as a way to give their land to freed
The Freedman’s Bureau did succeed in setting up schools in
the South for nearly 250,000 free blacks.
Andrew Johnson, Presidential Reconstruction:
Johnson wanted to restore the Union in as little time as
He returned confiscated property to white southerners,
He issued hundreds of pardons to former Confederate
officers and
government officials,
Freedmen’s Bureau to return all confiscated lands to white
The Civil Rights Act of 1866
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 - guaranteed
citizenship to
all Americans regardless of race (except
Native Americans) - secured
former slaves the right to own
property, sue, testify in court, and sign
legal contracts.
President Johnson vetoed this bill as well, but Radical
Republicans managed to secure enough votes to override it.
The Fourteenth Amendment (ratified 1868)
guaranteed citizenship to all males born in the United
States, regardless of race.
Republicans in Congress specified that southern states had
to ratify the amendment before they could reenter the Union.
Protections for Former Slaves
Civil Rights Act of 1866 and 14th Amendment helped give former
slaves equal rights. The Civil Rights Act was the first piece of
congressional legislation to override state laws and protect
civil liberties. It reversed the Dred Scott v. Sanford ruling by
the U.S. Supreme Court, which stated that blacks were not
citizens, effectively legalizing slavery. In giving former
slaves citizenship, the Civil Rights Act also gave them equal
protection under the law.
Radical Reconstruction
Radical Republicans sweep elections of 1866 – have enough
votes in House and Senate to override Presidential vetoes
The First and Second Reconstruction Acts
First Reconstruction Act: March 1867.
South divided into 5 military districts each governed by a
Union general
Congress declared martial law in the territories,
dispatching troops to
keep the peace and protect former
southern states needed to redraft their constitutions,
ratify the
Fourteenth Amendment, and provide suffrage to
blacks in order to seek readmission into the Union.
Union troops placed in charge of voter registration.
Andrew Johnson & Congress
The Tenure of Office Act
Tenure of Office Act – prohibited removal of cabinet
officers w/o
Congressional approval – designed to prevent
Johnson from firing Edwin
Stanton (Secretary of War)
Johnson fired Stanton – appointed U.S. Grant as Secy of
Congress ordered Stanton reinstated – reappointed him –
Johnson’s Impeachment
House of Representatives impeached Johnson by a vote of
126–47 for
violating the Tenure of Office Act.
Senate, by one vote, failed to convict Johnson
The Fifteenth Amendment (ratified in 1870)
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be
denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
specifically gave right to vote to blacks and to all former
15th Amendment still did not give voting rights to women and
Black Voters
By 1868, more than 700,000 blacks (and nearly the same
number of poor landless whites) had registered to vote – most
declared themselves
black voters gained majorities in South Carolina, Alabama,
Florida, and Mississippi - fourteen black
politicians were elected to the
U.S. House of
Representatives, and two to the Mississippi State Senate.
Analysis: Prior to 1866, most Republicans had opposed black
suffrage. Even Abraham Lincoln, considered giving the right to
vote only to blacks who were freedmen before the Civil War and
those who had served in the Union Army. Republicans realized
that Republican Party would never gain influence in the South
unless blacks had the right to vote. Blacks would support the
Republican Party en masse, so ratifying the 15th Amendment
guaranteed Republicans this support. 15th Amendment also forced
reluctant northern states to give blacks the right to vote –
many still did not have laws allowing blacks to vote.
The amendment also granted voting rights to poor whites,
especially in the South.
The South After the War
Newly Emancipated Blacks
Black Schools and Churches: with help of Freedmen’s Bureau,
slaves founded and attended schools – Many blacks
established their own
slavery before the war.
churches – white clergymen had defended
Carpetbaggers and Scalawags
Carpetbaggers: Name given to Northerners who moved south
in order to take advantage of conditions – buy up property &
businesses cheap – take over bankrupt plantations, etc.
Scalawags: White Southerners who had supported the Union
and who
were now doing what the Carpetbaggers were doing.
Blacks rented plots of land from white property owners –
often former
masters – percentage of the crops they grew went
to landlord as rent.
Many were tied to the land – often had to borrow from
landlords as price of cotton slid lower – permanently in debt
to landlords or businesses
Poor whites also became sharecroppers – often had same
problems as
By 1880 majority of famers in the South were sharecroppers
The Black Codes – Laws passed to undo post Civil War amendments
Laws passed in South to restrict opportunities for blacks
outlawed interracial marriage, unemployment, even loitering
in public
In Mississippi Black Codes prohibited blacks from serving
on juries,
testifying against whites, outlawed free speech
for blacks.
Black Codes forced black children in unpaid
Black Codes were often repealed but became “Jim Crow” laws that
set up separate schools, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. for
blacks. Many “Jim Crow” laws survived into the 1960s.
The Ku Klux Klan – founded 1866 (Nathan Bedford Forrest)
a secret society of white supremacists formed to terrorize
Klansmen wore white hoods to conceal their identities,
harassed and beat
blacks, carpetbaggers, and scalawags, and
sometimes even conducted
lynchings—mob killings of blacks,
usually by hanging.
The Klan scared blacks away from the polls during elections
and punished those who did not obey their demands.
Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 to try to
control KKK
KKK remained powerful in the South through the first half
of 20th century
The Election of 1868
Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) elected President
Republicans maintained
control of Congress.
The Start of the Gilded Age
Gilded Age was name that Mark Twain gave to postwar, post
reconstruction era of big business, political graft and
political scandalslasted until about 1900.
Gilded age also referred to idea that gilded metals looked
rich and shiny
but only had a thin skin and were cheap or
rotten underneath the surface.
