USH - Reconstruction Notes

NADIR, 1877-1923
United States History
The Civil War and Its Impact
The Civil War was largely fought over the issues of
states’ rights, popular sovereignty, and spread of
slavery in the U.S.
 States’
Rights – the powers reserved for the states
rather than the federal government
 Popular sovereignty – political theory that government
is created by and subject to the will of the people
 Territories had to be admitted to the Union as either
free (no slavery) or as slave states
The Civil War and Its Impact
The Civil War was from 1861 – 1865
 The
Northern States (Union) defeated the Southern
States (Confederacy)
 It was the deadliest war in American history, killing over
 Victory for the North meant the end of the
Confederacy and of slavery in the United States and
strengthened the power of the federal government
 It ushered in the Reconstruction Era
Reconstruction addressed how the 11 southern
states that seceded (left) from the Union and
formed the Confederacy would be re-admitted to
the United States of America
This process included
 Physically
rebuilding the South
 Restoring the South to the Union via loyalty oaths &
 Determining rights and citizenship for African Americans
The Promise of Reconstruction
Radical Republicans helped to pass the 13th, 14th, &
15th Amendments (the Reconstruction Amendments)
which drastically improved the lives of African
 13th
Amendment – abolished slavery
 14th Amendment – made all African Americans (&
Native Americans) citizens of the United States
 15th Amendment – granted voting rights regardless of
“race, color, or previous condition of servitude”
The Promise of Reconstruction
In addition to the Reconstruction Amendments, the
Radical Republicans also helped to create the
Freedman’s Bureau – aided freed slaves through legal
food and housing, education, health care, and
 Elected Office holders – over 630 African Americans
were elected to the Senate and the House of
Once they regained the ability to vote, many white
southerners became redeemers fought against
Reconstruction, using both political and violence
These redeemers were instrumental in creating
 Black
Codes – state legislation which controlled the
labor, migration, and activities of African Americans
 Ku Klux Klan (KKK) – a white supremacist para-military
organization known for their violent repression of
African Americans
The Failure of Reconstruction
While the promises of Reconstruction for African
Americans gave them equality briefly, overall the
programs of Reconstruction was a utter failure. This
ushered in the Nadir (lowest point) for American
race relations
As a result of this failure of Reconstruction, a new
era of race relations was ushered in – Jim Crow –
which created a system of legal racial segregation
(separation by race) in public and private facilities
 de
jure segregation – by law, usually in the South
 de facto segregation – by fact, usually in the North
Jim Crow America
Jim Crow existed from
1876-1965 in both the
North and the South
Named after caricature
of blacks performed by
whites in blackface
The term Jim Crow
became synonymous
with Negro and racial
Jim Crow America – Disfranchisement
From 1890 to 1908, white conservative Democrats
passed legislation and constitutional amendments
across the South to disfranchise (deny the right to
vote) most African Americans
They used a combination of restrictions on voter &
voting methods like
 poll
 literacy tests
 residency requirements
Jim Crow America - Violence
Violence, and the threat
of violence, was a
significant part of
enforcing Jim Crow laws
Besides the work of the
KKK, mobs of white men
often lynched African
Americans illegally
Lynching involved
hanging, disfiguring
and, usually, burning the
victim to death
Jim Crow America - Accommodations
The case, Plessy v.
Ferguson (1896),
established the basic
principle of Jim Crow
America, “separate but
The “separate but
equal” clause was the
rule of law in America
until the Brown v. Board
of Education decision in
The Fight Against Jim Crow
Though this period is
considered the Nadir for
African Americans, many
organized against Jim
Crow and fought for
their rights, eventually
culminating in the
modern Civil Rights
Movement (1954 1970)
Ida B. Wells – Barnett
 W.E.B. Du Bois
 Booker T. Washington
Ida B. Wells - Barnett
Educated at Fisk
University, Ida B. Wells
was a journalist and
newspaper editor who
tirelessly exposed
lynchings in the South
She was also active in
the women’s rights
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
As the 1st African
American to receive a
PhD from Harvard, Du
Bois later founded the
National Association for
the Advancement of
Colored People
A sociologist and author,
he became a dominate
figure in the African
American community
Booker T. Washington
A former slave and self
made man, Washington
founded the Tuskegee
Institute to train African
Americans in the trades
and agriculture
An author and politician,
he became a dominate
figure in the African
American community
Philosophical Differences between
Du Bois and Washington
W.E.B. Du Bois
Believed in demanding
rights for African
 The Talented Tenth, an
educated elite, would
lead Black America
 Coined the idea of
double consciousness –
all Blacks live in 2 worlds
(one black, one white)
 Outlined his philosophy
in The Souls of Black Folk
Booker T. Washington
Believed in
accommodation – blacks
would not ask for the
vote or equal rights &
would tolerate
segregation and
discrimination until whites
were ready to give
African Americans their
 Outlined his philosophy
in Up From Slavery

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