Reconstruction (1865 -- 1877):
Successes and Failures
(Unit III, Segment 3 of 3)
 Essential Question:
– What were the various plans to
reconstruct the Union at the end
of the Civil War?
 Warm-Up Question:
– What problems exist now that the
Civil War is over?
Reconstruction (1865 to 1877)
 Reconstruction
is the era after the
Civil War when the U.S. gov’t:
–Brought the seceded Southern
states back into the Union
–Ended slavery & tried to protect
newly emancipated slaves
–Rebuilt the nation after more
than four years of fighting
 Reconstruction
occurred in 2 phases:
– Presidential Reconstruction
(1865-67) was lenient in order to
allow Southern states to quickly
rejoin the Union; It was initiated by
President Lincoln but carried out by
President Andrew Johnson
 Reconstruction
occurred in 2 phases:
– Congressional Reconstruction
(1867-77) was directed by Radical
Republicans in Congress who
wanted a stricter plan that protected
the rights of former slaves & kept
Confederate leaders from regaining
power in the South
Lincoln’s Reconstruction Plan
In his 2nd inaugural address, Lincoln promised
 Before
a Reconstruction Plan for the Union with
(& before
& charity
for all”
proposed his Ten-Percent Plan
 This plan was very lenient &
allowed former Confederate states
could re-enter the Union when:
–10% of its population swore an
oath of loyalty to the USA
–States ratified the 13th
Amendment ending slavery
When Lincoln was assassinated
in 1865 VP Andrew Johnson tried
to continue Lincoln’s policies:
– His Presidential Reconstruction
plan was lenient towards Southerners
– States could come back into the USA
once they ratified the 13th Amendment
Presidential Reconstruction
 Johnson’s
Reconstruction plan
hoped to quickly re-unify the nation
 But, this plan did not require strict
regulations to protect former slaves
–Southern states passed black
codes to keep African-Americans
from gaining land, jobs, voting
rights, & protection under the law
–Johnson pardoned 13,000
Presidential Reconstruction
 Led by Thaddeus Stevens, many
“radical” Republicans in Congress
opposed Johnson’s plan & pushed
for laws to protect
The Freedman’s Bureau
 The Freedman’s Bureau was
established in 1865 to offer
assistance to former slaves &
protect their new citizenship:
–Provided emergency food,
housing, medical supplies
–Created new schools
A Freedman’s Bureau School
Historically Black Colleges in the South
The emphasis on education led to the
creation of African American universities,
such as Morehouse College in Atlanta
The Role of Freedman’s Bureau Agents
Many former
abolitionists moved
South to help
freedmen, called
“carpetbaggers” by
Southern Democrats
The 14th Amendment
Congress feared Johnson would allow
violations of civil rights so it drafted the
14th Amendment:
– Clarified the idea of citizenship to
include former slaves
– All citizens were entitled to equal
protection under the law & cannot be
deprived of life, liberty, property
without due process of law
Presidential Reconstruction
 President
Johnson opposed these
new protections because he felt it
would slow reconstruction:
–Johnson vetoed the Freedman’s
Bureau bill & encouraged
Southern states to not support
the 14th Amendment
–This backfired when Republicans
increased their control of
Congress in the 1866 elections
 With
a dominance in Congress,
moderate & “radical” Republicans
took control & began
“Congressional Reconstruction” in
– Did not recognize the state gov’ts
approved under Johnson’s Plan
– Made Reconstruction more strict
Congressional Reconstruction
 The
Reconstruction Act of 1867
required that any Confederate
state that wanted to re-enter the
Union had to:
–Ratify the 14th Amendment
–Allow African-American men
the right to vote in their states
–Keep Confederate leaders
from returning to power
Created 5 military districts to protect
former slaves & to enforce reconstruction
Johnson’s Impeachment (1868)
 President
Johnson obstructed
Congressional Reconstruction:
–He fired military generals
appointed by Congress to
oversee Southern military zones
–He violated a new law called the
Tenure of Office Act when he
tried to fire his Secretary of War
who supported Congress’ plan
 Radical
Republicans used this as an
opportunity to impeach the president
– To impeach is to formally charge
an elected official of wrongdoing
– The House of Representatives
voted 126-47 to impeach Johnson
did the
to fell 1 vote
After an
11 week trial,
of removing
of his term…& he did!
