- Slides: 16
The Reconstruction Era • Reconstruction Era (1865 -1877) – the period after the Civil War, especially in the south • Southern States needed to rebuild their economies and to be re-admitted into the Union.
Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan • President Lincoln believed that to rebuild national unity, Southern states should be treated leniently. • He sought to mend the nation's wounds as rapidly as possible and ignored punishing the South. • Once ten percent of a former Confederate state's voters took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, representatives from that state could be admitted back into Congress.
New Forces in Southern Politics • Three new groups stepped in to take the place of the leaders of the old South. – White southerners who supported the Republicans. – Northerners who moved to the South after the war. – Freedmen
Scalawags • Some white southerners supported the new Republican governments. Many of these people were in business and had never supported secession. They wanted to forget that the war had ever happened and get on with rebuilding the South. • Many felt that any southerner who supported the Republicans were traitors, so they called them scalawags-a word used for a small, scruffy horse.
Carpetbaggers • Northerners who moved south after the war were another important force during Reconstruction. White southerners called these people carpetbaggers. They said carpetbaggers had left in such a hurry to get rich in the south that they only had time to fling a few clothes into a cheap, cloth suitcase called a carpetbag.
• Northerners went south for several reasons. A few were fortune hunters looking to make a profit as the South was rebuilt. • Others were northern soldiers who had grown to love the rich land in the South. • Some were reformers who wanted to help the freedmen. Many volunteered to teach former slaves. • Hiram Rhodes Revels – first African American to serve in the U. S. Congress
Freedmen • As slaves, blacks had no voice in politics. • Now they could not only vote, but they could run for office. • Blacks became sheriffs, mayors, and legislators in the South’s new local and state governments.
Freedmen • A problem facing the South was how to deal with the mil lions of freed slaves, known as freedmen. • Congress estab lished the. Freedmen's Bureau to help the freed slaves with food, clothing and medical care.
Black Codes • Southern states passed "Black Codes, " in order to regulate the lives of the freedmen. • The "Black Codes" made it illegal for freedmen to hold public office, to travel freely or to serve on juries. Any freed man found without a job could be fined and jailed.
• Some white southerners were extreme in their views and formed secret societies to help them regain power. • The most dangerous of these secret groups was the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The Klan worked to keep blacks and white Republicans out of office. • The members of the KKK dressed in white robes and hoods to hide their identity. They rode at night to the homes of black voters, shouting threats and burning crosses. When the threats did not work, the Klan turned to violence. They murdered hundreds of blacks and their white allies.
Congress Responds • Following the Civil War, the Radical Republicans in Congress introduced three new Con stitutional amendments: • 13 th - abolished slavery • 14 th - provide citizenship to the freedmen • 15 th - allow African American males the right to vote.
The Difficult Task of Rebuilding • Despite political problems, Reconstruction governments tried to rebuild the South. • They built public schools for both black and white children. Many states gave women the right to vote, and they improved health care for the mentally and physically challenged. • In addition, the governments also rebuilt railroads, telegraph lines, bridges and roads.
A Cycle of Poverty / Sharecropping • After the war, freedmen left the plantations on which they had lived and worked. This was how many of them proved they were free. • Freedmen found few opportunities. • Many Republicans wanted to help the freedmen by giving them land, but most Americans opposed the plan. • In the end, freedmen received “nothing but freedom. ”
• In the hard economic times of Reconstruction, freedmen and poor whites went to work on large plantations. They farmed the land using tools provided by the planter. In return they gave the landowner a share of the crop at harvest time. • These landless farmers were called sharecroppers since they “shared” part of the crop. • Much of the South became locked in a cycle of poverty. They did not make enough money from their share of the crop to purchase their own land, tools or seed. Drought and other elements might cause their crop to fail which further indebted them to the plantation owners. This continued the Cycle of Poverty.
The Homestead Act of 1862 • President Lin coln signed the Homestead Act in 1862. • The act stated that any citizen could occupy 160 acres of government land. If the settler "improved" the land with a home and grew crops, after five years he or she would own the property. • Many European immigrants were attracted by this offer of free land. • Almost 1, 400, 000 homesteads were eventually granted under the Homestead Act. • In Texas the United States Government did not own or control unclaimed land in Texas. After the Civil War only white citizens received free land.
Exit Ticket 1. What was the purpose of the Black Codes? 2. Who was locked in a “Cycle of Poverty? Why? 3. Who were scalawags? Who were carpetbaggers? 4. How did the government rebuild the south? Give specific examples of this.