Civil War and Reconstruction UNIT 8, SECTION THREE: RECONSTRUCTION Juneteenth In 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the United States, but it really had no effect in the Confederacy. But at the end of the Civil War, U.S. troops marched in to take control of Texas. When the Union soldiers landed in Galveston, they issued a proclamation freeing all slaves. That day, June 19, is celebrated as Juneteenth, and is a state holiday in Texas. Emancipation Excitement As the news of emancipation spread, many freedpeople, or former slaves, left the farms and plantations, some for the first time. Roads soon became crowded with former slaves. Some traveled to look for paying jobs or family members from whom they had been separated. Many rushed to courthouses to have their informal marriages legalized. The Freedman’s Bureau The U.S. government wanted to help freedpeople adjust to a life outside of slavery. The Bureau provided former slaves with homes, food, and legal aid. Many freedpeople returned to their old plantations to work, and so the Bureau helped them settle fair contract with their former slave owners. They also helped to open many schools in Texas. Many people who worked for the Bureau were threatened by angry whites who felt that African-Americans were not equal. Even with the help of the Bureau, violence against blacks was a major problem in Texas. The Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan became an organized group during Reconstruction and spread into Texas in 1868. They opposed Republican rule and their ideas were based on vigilantism, or taking the law into your own hands. At first, they just held parades, wrote into newspapers, and had meetings. Then they began to intimidate and murder those who opposed them. Usually, these actions were directed at freemen and white Republicans who wanted more rights for African Americans. Their actions died down after Reconstruction, but have surfaced at times during periods of racial tension. Freedman’s Towns With few other opportunities left to them, many freedpeople continued to work for their former slave owners. In an effort to escape this kind of situation, many African Americans began to unite and buy land to create towns of their own, known as Freedman’s Towns. These kinds of communities were in both urban and rural Texas, with the center of most of the towns being a church. Two were built in Austin and Houston. Today, these areas are known for their rich culture and diversity. Presidential Reconstruction Reconstruction – the process of reuniting the nation and rebuilding the southern states – was being debated in the North. Some people wanted to punish the South. Others, like President Lincoln, did not want to cause more bitterness. He wanted the wounds of the Civil War to heal quickly. The president pushed for a quick reconciliation, and for it to be as easy on the South as was possible. President Johnson’s Plan After Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson became the 17th president of the United States, and he wanted to continue Lincoln’s plan of admitting the Southern states back into the Union as quickly as possible. His plan stated that all southern states needed to create a new Constitution and pass the 13th amendment, which outlawed slavery. It also stated that secession was illegal and all southern war debts were to be cancelled. If southern white males wanted to vote again, they would have to swear an oath of allegiance to the U.S. The Reconstruction Amendments 13th Amendment (1865) – made slavery illegal in the United States 14th Amendment (1868) – declared all persons born or naturalized in the United States, expect for Native Americans, to be citizens 15 Amendment (1870) – guaranteed all free men the right to vote The Constitution of 1866 As part of President Johnson’s plan, the Texan delegates sat down and began to write a new Constitution. The Constitution of 1866 was a lot like the one Texas followed before the Civil War, and it did not follow Johnson’s plan. It did not ratify the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, or the 14th amendment, which granted citizenship to African Americans. They also refused many other rights to freedpeople, such as voting rights. The Black Codes In addition to the new Constitution, Texas and other southern states attempted to limit the rights of free African Americans by passing laws known as “Black Codes.” These laws prevented blacks from voting, holding public office, owning land, or receiving an education. Freedpeople could even be thrown in jail for not having a job. Also, black codes promoted segregation, or the separation of blacks and whites. There were rules about the mixture of races at work, in schools, or in public. This kind of segregation continued until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Radical Republicans React After many states began passing black codes and refused to follow Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction, many “Radical Republicans,” or Republicans in Congress, felt that the South needed to be controlled. Since so many former Confederate leaders were