The battle was done and the American people faced the staggering challenges of peace. Four questions loomed large:1. How would the South, physically devastated by war and socially revolutionized by emancipation, be rebuilt?2. How would the liberated blacks fare as free men and women?3. How would the Southern states be reintegrated into the Union?4. And who would direct the process of Reconstruction – the Southern states themselves, the president, or Congress?Other issues also loomed: What should be done with the captured Confederate ringleaders?
THE PROBLEMS of PEACEDismal indeed was the picture presented by the war-racked South. Handsome cities ofyesteryear, such as Charleston and Richmond, were rubble-strewn and weed-choked. TheSouthern economy was in ruins.
Beaten but unbent, many high-spirited white Southerners remained dangerously defiant.They cursed the “danmyankees” and spoke of “your govt.” in Washington, instead of “ourgovt.” Many former Confederates continued to believe that their view of secession wascorrect and that the “lost cause” was still a just war.
FREEDMEN DEFINE FREEDOMConfusion abounded in the still-smoldering South about the precise meaning of“freedom” for blacks. Explain how emancipation took effect. And describe thevariety of responses to emancipation, by whites as well as blacks.
Tens of thousands of emancipatedblacks took to the roads, some totest their freedom, others tosearch for long-lost spouses,parents, and children.Emancipation thus strengthened theblack family, and many newly freedmen and women formalized “slavemarriages” for personal andpragmatic reasons.
THE FREEDMEN‟S BUREAUEmancipators were faced with the brutal reality that the freedmen were overwhelminglyunskilled, unlettered, without property or money, and with scant knowledge of how tosurvive as free people. To cope with this problem, Congress created the Freedmen‟s Bureau on March 3, 1865. The bureau was intended to be a kind of primitive welfare agency. It provided food, clothing, medical care, and education to both freedmen and to white refugees.
The bureau achieved its greatest successes in education. One educator asserted that “aschoolhouse would be the first proof of their independence.” Despite shortages ofbuildings, teachers, and supplies, an estimated 200,000 blacks were taught how to read.In other areas, the bureau‟s accomplishments were meager – even mischievous. Why didSoutherners resent the bureau? What was President Johnson‟s stance toward thebureau?
JOHNSON: THE TAILOR PRESIDENT Provide the personal and political profile for Johnson. Explain the political paradox that would ultimately undermine Johnson‟s presidency.
PRESIDENTIAL RECONSTRUCTIONEven before the Civil War ended, the political war over Reconstruction had begun.Explain Lincoln‟s “10 percent” plan for Reconstruction. Why were many congressionalRepublicans opposed to Lincoln‟s plan?Explain the provisions of the Wade-Davis Bill (1864). What controversiessurrounding this legislation were revealed?When Lincoln was assassinated, what was the hope of the radical Republicans? How did Johnson disillusion the radical Republicans? Describe the provisions of his Reconstruction proclamation. Why did it eventually anger all Republicans?
THE BALEFUL BLACK CODES New Southern regimes passed Black Codes. Explain these codes. What was the purpose of these codes? The Black Codes made an ugly impression in the North. What made Northerners especially angry?
CONGRESSIONAL RECONSTRUCTIONDescribe the controversy when the congressional delegations from the newly re-constituted Southern states presented themselves in the Capitol in December 1865.Why did Southern voters send these men? And why were congressional Republicansinfuriated and worried?
A clash between president and Congressexploded in February, 1866, when Johnsonvetoed a bill (later re-passed) extendingthe life of the controversial Freedmen‟sBureau.Aroused, the Republicans struck back bypassing the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 – whatwas the key provision?Johnson vetoed the bill but Congressoverrode his veto, which they repeatedlydid henceforth.The Republicans undertook to rivet theprinciples of the Civil Rights Bill into theConstitution as the 14th Amendment. Whywere Republicans determined to do this?Describe the key provisions of theamendment.Republicans agreed that no state should bere-admitted into the Union without firstratifying the 14th Amendment? What didJohnson recommend to the Southernstates? How many of the “sinful eleven”ratified the amendment?
SWINGING „ROUND the CIRCLE with JOHNSONThe crucial congressional elections of 1866 would be a referendum of the issue ofwhether Reconstruction was to be carried on with or without the 14th Amendment.Republicans would settle for nothing less.Johnson was naturally eager to escape from the clutch of Congress by securing a majorityfavorable to his soft-on-the-South policy.Johnson‟s famous “swing „round the circle,” beginning in the summer of 1866 was a disasterfor Johnson. Why?When the ballots were counted, what was the outcome? What would be thesignificance for Johnson?
REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES and PROGRAMSThe Republicans now had a veto-proof Congress and virtually unlimited control ofReconstruction policy, but moderates and radicals were split on Southern policy. The radicals were led in the Senate by Charles Sumner; in the House, Thaddeus Stevens Provide some background on Stevens.
Describe the policy positions of both the radical and moderate Republicans. Whichfaction had more control in Congress? And, what could both factions agree on?
RECONSTRUCTION by the SWORDAgainst a backdrop of bloody race riots in many Southern cities, Congress passed theReconstructionAct on March 2, 1867. This drastic legislation divided the South into 5military districts, each commanded by a Union general and policed by Union soldiers. Theact also temporarily disenfranchised tens of thousands of former Confederates.
Describe the tough conditionsimposed on the seceded states asconditions of re-admission into theunion.Even after the Reconstruction Act,why were radical Republicans stillworried? How would the 15thAmendment solve their problems?Was military Reconstructionconstitutional, or at the very least, aconflict of democratic principles?Then why did the Supreme Court notstep-in and strike it down?Was military Reconstructioneffective? What happened when thefederal troops were withdrawn?
This illustration was published during a heated election campaign in Pennsylvania in 1866.Supporters of the Democratic candidate for governor circulated this image in an attemptto defeat the Republican gubernatorial nominee. What are its most pointed arguments?
This illustration appeared in Baltimore in 1870 to celebrate the enactment of the 15thAmendment. What does it find most praiseworthy about the new law?
NO WOMEN VOTERSThe passage of the three Reconstruction-era Amendments (13th; 14th; 15th) delightedformer abolitionists, but deeply disappointed advocates of women‟s rights. Why werewomen understandably upset and angry? Did Frederick Douglas crusade for womansuffrage? What key word did Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton want added tothe 15th Amendment? Were they successful? Douglas Anthony Stanton
THE REALITIES OF RADICAL RECONSTRUCTION in the SOUTHPrior to 1870, moderate Republicans and even some radical ones, hesitated to bestowsuffrage on the freedmen (the 14th Amendment would give freedmen the status of whitewomen). But having gained their right to suffrage with the 15th Amendment in 1870,Southern black men seized the initiative and began to organize politically.
Subsequent elections expanded black political participation at all levels of govt., holdingoffices formerly held by their onetime masters.For the first time, black Americans seemed poised to have the political clout to improvetheir plight.
White Southerners lashed out with particularfury at the freedmen‟s white allies, labelingthem “scalawags” and “carpetbaggers.” How didwhite Southerners define these labels?How well did the radical regimes rule(identify the pluses and minuses)?
THE KU KLUX KLAN Deeply embittered, some Southern whites resorted to savage measures against “radical” rule. A number of secret organizations mushroomed forth, the most notorious of which was the “Invisible Empire of the South.” Describe the variety of savage tactics of intimidation used by the KKK. What was the primary goal of the KKK? Nathan Bedford Forrest
This cartoon is about the South in theyears just after the Civil War. Brieflyexplain the big problem in the Southshown here by the two figures shakinghands.What are some of the reasons for the waythese two figures are dressed?In the cartoon, a shield showing anAfrican-American family contains thewords “Worse than Slavery.” What partsof this cartoon help make the point thatthe problems of Southern blacks in theyears after 1865 were worse thanslavery?What other problems or conditions in theSouth might have made life for formerslaves worse than it was when they wereslaves?Do you think life actually was worse forthese African-Americans? Explain.
Congress responded to Black American pleasfor help by passing the Force Acts of 1870and 1871 – federal legislation intended toprotect black Americans by prohibitingintimidation tactics.The Force Acts were not fully effective – whatundermined their effectiveness?
JOHNSON WALKS the IMPEACHMENT PLANKRepublican radicals were not satisfied with curbing Johnson‟s authority; they decided toremove him altogether by constitutional processes. As an initial step, Congress in 1867passed the Tenure of Office Act (over Johnson‟s veto). Explain the provision of thisact. How did Johnson provide the radicals with a pretext to impeachment? Whatwere the impeachment charges against Johnson?Describe the factors shaping the outcome. What was the verdict in the Senate?What was the significance of the impeachment and verdict?
THE PURCHASE of ALASKAPresident Johnson‟s greatest foreign policy achievement was the purchase of Alaska.Why did the Russians want to sell Alaska? Secretary of State William Seward, anardent expansionist, signed a treaty with Russia in 1867. How much did the U.S. govt.pay for Alaska? Describe American‟s reaction to the purchase? Despite theopposition, why did the purchase occur? How did Alaska become especially valuable to the U.S. in the 20th century?
THE HERITAGE of RECONSTRUCTION Describe the Southern perspective of Reconstruction. Grade the Republicans – what progress was made? What were their miscalculations?