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Former black slaves would be dragged out of their homes and beaten (sometimes until

they were dead) just because of their race. These events did not only happen during slavery,
these events still occurred past slavery and into the new era, Reconstruction. Reconstruction
ended in 1877 after a tie between Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes and the
Democratic candidate Samuel B. Tilden. Since there was a tie, the north wanted a Republican
to say in office so they created a compromise. The compromise agreed for Hayes to take office
if they withdrew the troops in the South. All throughout the election and some time before,
terrorism was rising in the South. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan were formed and the northern
politicians did nothing to stop it. Who is to blame for the end of Reconstruction? The South for
forming terrorist groups and denying the freedmen their rights or the North for not doing
anything to put an end to the racism in the South and for doing what is best for them?
The North is more responsible for the end of Reconstruction than the South. They are
more responsible because of their neglect towards the freedmen they “helped” and the racism
that existed and was taken to very extreme measures in the South.
Even after slavery ended, first-class white men in the South treated the freedmen
without respect and thought they were better than the former slaves. The white men in the
South formed a very well known terrorist group called the Ku Klux Klan. They wore disguises to
hide their identity and tortured the black americans in the South. They did everything from
bribing them into voting Democratic to murdering them. In Document 3, a former slave named
Colby spoke about his experience with the Klansmen. “...[the Klansmen] broke my door open,
took me out of bed, the woods and whipped me three hours or more and left me for dead.”
Document 4 ties into Document 3 by showing how the white men would threaten the freedmen
that would attempt to have a voice in society by voting. The terrorist groups would not only
target the freedmen, they would go after Republican politicians in the North. Document 1 shows
how a white Republican was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. “...any member of Congress who,
especially from the South, does not support, advocate, and urge immediate active and thorough
measures to put an end to these outrages… is a coward, a traitor, or a fool.”(Document 1,
Albion Tourgee). Document 2 supports what was shown in Document 1 because the image
shows a donkey(the symbol for Democrats) with the letters KKK written on it, running away from
two men that were hung on a tree. The two men are white and one is even holding a suitcase to
represent carpetbaggers. A carpetbagger is a term that refers to white Republicans that moved
into the South to help Reconstruction. Documents 1 through 4 show how the South was racist
and terrorised the freedmen and Republicans in the South.
Though the North did kick start Reconstruction and continued to support it for a while by
making the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment; they stopped caring about Reconstruction when
scandals arose about Ulysses S. Grant. They knew about the racism in the South but paid little
to no attention to it and did not try to stop it because they were so caught up in the scandals
involving the representative of the North. Document 5 shows that the North stopped caring
about the things happening in the South. “ the 1870s, Northern voters grew indifferent to
events in the South.” Document 6 connects with what is shown in Document 5 because the
image shows Grant digging in a barrel and pulling out newspapers about all the scandals he is
been involved in. The cartoon shows how Grant only cares about himself and all the scandals
he is involved in. He is knees deep in his own public image and is not addressing any of the
events in the South. Scandals like the Whiskey Ring where Grant was said to have used his
position as president to get out of paying for tax. Money played a big part in the scandals Grant
was involved in. Almost every single scandal he was involved in had something to do with him
stealing or “cheating” himself out of paying. The Credit Mobilier Affair claimed that Grant bribed
people and illegally paid for the construction of a railroad for the government. Another big
scandal he was involved in was the Panic of 1873 which led to an economic depression. All
these scandals leads to the neglect the North paid to the racist events in the South. However,
the North could also be neglecting the events happening in the South because they could agree
with the terrorist groups. In Document 7, it says, “...the blacks, as a people, are unfitted for the
proper exercise of political duties…”(Boston Evening Transcript). This quote shows how the
politicians in the North, even though they freed them, do not think they are equal to everyone
else. Document 8 connects to Document 7 by showing how the Northerners think the freedmen
in politics act. The image demonstrates how the Northern politicians really think the freedmen
are by making them look crazy and “not fit for political duties.”
The South reacted to “their slaves” being freed by Republicans by forming terrorist
groups and denying them their rights. What the North did was just as bad because they did not
do anything to help the freedmen against the terrorist groups and making sure they were not
denied their rights. Even when the terrorist groups were attacking their own
people(carpetbaggers and scalawags), they did not do anything to stop it or even help. The
North made it look like they cared about the freedmen in the South by passing the 13th, 14th,
and 15th amendments that freed the slaves and “made sure” everyone would be able to vote
despite their race. What the North did is more significant to why Reconstruction came to an end
compared to what the South did. The north withdrew troops from the South to keep a
Republican as president so if they did not sell themselves out, Reconstruction would have
continued to grow. This is all still relevant today because there is still many cases of black
americans getting denied their rights and the people in power not doing anything about it.