Presidents in this era were weak – more power was in
laissez-faire economics was the policy of the US government
– allowed
business much freedom.
Scandals and Corruption:
The Fisk-Gould Gold Scheme
1869 - Jim Fisk and Jay Gould bribed officials in Grant’s
cabinet -They
attempted to corner the gold market – led to
panic of September 24,
1869, “Black Friday.”
The Tweed Ring – “Boss” Tweed
Tammany Hall machine in New York City, led by William
“Boss” Tweed. Tweed controlled nearly every aspect of political
life in New York City;
used bribery, extortion, and fraud to get what he wanted
sponsored phony elections to put his associates in office.
Tweed preyed on recent immigrants - Tammany Hall often gave
arrived immigrants housing, jobs, and security in
exchange for votes.
Emergence of the Railroads – Transcontinental Railroad
Federal govt. granted huge subsidies to railroads to lay
Central Pacific & Union Pacific paid by the govt. for each
mile of track laid in Transcontinental RR
Railroads also granted land on both side of “right of way”
– became huge landowners in the West
1869: Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines were joined
at Promontory,
Utah, forming a transcontinental rail link.
Boom in railroad building throughout the US – industries
booming –
railroads were needed to bring goods to market
The Crédit Mobilier Scandal
Union Pacific executive created a dummy railroad
construction company Crédit Mobilier – got major contracts
to build railroad – bribed
Congressmen to “look other way” –
also bribed VP Schuyler Colfax – who
Grant was not involved in any illegal activity but his
reputation suffered
The Whiskey Ring Scandal
1874 - several federal employees Grant had appointed,
including his personal secretary, embezzled millions of dollars
of excise tax revenue.
The Liberal Republican Party & Election of 1872
Some liberal Republicans broke with the party – formed
Republican Party
Liberal Republican & Democrats nominated Horace Greeley to
run against
Grant in 1872 – Grant won anyway – re-elected
with big margin
The Depression of 1873
During boom times after Civil War Americans had taken out
too many bad
loans and over speculated in the railroads and
Downturn in business led to the Depression of 1873
First major economic collapse in US history – lasted 5
years – millions lost
The End of Radical Reconstruction
The Depression of 1873 caused many Republican supporters in
the north
to vote Democratic in 1874 – when combined with
Southern votes, the
Democratic Party gained control of the
House of Representatives for the
first time since 1856.
Radical Republicans were in minority in Congress – could
not pass legislation about Reconstruction.
Due to high unemployment and bad economy, Northerners lost
interest in Reconstruction, safeguarding rights of Freedmen,
controlling the KKK,
eliminating Black Codes and Jim Crow
The Civil Rights Act of 1875
Civil Rights Act of 1875 was last successful piece of
legislation – aimed to eliminate social
discrimination and forbade
discrimination in all public
places, such as theaters, hotels, and
The bill stated that blacks should be treated as equals
under the law and
that they could sue violators of the law in
federal court.
Democrats in the House made sure bill was unenforceable
Democrats Take the South
Depression of 1873, the KKK and white elite drove northern
from the South – left blacks alone to fight for
Democrats regained control of almost all state governments
by mid
1870s – by 1877 Democrats had the majority in every
southern state.
The Slaughterhouse Cases
1873: a suit against a New Orleans slaughterhouse.
Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment protected U.S.
citizens from rights infringements only on a federal level,
not on a state
level – states could, therefore discriminate
against blacks and not be in violation of the 14th amendment.
United States v. Cruikshank
1876: The Supreme Court ruled that only states, not the
government, could prosecute individuals under the Ku
Klux Klan Act of
Many KKK crimes went unpunished by southern state
Civil Rights Cases of 1883
1883: Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875
Court ruled that the 14th Amendment applied only to
discrimination from
the government, not from individuals –
people could discriminate in hotels, restaurants, etc. without
fear of government intervention.
The Election of 1876 and the Compromise of 1877 – End of
Samuel J. Tilden (New York) nominated by Democrats
Republicans nominated Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes.
In the election, Tilden received 184 electoral votes of the
185 needed to become president. Hayes only received 165 votes
and lost the popular
vote by approximately 250,000 votes.
Election results were disputed because of confusing ballots
in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida.
Under normal procedure, disputed votes would be recounted in
front of Congress by the president of the Senate. However, the
president of the Senate was a Republican and the Speaker of the
House was a Democrat, so neither man could be trusted to count
the votes fairly.
The Compromise
Congress passed the Electoral Count Act in 1877
Establish a special committee to recount the votes in a
fair and balanced
way - fifteen men from the House, Senate,
and Supreme Court – 8
Republicans vs. 7 Democrats.
By repeated votes of 8 to 7 each state was awarded to Hays
– Hays wins
Rather than protest Democrats struck a deal to end
Reconstruction – Hays
would become President in exchange for
a complete withdrawal of federal
troops from the South –
thereby officially ending Reconstruction
The Successes of Reconstruction
After 1877, America could once again be called the United
All of the southern states had drafted new constitutions;
ratified the 13th,
14th, and 15th Amendments; and pledged loyalty
to the Union.
The Failures of Reconstruction
Former slave owners were back in power.
Democrats had regained control of the south.
Southern legislatures passed the black codes and voter
qualification rules
to exclude blacks from the polls.
The sharecropping system was thriving – keeping blacks poor
and tied to
the land and the landlords.
U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the 1870s and 1880s
effectively repealed
the 14th and 15th Amendments and the
Civil Rights Act of 1875.
Northerners lost interest in black civil rights – blacks
would not get help from the government until 1950s and 1960s