Johnson argued that removal could only occur
due to “high crimes & misdemeanors” but no
“crime” had been committed
The Senate trial of Johnson’s impeachment
was the hottest ticket in town
 In
1868, Civil War hero Ulysses Grant
won the presidency & worked with
Congress to reconstruct the South:
– By 1868, most Confederate states
had been re-admitted to the Union
under Congressional
Because of Congressional Reconstruction,
African-American men in the South could
for the first time
Re-Admission of the South
1870, the 15th Amendment gave
black men the right to vote
– Prohibited any state from denying
men the right to vote due to race
– But…the amendment said nothing
about literacy tests, poll taxes, &
property qualifications
 In
The Successes of Reconstruction
 Through Reconstruction, the
national gov’t achieved Lincoln’s
original goal: “Preserve the
– By 1870, all 11 Confederate
states had been re-admitted into
the United States
– The states‘rights & nullification
arguments came to an end
America at the Start of the Civil War (1861)
America at the End of Reconstruction (1877)
Successes of Reconstruction
 Reconstruction led to the end of slavery
& protections for all citizens, including
– 13th Amendment ended slavery
– 14th Amendment guaranteed all
citizens, regardless of race, equal
protection under the law
– 15th Amendment gave voting rights
to African-American men
Successes of Reconstruction
 Reconstruction was the “golden age”
of voting for African-Americans:
– With the right to vote, military
districts, & federal troops in the
South to protect voters, AfricanAmericans were empowered
– The first African American
politicians were elected to state &
national offices
– Republicans took control of state
governments in the South
The First African-American Congressmen
Successes of Reconstruction
 Reconstruction stressed education:
– Before the Civil War, it was illegal to
teach slaves to read & write
– The Freedman’s Bureau created
schools for African-Americans
 The end of slavery allowed AfricanAmerican families to be reunited,
marriages to be legally recognized, &
African-American workers to make their
own money
Failures of Reconstruction
 After the Civil War, slavery was
replaced by sharecropping:
– White land owners would “rent”
parcels of their fields to AfricanAmericans
in exchange
for ½ to ¼
is also
of the
that theyfarming”
as “tenant
– But, former slaves had no money
for tools or seeds so they gained
loans from the land owner in
exchange for more of their cotton
By the end of 1865, most freedmen had
returned to work on the same plantations on
which they were previously enslaved
Sharecropping remained in place from the 1860s
to the 1940s when the Great Depression & World
War 2 brought an end to the system
Sharecropping family in 1937
Failures of Reconstruction
 Southern whites resisted attempts
at reconstruction by:
– Passing discriminatory laws called
black codes
– Using violence & intimidation to
keep African-Americans inferior to
– The inability of the federal gov’t to
sustain Reconstruction
– Supporting the return of the
Democratic Party to state gov’ts
Failures of Reconstruction
 …Passing discriminatory laws
called black codes:
– These laws restricted AfricanAmericans from serving on juries,
testifying against whites in court,
marrying whites, or owning land
– Black codes kept AfricanAmericans from being able to
have true freedom
Failures of Reconstruction
 …Using violence & intimidation
to keep African-Americans
inferior to whites:
– Groups like the Ku Klux Klan
attacked African-Americans
who tried to vote or spoke out
against black codes;
carpetbaggers, & scalawags
(whites who voted Republican)
– Lynching became common
The “Invisible Empire” of the South
Failures of Reconstruction
 …The inability of the federal
gov’t to sustain Reconstruction
– Corruption and scandals during
Grant’s presidency & economic
recession in 1873 distracted
northerners from Reconstruction
– The Supreme Court ruled against
civil rights laws designed to
protect African-Americans
Failures of Reconstruction
 …Supporting the return of the
Democratic Party to state gov’ts:
– The KKK & black codes became
successful in limiting AfricanAmerican voting
– Federal troops & military districts had
difficulty protecting African-Americans
– One-by-one, Southern state gov’ts
shifted from Republican control to the
Democratic Party
– These “Redeemer Democrats”
hoped to restore the “Old South”
The Rise of “Redeemer Democrats” in the South
 In 1877, Reconstruction ended:
– The Democratic Party returned
to power in all 11 Southern states
– The only thing protecting AfricanAmericans were federal troops;
but by 1875, Grant had stopped
sending reinforcements
 The “Compromise of 1877”:
– In the 1876 election, neither
Democrat Tilden nor Republican
Hayes won a majority of electoral
– Democrats in Congress agreed to
vote for Hayes if the remaining
federal troops were withdrawn from
the South
1876 Presidential Election
President Hayes
removed federal
troops & ended
military zones
Reconstruction officially
ended in 1877
Jim Crow Era (1877 to 1954)
 With Reconstruction over, the Jim
Crow era began (1877-1954)
– Jim Crow laws, such as literacy
tests (reading requirements) & poll
taxes (fees to vote) kept AfricanAmericans from voting
– Grandfather clauses allowed
poor whites to avoid these laws &
 In Plessy v Ferguson (1896), the
Supreme Court said segregation
was OK (“separate but equal”)
“Jim Crow” South from 1877 to 1954

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