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Chapter 22 The Ordeal of Reconstruction

The Problems of Peace All rebel leaders were pardoned by President Johnson (became president after Lincoln was assassinated) Agriculture, the economic lifeblood of the South was crippled Planter aristocrats were humbled temporarily by the war but many remained dangerously defiant and in hate of the North Freedmen Define Freedom Many slaves were emancipated and then re-enslaved as Union armies marched in and out of the areas While some slaves stayed loyal to their plantation master others burst forth violently on the day of liberation All masters were eventually forced to recognize their slaves freedom Emancipation strengthened the black family as the newly freed slaves went in search for long lost family members, marriages were formalized, and whole black communities moved together in search of opportunity Church became the focus of black community life in the years following emancipation. The newly established black churches gave rise to other benevolent, aid societies that helped blacks protect their newly won freedom Southern blacks were in support of a schooling system but there were not many qualified black teachers so they accepted the aid of northern white women sent by the American Missionary Association who volunteered as teachers The Freedmens Bureau Congress created the Freedmens Bureau to cope with the problem of the freedmen who were unskilled, unlettered, without property or money, and with scant knowledge of how to survive as free people. The bureau, headed by Oliver O. Howard, was intended to be a welfare agency providing clothes, food, ect., but was most successful in education. President Johnson shared the white supremacist views and repeatedly tried to kill it (it expired in 1872) Johnson the Tailor President Johnson came from the most humble beginnings and was the impassioned champion of the poor whites against the planter aristocrats, states rights, and the constitution. Hotheaded and stubborn, a Reconstruction policy devised by angels might well have failed in his tactless hands. Presidential Reconstruction Lincoln believed the Southern states had never legally withdrew from the Union, proclaimed 10 percent Reconstruction plan, a state could be reintegrated into the Union when 10% of its voters had taken an oath of allegiance and pledged to abide by emancipation.

In Congress, Republicans feared restoration of the planter aristocracy and re-enslavement of blacks. They tried to pass the Wade-Davis Bill (required 50% states voters to pledge allegiance and stronger safeguards for emancipation) but it was vetoed by Lincoln Two factions of Republicans was emerging, the majority moderate group agreed with Lincoln while a minority radical group believe the South should atone more painfully for its sins Although some radicals were happy when Lincoln were assassinated because they thought Johnson (a hater of the planter aristocracy) would enforce harsher reconstruction, Johnson surprised them by agreeing with Lincoln Johnson, savoring his dominance over the high-toned aristocrats who now begged his favor in letting them keep their land, granted pardons in abundance The Baleful Black Codes Black Codes were laws designed to ensure a stable and subservient labor force, restore as nearly as possible the pre-emancipation system of race relations, and mocked the ideal of freedom of blacks. The North hated the Black Codes and stated if former slaves were being re-enslaved it was as if the North had not really won the war Congressional Reconstruction In Congress many of the former Confederate leaders reclaimed their seats To the shock and disgust of the Republicans they realized a restored South would be stronger than ever in national politics because now the slave was 5/5ths of a person instead of 3/5ths and the rebel states were entitled to twelve more votes in Congress Again angry voices in the North questioned who had really won the war Johnson Clashes with Congress Clashes between Johnson and Congress exploded when the president vetoed a bill extending the life of the controversial Freedmens Bureau Republicans struck back by passing the Civil Rights Bill which conferred on blacks the privilege of American citizenship and struck at the Black Codes. This bill was vetoed by Johnson but congressmen steamrolled it over his veto and got it passed, something they did repeatedly henceforth Bill was put into the Constitution as The Fourteenth Amendment 1. Conferred civil rights including citizenship on freedmen 2. Reduced proportionately the representation of a state if it denied blacks the ballot 3. Disqualified from federal and state office, former Confederates 4. Guaranteed the federal debt, while repudiating all Confederate debts Swinging Round the Circle with Johnson The debate was whether Reconstruction was to be carried out with or without the Fourteenth Amendment Johnson tried to secure a majority favorable to his soft-on-the-South policy but failed to gain supporters

Republican Principles and Programs Republicans now had a veto proof congress Radicals, led by Charles Sumner in the Senate and Thaddeus Stevens in the House, opposed rapid restoration of the Southern states Reconstruction by the Sword Stringent Conditions for readmission of the Southern States States were required to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, giving slaves their rights as citizens The bitterest pill of all to white southerners was they were required to guarantee in their state constitutions full suffrage for the former adult male slaves. Radical Republicans were worried states would amend their constitutions later so they passed the Fifteenth Amendment to ensure blacks the right to vote No Women Voters Women were disappointed they were not included with the blacks in the right to vote despite their work for the cause of black emancipation. They were shocked the Fourteenth Amendment which defined equal national citizenship did not include women The Realities of Radical Reconstruction in the South Having gained their right to suffrage, Southern black men created the Union League, a pro-Union organization that built black churches and schools and helped protect black communities from white retaliation African-American women were not allowed to vote but did assume new political roles Black men elected as delegates to the state constitutional conventions held the greater political authority Radical legislatures introduced badly needed reforms in the South -steps were taken toward establishing adequate public schools, tax systems streamlined, property rights guaranteed to women The Ku Klux Klan Also known as the Invisible Empire of the South, be-sheeted nightriders would use scare tactics, flogging, mutilation, or even murder to dissuade blacks from the polls Congress passed the harsh Force Acts and used federal troops to stamp out the KKK but the Invisible Empire had already done its work of intimidation Johnson Walks the Impeachment Plank Radicals wanted to impeach Johnson and Bluff Ben Wade of Ohio would then become president. Congress first passed the Tenure of Office Act requiring the president to secure the consent of the Senate before he could remove his appointees (to freeze into the cabinet, secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, who was outwardly loyal to Johnson be secretly a spy for the radicals) A Not-Guilty Verdict for Johnson

By a margin of only one vote, radicals failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed for Johnsons removal. Johnson indicated he would stop obstructing Republican policies in return for remaining in office but many radicals were infuriated by their failure to impeach him. The nation thus narrowly avoided a dangerous precedent that would have gravely weakened one of the three branches of the federal government The Purchase of Alaska Secretary of State William Seward, an ardent expansionist, signed a treaty with Russian that transferred Alaska to the US for $7.2 million Many countrymen were not in support of buying this frigid wasteland but Congress sanction it because Russia had been conspicuously friendly to the North during the recent Civil War and the territory was rumored to be teeming with furs, fish, and gold and it might yet pan-out profitably as it later did with natural resources including oil and gas The Heritage of Reconstruction Many white Southerners regarded Reconstruction as a more grievous wound than the war itself; resented the upending of their social and racial system, political empowerment of blacks, and the insult of federal intervention in their local affairs Reconstruction conferred only fleeting benefits on the blacks and virtually extinguished the Republican Party in the South for nearly one hundred years. Moderate Republicans never realized the extensive effort necessary to make the freed slaves completely independent. Deep-seated racism, ingrained American resistance to tampering with property rights, and rigid loyalty to the principle of local self-government, formed too formidable obstacles. Despite good intentions by Republicans the Old South was in many ways more resurrected than reconstructed