Presentation on theme: "RECONSTRUCTION AND ITS AFTERMATH: The South During Reconstruction."— Presentation transcript:
RECONSTRUCTION AND ITS AFTERMATH: The South During Reconstruction
Meanwhile, in the South… White Southerners were shocked by the return of federal troops. Having complied with Johnson’s plan, they thought Reconstruction was over. Black Southerners, on the other hand, were relieved and began registering to vote in huge numbers. With former Confederates barred from registering, the right to vote was limited to many whites, so blacks now made up a majority of voters. Nearly all of them registered Republican.
Carpetbaggers and Scalawags During Reconstruction, many of the Northern soldiers and businessmen who had visited the South decided to stay because of the new economics opportunities there. Most of them were registered Republicans. Even the white Southerners who had sworn loyalty to the Union, tended to register Republican to prove their loyalty and prevent the wealthy planters from taking back control. Southern Democrats hated both of these groups calling Southern Republicans “scalawags” and Northerners seeking work in the South “carpetbaggers” after the type of luggage they carried.
Slow Economic Recovery The new governments quickly ratified the 14 th and 15 th Amendments, and by 1870, every Southern state had been readmitted to the Union. In the 1870s, Reconstruction governments began creating public school systems for both races, which had not existed in the South before the war. Within a few years, more than 50% of white children and about 40% of black children were enrolled, although their schools were usually separate. Although industry and trade led to the rebirth of some Southern cities, most of the South remained dependent on agriculture. During and after the war, taxes, debts, and a lack of laborers led many white farmers to have to sell their land. Some instead divided it into small plots that they rented to workers, and these “tenant farmers” would pay a share of their crop as rent instead of cash, a system known as “sharecropping.”
Sharecropping At first, sharecropping looked promising to both black and white landless farmers. They hoped in time they would earn enough money to buy land for themselves. In reality, these farmers often fell into serious debt. Most sharecroppers had to borrow money from the landowners to buy tools and supplies for farming. Few ever earned enough from the sale of their crops to repay these debts. Debtors were forced to work for the person they owed money to until they paid.
Resistance to Reconstruction Most Southern whites refused to support Reconstruction governments for a number of reasons. Many considered the governments illegal since so many former Confederates had been prevented from voting or running for office. Others were angry at the governments for raising taxes to pay for schools and other improvements. Still others were upset by the corruption in the new governments.
Racism Continues Underlying all of these complaints was the fact that most Southern whites could not accept the idea of former slaves voting and holding office. Many were white supremacists who believed in the superiority of the white race. The most radical turned to violence, forming terrorist groups against African-Americans. The most well-known of these was the Ku Klux Klan Their original goal was to drive out Union troops and allow white Democrats to regain control of the South.
Ending the Terror…Temporarily In 1870 and 1871, Congress took action to end the wave of terror by passing the Enforcement Acts. These laws made it a federal crime to deprive citizens of their civil rights. President Grant sent federal marshals into the South to crush the terror groups. These officials arrested hundreds of men, temporarily reducing the violence. As white Democrats reclaimed Southern governments, however, they were much more tolerant and even supportive of these groups.