Consequences of War for Louisiana What living conditions did surviving Louisianans and former slaves face after the Civil War?
Louisianawas affected by the war like an earthquake. No one could avoid the aftershocks.
The end of the war brought confusion for the newly freed slaves. Freedmen (former slaves) wanted a better future, while the plantation owners wanted to restore the past. The northern states experienced an economic boom, while the war-torn South struggled to survive.
Blacks Voting Rights Blacks were still not allowed to vote so a group of freedmen went to Lincoln arguing their rights and he asked Gen. Banks to allow blacks who owned property or who had fought for the Union to vote.
Reconstruction refers to the steps taken to restore the southern states to the Union and to rebuild the South. President Lincoln wanted to restore the Union rather than punish the South. He announced his plan before the war had ended in his Reconstruction Proclamation.
Lincoln considered the Confederate states still part of the Union. Lincoln’s plan was called the 10% Plan. It allowed states to return to the Union as soon as 10% of the people who had voted in the election of 1860 sign an oath of loyalty. Lincoln put his plan into effect in Louisiana during the war. People in occupied Louisiana who declared their loyalty to the US were allowed to write a new state constitution.
Louisiana’s 1864 constitution abolished slavery, but it did not grant the freemen the right to vote. John Wilkes Booth changed history in a way he did not intend. He assassinated President Lincoln to punish him for the war, but Booth’s action hurt the South instead. Lincoln planned to bring the southern states back into the Union as quickly and easily as possible.
When Vice President Andrew Jackson became president after Lincoln’s death, he faced immediate difficulties. He clashed w/ Congress as he tried to continue Lincoln’s Reconstruction plan w/ some revisions. Johnson began to readmit the southern states to the Union after voters in a state ratified (approved) the 13 th Amendment to the Constitution. The 13 th Amendment abolished slavery.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is when the United States officially announced the abolition of slavery. This day took place on June 19, 1865.
President Johnson also pardoned many former Confederate officers, which meant they could get their land back. Some of the Republicans in Congress wanted to give this land to former slaves. (40 acres and a mule!) These Republicans were called “Radical Republicans” b/c they had the most extreme ideas about Reconstruction. The Radicals disagreed w/ Johnson on Reconstruction; they believed that the South should be punished for the war.
Congress and President Lincoln had also disagreed about Reconstruction, but Lincoln had enough power to begin his more forgiving plan. Johnson did not have enough support in Congress to carry through his Reconstruction plans. President Johnson was impeached by the House of Rep. and came w/in 1 vote of being removed from office by the Senate.
Lincoln vs. Johnson Lincoln Northerners didn’t agree on how to rebuild the South “10 % Plan” allowed states to rejoin union after 10 % of 1860 voters signed loyalty oath Louisiana’s 1864 Constitution ended slavery, but forbade freedmen from voting assassination brought harsher reconstruction conditions to Louisiana Johnson readmitted Southern states that approved the 13 th Amend. Republican “Radicals” wanted to give the land owned by Confederate officers to the freed slaves Johnson pardoned former Confederate officers, allowing them to keep their land Congress nearly voted Johnson out of office
Louisiana’s Postwar Gov’t In the first statewide election, many former Confederates were elected to the legislature. Louisiana’s Republican Party gained strength during Reconstruction This party was made up of free people of color, former slaves, and northerers. The governor at this time was James Madison Wells.
The Freedmen's Bureau Alfred R. Waud July 25, 1868 Reproduced from Harper's Weekly http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/cabildo/cab11.htmhttp://lsm.crt.state.la.us/cabildo/cab11.htm
The Freedmen W/ their new freedom, some former slaves moved to the towns. Some of them returned to the plantations, but others found work as laborers. One of the first actions of the “new” legislature was to pass laws to control former slaves. The free movement of the former slaves offended and frightened the whites.
