Reconstruction addressed how the eleven seceding states would regain self-government and be reseated in Congress, the civil status of the former leaders of the Confederacy, and the Constitutional and legal status of freedmen, especially their civil rights and whether they should be given the right to vote. Why? The American Civil War (1861-1865) marked some of the most divisive and devastating years in the country’s history. Now controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Radical Republicans were assured the votes needed to override any of Johnson’s vetoes to their soon-to-come Reconstruction legislation. Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had ended the practice of slavery in the Confederate states in 1863, the issue remained at the national level. On April 11, 1865, in his last speech before his assassination, Lincoln express his opinion that some “very intelligent” Black men or Black men who had joined the Union army deserved the right to vote. https://www.britannica.com/event/Reconstruction-United-States-history, Texas State Historical Association - The Handbook of Texas Online - Reconstruction, PBS LearningMedia - Michael Williams: Reconstruction, Official Site of Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States, African American Registry - Biography of Ed Wilson, Reconstruction - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Reconstruction - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), United States presidential election of 1868. Given this opportunity, the Southern states responded by enacting a series of racially discriminatory laws known as the Black Codes. However, unforeseen results of the period from 1865 to 1876 would continue to impact Black Americans and the societies of both the South and North for over a century. Violence, mass lynchings, and lawlessness enabled white Southerners to create a regime of white supremacy and Black disenfranchisement alongside a new economic order that continued to exploit Black labor. How Grandfather Clauses Disenfranchised Black Voters in the U.S. John Mercer Langston: Anti-Enslavement Activist, Politician, and Educator, The Powerful Congressional Faction That Championed Reconstruction, Rutherford B. Hayes: Significant Facts and Brief Biography, The Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution, Lynch, John R. “The Facts of Reconstruction.”. Congress decided to begin Reconstruction anew. Almost as many Americans were killed in the Civil War as in all the nation's other wars combined. Congress refused to seat the representatives and senators elected from the Southern states and in early 1866 passed the Freedmen’s Bureau and Civil Rights Bills. Was Reconstruction after the Civil War a success or a failure? Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865—the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The former Confederate states were required to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment as a condition of regaining their pre-secession representation in Congress. To be allowed to reenter the Union, the former Confederate states were required to agree to abolish slavery, but no federal law had been enacted to prevent those states from simply reinstituting the practice through their new constitutions. Increasingly, the new Southern governments looked to Washington, D.C., for assistance. “The Man with the (Carpet) Bags,” cartoon by Thomas Nast depicting a common Southern attitude toward Northerners during Reconstruction, 1872. Reconstruction, in U.S. history, the period (1865–77) that followed the American Civil War and during which attempts were made to redress the inequities of slavery and its political, social, and economic legacy and to solve the problems arising from the readmission to the Union of the 11 states that had seceded at or before the outbreak of war. But the more numerous moderate Republicans hoped to work with Johnson while modifying his program. They also offered lavish aid to railroads and other enterprises in the hope of creating a “New South” whose economic expansion would benefit Blacks and whites alike. Andrew Johnson, photographed by Mathew Brady. Some midwestern states adopted laws to regulate or even stop the movement of freed African Americans into those states. Composed of those who had been free before the Civil War plus slave ministers, artisans, and Civil War veterans, the Black political leadership pressed for the elimination of the racial caste system and the economic uplifting of the former slaves. The second defined all persons born in the United States as national citizens, who were to enjoy equality before the law. A free Black man being sold to pay his fine, in Monticello, Florida, 1867. Civil Rights Bill of 1866 and Freedmen’s Bureau. All Black persons living in the states that enacted Black Code laws were required to sign yearly labor contracts. Republican Ulysses S. Grant was elected president that fall (see United States presidential election of 1868). Johnson offered a pardon to all Southern whites except Confederate leaders and wealthy planters (although most of these subsequently received individual pardons), restoring their political rights and all property except slaves. During the Civil War, they were opposed by the moderate Republicans, including President Abraham Lincoln, and by pro-slavery Democrats and Northern liberals until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Longley, Robert. During the 1870s, the Radical Republicans began to back away from their expansive definition of the power of the federal government. Shortly after the election of President Ulysses S. Grant on March 4, 1869, Congress approved the Fifteenth Amendment, prohibiting the states from restricting the right to vote because of race. