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RECONSTRUCTION AND ITS AFTERMATH: The South During Reconstruction.

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Presentation on theme: "RECONSTRUCTION AND ITS AFTERMATH: The South During Reconstruction."— Presentation transcript:

1 RECONSTRUCTION AND ITS AFTERMATH: The South During Reconstruction

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.”

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

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