Chapter 16 Reconstruction, 1865-1877

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Chapter 16

Reconstruction, 1865-1877

Chapter Summary

Chapter 16 presents an overview of the Reconstruction era focusing on the differences in Southern white and African-American expectations for the postwar South, federal programs for Reconstruction, the successes and failures of Republican state governments in the South during Reconstruction, and the circumstances and decisions which brought an end to the Reconstruction era.

White Southerners and the Ghosts of the Confederacy, 1865 

While some white Southerners saw the destruction of the Confederacy as punishment, others came to view the war as the “Lost Cause” and would not allow the memory of the Civil War to die. The myth of the Lost Cause was a need to rationalize and justify the devastation and loss of life; the Reconstruction era became the Redemption and forged community in a time of uncertainty about the future. In this mythology, African-Americans were cast in the role of adversaries who challenged whites’ belief of their own racial superiority.

More than Freedom: African-American Aspirations in 1865 

Former slaves wanted to be free of white supervision; they also desired land, voting and civil rights, and education. At the end of the Civil War, African-Americans had reason to hope their dreams might be achieved through such actions as the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The vast majority of former slaves was never able to realize their dreams of independent land ownership and continued to work as farm laborers; others migrated to cities. Their religious faith inspired them; they saw their emancipation in biblical terms and the church became the primary focus of the African-American community.

Federal Reconstruction, 1865–1870 

The federal government had two great challenges following the Civil War; supporting the freedom of former slaves and rejoining the Confederacy to the Union. No blueprint for Reconstruction existed; the Constitution was silent on the issue and there was no agreement on policy. Presidential Reconstruction and Congressional Reconstruction brought mixed results. The Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were key legislative acts during this period; however, by 1870, white Southerners were gradually regaining control of their states and using violence and intimidation to erode gains made by African-Americans.

Counter-Reconstruction, 1870–1874 

While most of the nation was distracted by political scandals and a serious economic depression, white Southerners regained control of the South. Racial violence through groups like the Ku Klux Klan subverted the electoral process; the success of political violence reflected the erosion of Northern support for Congressional Reconstruction.

Redemption, 1874–1877 

After more than fifteen years of Reconstruction, Republicans lost interest in policing their former enemies. By 1877 the Redeemers had triumphed, and all the former Confederate states had returned to the Union in the Compromise of 1877 following the disputed 1876 presidential election. Southern states now had all of their rights and many of their leaders restored to pre-Civil War conditions. Freed slaves remained in mostly subservient positions with few of the rights and privileges enjoyed by other Americans.

The Failed Promise of Reconstruction 

The tacit agreement between Southern and Northern whites was that the South was now free to work out its own resolution to race relations. The price of sectional reconciliation was that the dream that former slaves held of economic independence and equality would not materialize. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were bright spots in the legacy of Reconstruction; the overwhelming majority of African-Americans had become landless agricultural workers, eking out a meager income that merchants and landlords often snatched to cover debts. For most, Reconstruction was a failed promise.

Chapter 16 Outline Reconstruction 1865-1877

I. White Southerners and the Ghosts of the Confederacy, 1865 (pp. 417-418)
II. More than Freedom: African-American Aspirations in 1865 (pp. 418-421)