As a result, the legislature passed Black Codes. These laws restricted the freedmen’s actions, movement, and conduct. Also it included sections about rudeness to whites. The other purpose of this legislation was to control the work force. The laws passed by the legislature required freedmen to sign 1 yr contracts to work. If they did not sign contracts, they would be forced to do work anyway and were arrested.
In 1865, the federal gov’t established the Freedmen’s Bureau. The original purpose was to provide aid – food, clothing, and basic medical care – to former slaves and other needy southerners. The bureau also established schools.
Freedman’s Rights Congress passed the 14 th Amendment to the Constitution. The 14 th Amendment gave freedmen legal rights and citizenship. The southern states were expected to ratify this amendment; states that refused to ratify this amendment would have their representation in Congress reduced.
Louisiana and almost all of the other southern states refused to ratify the amendment. Most white southerners did not believe that the former slaves were ready for citizenship.
Throughout Reconstruction, Louisiana struggled to rebuild the towns, railroads, and levees destroyed during the Civil War. One of the greatest challenges to rebuilding was repairing the state’s farms. Agriculture had long been Louisiana’s main economic activity, but war had devastated the land. Recovering these farms demanded hard work and lots of $$, but landowners had no $$ to hire laborers. Slavery was now a thing of the past.
2 methods were developed to solve this problem. One was the crop lien system. w/ no cash to pay for seeds, tools, or labor, landowners were forced to borrow $$. They had to sign contracts promising to give the lenders a % of their crops when they were harvested. Lenders received their share of the harvests first, and the landowners kept whatever was left.
Often, harvests were poor, and there was little $$ left for the landowner after he paid off the lien. The other system developed to provide farm labor was sharecropping. Since landowners had no $$ to pay wages, they promised part of the crop to their workers. The workers then farmed the land and gave a portion of the harvest to the landowner.
Military Reconstruction Congress established a Joint Committee on Reconstruction to examine the situation in the South. The report found that southerners treated freedmen w/ vindictive and malicious hatred. As a result, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867. This act placed the southern states under strict military control.
5 military districts were set up, each commanded by a US Army general. This control would be removed only after the state ratified the 14 th Amendment, wrote a new state constitution, and granted suffrage rights for all males. Louisiana was apart of District 5. General Philip Sheridan was the military commander. This period was known as Military Reconstruction or “Radical Reconstruction.”
Former Confederates could no longer participate in the political process. They were forced to sit by as the Radical Republicans took control of state government. In 1868, Louisiana wrote the new constitution required by the 1867 Reconstruction Act.
This constitution: –Protected freedmen’s civil rights –Gave suffrage rights to all males over 21 –1 st in Louisiana to have a bill of rights A Republican newcomer, Henry Clay Warmoth, was elected as the new governor. Warmoth was a Union officer during the Civil War and was 26 when he became governor.
Oscar J. Dunn was elected as the lieutenant governor. He was the 1 st black to be elected to a statewide office. The Unionists Party formed in Louisiana during the Civil War. This party was formed by citizens who wanted to remain in the Union during the Civil War. People in this party lost control of it to northerners who moved south during Reconstruction. These northerners where called carpetbaggers.
Carpetbaggers were people who lived in the north and packed their belongings to head to the south during Reconstruction to make a fortune. To white southerners, they were interfering outsiders. Warmoth became known as Louisiana’s carpetbagger governor. Southerners gave southern white Unionists that joined the Republicans a different name, scalawags.
Scalawags were southerners who supported the Republicans during Reconstruction.
IX. Louisiana State Lottery Company (Read more about it on page 227)
General Sheridan set up a system to register black voters. As a result, many blacks were registered to vote. This effect was greatly felt. Almost 50% of the Louisiana House and 25% of the Senate were African Americans. The former Confederates, members of the Democratic Party, were highly upset at these figures.
These Democrats were angry about the gov’t based on the votes of former slaves and resented not being allowed to vote. They vowed to regain the power they had prior to the Civil War. They also wanted to redeem the state from the Republicans, carpetbaggers, and scalawags. These Democrats became known as Redeemers.
