"I am for Negro suffrage in every rebel state. If it be just, it should not be denied; if it
 be necessary, it should be adopted; if it be a punishment to traitors, they deserve it."



   I. Turbulent Post-War Period
       A. Political → YES w/ plenty o' chaos
            1. Formula to readmit secessionist states
            2. Accomplished by 1870 (Georgia last)
       B. Social → NO w/ plenty o' chaos
            1. Attempt to integrate freed slaves into society
            2. Represents true failure of Reconstruction
       C. Economic → YES eventually
            1. Fix southern economy
                  • repair pre-war flaws
                  • bolster w/o slave labor
            2. Merge w/ northern economy to make nat'l system
       D. Radical Republicans
            1. Vindictive; shortsighted; unrealistic
                  • pre-war abolitionists; tried to legislate morality
                  • selves = Reconstruction's "moral trustees"
                  • thought South had committed "state suicide"
                  • secessionist states = "conquered provinces"
                  • demanded immediate civil & political equality
            2. Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, Ben Wade
       E. North & South swapped theories regarding secession
            1. N → secession unlawful ... firm readmission plan
            2. S → states' rights view ... few post-war parameters
 II. Political Reconstruction
       A. Abe Lincoln = "Presidential Reconstruction"
            1. "With malice toward none, with charity for all..."
            2. Mild; lenient; flexible; compassionate; expedient
            3. Reflected purpose for war & stance on secession
            4. "Ten Percent Plan"
                  • oath of loyalty by 10% of 1860 voters
                  • other provisions
                  • Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee in 1864
            5. Radical Republicans countered w/ Wade-Davis Bill
                  • much harsher requirements for readmission
                  • Lincoln killed bill w/ pocket veto
                  • Lincoln's death precluded compromise
       B. Andrew Johnson = "Restoration"
            1. Not well suited for Reconstruction presidency
                  • despised secessionists; resented southern elite
                  • states' rightser; staunch white supremacist
            2. Blended Lincoln's plan & Wade-Davis terms
            3. By end of 1865, all seceded states had complied
            4. Congress refused to seat "restored states"
                  • angered by southern obstinance
                      ✓ reluctance to grant suffrage to blacks
                      ✓ election of former Confederates to Congress
                  • formed Joint Committee on Reconstruction
                      ✓ chaired by moderate Sen. Wm. P. Fessenden
                      ✓ genesis of "Congressional Reconstruction"
       C. Radical Republicans = "Military Reconstruction"
            1. Reconstruction Acts in 1867
                  • accepted readmission of Tennessee only
                  • rejected other Lincoln-Johnson state gov'ts
                  • est'd harsher standards, inc. 14th Amendment
                  • placed 10 states into 5 military districts
                      ✓ under military general w/ dictatorial power
                      ✓ troops available to enforce new mandates
            2. 7 states granted readmission by 1868
       D. Johnson's impeachment
            1. Intent was to eliminate White House resistance
                  • vetoed numerous Radical Republican measures
                  • believed new laws should have southern input
            2. Several charges; most downright silly
            3. Violated (?) new Tenure of Office Act
                  • 1 of 2 laws passed to manipulate Johnson
                  • dismissed Sec. of War Edwin Stanton
                  • law passed after appointment by another Prez
            4. Survived by one Senate vote (not really that tight)
            5. Outcome fortunate (misuse of impeachment tool)
III. Social Reconstruction
       A. "Reconstruction Amendments"
            1. 13th = abolished slavery (1865)
            2. 14th = authorized citizenship for blacks (1868)
            3. 15th = granted blacks right to vote (1870)
                  • lacked support in some northern border states
                  • 3 southern states forced to ratify for admission
                  • caused rift in feminist movement
       B. Emancipated blacks
            1. Set adrift (w/o $, land) between slavery & freedom
            2. South as sharecroppers & tenant farmers
            3. North to cities in search of jobs
            4. West to become cowboys & exodusters
       C. Black political leadership
            1. State level
                  • achieved brief majority in S Car legislature
                  • no governorships
            2. Nat'l level
                  • House = 14; Senate = 2