in charge in the South after the Civil War, the Radical Republicans attempted to take over power and guarantee that laws be passed to benefit the freedpeople of the South. Congressional Reconstruction After the elections of 1866, the Republicans in Congress had a majority, and the ability to pass more laws. This marked the beginning of Congressional Reconstruction. The southern state governments were declared provisional and Congress divided the South into five military districts. In order to rejoin the Union, the southern states would have to create a new constitution and ratify all of the Reconstruction amendments. Military leaders were given the authority to remove “uncooperative” southern leaders from office. Johnson’s Reaction President Johnson tried to block Congressional Reconstruction, arguing that it gave the federal government too much power. He also disagreed with giving equal rights to African Americans. Johnson was later impeached, meaning charges were brought against him by Congress. He was not removed from office, but his power was broken. He was not re-elected. Ulyssess S. Grant, a man more in favor of Congressional Reconstruction, became the next president. The Constitution of 1869 Since Texas had to try again to create a new constitution, a constitutional convention was called in 1868. It was written by Radical Republicans, and when complete, it declared that the U.S. Constitution was supreme to any state constitution. Texas soon ratified the Reconstruction Amendments. Most Texans did not agree with the new constitution, but they were ready to be readmitted back to the Union. In 1870, the control of Texas was returned to the state government. Opposition to Reconstruction Many people opposed the actions of the Radical Republicans. They called the Texans who supported Congressional Reconstruction “scalawags” and people who came to Texas from the north “carpet baggers.” The governor at the time, Edmund J. Davis, tried to pass many laws concerning taxes and the state militia. He often used his power to declare martial law when he felt it necessary, and people often complained that he was spending too much money and wielded too much power. Governor Edmund J. Davis In 1869, Edmund J. Davis was elected as governor of Texas. He was a Union soldier during the Civil War and he supported the actions of Radical Republicans. As governor, he worked to protect the frontier, expand public education, and give more rights to blacks in Texas. Many people saw his actions as giving too much power to the government, and his programs were called “The Obnoxious Acts.” When he was not reelected, he refused to give up his seat and he barricaded himself in his office, as the election was ruled unconstitutional. When he was not given the support of Republicans outside of Texas, it was considered the end of Reconstruction in the state. The Constitution of 1876 After the Republicans lost power in the state, Texas Democrats called for a new constitutional convention in 1876. With this new constitution, the power of the governor was greatly reduced, while more power was given to the local governments. State spending was also limited. Public school funding was cut back because people did not want to pay the taxes to support the schools. Today, the state laws we follow are based on this constitution, though over 400 amendments have been made to the document. Railroads During Reconstruction, leaders in Texas realized that transportation in Texas would have to change if the state was ever expected to grow. Between 1850 and 1876, railroads were being built across the state on land grants that were previously set aside. Many towns would pay the state to have railroads built through their area, because if they were bypassed, that could mean that many businesses and jobs would go elsewhere. By the 1880’s, over 5000 miles of track had been laid in the state. Agriculture After the Civil War, many men came home to their families and farms. Since most of the war was not fought in Texas, most citizens were able to quickly bounce back and make a profit in agriculture. As the railroads grew in Texas, more farmers were able to take their crops to market. In order to meet the demand without slaves, tenant farms became the new rage. These were smaller farms that replaced larger plantations. Farmers would rent the land and pay their rent in cash or crops. If you had to rent supplies too, then you were known as a sharecropper. By 1870, onethird of all farmers in Texas were tenant farmers. But, in a way, it was a new form of slavery because most were in great debt to their landlord. Native Americans As the Civil War took most men into battle, the Native Americans in Texas were able to attack settlers and attempt to take back much of the frontier. As Reconstruction occupied the U.S. government, Texans were alone in trying to protect the frontier. Comanches and Kiowas raided settlements, burned homes, and kidnapped women and children. After unsuccessful attempts at peace treaties, the U.S. government began a new campaign of extermination, or total destruction, of both the Native Americans and buffalo.