Standard 8-5: The student will understand the impact of Reconstruction, industrialization, and Progressivism on society and politics in South Carolina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
8-5.1 Analyze the development of Reconstruction policy and its impact in South Carolina, including the presidential and the congressional reconstruction plans, the role of black codes, and the Freedmen’s Bureau.
South Carolina faced significant economic problems as a result of the Civil War
The federal government did not believe it should have the responsibility to rebuild the South economically.
Rebuilding was the responsibility of individuals and state and local governments.
The Reconstruction policies of the national government did not include the reconstruction of towns, factories, farms, and transportation systems.
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, known as the Freedman’s Bureau, was established by Congress prior to the end of the Civil War.
The Bureau was the first line of assistance to everyone affected by the war, including whites, as well as destitute freedmen.
This federal agency, under the control of the United States army provided food, clothing, medical care, education and some protection from the hostile white environment.
The Freedman’s Bureau helped many freedmen find jobs and established courts to protect the illiterate workers.
The bureau was charged with distributing to freedmen those lands that had been abandoned during the war or that had been confiscated as punishment for disloyalty to the Union.
The Bureau was forced to take these lands back when President Johnson pardoned the white owners and returned their property to them.
Congress would not pass legislation granting lands to freedmen because they respected the constitutional rights of southern whites to their landed property.
The great majority of African Americans did not receive land that would have given them economic independence.
In lieu of having their own land, the Freedman’s Bureau helped African Americans establish the sharecropping relationship with the worker-less plantation owner.
This system mired African Americans as well as landless poor whites in economic dependence and poverty for generations.
Sharecropping played a role in the economic reconstruction of South Carolina.
The most important contribution of the Freedman’s Bureau was the facilitation of the establishment of over 1,000 schools throughout the South.
The purpose of President Lincoln’s plan, formulated before the end of the fighting, was to end the war as quickly as possible.
By requiring that only 10% of the population swear allegiance to the Union before they could reconstitute their state governments and send representatives to Congress, Lincoln hoped to convince southern states, including SC, to surrender
Lincoln also required state governments to recognize the end of slavery.
After Lincoln’s assassination President Johnson basically continued Lincoln’s 10% policy
Johnson added personal purpose of humiliating the southern elite by requiring that they individually request a pardon from President Johnson and ratify the 13th amendment that freed the slaves.
Johnson quickly granted pardons to the prominent southerners who requested them.
The reasons Congress passed a Reconstruction plan were to protect the rights of the newly freed slaves as well as the Republican’s political power.
During the months after Appomattox when Congress was not in session, the South Carolina legislature and legislatures in other southern states passed Black Codes and elected former Confederates to Congress.
Congress refused to admit returning Southern officials to Congress.
Increased violence against the freedmen and President Johnson’s opposition to Congressional efforts to secure the rights of the freedmen by his veto of the extension of the Freedman’s Bureau and his opposition to the 14th Amendment significantly changed the course of Reconstruction policy.
Radical Republicans” won a majority in the congressional elections of 1866 and passed a congressional plan for Reconstruction.
The Radical Republican plan called for military occupation of the former Confederacy, splitting it into five military districts.
South Carolina was in the second military district. Each district had a military governor and the army was used to enforce its provisions.
Congress impeached Johnson to ensure that as commander in chief he could not undermine its efforts.
Johnson was not removed from office, but his power was curtailed.
Ratification of and assurances that they would abide by the 13th amendment was required of southern states before they could form new governments.
The 13th amendment effected emancipation of the slaves throughout the United States and brought profound social change for southern African Americans.
Freedmen worked to consolidate their families and communities, establish a network of churches and other autonomous institutions, claim equal citizenship, get an education and carve out as much independence as possible in their lives.
Although freedom brought significant social change for African Americans, initially there was little change for the white population.
Social classes remained fairly stable despite the loss of economic status by the planter elite.
The Black Codes demonstrated that white South Carolinians were unwilling to recognize the social and political rights of the newly freed slaves.
Both groups preferred to maintain a social distance that slavery had not allowed.
