Chapter Study Outline

  1. [Introduction: Sherman Land]
  2. The Meaning of Freedom
    1. Blacks and the Meaning of Freedom
      1. African-Americans’ understanding of freedom was shaped by their experience as slaves and observation of the free society around them.
      2. Blacks relished the opportunity to demonstrate their liberation from the regulations (significant and trivial) associated with slavery.
    2. Families in Freedom
      1. The family was central to the postemancipation black community.
      2. Freedom subtly altered relationships within the family.
        1. Emancipation increased the power of black men within the family.
        2. Black women withdrew from work as field laborers and house servants to the domestic sphere.
    3. Church and School
      1. Blacks abandoned white-controlled religious institutions to create churches of their own.
      2. Blacks of all ages flocked to the schools established by northern missionary societies, the Freedmen’s Bureau, and groups of ex-slaves.
    4. Political Freedom
      1. The right to vote inevitably became central to the former slaves’ desire for empowerment and equality.
      2. To demonstrate their patriotism, blacks throughout the South organized Fourth of July celebrations.
    5. Land, Labor, and Freedom
      1. Former slaves’ ideas of freedom were directly related to land ownership.
        1. Many former slaves insisted that through their unpaid labor, they had acquired a right to the land.
    6. Masters without Slaves
      1. The South’s defeat was complete and demoralizing.
        1. Planter families faced profound changes.
      2. Most planters defined black freedom in the narrowest manner.
    7. The Free Labor Vision
      1. The victorious Republican North tried to implement its own vision of freedom.
        1. Free labor
      2. The Freedmen’s Bureau was to establish a working free labor system.
    8. The Freedmen’s Bureau
      1. The task of the Bureau—establishing schools, providing aid to the poor and aged, settling disputes, etc.—was daunting, especially since it had fewer than 1,000 agents.
      2. The Bureau’s achievements in some areas, notably education and health care, were striking.
    9. The Failure of Land Reform
      1. President Andrew Johnson ordered nearly all land in federal hands returned to its former owners.
      2. Because no land distribution took place, the vast majority of rural freedpeople remained poor and without property during Reconstruction.
      3. Sharecropping came to dominate the cotton South and much of the tobacco belt.
      4. Sharecropping initially arose as a compromise between blacks’ desire for land and planters’ desire for labor discipline.
    10. The White Farmer
      1. The aftermath of the war hurt small white farmers.
        1. Crop-lien system (use of crop as collateral for loans from merchants for supplies)
        2. White farmers increased cotton cultivation, cotton prices plummeted, and they found themselves unable to pay back loans.
      2. Both black and white farmers found themselves caught in the sharecropping and crop-lien systems.
      3. Southern cities experienced remarkable growth after the Civil War.
        1. Rise of a new middle class
    11. Aftermaths of Slavery
      1. The Reconstruction-era debates over transitioning from slavery to freedom had parallels in other Western Hemisphere countries where emancipation occurred in the nineteenth century.
      2. Only in the United States did former slaves gain political rights quickly.
  3. The Making of Radical Reconstruction
    1. Andrew Johnson
      1. Johnson identified himself as the champion of the “honest yeomen” and a foe of large planters.
      2. Johnson lacked Lincoln’s political skills and keen sense of public opinion.
      3. Johnson believed that African-Americans had no role to play in Reconstruction.
    2. The Failure of Presidential Reconstruction
      1. Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction offered pardons to the white southern elite.
      2. Johnson’s plan allowed the new state governments a free hand in managing local affairs.
    3. The Black Codes
      1. Southern governments began passing new laws that restricted the freedom of blacks.
      2. These new laws violated free labor principles and called forth a vigorous response from the Republican North.
    4. The Radical Republicans
      1. Radical Republicans called for the dissolution of Johnson’s state governments, the establishment of new governments that did not have “rebels” in power, and the guarantee of the right to vote for black men.
      2. The Radicals fully embraced the expanded powers of the federal government born of the Civil War.
        1. Charles Summer
        2. Thaddeus Stevens
      3. Thaddeus Stevens’s most cherished aim was to confiscate the land of disloyal planters and divide it among former slaves and northern migrants to the South.
        1. His plan was too radical for most others in Congress.
    5. The Origins of Civil Rights
      1. Most Republicans were moderates, not radicals.
      2. Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois proposed two bills to modify Johnson’s policy:
        1. Extend the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau
        2. Civil Rights Bill (equality before the law was central; it sought to overturn the Black Codes)
      3. Johnson vetoed both bills.
      4. Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill over his veto and later extended the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau.
    6. The Fourteenth Amendment
      1. It placed in the Constitution the principle of citizenship for all persons born in the United States and empowered the federal government to protect the rights of all Americans.