                  • Hiram Revels filled Jeff Davis's vacated seat
            3. Bottom-line evaluation
                  • none over-the-top outstanding
                  • lacked formal education & political experience
IV. Economic Reconstruction
       A. Agricultural adjustment
            1. Hired gangs ... sharecropping & tenant farming
            2. Break-up of large plantations
                  • "40 acres & a mule" never materialized
                  • heavy taxes forced plantation owners to sell
                  • # farms doubled; ave. acreage halved
                  • South's cotton production: 1880 > 1860
            3. "King Cotton" dethroned by rice, sugar, tobacco
       B. The "New South"
            1. South's infrastructure (esp. railroads)
            2. Textile manufacturing most evident increase
            3. Birmingham = "Pittsburgh of the South"
            4. South still agrarian w/ industry far behind North
 V. End of Reconstruction
       A. Election of 1876
            1. Sam Tilden (D) vs. Rutherford B. Hayes (R)
            2. Election tainted by disputed electoral votes
                  • apparent result = Tilden 204 & Hayes 165
                  • 20 total in question (popular vote for Tilden)
                      ✓ Florida + Louisiana + South Carolina = 19
                      ✓ 1 of Oregon's 3 electoral votes
            3. Resolution
                  • 15-member Electoral Commission formed
                      ✓ 5 senators + 5 representatives + 5 justices
                      ✓ 7 Democrats + 7 Republicans + 1 Indep'dent
                  • Compromise of 1877
                      ✓ party power split in Congress's houses
                      ✓ Wormley Conference in Washington, DC
                  • Republicans get White House continuance
                  • Democrats get end of Military Reconstruction
                      ✓ withdrawal of remaining fed'l troops
                      ✓ appointment of southerner to Cabinet
                  • Tilden gets "Gee, sorry 'bout that, Sam ol' boy"
            4. Historical assessment
                  • Democrats clearly cast more votes in 3 states
                      ✓ blacks forcibly barred from polls
                      ✓ likely: Louisiana & S Car = R; Florida = D
                  • Hayes or Tilden = toss-up ("Rutherfraud" unfair)
       B. Legacy
            1. South's economy survived, then flourished (+)
                  • redistribution of property spread wealth
                  • agriculture more diversified & productive
                  • industry & manufacturing took hold
            2. Less effective southern leadership (–)
                  • disenfranchisement of Confederate leaders
                  • elevated less-educated & self-serving
            3. One-party gov't fastened to South (–)
            4. Sectional resentment was increased (–)
            5. Racial equality unrealized in mind & matter (–)
                  • better than slavery regardless
                  • seeds planted for future social legislation
       C. Post-Reconstruction "redeemed" South
            1. South apparently free to suit itself
                  • fed'l troops withdrew & Congress lost interest
                  • no White House advocacy (both parties)
            2. Trend: slavery ... subordination ... segregation
            3. "Jim Crow" legislation
            4. Gov. Wade Hampton's "Pledge" unkept
            5. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) = "separate but equal"
            6. Poll taxes & literacy tests blocked black voters
VI. Hodge-podge of measures, agencies, people
       A. Politics & voting
            1. Carpetbaggers & scalawags
            2. Union League of America
            3. Force Acts (1870-71)
            4. Amnesty Act (1872)
       B. Employment & education
            1. Sharecropping & tenant farming
            2. Black Codes (1865-66)
            3. Freedmen's Bureau (1865-72)
            4. Booker T. Washington
                  • Tuskegee Institute in Alabama (est. 1881)
                  • "reasonable" black nat'l spokesman
                      ✓ Atlanta Compromise (1895)
                      ✓ dignity + education = "accommodation"
       C. Violence & terror
            1. Ku Klux Klan (& others)
                  • Tennessee in 1866 by Nathan Bedford Forrest
                  • used threat & act to intimidate blacks & whites
            2. "Mississippi Plan"
            3. Race riots (eg: Memphis & New Orleans in 1866)
       D. Presidents
            1. Lincoln (R) → 10 on scale of 1 (bad) to 10 (good)
            2. Johnson (D) → 1 due to political ineptness
            3. Grant (R) → 1½ due to marked corruption
            4. Hayes (R) → 5
       E. Animals on state-issue quarters
            1. Buffalo on Kansas, Montana (skull), North Dakota
            2. Plenty of others
                  • inc. bear, fish, horse, numerous birds
                  • no alligator, beaver, caribou, moose, penguin



