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Ch. 22 Notes The Ordeal of Reconstruction

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1 Ch. 22 Notes The Ordeal of Reconstruction

2 Reconstruction Reconstruction is going to be the process of rebuilding the south and restoring the south states to the Union. The two main problems are: The south must be rebuilt both physically, economically and socially. Provide for the freedmen (freed slaves) and help them adjust to a life of freedom.

3 The Freedman’s Bureau The Freedman’s Bureau was established by the federal government to help the freed slaves. It aided them in finding food, clothing and shelter as well helping to get an education and find jobs. Rumors spread that each freedman would be given “40 acres and a mule” but very few freedmen were given any land permanently. White southerners despised the Freedman’s Bureau, viewing it as an effort by the Republican government to upset white racial superiority in the south – even President Johnson will hate the Freedman’s Bureau and will eventually bring it to an end.


5 The 10% Plan Lincoln wanted reconstruction to be as rapid as possible for the southern states. Under his 10% Plan, once 10% of a states voters took an oath of loyalty to the U.S. and promised to abide by emancipation. Of course, he never was able to implement this plan thanks to John Wilkes Booth.

6 The Radical Republicans and the Wade-Davis Bill
A group of Republicans, known as the Radical Republicans (lead by Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens) were upset with Lincoln’s 10% plan. The Radical Republicans want to use reconstruction to punish the south for the war and to make sure the rights of the freedmen are protected. Republicans in general were also concerned that once the southern states were allowed to count all former slaves as part of their population, they would be even stronger politically. The Radical Republicans introduced the Wade-Davis Bill in Congress, which would require 50% of the state’s voters to take the oath of allegiance and would require stronger safeguards for the freedmen. Although the Wade-Davis Bill passed through Congress, Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill.

7 Andrew Johnson When Andrew Johnson became president, the Radical Republicans believed he would side with them because he hated the wealthy plantation owners of the south (the only reason he was put on the ticket was to bring in votes from War Democrats and Pro-Union southerners). Instead, he followed Lincoln’s lead in trying to make reconstruction speedy for the south.

8 Presidential Reconstruction
Johnson basically followed Lincoln’s plan except that he disfranchised (took away the right to vote) many leading Confederates, including wealthy plantation owners (had to have property worth over $20,000) – they could petition him for a pardon and he did pardon a large number of them. States had to call conventions to repeal their ordinances of secession and ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery – once these conditions were met they were to be readmitted to the Union.

9 Southern Reconstruction under the Presidential Plan
As the southern states reformed their governments, problems began to arise. Most of the southern states refused to ratify the 13th Amendment. Others kept their original constitutions which allowed slavery. When they held elections, they elected many former Confederates. They began passing Black Codes – sets of laws designed to limit the rights of the freedmen and force them back into the fields.

10 Radical Reconstruction
Many people in the north believed the south was acting as if the Civil War didn’t even happen. The Radical Republicans refused to recognize the new southern governments and instead passed the Reconstruction Act.

11 The Reconstruction Act
The south was divided into five military districts run by a military governor and subject to martial law. All ex-Confederates were removed from local and state government. Southern states had to write a new constitution that protected the rights of the freedmen (specifically the right to vote). Southern states had to ratify – officially enact as law – the 14th Amendment.

12 The 14th Amendment In 1866, Congress passed a Civil Rights Bill to protect the basic rights of the freedmen – Johnson vetoed it. In response to that veto, Congress wrote the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment granted the freed slaves citizenship and gave them equal protection of the law from both the federal and state governments.

13 Reconstruction Military Districts

14 Southern Reconstruction Governments
Former Confederates were barred from participating in the new governments so they were populated with: Carpetbaggers, who were northerners who came south for southern government positions. Scalawags, who were southerners who supported the Republican government. Freedmen, who did quite well considering they had little formal education and no political experience. One common complaint about the reconstruction governments was that they were corrupt, but they were no more corrupt than the northern governments that were in power during the time period. Even though there was corruption, they still passed some needed political reforms in the south, the most important being the creation of a system of free public schools in the south.

15 Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan was formed by the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forest. They used violence and intimidation to try to keep black southerners (and white carpetbaggers and scalawags) from participating in government. Federal troops were sent into the south (Force Acts) to get the KKK under control but it still undermined the political influence of African Americans in the south.

16 The 15th Amendment Radical and moderate Republicans agreed that the right to vote for the freed slaves was a necessity. Because of this, they passed the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race. Women righters were very disappointed in both the 14th and 15th Amendments because they didn’t extend political rights to women.

17 The Impeachment of Johnson
Johnson fought the Republicans in Congress over many issues, vetoing many of their bills they attempted to pass (they overrode most of the vetoes). So in 1867 they passed the Tenure of Office Act, requiring the president to get Congressional approval to remove cabinet members. Johnson fired Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and Congress used that as their reason to try to get rid of him through the impeachment process. The process failed by one vote, mainly because a group of Republicans refused to vote to remove the president over political issues.

18 The Purchase of Alaska Johnson’s one real positive action was allowing Secretary of State William Seward to purchase Alaska from Russia. Most people derided the decision, referring to it as Seward’s Folly or Seward’s Icebox.

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