After the state election in March 1868, violence increased. A masked group, the Knights of the White Camellia, used threats and physical violence to keep the freedmen from voting or forcing them to vote for Democrats. Many freedmen were told they would be fired if they voted for Republican candidates. Merchants told freedmen to vote “right” in order to buy goods at their stores.
A. The Nightriders Ku Klux Klan opposed the Catholic Church and freedmen’s growing power They operated mostly in North LA where few Catholics lived Knights of the White Camellia was a secret society that used violence and terror in an effort to return control of LA to the native white population. Both groups were often called nightriders because they terrorized at night.
B. Fighting Back Republicans formed the Union League Created the Metropolitan Police in New Orleans 1868 election, over 1,000 Republicans were murdered in LA Most were freedmen 10% of the black population in Caddo Parish were murdered during Reconstruction 25% in Bossier Parish
C. State Returning Board Governor Warmoth opposed the nightriders and others because they threatened Republican rule. Legislature created the State Returning Board to prevent election fraud. It monitored precinct activity and threw out votes if corruption was suspected. Soon it became a corrupt look to keep Republicans in power by throwing out votes in strong Democratic precincts.
The 1872 Election The legislature impeached Governor Warmoth b/c of the controversy surrounding the presidential election of 1872 in Louisiana and on corruption. Lieutenant Governor Dunn had died suddenly in 1871, and state senator, PBS Pinchback became lieutenant governor. Pinchback became acting governor when Warmoth became impeached. This made Pinchback the 1 st African American to serve as governor in any state.
B. The Colfax Riot Violence between blacks and whites escalated and came to a head at Colfax. Hundreds of freedmen seized control of the town and turned the courthouse into a fort. Hundreds of armed whites confronted them on Easter Sunday. About 100 freedmen were killed or executed. 3 white died President Grant settled the disputed election by ordering the Army to recognize Kellogg was the winner.
D. The White League A powerful statewide organization structured like a military to support the Democratic Party. Each parish had a company and officers. Members were mostly former Confederate soldiers. The goal was to drive out Republicans and keep freedmen in check. Organization had 14,000 organized members and successfully forced Republican parish officials out of office.
E. The Coushatta Massacre Red River Parish created by the Republicans Whites dominated the region Used their positions to improve freedmen’s education and economic opportunities and to improve their own lives Members of the White League rode into the parish seat of Coushatta and capture six Republican officials. 5 of the 6 were killed
F. The Battle of Liberty Place White League members gathered on Canal Street where speakers demanded the removal of the Republican governor. Republicans’ Metropolitan Police assemble about 500 men and fired cannons on the White League’s barricades. After a day of battle, the police surrendered to the White League. Democrats installed John McEnery as governor. Grant dispatched war ships to New Orleans US Army forced the White League to withdraw McEnery stepped aside as governor Strength of White League was growing and the US Army was the only thing keeping Republicans in power. This encourage White League to become even more active across the state.
**The Liberty Place Monument (Read more about it on page 238)
**The John Slidell Memorial (Read more about it on page 239)
The 1876 election to elect the next governor was very controversial. The violence and attempts to control voters made the results questionable. The Republican candidate, Stephen Packard claimed he won, yet the Democratic candidate, France T. Nicholls, claimed he won as well.
**Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls (Read more about it on page 240)
The Republicans sort help from Washington D.C. to decide a winner. However, they did not assist in the matter. They were busy trying to hold on to the presidency. Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican, and Samuel J. Tilden, a Democrat, were running for president. The electoral votes in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were too close for them to decide a winner.
The Republicans agreed to end military Reconstruction and remove federal troops if the states electoral votes went to the Republican candidate. The states agreed and President Hayes w/drew the last federal troops from the South and Reconstruction was over. This agreement was known as the Compromise of 1877. As a result of this compromise, the Redeemers were starting to regain control of Louisiana.