        1. It did not grant blacks the right to vote.
    7. The Reconstruction Act
      1. Johnson campaigned against the Fourteenth Amendment in the 1866 midterm elections.
      2. In March 1867, over Johnson’s veto, Congress adopted the Reconstruction Act, which:
        1. Divided the South into five military districts
        2. Called for creation of new southern state governments, with black men given the vote
      3. The Reconstruction Act thus began Radical Reconstruction, which lasted until 1877.
    8. Impeachment and the Election of Grant
      1. To demonstrate his dislike for the Tenure of Office Act, Johnson removed the secretary of war from office in 1868.
      2. Johnson was impeached and the Senate fell one vote short from removing him from office.
    9. The Fifteenth Amendment
      1. Ulysses S. Grant won the 1868 presidential election.
      2. The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870.
      3. It prohibited federal and state governments from denying any citizen the right to vote because of race.
        1. Did not extend suffrage to women
    10. The “Great Constitutional Revolution”
      1. The laws and amendments of Reconstruction reflected the intersection of two products of the Civil War era—a newly empowered national state and the idea of a national citizenry enjoying equality before the law.
      2. Before the Civil War, American citizenship had been closely linked to race.
      3. The new amendments also transformed the relationship between the federal government and the states.
    11. The Rights of Women
      1. The destruction of slavery led feminists to search for ways to make the promise of free labor real for women.
      2. Some feminists (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony) opposed the Fifteenth Amendment because it did not enfranchise women.
      3. The divisions among feminists led to the creation of two hostile women’s rights organizations that would not reunite until the 1890s.
      4. Despite their limitations, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and the Reconstruction Act of 1867 marked a radical departure in American and world history.
  4. Radical Reconstruction in the South
    1. “The Tocsin of Freedom”
      1. Among the former slaves, the passage of the Reconstruction Act inspired an outburst of political organization.
      2. Blacks used direct action to remedy long-standing grievances.
      3. The Union League aided blacks in the public sphere.
      4. By 1870, the Union had been restored and southern states had Republican majorities.
    2. The Black Officeholder
      1. Two thousand African-Americans occupied public offices during Reconstruction.
        1. Fourteen elected to U.S. House of Representatives
        2. Two elected to U.S. Senate
    3. Carpetbaggers and Scalawags
      1. Carpetbaggers were northern-born white Republicans who made their homes in the South after the war, with many holding political office.
      2. Scalawags were southern-born white Republicans.
        1. Some were wealthy (e.g., James Alcorn, a Mississippi planter)
        2. Most had been up-country non-slaveholders before the Civil War and some had been Unionists during the war.
    4. Southern Republicans in Power
      1. Southern Republican governments established the South’s first state-supported public schools.
      2. The new governments also pioneered civil rights legislation.
      3. Republican governments took steps to strengthen the position of rural laborers and to promote the South’s economic recovery.
    5. The Quest for Prosperity
      1. During Reconstruction, every state helped to finance railroad construction.
      2. Investment opportunities in the West lured more northern investors than southern investors, and economic development remained weak in the South.
  5. The Overthrow of Reconstruction
    1. Reconstruction’s Opponents
      1. Corruption did exist during Reconstruction, but it was not confined to a race, region, or party.
      2. Opponents could not accept the idea of former slaves voting, holding office, and enjoying equality before the law.
    2. “A Reign of Terror”
      1. Secret societies sprang up in the South with the aim of preventing blacks from voting and destroying the organization of the Republican Party.
      2. The Ku Klux Klan was organized in 1866.
        1. It launched what one victim called a “reign of terror” against Republican leaders, black and white.
        2. Example: Colfax, Louisiana, massacre (1873)
      3. Congress and President Grant, with the passage of three Enforcement Acts in 1870 and 1871, put an end to the Ku Klux Klan by 1872.
    3. The Liberal Republicans
      1. The North’s commitment to Reconstruction waned during the 1870s.
      2. Some Republicans, alienated from Grant by corruption in his administration, formed the Liberal Republican Party.
        1. Horace Greeley
    4. The North’s Retreat
      1. The Liberal attack on Reconstruction contributed to a resurgence of racism in the North.
      2. The 1873 depression also distracted the North from Reconstruction.
      3. The Supreme Court whittled away at Congress’s guarantees of black rights.
        1. Slaughterhouse Cases (1873)
        2. United States v. Cruikshank (1876)
    5. The Triumph of the Redeemers
      1. Redeemers claimed to have “redeemed” the white South from corruption, misgovernment, and northern and black control.
    6. The Disputed Election and Bargain of 1877
      1. The election between Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican) and Samuel Tilden (Democrat) was very close, with disputed electoral votes from Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
      2. Congress set up a special Electoral Commission to determine the winner of the disputed votes.
      3. Behind the scenes, Hayes made a bargain to allow southern white Democrats to control the South if his election was accepted.
      4. The compromise led to Hayes’s election and the Democrats’ having a free hand in the South.
    7. The End of Reconstruction
      1. Reconstruction ended in 1877.
      2. It would be nearly a century before the nation again tried to bring equal rights to the descendants of slaves.