History 202
American History II Survey
The Conservative Revolution
Steve Strickland (ABD)
 Intro: American has been split apart by
three major wars—The American
Revolution, The Civil War, and the Vietnam
 All affected the participants and the
generations engaged dramatically—we will
look at the Civil War and How America
North and South viewed Reconstruction.
 Three Important Questions:
 1) Can the U.S. truly be united?
 2) Can Black and White Americans coexist
 3) Who runs this country—President or Congress,
Supreme Court, or the American People?
 First define Reconstruction—Dictionary
states “to build again.” Certainly the
Southerners preferred this definition.
 The Radical Republicans chose this
definition—”to build anew.”
 Change the South’s economy, social system
and race relations.
 “Winners write the History—Losers write
the statistics—caveat, concerning Civil
war—Losers did a good job of writing the
history.[victor gets the spoils]
 What were the spoils—how had the South
suffered? 3 ways to answer this:
 1) Physically; 2) Legally or
 3) Most importantly—emotionally and
South Devastated
 Physically—From Richmond to New
Orleans lay in ruins.
 Transportation, communications,
economically, financially and Socially.
 4 Billion dollars worth of slave property
liquidated with no compensation
South Devastated
 Legally—Biggest most immediate issue.
Southern states had acted treasonous, left
the Union, and now had to be reannexed;
 Reannexed with severe stipulations.
 Debates begin before war actually ends.
South and Stipulations
 Lincoln’s 10%
Compromise; acceptance
of the 13th amendment
 (citizenship)
 The Wade-Davis Bill and
Mainfesto; acceptance of
the 14th amendment(due
process 1867)
 “Black Codes”
 Civil Rights Bill of 1866;
acceptance of the 15th
South and Stipulations
 3) Emotionally—the South suffered a
devastating blow to their ideals and who
they thought they were—everything had
failed—died of a theory to quote Davis.
 Their former friends France and England
had deserted them in their hour of need,
many of their slaves had deserted and joined
the Union Army;
 Worst of all, they had to accept utter defeat
and Military occupation.
Southern Reconstruction
 The actuality of reconstruction would prove
much harder to deal with than simple
definitions. (moral and social victory—in spite of military defeat)
 In the Proclamation of Amnesty and
Reconstruction issued in 1863, Lincoln
stated that the South had never technically
left the Union; therefore the loyalty oath,
lay down arms, and emancipation of slavery
was all that was required;
 His attitude was “… malice toward none.
With charity to all.”
Southern Reconstruction
Countered with the Wade-Davis Bill in July
1864; (Benjamin Wade[Ohio] and Henry Davis[Maryland])
It required 50% of the population swear a
loyalty oath, and prove they had never been
disloyal to the Union; or taken up arms
against the Union; disloyal people lose Vote
This eliminated almost all southerners and
especially all the antebellum Slavocracy.
Southern Reconstruction
 Thaddeus Stephens of Pennsylvania the most
radical forced into the Wade-Davis Bill, each state
constitution not only had to guarantee full
citizenship to ex-slaves, but also assure total
equality in the political, economic, and suffrage
 Deny all ex-confederates the right to vote or hold
public office—and each confederate state must
repudiate its debt. This assures that the first
question on unity will be slow in coming. It also
assures that peaceful coexistence and equality will
also be hampered.
Southern Reconstruction
 Lincoln realized this would prolong and
even create another war; Pocket vetoed it.
 Result was the Wade-Davis Manifesto-
reminding Lincoln it was his job to obey
and execute the laws they pass.
 Segues into who runs the country? The
Executive or Congress (Neither cares about the People
equation at this time).
Four Reconstruction Theories
 1) Presidential Theory
 2) Southern Theory
 3) Conquered
Provinces Theory
 4) “Forfeited Rights
Presidential Theory
 The South never truly out of Union; they
needed restoration not reconstruction;
 President had full say over so-called
reconstruction; Johnson wanted to pardon
the states and state leaders;
 Appoint sympathetic Provisional Governors
and bring them back into Union peacefully;
as if nothing happened
Southern Theory
 To Southerners the war itself had proved
secession could not happen; therefore states
had not really left the Union;
 There was no constitutional question about
re-entering; should be no conditions;
 Therefore they should be welcomed back in
the Union and everything revert to pre-War
Conquered Province Theory
This was the most extreme view; from Thaddeus
Southern states had acted criminally and treasonous;
The constitution or due process did not apply to
them—congress should deal with them harshly;
Treat them as conquered provinces and exert
international laws of occupation and martial law.
“Forfeited Rights” Theory
 This is the theory implemented; declared
Ordnance of secession Null and Void; draft new
state constitutions;
 Secession did cause them to forfeit their rights as
American citizens; Had to reapply for status;
 Congress would ensure every southern state had a
Republican form of government; ratify the 13th
 Military Governors would over see occupation and
enforce Martial law—this was the undercarriage
of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867.
Radicals in Power
 Passed the Freedman’s Bureau Bill and the
Civil Rights Acts of 1866 (citizenship)—
Johnson vetoed both(invasion of state’s
rights)—they overrode the vetoes;
 Convened the Joint Committee of 15—
essentially charged with the radical
oversight of reconstruction—the radicals
now had their way with the South. It created
the Tragic Era, The Dreaded Decade and the
Age of Hate!!
Myths of Reconstruction
 Harshness of Radical caused two
 1) Infuriated the South even more than
 2) began to create sympathy in the North for
the abused Southerners.
