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HIST 1301 Part Four
16: Reconstruction
Presidential Reconstruction
Even before the Civil War was over, President Lincoln and
Congress disagreed about a plan for “Reconstruction.”
In 1865 and 1866 President
Johnson’s re-admitted all the
former Confederate states to the
Union under lenient terms.
Johnson gave amnesty to
anyone who took a loyalty oath,
large planters and Confederate
officials excepted.
Johnson also reversed an
earlier policy and began
pardoning the same Southern
planters he had said he would
treat harshly.
“Radical Republicans” like Thaddeus Stevens and Charles
Sumner were outraged at Johnson’s leniency.
6 min. 01 sec.
Freedom for the former slaves
was not accompanied by social
or political equality.
“Every free male person who shall have attained the
age of twenty-one years, and who shall be a citizen of
the United States, and shall have resided in this State
one year next preceding an election, and the last six
months within the district, county, city or town in
which he offers to vote, (Indians not taxed, Africans
and descendants of Africans excepted,) shall be
deemed a qualified elector.”
-- Texas State Constitution, 1866
During Presidential Reconstruction, all former Confederate
states, including Texas, barred freedman from voting.
2 min. 09 sec.
“Black Codes” enacted by
Southern states also
restricted the rights of the
Congress vs. The President
In late 1865 Congress refused to seat
newly-elected Southern delegates.
In 1866 President Johnson
vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau
bill but Congress overrode it.
From 1866 to 1868 the
Bureau tried to help the
newly-freed slaves.
The Freedmen Bureau’s schools were its biggest success.
President Johnson also
vetoed the 1866 Civil
Rights bill but Congress
overrode his veto.
14th Amendment (ratified 1868)
4 min. 49 sec.
• Passed and submitted to the states by Congress in
reaction to the Black Codes, Johnson’s veto of the Civil
Rights bill, and the election of former Confederates to
• All persons born in the U.S. are citizens and no state may
make a law denying citizens their constitutional rights.
• A state’s representation in Congress shall be based on its
whole population except that if a state denies the right to
vote to any of the male population, its representation may
reduced proportionally.
• No person can hold Federal office who held office under
the Confederacy.
• The Confederate war debt is invalid and no one may be
compensated for the loss of slaves.
Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner favored confiscation
of planters’ land and redistribution to former slaves.
In the end, former slaveholders kept their land (and their power).
Out of necessity, many landless former slaves
became “Sharecroppers.”
4 min. 49 sec.
Radical Reconstruction
In the 1866 elections, Republicans (many of them “Radical”)
won a substantial majority in both houses of Congress.
In 1867 Congress annulled President Johnson’s
Reconstruction Plan and began implementing its own.
The 1867 Reconstruction Act (passed over Johnson’s veto)
divided the South into 5 military districts.
During “Radical Reconstruction” Southern states also
had to ratify the 14th Amendment and write new
constitutions giving black men the right to vote.
Former Confederates were barred from holding office and
anyone with questionable loyalty could not vote.
During “Radical Reconstruction,” state governments
dominated by Republicans were established in the former
Confederacy and several blacks were elected to office.
Southern Republican state governments championed public
schools, internal improvements, property rights for women,
and universal male suffrage.
During Reconstruction, white
Southerners complained about
“Carpetbaggers” and “Scalawags”
The rise of the Ku Klux Klan
reflected Southern whites’ temporary
loss of political power.
The Klan terrorized the Freedmen and their families.
Southern whites who
sympathized or helped blacks,
such as Alex Boyd of Eutaw,
Alabama, were also of targets
of the Ku Klux Klan.
4 min. 02 sec.
The Impeachment of
President Andrew Johnson
By 1868 Congress wanted to
get rid of President Johnson.
When Johnson “fired” Secretary of War
Edwin Stanton, Johnson was impeached
for violating the Tenure of Office Act.
Johnson’s Senate trial took
place in the spring of 1868.
When the trial came to an end
on May 16, 1868, Johnson
was acquitted by a single vote.
4 min. 39 sec.
Grant and Reconstruction
In 1868 former General U.S. Grant ran
as the Republican nominee for President.
Grant’s Democratic Opponent was
Horatio Seymour of New York.
With Radical Republican
governments in place, Grant
won votes even in the South.
The 15th Amendment, protecting black
men’s right to vote, was ratified in 1870.
In 1871, Grant cracked
down on the Ku Klux
In 1875 a Civil Rights Act championed by Congressman Ben Butler and Senator
Charles Sumner gave African-Americans reason to hope.
“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled, That all
persons within the jurisdiction of the
United States shall be entitled to the full
and equal enjoyment of the
accommodations, advantages, facilities,
and privileges of inns, public conveyances
on land or water, theaters, and other
places of public amusement; subject only
to the conditions and limitations
established by law, and applicable alike to
citizens of every race and color, regardless
of any previous condition of servitude.”
--1875 Civil Rights Act
The End of Reconstruction
In the early 1870s, Southern whites voted in
conservative governments throughout the former
Confederacy. Southerners called it “Redemption.”
At the same time, Grant and Northern whites
began to lose interest in Reconstruction.
4 min. 06 sec.
Samuel Tilden was the Democratic nominee for President in 1876.
Rutherford B. Hayes was the Republican nominee for President in 1876.
A special electoral commission
voted 8 to 7 in favor of Hayes.
Outraged white Southerners threatened to start a new civil war.
Hayes’ was inaugurated in 1877
after agreeing to end Reconstruction.
3 min. 07 sec.
The Aftermath of Reconstruction
1877 and Beyond
In 1883, by a 8 to 1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled
the 1875 Civil Rights Act unconstitutional.
“The 1st and 2nd sections of the Civil Rights Act passed March 1st, 1875 are
unconstitutional enactments as applied to the several States, not being authorized
by the XIIIth or XIVth Amendments of the constitution.”
--1883 Supreme Court Decision
Following the Supreme Court ruling of 1883, all the former slave states
enacted “Jim Crow” laws that:
• Made separate public accommodations for blacks and whites lawful
• Required businesses to treat black and white customers differently
• Made interracial marriage unlawful
The era of “Jim Crow” endured until the 1960s.