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Reconstruction DBQ

Name: _________________Page_

Exam 8

As the leader of this newly reunited nation, Lincoln sought a very specific plan for reconstructing the South and solving all of these problems. At his second inauguration, Lincoln outlined his plan in his inaugural address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Lincoln’s ultimate goals were to reunify the states and ensure equality for all, including freed slaves. Your challenge is determine whether Reconstruction was successful or unsuccessful in meeting Lincoln’s goals.

In light of Lincoln’s goals and based upon the following documents, you must answer the following question:

Was Reconstruction a success or a failure?

To respond to this question, you must do the following:

  1. Review the Reconstruction Presentation we discussed in class. It’s available on my website. You can also read the information included below.

  2. Read the DBQ documents and answer the questions (Complete sentences are not necessary)

  3. Write a five-paragraph response to the above question. In your response you must include at least 4 of the documents in this DBQ and you must also include evidence from your outside knowledge of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Step One: Review Historical Background: Reconstruction 1865-1877

After the Civil War, three different plans for Reconstruction would be proposed. Lincoln’s 10% plan, Andrew Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction, and Radical Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Lincoln’s plan was never successfully implemented because of his assassination. Even worse, Andrew Johnson’s presidential Reconstruction plan clashed with Congress’ radical reconstruction plan. Johnson favored the South and worked against the Radical Republicans in Congress by vetoing and opposing their plan that was more strict in its approach towards the South. To better understand the story of Reconstruction, read the following passage and underline/highlight any important information.

Lincoln’s Original Plan for Reconstruction

Information from:

Lincoln’s blueprint for Reconstruction included the Ten-Percent Plan, which specified that a southern state could be readmitted into the Union once 10 percent of its voters (from the voter rolls for the election of 1860) swore an oath of allegiance to the Union. All southerners except for high-ranking Confederate army officers and government officials would be granted a full pardon. Lincoln guaranteed southerners that he would protect their private property, though not their slaves. Most moderate Republicans in Congress supported the president’s proposal for Reconstruction because they wanted to bring a quick end to the war…. His (Lincoln’s) actions indicate that he wanted Reconstruction to be a short so that the United States could exist as it had before. But historians can only speculate that Lincoln desired a swift reunification, for his assassination in 1865 cut his plans for Reconstruction short.

Presidential Reconstruction

Information from

Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, was pro-slavery throughout his career in the Senate and as the Military Governor of Tennessee. The views of the Vice President rarely matter too much, unless something happens to the President. Following Lincoln's assassination, Johnson's views now mattered a great deal. Would he follow Lincoln's moderate approach to reconciliation? Would he support limited black suffrage as Lincoln did? Would he follow the Radical Republicans and be harsh and punitive toward the South? Johnson believed the Southern states should decide the course that was best for them. He also felt that African-Americans were unable to manage their own lives. He certainly did not think that African-Americans deserved to vote. At one point in 1866 he told a group of blacks visiting the White House that they should emigrate to another country.

He also gave amnesty and pardon to former Confederates. He returned all property, except, of course, their slaves, to former Confederates who pledged loyalty to the Union and agreed to support the 13th Amendment. Confederate officials and owners of large taxable estates were required to apply individually for a Presidential pardon. Many former Confederate leaders were soon returned to power. And some even sought to regain their Congressional seniority.

Johnson's vision of Reconstruction had proved remarkably lenient. Very few Confederate leaders were persecuted. By 1866, 7,000 Presidential pardons had been granted. Brutal beatings of African-Americans were frequent. Still-powerful whites sought to subjugate freed slaves via harsh laws that came to be known as the BLACK CODES. Some states required written evidence of employment for the coming year or else the freed slaves would be required to work on plantations. In South Carolina, African-Americans had to pay a special tax if they were not farmers or servants. They were not even allowed to hunt or fish in some areas. Blacks were unable to own guns — and even had their dogs taxed. African-Americans were barred from orphanages, parks, schools and other public facilities. The FREEDMAN'S BUREAU, a federal agency created to help the transition from slavery to emancipation, was thwarted in its attempts to provide for the welfare of the newly emancipated. All of these rules resulted in the majority of freed slaves remaining dependent on the plantation for work.

Andrew Johnson's policies were initially supported by most Northerners – including Republicans. But, there was no consensus as to what rights African-Americans received along with Emancipation. Yet a group of Radical Republicans wanted the rights promised in the Declaration of Independence extended to include all free men, including those who were formerly slaves. A political power struggle was in the offing
Radical Reconstruction led by Congress

Information from:

The Radical Republicans believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites. They also believed that the Confederate leaders should be punished for their roles in the Civil War. Leaders like Pennsylvania REPRESENTATIVE THADDEUS STEVENS and Massachusetts SENATOR CHARLES SUMNER vigorously opposed Andrew Johnson's lenient policies. A great political battle was about to unfold.