A. The Freedmen’s Bureau

B. Education

C. “Forty Acres and a Mule”

D. Migration to the Cities

E. Faith and Freedom

1. The First African Baptist Church

2. Henry McNeal Turner and the African Methodist Episcopal

III. Federal Reconstruction (pp. 421-427)

A. Presidential Reconstruction, 1865-1867

1. Andrew Johnson’s plan

2. The Civil Rights Act of 1866

3. The Fourteenth Amendment

B. Congressional Reconstruction, 1867-1870

1. The Military Reconstruction Acts of 1867

2. The Tenure of Office Act and the impeachment of Andrew


3. The Fifteenth Amendment

C. Southern Republican Governments, 1867-1870
IV. Counter-Reconstruction, 1870-1874 (pp. 427-429)

A. The Use of Violence

B. The Failure of Northern Will

C. Liberal Republicans and the Election of 1872

V. Redemption, 1874-1877 (pp. 429-431)

A. The Democrats’ Violence Resurgence

B. The Weak Federal Response

C. The Election of 1876 and the Compromise of 1877

D. The Memory of Reconstruction
VI. The Failure of Reconstruction (pp. 431-432)

A. Sharecropping

B. Modest Gains and Future Victories
VII. Conclusion

Chapter 16

Reconstruction, 1865-1877
Section 1: White Southerners and the Ghosts of the Confederacy, 1865 (pp. 417-418)
Section 2: More than Freedom: African-American Aspirations in 1865 (pp. 418-421)
Section 3: Federal Reconstruction (pp. 421-427)
Section 4: Counter-Reconstruction, 1870-1874 (pp. 427-429)
Section 5: Redemption, 1874-1877 (pp. 429-431)
Section 6: The Failure of Reconstruction (pp. 431-432)

Multiple Choice

1. Many Southerners refused to accept their defeat as divine judgment and believed that God had spared the South for a greater purpose; they came to view the war as

Page Ref.: 417
2. Which of the following statements about the Lost Cause is NOT true?

Page Ref.: 417

3. During his travels across the United States after the Civil War, Mark Twain observed that

Page Ref.: 417

4. The Freedmen’s Bureau was established to

Page Ref.: 418

5. In the early years of Reconstruction, the Freedmen’s Bureau was successful at

Page Ref.: 418

6. General Sherman’s Field Order No. 15 gave hope to blacks because it

Page Ref.: 419

7. The Southern Homestead Act

Page Ref.: 419

8. After the Civil War, many southern blacks

Page Ref.: 420

9. The church became the center of black life for all of the following reasons EXCEPT it

Page Ref.: 420

10. In both Atlanta and Nashville, black people comprised more than _______ percent of the unskilled work force in 1870.

Page Ref.: 420

11. The Wade-Davis Bill was rendered ineffective when

Page Ref.: 421

12. Which statement would most likely have been said by a radical Republican in 1865?

Page Ref.: 422

13. President Johnson’s Reconstruction plan included all of the following proposals EXCEPT

Page Ref.: 422-423

14. The immediate response to President Johnson’s Reconstruction plan included

Page Ref.: 422

15. Republicans in Congress became infuriated when

Page Ref.: 424

16. Throughout his political career, Thaddeus Stevens was a consistent spokesman for

Page Ref.: 423-424

17. In 1866, Moderate Republicans in Congress did NOT support

Page Ref.: 424

18. Congress successfully managed to override President Johnson’s veto of

Page Ref.: 424

19. Which statement about the Fourteenth Amendment is NOT true?

Page Ref.: 424-425

20. In the elections of 1866,

Page Ref.: 425

21. The radical Republicans’ goals for Reconstruction included all of the following EXCEPT

Page Ref.: 425-426

22. The Tenure of Office Act attempted to

Page Ref.: 425

23. The Fifteenth Amendment

Page Ref.: 425

24. Some southerners were drawn to the Republican Party because

Page Ref.: 426-427

25. White southerners used the term carpetbaggers to describe

Page Ref.: 426

26. In the Reconstruction South, African-Americans were an influential voice in

Page Ref.: 426-427

27. The Colored Monitor Union club was

Page Ref.: 426


28-29. Directions- Fill in the letter of the name with its correct description.

A) Elizabeth Cady Stanton

B) Susan B. Anthony

30-33. Directions- Fill in the letter of the name with its correct description.

A) Charles Sumner

B) Thaddeus Stevens

C) William M. Tweed

D) Henry McNeal Turner

Multiple Choice

34. Which statement about black voters in the South during Reconstruction is NOT true?

Page Ref.: 428-429
35. The number of Southern black congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives increased from 2 in 1869 to ______ in 1873.

Page Ref.: 427

36. Southern Democrats realized they could regain their dominance of local power by

Page Ref.: 428-429

37. The Liberal Republicans of the early 1870s

Page Ref.: 428-429
38. Which statement about the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction is NOT true?