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Longley, Robert. By creating “radical regimes” and enforcing martial law throughout the South, the Radical Republicans hoped to facilitate their Radical Reconstruction plan. Neither status offered much hope for economic mobility. Fleming, Walter L. “Documentary History of Reconstruction: Political, Military, Social, Religious, Educational, and Industrial.” Palala Press (April 22, 2016), ISBN-10: 1354267508. An economic depression during which much of the South fell into poverty led to the Democratic Party winning the House of Representatives again, the first time since the Civil War. Reconstruction: America After the Civil War: Watch full length episodes & video clips. By 10 a.m., well-dressed citizens filled the paths and avenues of the burial ground while women and children placed freshly cut buds and garl… In his last speech, on April 11, 1865, Lincoln, referring to Reconstruction in Louisiana, expressed the view that some Blacks—the “very intelligent” and those who had served in the Union army—ought to enjoy the right to vote. States that unconstitutionally attempted to restrict their citizens’ right to vote could be punished by having their representation in Congress reduced. 15 of January 1865, which set aside a large swath of land along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia for the exclusive settlement of Black families, and by the Freedmen’s Bureau Act of March, which authorized the bureau to rent or sell land in its possession to former slaves. During a brief period in the Reconstruction era, African Americans voted in large numbers and held public office at almost every level, including in both houses of Congress. The bill mandated that all male persons born in the United States, except for American Indians, regardless of their “race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude” were “declared to be citizens of the United States” in every state and territory. However, this provoked a violent backlash from whites who did not want to relinquish supremacy. Thereafter, the federal government would guarantee all Americans’ equality before the law against state violation. After four years of fighting, the Union was restored through the force of arms. While nearly four million formerly enslaved Black Americans gained freedom and some political power, those gains were diminished by lingering poverty and racist laws such as the Black Codes of 1866 and the Jim Crow laws of 1887. African American parade in honour of adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment. Reconstruction witnessed far-reaching changes in America’s political life. Post-Civil War America was a new world. Serving an expanded citizenry, Reconstruction governments established the South’s first state-funded public school systems, sought to strengthen the bargaining power of plantation labourers, made taxation more equitable, and outlawed racial discrimination in public transportation and accommodations. The ensuing period known as Radical Reconstruction resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which for the first time in American history gave Black people a voice in government. Outrage over these laws in Congress led to the replacement of Johnson’s so-called Presidential Reconstruction approach with that of the more radical wing of the Republican Party. The restrictive nature and ruthless enforcement of the Black Codes drew the outrage and resistance of Black Americans and seriously reduced Northern support for President Johnson and the Republican Party. The rebuilding of the South after the Civil War is called the Reconstruction. By 1869 the Republican Party was firmly in control of all three branches of the federal government. Enacted during 1867 and 1868, the Radical Republican-sponsored Reconstruction Acts specified the conditions under which the formerly seceded Southern states of the Confederacy would be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War. As a Union victory became more of certainty, America’s struggle with Reconstruction began before the end of the Civil War. The item America's Reconstruction : people and politics after the Civil War, Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney represents a specific, individual, material embodiment of a distinct intellectual or artistic creation found in Boston University Libraries. This helped end Reconstruction. Having been denied educations under slavery, many formerly enslaved people were forced by economic necessity to. Carpetbaggers, or recent arrivals from the North, were former Union soldiers, teachers, Freedmen’s Bureau agents, and businessmen. This exhibit examines one of the most turbulent and controversial eras in American history. But President Johnson in the summer of 1865 ordered land in federal hands to be returned to its former owners. Once these conditions were met, however, the newly restored Southern states were allowed to manage their governments and legislative affairs. With Andia Winslow, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Mark Lund. View Documentary Film Assessment 1_ American After the Civil War Episode 1.pdf from HIST 321 at American River College. How were for former Confederate leaders, considered traitors by many in the North, to be dealt with? By 1876, the legislatures of only three Southern states: South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana remained under Republican control. Believing the federal government should take an active role in creating a multiracial society in the postwar South, the Radical Republicans saw the bill as a logical next step in Reconstruction. Hiram Revels (seated at far left) of Mississippi, the first African American U.S. senator, along with black members of the House of Representatives (seated, left to right) Benjamin S. Turner of Alabama, Josiah T. Walls of Florida, and Joseph H. Rainey and Robert Brown Elliott of South Carolina and (standing) Robert C. Delarge of South Carolina, and Jefferson H. Long of Georgia. Kaitlyn Blachley CHST 301: America and the World December 13, Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The deadly 1866 New Orleans and Memphis Race Riots had convinced Congress that Reconstruction policies needed to be enforced. Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents a vital new four-hour documentary series on Reconstruction: America After the Civil War. Within a decade after the Civil War, Congress began to abandon the promise of assistance to millions of formerly enslaved Black people. Andrew Johnson pardoning Confederate soldiers at the White House, Washington, D.C.; Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. It was also the process used to readmit all the Confederate states back into the Union. Meanwhile, people excluded from government had … To Lincoln, the plan was an attempt to weaken the Confederacy rather than a blueprint for the postwar South. 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