At the heart of their (Radical Republican) beliefs was the notion that blacks must be given a chance to compete in a free-labor economy. In 1866, this activist Congress also introduced a bill to extend the life of the Freedmen's Bureau and began work on the CIVIL RIGHTS BILL of 1866. President Johnson stood in opposition. He vetoed the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, claiming that it would bloat the size of government. He vetoed the Civil Rights Bill rejecting that blacks have the "same rights of property and person" as whites.

Moderate Republicans were appalled at Johnson's racism. They joined with the Radicals to overturn Johnson's Civil Rights Act veto. This marked the first time in history that a major piece of legislation was overturned. The Radicals hoped that the Civil Rights Act would lead to an active federal judiciary with courts enforcing rights.

Congress then turned its attention to amending the Constitution. In 1867 they approved the far-reaching Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibited "states from abridging equality before the law." The second part of the Amendment provided for a reduction of a state's representatives if suffrage was denied. Republicans, in essence, offered the South a choice — accept black enfranchisement or lose congressional representation. A third clause barred ex-Confederates from holding state or national office.

The Republicans went on to introduce the Reconstruction Act of 1867. This removed the right to vote and seek office by "leading rebels." Now the SOUTHERN UNIONISTS — Southerners who supported the Union during the War — became the new Southern leadership. The Reconstruction Act also divided the South into five military districts under commanders empowered to employ the army to protect black property and citizens.

The first two years of Radical Congressional Reconstruction saw Southern states rewrite their Constitutions and the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. Congress seemed fully in control. For the first time, blacks were elected to Congress, and in 1868, the new voters helped elect Republican U. S. Grant to the Presidency. Black codes were repealed, segregation was outlawed. By 1870, most Southern states had been admitted back into the Union. The 15th Amendment was added to the Constitution that protected the right to vote to all citizens regardless of “race or previous condition of servitude. Congress set about rebuilding Southern lands. Taxes in the South raised 400%. Southerners blamed Republicans and freedmen for the high taxes. Secret societies such as the KKK were formed to threaten black voters and/or potential office holders.
The End of Reconstruction

In 1872, Congress passed the Amnesty Act that permitted former Confederates in the South the right to vote. Southern voters elected most of the old Democrats back into power. The KKK still threatened black voters. And in 1876, the disputed presidential election resulted in what is called the Compromise of 1877. The Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes took the presidency, but in return, he agreed to pull out the last of the military from the South. Radical Reconstruction was officially over. Southern Democrats created Jim Crow laws, brought back segregation, and they worked to limit the voting rights of freedman by imposing poll taxes and literacy tests.

Reconstruction DBQ – Fiore Exam Part Two

Step Two: Interpret DBQ Documents
Document A: The 13th-15th Amendments
Article 13 Section 1:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Article 14 Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Article 15 Section 1:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--

  1. What was the purpose of the 13th amendment? ________________________________________________________

  2. What was the purpose of the 14th amendment? ________________________________________________________

  3. What was the purpose of the 15th amendment? ________________________________________________________

  4. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document B: Black Codes created after the Civil War
"No negro or freedmen shall be allowed to come within the limits of the town of Opelousas without special permission from his employers. Whoever breaks this law will go to jail and work for two days on the public streets, or pay a fine of five dollars.”

“No negro or freedman shall be permitted to rent or keep a house in town under any circumstances. No negro or freedman shall live within the town who does not work for some white person or former owner.”

“No public meetings of negroes or freedmen shall be allowed within the town.”

“No freedman shall be allowed to carry firearms, or any kind of weapons. No freedman shall sell or exchange any article of merchandise within the limits of Opelousas without permission in writing from his employer.”

“Every negro is to be in the service of (work for) some white person, or former owner.”

  1. How did black codes restrict the freedom of freedmen? _________________________________________________



  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document C: Voting Restrictions in the South. “Everything points to a democratic victory this fall.”

Even though freedmen were granted the right to vote with the 15th amendment, southern whites found ways to prevent African Americans from voting as suggested by the illustration above. Without freedmen’s votes, the traditional party of the South, the Democratic Party, was able to regain control of Southern Politics.

  1. What are two ways shown in this illustration that Freedmen were prevented from voting?



  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document D: Oppression of Freedmen in the South

The following petition was made to the United States Congress by Freedmen on March 25, 1871:

“We the colored citizens of Frankfort and vicinity do this day memorialize upon the condition of affairs now existing in this state of Kentucky. We would respectfully state that life, liberty and property are unprotected among the colored race of this state. Organized bands of desperate and lawless men, mainly composed of soldiers of the late Rebel armies, armed, disciplined, and disguised, and bound by oath and secret obligations, have by force, terror, and violence subverted all civil society among the colored people… We believe you are not familiar with… the Ku Klux Klan’s riding nightly over the country, going from county to county, and in the towns spreading terror wherever they go by robbing, whipping, ravishing [raping], and killing our people without provocation, compelling colored people to break the ice and bathe in the chilly waters of the Kentucky River… Our people are driven from their homes in great numbers… We would state that we have been law-abiding citizens, pay our tax, and, in many parts of the state, our people have been driven from the polls - refused the right to vote, Many have been slaughtered while attempting to vote; we ask how long is this state of things going to last. We appeal to you… to enact some laws that will protect us and that will enable us to exercise the rights of citizens… the senator from this state denies there being organized bands of desperadoes in this state… we lay before you a number of violent acts occurring during his administration…”

  1. What factors or events caused freedmen to write this petition to the national government? Why wouldn’t they write this to the state government in Kentucky?