Page Ref.: 428

39. “Scientific racism” was characterized in the 1870s by all of the following ideas EXCEPT

Page Ref.: 428-429

40. In the presidential election of 1872, Ulysses S. Grant defeated the former Republican,

Page Ref.: 429

41. Southern Democrats who called their victories in the elections of 1876 “Redemption,” portrayed themselves as the

Page Ref.: 429

42. A long-lasting legacy of the ideas of the Southern Democrats of this era was

Page Ref.: 429-430

43. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was weakened by all of the following factors EXCEPT

Page Ref.: 430

44. To challenge the state’s Republican government in Louisiana, a group of elite Democrats in New Orleans organized a military organization called

Page Ref.: 430

45. How was the disputed election of 1876 settled and decided?

Page Ref.: 430

46. Of the following, which one is NOT listed as something that worked in the Democrats’ favor in the election of 1876?

Page Ref.: 430

47. Which statement best summarizes the outcome of the election of 1876?

Page Ref.: 430

48. Who were the main candidates in the presidential election of 1876?

Page Ref.: 430

49. The significant outcome of the presidential election of 1876 was that it

Page Ref.: 430

50. In his book, The Facts of Reconstruction, John R. Lynch argued that

Page Ref.: 431

51. All of the following statements about sharecropping are true EXCEPT

Page Ref.: 431-432

52. Conservative governments in the South were able to institute sharecropping because

Page Ref.: 431-432

53. In the post-Reconstruction period,

Page Ref.: 432

54. In the Slaughterhouse cases of 1873, the Supreme Court ruled that

Page Ref.: 432

55. Legacies of Reconstruction in the South included all of the following EXCEPT

Page Ref.: 432-433

56. Which headline would have appeared in 1876?

a. “Hayes, Tilden Outcome Stalled in Contested Deadlock”

b. “Congress Passes Act in Effort to Stop Klan”

c. “Constitutional Amendment Gives Suffrage Rights to Ex-Slaves”

d. “Grant Steamrolls to Easy Second-Term Victory”
57. Which event happened last?

a. Field Order No. 15 is issued

b. Supreme Court nullifies the Enforcement Act

c. Southern blacks vote, in large numbers, for Ulysses S. Grant

d. Fourteenth Amendment is passed by Congress
58. What is the correct order of presidential succession?

a. Grant, Johnson, Hayes

b. Johnson, Hayes, Grant

c. Grant, Hayes, Johnson

d. Johnson, Grant, Hayes
59. In which year did “Liberal Republicans” in Congress have the most power?

a. 1866

b. 1869

c. 1874

d. 1884
60. Which event happened last?

a. Congress passes its second Civil Rights Act

b. Radical Republicans move to oust President Johnson from office

c. Republican civil rights advocate, Charles Sumner, dies

d. The Ku Klux Klan emerges as a force of terror in the South
Short Essays
61. What accomplishments did the Freedmen’s Bureau make during Reconstruction?
62. In what ways did southerners and northerners differ in expressing their memories of the Civil War?
63. Describe the characteristics that define the sharecropping system.
64. During Reconstruction, what factors made the Republican Party a powerful force in all national elections?
65. What laws and amendments were passed by Congress in its effort to extend the parameters of democracy during Reconstruction?
Extended Essays
66. Historians are divided in opinion regarding their interpretations of Reconstruction’s events and outcomes. What do you feel were the events that best express the Reconstruction period? Why do you feel Reconstruction reforms were ended in 1877?
67. What factors accounted for the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and then the reemergence of the Democratic Party as the dominant power in the South?
68. W.E.B. Dubois stated that Reconstruction was a time in which, “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back toward slavery.” What historical evidence supports Dubois’s thesis?
69. Describe how powerful whites in the South regained their position as a political and economic elite.
70. Many historians feel that both the promise and disappointment of Reconstruction provided the foundation for the next 100 years of race relations in the South. In what ways is this idea true?

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