African Americans left the white churches for congregations of their own.
They moved from the slave quarters to plots away from the Big House and established their own communities.
This separation and loss of control over African Americans caused anxiety among whites to escalate.
White South Carolinians resented African Americans who were now free of the imposed submissiveness of slavery and some white southerners feared retaliation by their former slaves.
The formation of terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan reflected mounting racial tension.
The white population was deteremined to keep the African American population in ‘its place’ socially, politically, and economically.
The 14th amendment recognized the citizenship of African Americans; it upheld the right of all citizens to “equal protection” before the laws and “due process” of law.
The 14th amendment overturned the Dred Scott
The 14th amendment was designed to protect the political and social rights of freedmen from this intimidation.
The amendment required that 2/3 of the Congress vote to grant amnesty to ex- Confederates before they could hold public office.
It included a provision that was designed to force states to grant political rights to freedmen by reducing representation for states that did not allow African Americans to vote.
The 15th amendment was passed to ensure that the right of all male citizens to vote and would not be denied based on “race, creed or previous condition of servitude.”
The amendment was also motivated by the desire of the Republican Party to secure its political power in the South.
Southern vote, largely made up of the vote of African Americans, had contributed to Grant’s election in 1868.
SC refused to ratify the 14th and 15th amendments
The military governor of Military District 2 required South Carolina to hold a convention to write a new state constitution that would recognize the amendments.
8-5.2 Describe the economic impact of Reconstruction on South Carolinians in each of the various social classes.
Reconstruction policy had little economic impact on the South’s recovery from the devastation of the Civil War.
The economy continued to rest on agriculture and cotton, but now depended on sharecropping rather than slave labor.
The national government did not see its role as taking an active hand in managing the economy until the 20th century.
The South remained in a state of economic depression well into the 20th century.
Plantation owners lost their labor force and a very large part of their wealth due to the war and the 13th amendment.
Many were astonished that their former slaves, who they thought were loyal to them, left the plantations.
Feeling betrayed and resentful of the former slaves’ attitudes, many became more hostile to the freedman.
Now they were forced to perform all of the normal household and farm duties themselves or pay their workers.
Investments in Confederate dollars were worthless. All they had was the land.
Many entered into sharecropping relationships with freedmen and reestablished their former position as master through a new means.
Sharecroppers tilled the land that belonged to their former masters in exchange for a share of the crop.
The planter elitetried to hold onto slave-like conditions through the Black Codes and control over the government of the state through the constitution of 1865.
Congressional Reconstruction brought a temporary end to the political control of SC’s planter elite.
Plantation owners and the middle class engaged in violence and intimidation against African Americans throughout Reconstruction
Small farmers who had not owned slaves were not directly affected financially by their liberation.
Small farmers had to compete with African American sharecroppers when they marketed their crops.
Many who had felt a sense of social superiority to slaves now felt that superiority threatened.
They reacted with anger and resentment and joined the ranks of the vigilante groups that terrorized African Americans.
Scalawags - Some small farmers from non-slaveholding districts cooperated with the Republicans because they would benefit from the educational and economic opportunities they offered.
Freedmen were both liberated and displaced in the Reconstruction period.
At the end of the war, many freedmen left the plantation looking for relatives sold “down the river” or seeking a taste of freedom.
With the assistance of the Freedman’s Bureau and their own determination, they worked to consolidate their families and communities and establish a network of churches and other autonomous institutions.
Unable to secure their own land to farm, many African Americans entered into agreements with southern landowners, who were land rich and cash poor.
In sharecropping, the landownersupplied the seed, tools and land
The sharecroppersupplied the labor.
Both then shared the crop that was produced.
Although the sharecropper was able to move away from the old slave quarters, the sharecropper remained economically dependent on the landowner.
In bad years the crop shared might be very little and sharecroppers would take out a loan in the form of a lien on the next year’s crop to buy supplies to last until the next harvest.
This crop lien system placed the sharecropper in a cycle of debt and dependence on the landowners and lien holders.