 However, carpetbaggers (northerners) and
scalawags (turncoat southerners) and
African American malfeasance was not
much of a true issue—mostly myth.
Myths Cont’d
 Like all myths some
truth, but there is
always some
corruption in politics;
 Black office holders
very small portion of
political appointments,
never held a political
 The South was not
exactly occupied
Myth’s Cont’d
 the southerners were allowed to lay down
arms and return as citizens;
 Pardoned, allowed to vote, hold office, and
in many instances retained their pre-War
land holdings …
 Many of the ex-Confederate Civil Leaders
were never brought to trial, they were
returned to full citizenship, most of their
property, except the slaves, was returned to
 “Moonlight and Magnolia”
Occupation Myth
Occupation Myth
 by 1868, Military rule had ended in all
southern states except for Virginia, Texas,
and Mississippi;(15th amendment passed in 1868)
 In these states military occupation ended by
1870—sounds as if 1877 wasn’t much of a
compromise at all;
 Compromise of 1877—ended reconstruction,
left the Freedmen unprotected, allowed for
the rise of the KKK—mostly because the
North had tired of the War;
Compromise of 1877
 Disputed vote totals in SC,
Miss, Fla and Ore—20
electoral votes.
 Hayes Needed these to
secure the Presidency—
North compromised:
 Southerner on Hayes
cabinet, state control of
federal jobs in the state,
internal improvement
monies for infrastructure,
support for Texas and
Pacific railroad, removal
all troops, and economic
support for industrial
Black Reconstruction
 Emancipation came to Slaves in different
 First the Emancipation Proclamation;
 Second during the war as Union forces
entered an area;
 Third, when the war was over after the
Confederacy’s collapse;
 Fourth, during reconstruction when
occupying Union forces declared them free;
 Regardless Freedom was a precious
Black Reconstruction
 Many African Americans
took to the roads—some in
search of family
members—many because
it was a new experience;
 Many however, stayed put;
the South was all they
knew; they were born here,
worked here, suffered here,
made a family here—it
was as much their land as
it was the old slave owners
Black Reconstruction
 One former slave, even though offered
decent wages to stay—replied, “I can’t, if I
stay, I will never know I’m free …”
 Taking a full name was very important(14th
amendment and due process and equal
protection clauses demanded)—symbolized
freedom and individuality … Names were
equated with prominent people many just
took the last name of their former owners
… Kept their first name … regardless it
was their decision alone to make …
Black Reconstruction
 Many also sought out courts to make their
marriages legal; to separate from other marriages
formed in slavery;
 Black husbands as white husbands deemed
themselves as head of the family; They acted for
their wives and many refused to allow their wives
to work in the fields;
 Black fathers also demanded control of their
children’s labors and actions—if an issue, one was
to see the father—not react on the child …
Education and Religion
 Education became the
hallmark of true
freedom; next to land
ownership education
was the most coveted
 Freedman’s Bureau set
up 100s of schools in
the South; cost 10% of
one’s monthly wages
to attend school—still
the schools were
packed …
Black Reconstruction
 Antebellum, most Blacks
attended White churches;
 Post bellum, African
Americans were quick to
establish their own
congregations and hire
Black Itinerant Preachers;
 Center of the Black
Community; organizing
center; cornerstone of
respective leaders were the
Black Preachers
Freedman’s Bureau
 With all the changes, the South and the
Freedmen still needed a governing body to
supervise the transition from slavery to
 March 1865, The Bureau of Refugees,
Freedmen, and abandoned land or the
Freedman’s Bureau came into being;
 Though castigated as a failure and corrupt
organization, it was relatively successful.
Freedman’s Bureau
 Relieved much suffering of Both Black and White
displaced people; It started schools, it issued
millions of rations (food and clothing);
 It issued approximately 5 million rations to White
families; It also issued 15 million rations to Black
 It issued medical treatment; helped resettle many
families Black and White—It enforced the right to
work; choose one’s own employer; receive fair
wages for a fair days work … negotiated contracts
favorable to the Freedmen .. Good conditions and
good pay …
End of Reconstruction
 64$ question, is Reconstruction over?
 Politically over with the Compromise of
 In reality it was over around 1872, but by
1877 the North had tired of the War, the
South had replaced almost all political
leaders with antebellum “Redeemers” or
“Bourbons” political leaders—a new name,
but the same old Slavocracy resumed
political power in the South.
Legacy of Reconstruction
 Made some important contributions to the
American landscape; there was
redistribution of income;
 Though limited there was also
landownership redistribution;
 There also was the emergence of a greater
more cohesive African American community
and culture;
 Not as disastrous to the White elites as myth
suggests; The Redeemers had reestablished
“Home Rule” in the South …
Legacy of Reconstruction
 The southern political structure fell under the auspices of a
powerful, conservative former Slavocracy oligarchy, who
called themselves the “Redeemers” or the “Bourbons.”
There also was an emerging new class of industrialists,
developers and financiers—very powerful in this
Redeemer movement … These guys replaced the old
planter aristocracy …
 No real drastic economic changes enforced on the South;
nothing political except the abolition of slavery;
 In most cases it failed, because it failed to resolve racial
issues in America; in fact such disillusionment, it would be
100 yrs before society would attempt at resolution again—
the 14th and 15th amendments did, however, set the
constitutional stage for the “Second Reconstruction” in the
1950s and 1960s …
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