  • John Wilkes Booth
  • "Ten Percent" Plan
  • Amnesty Act
  • Radical Republicans
  • Henry Winter Davis
  • Benjamin Wade
  • Charles Sumner
  • Thaddeus Stevens
  • "forty acres and a mule"
  • Wade-Davis Bill
  • Military Reconstruction
  • Thirteenth Amendment
  • Fourteenth Amendment
  • Fifteenth Amendment
  • "unredeemed states"
  • Freedmen's Bureau
  • Black Codes
  • Civil Rights Cases
  • Tenure of Office Act
  • Edwin Stanton
  • carpetbagger
  • scalawag
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest
  • Union League of America
  • Force Acts
  • Solid South
  • Compromise of 1877
  • Wormley Conference
  • Committee of Fifteen
  • "Jim Crow" laws
  • Hampton's pledge
  • sharecropping
  • tenant farming
  • Tuskegee Institute
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Atlanta Compromise
  • poll tax
  • literacy test
  • Plessy v. Ferguson


  • Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address (1865)
  • Statements of victims of Ku Klux Klan activities in Testimony Taken by the Joint Committee to Inquire into the Conditions of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States (1872)
  • Thomas Nast et al.: Series of political cartoons during the Reconstruction Period (1865-1877)
  • Henry Grady: "New South" Speech (1886)


1.  "With the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln went the South's best hope for
     a satisfactory Reconstruction." Assess the validity of this statement.

2.  Explain the dual role of Reconstruction. Tell what questions the government had to
     address in developing a plan for Reconstruction. In light of this mixed agenda, how
     successful was Reconstruction?

3.  Who were the leaders of the Radical Republicans? Considering the fact that the
     Radicals were so adamant about black equality, how do you account for the failure
     of Reconstruction to bring political, social, and economic equality of opportunity to
     the former slaves?

4.  Explain why the Radical Republicans impeached President Andrew Johnson. In what
     ways was the attempt both a failure and a success?

5.  Describe two problems that were important causes of the Civil War and explain how
     the war itself and Reconstruction provided solutions to the problems.

6.  By looking at the Congressional Plan for Reconstruction and the accomplishments
     and failures of the Reconstruction governments, discuss the extent to which blacks
     were affected, both positively and negatively, by Reconstruction. Cite specific


  1. Military control of the former Confederate states was imposed by
    1. the Wade-Davis Bill.
    2. the Fourteenth Amendment.
    3. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
    4. the Reconstruction Act of 1867.

  2. The leader of the Radical Republicans most closely associated with "forty acres and a mule" is
    1. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania.
    2. Henry Winter Davis of Maryland.
    3. Benjamin Wade of Ohio.
    4. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.

  3. The practice of slavery in the United States was abolished by the
    1. Emancipation Proclamation.
    2. Wade-Davis Bill.
    3. Thirteenth Amendment.
    4. Force Act.

  4. After the Civil War, the freed black slaves did all of the following in relevant numbers except
    1. remained in the South to become tenant farmers and sharecroppers.
    2. migrated to the larger cities of the Northeast.
    3. headed to the West where racial tensions were less pronounced.
    4. left the country and sailed back to their African homelands.

  5. The "end" of Reconstruction is marked by
    1. the Atlanta Compromise.
    2. the Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson.
    3. President Andrew Johnson's impeachment.
    4. the Compromise of 1877.

The Hall of Records, an abandoned part of initial Mount Rushmore plans, has been recently completed. The chamber houses historical records—engraved on 16 porcelain enamel plates embedded in the floor—for scholars hundreds of years in the future. But with natural erosion always at work, how long can the four faces possibly survive? Not to worry, insist geological experts. The granite erodes at the imperceptible rate of less than one inch every 100,000 years! Click on the faces to access LECTURE GUIDE for this unit.


"Dixie's Land"   by Matthew Sabatella