Although African Americans suffered from white violence & intimidation throughout the Reconstruction period, they continued to claim equal citizenship and carve out as much independence as possible in their lives.
Both the wives of elite plantation owners and small farmers shared their husbands’ loss of social status and fear of economic competition from the freedmen.
Elite white women had to negotiate household services from former slave women or perform household tasks themselves.
The large number of men killed, and others physically and mentally impaired during the Civil War meant that many white women took on non-traditional roles.
Former slaves, “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags” pushed for some women’s rights.
The constitution of 1868 gave women some rights, including the right to own property in their own name after marriage.
Some came as Union soldiers and stayed. Reviled as “carpetbaggers”, they were not accepted by most of white South Carolina society.
Some found political opportunity in the Reconstruction governments, others found economic opportunity.
8-5.3 Summarize the successes and failures of Reconstruction in South Carolina, including the creation of political, educational, and social opportunities for African Americans; the rise of discriminatory groups; and the withdrawal of federal protection.
The white society of SC refused to accept the freedom of African Americans and the authority of the federal government.
SC had refused to ratify the 14th and 15th amendments that guaranteed equal rights and the right to vote to African American men.
Consequently, under Congressional Reconstruction, southern states, including SC, were required to call a convention and write new state constitutions.
Most whites boycotted the election of delegates to these constitutional conventions.
African Americans were the majority of the population in SC so African Americans were well represented in the convention.
Recent immigrants to South Carolina were also selected to write the document.
Under the constitution of 1868, African American men were allowed to vote and hold office and did so in large numbers.
African Americans had greater political power in South Carolina than they did in any other southern state.
Reflecting their numbers in the population, African Americans held every office in the state with the exception of the governorship and were a majority in the state legislature throughout the Reconstruction period.
SC sent six African Americans to the US House of Representatives.
White propaganda often characterized the African-American elected officials as ignorant ex-slaves.
Although they were inexperienced in governance, as were many whites, most African Americans who served were literate members of the middle class, many of whom had been free before the Civil War.
Despite the corruption of some individuals, the Reconstruction state govt. established social service programs such as state-supported institutions for the blind & the deaf and made public health care a concern of the government in SC.
The Reconstruction govt. established public schools for all children, white and African American, for the first time.
These services also raised taxes that whites claimed were bankrupting them.
Exaggerating the corruption of the inexperienced African-American legislators and playing on northern racism, white South Carolinians effectively manipulated the Northern press with propaganda about the incompetence of the Republican govt.
They blamed the rising tax rate on corruption when it was largely due to new state services.
Consequently the northern public tired of Reconstruction and gave up hope of changing Southern attitudes and way of life.
The opening of educational opportunities for former slaves was an enduring legacy of the Reconstruction period.
Prior to the end of slavery, some blacks had secretly established schools.
After emancipation, African Americans openly flocked to freedom schools established through the Freedman’s Bureau, schools privately supported by northern philanthropists and the new public schools established by the Reconstruction state governments.
Religious denominations and Northern philanthropists provided support for the establishment of colleges for African Americans in SC. (Claflin College &Benedict College)
The Northern Aid Society created the Penn School in Beaufort
Both men and women missionaries traveled to the South to serve as teachers. (mocked as “carpetbaggers” by Southerners)
Literacy rates among African Americans and all southerners rose steadily.
African American gains created a backlash among white South Carolinians.
Outnumbered by the African American political majority, white South Carolinians refused to participate in the new state government
Instead they carried on a campaign of terroragainst African American and the white Republicans who were perceived as assisting them.
Vigilantism increases when federal troops withdrew and the state militia disbanded after the 1868 constitution.
Vigilante groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Riflemen and the Red Shirts, were free to engage in harassment, intimidation and murder.
The federal government responded by passing the Ku Klux Klan Act and President Grant again sent federal soldiers to South Carolina.
The federal government’s insufficient efforts only had the effect of encouraging the insurgency.
By 1876, the white insurgents were ready to contest the political control of the Republicans in an election.