  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document E: Freedmen Schools caused by the Freedmen’s Bureau

Before the Civil War, it was considered a crime for a slave to learn how to read and write, so it is not surprising that schools were considered to be a priority to many people after emancipation. The illustration above shows a school for freedmen in Mississipi and the map shows the number of traditionally African American Schools in the South after the war.

  1. Name at least one thing that students in illustration 1 are doing that were not allowed to do as slaves.


  1. Where were most of the Black colleges established after the Civil War? _________________________________

  2. How would the establishment of Black colleges change the lives of African Americans? _______________________


  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document F: Worse than Slavery
This illustration appeared in Harper’s Weekly in October 1874, and depicted conditions faced by African Americans in the South at the time.

  1. According to this illustration, who is responsible for making freedom worse than slavery?





  1. Name at least two things that African Americans experience during Reconstruction according to this illustration.




  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document G: Sharecroppers and their landlord in a cotton field and a diagram of the Sharecropping system
After the Civil War, Freedmen and women had no money, no land, and very few skills, many former slaves became sharecroppers, sometimes even on the plantations owned by their former masters. Sharecroppers farmed on land they rented from a landlord, in exchange for a share of the crop they produced. Because sharecroppers needed to borrow money for necessities, like tools and food, they seldom were able to make or save any money.

  1. Name two ways sharecropping was similar to slavery.



  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document H: “A Yankee Visits the New South” (Written 1887)
“When we come to the New Industrial South, the change is marvelous… Instead of a South devoted to agriculture and politics, we find a South wide awake to business, excited and astonished at the development of its own immense resources….

The South is manufacturing a great variety of things needed in the house, on the farm, and in the shows and already sends to the North and West several manufactured products.  The most striking industrial development today is in iron, coal, lumber and marble.  More encouraging for the Southern people is the multiplication of small industries in nearly every city I visited.

It cannot be too strongly impressed upon the public mind that the South, to use and understandable phrase, “has joined the procession.”  Its mind is turned to the development of its resources, to business, to enterprise, to education, to economic problems; it is marching with the North in the same purpose of wealth by industry.  It is true that railways, mines, and furnaces could not have been without huge investments of Northern money, but I was continually surprised to find so many important local industries, the result of Southern funds, made and saved since the war.”

  1. According to this article, what is the great change that has occurred in the New South?



  1. Name at least two products or resources of the New South. ______________________________________________

  2. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? __________________________

Document I: Freedmen in Politics

  1. Which state’s legislature is represented in this photo? ___________________________

  1. What is unique about this legislature that would not have occurred before the Civil War? ________________________________



  1. Which amendment enabled these men to be in this legislature? __________________

  1. Would this source support the notion that Reconstruction was a success or failure? ______________________________________

Step Three: Write Your DBQ either prior to the exam or during the exam. It must be handwritten – no typed essays will be accepted. 100 points.

Was Reconstruction a success or a failure?

Writing Tips and Rubric

Instructions: In light of Lincoln’s goals and the documents you have read, answer the above question in three paragraphs that includes the following:

Remember – you must include document evidence and evidence from the reading and from our class notes.

-Paragraph One: An introduction with a hook, a thesis statement that answers the Question and an introduction to your three main arguments. No documents should be used in the introduction.

-Paragraph Two: Start with a topic sentence, and explain one argument. Use background knowledge about Reconstruction, connect to your main thesis, and use one – 2 documents that you cite. End with a closing sentence

-Paragraph Three: Start with a topic sentence, and explain your second argument in depth. Use background knowledge about Reconstruction, connect to your main thesis, and use one – 2 documents that you cite. End with a closing sentence.

-Paragraph Four: Start with a topic sentence, and explain your third argument in depth. Use background knowledge about Reconstruction, connect to your main thesis, and use one – 2 documents that you cite. End with a closing sentence.

-Closing paragraph: Reconnect to your hook and thesis. Ensure your entire paper connects to the main question you were asked.

-Cite your documents in one of the follow manners:

-Examples: “According to Document A,” or” Document C says that…”

Writing Rubric – To earn an A you must have a + in almost all of these areas:

  1. Th3 = Thesis with three claims

  2. Intro = Intro grabs attention and states thesis

  3. B1Ev = Evidence and documents in body paragraph one

  4. B2Ev = Evidence and documents in body paragraph two

  5. B3Ev = Evidence and documents in body paragraph three

  6. CITE – Cite and use at least 4 documents

  7. Cl = Closing paragraph

  8. C = Connections to the big question (did you constantly refer back to the question in each paragraph)

  9. G= Grammar including capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure

  • Inac = Inaccurate information is NOT included

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