Reconstruction in Mississippi, 1865-77

Figure 1: The State of Mississippi

Contents

Table of Illustrations

Background

Fighting in the Civil War

Lincoln’s planning for Post-War 1863-5

Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

Ten Per Cent Plan

Wade-Davis Bill 1864

Sherman’s Field Order No 15

The Freedman’s Bureau Act March 1865

Assassination of Lincoln

Post War

President Johnson

Presidential Reconstruction

The August Convention in Mississippi

The Thirteenth Amendment, January to December, 1865

The Joint Committee on Reconstruction 1866

Freedman’s Bureau renewal blocked

Carpetbaggers and Scalawags

The White resistance

Mississippi ‘Civil Rights’ Act 1865

Civil Rights Act 1866

The Black Codes

The Ku Klux Klan 1866

Northern backlash 1866

Plight of the former slaves

Reforms reversed

Sharecropping

Black culture and religion

Radical or Congressional Reconstruction 1867-77

The First Reconstruction Act, March 1867

Mississippi Under Martial Law

Second Reconstruction Act, March 1867

Effects of Radical Reconstruction in Mississippi

The Reconstruction (14th) Amendment July, 28th 1868

Ames Governor 1868

The Black and Tan Convention, 1868

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson 1868

Tenure of Office Act

President Ulysses S. Grant 1868-72

The Gilded Age

Railway Boom

The Fisk-Gould Gold Scheme 1869

The Fifteenth Amendment 1869

Mississippi Rejoins the Union 1870

Adelbert Ames Senator for Mississippi, 1870-74

Enforcement Acts 1870

Alcorn Governor 1870

Alcorn senator 1871

Ridgley Powers Governor 1871

The Tweed Ring 1871

The Crédit Mobilier Scandal 1872

The 1872 Presidential Election

The Liberal Republican Party

Grant defeats Greeley, 1872

The Depression of 1873

The Whiskey Ring Scandal 1874

The End of Radical Reconstruction

Waning Interest in Reconstruction

The Civil Rights Act of 1875

Democrats Take the South

Radical Reconstruction ends: the Slaughterhouse Cases 1873

Congressional Elections of 1874

Adelbert Ames 30th Governor 1874-6

The Mississippi Plan 1874-5

Vicksburg Massacre 1874

Civil Rights Act 1875

Impeachment and Resignation of Ames 1876

John Stone 31st Governor 1876

The disputed Presidential Election of 1876

The Compromise of 1877

The End of Reconstruction

In Mississippi

In the 20th Century

Historiography

Appendix I: Women’s Suffrage

Bibliography

Table of Illustrations

Mississippi was one of the largest slave states in the country, building up most of its economy around plantation agriculture. (8) Mississippi became the second state to secede (or withdraw) from the Union (1,5) on January 9th (5) 1861. (1,2) It joined the Confederate States of America. (4) Mississippi stood to lose everything if the South lost the Civil War and sent 80,000 men to fight. (9) It suffered greatly (7) during the American Civil War. (5,7) At ‘a state convention’ in 1861 a flag had been proposed for Mississippi that contained, ‘a white ground, a magnolia in the centre, a blue field in the upper left hand corner, the flag surrounded with a red border, and a red fringe at the extremity.’ (20) The state’s soldiers served under this flag in the war. (20) Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (19,28) had been born into slavery near Vidalia, Louisiana (19) [OR] Born and educated in Georgia, (28) he had also served in the Mississippi Legislature from 1869-1873. (19) He had been elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1856 and served until December 1860, when he helped draft Mississippi’s Ordinance of Secession. (28) He helped raise the 19th Mississippi Infantry Regiment and worked on the staff of his wife’s cousin, General James Longstreet. (28) In 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Lamar to the position of Confederate minister to Russia. (28)

Fighting in the Civil War

Many important battles occurred (9,11) in or on the borders of Mississippi (14) for example the Battle of Vicksburg (9,11) which ended after a 47-day siege. (11,14) Both sides suffered many casualties (14) Thousands of noncombatant residents were trapped in what was once their beloved hometown. (14) As a means of survival, these residents inhabited man-made caves, which ranged from one-room abodes to multi-room suites. (14) Food became scarce, and finally the Confederates surrendered the city on July 4, 1863 (14) This was a turning point in the war, (14) as the Union victory gave the Union control of the Mississippi River (11,14) and greatly helped the Union cause (11) There was also the Battle of Grand Gulf: the sites of both are now national parks and popular tourist attractions. (9) In 1865, the war was over (1,2) and the Confederacy had lost. (2,5) The southern states were occupied territory (15) The people suffered much privation, (14) and beyond the political and social issues was the matter of physical destruction. (16) Much of the Civil War had been waged in the South, and cities, towns, and even farmlands, were in ruins. (16) The land had undergone great devastation; (14,16) by 1865 the state was in economic ruin, (14) and the infrastructure needed to be rebuilt. (16)

Lincoln’s planning for Post-War 1863-5

After major Union victories at the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863, (22) a national debate began over Reconstruction. (21) How to bring the rebellious states back into the Union consumed much of the thinking of President Lincoln as the Civil War came to an end. (16)) He began preparing his plan for Reconstruction to reunify the North and South after the war’s end. (22) He believed that the South had never legally seceded from the Union, so his plan for Reconstruction was based on forgiveness. (22) Lincoln wanted to end the war quickly (22) and began planning for the reconstruction of the South during the Civil War (18,21) as Union soldiers occupied huge areas of the South. (18) He wanted to bring the Nation back together as quickly as possible. (18)

Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

In his second inaugural address he spoke of reconciliation. (16) He issued the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in 1863 (22) [Same book also says this was in 1864!] to announce his intention to reunite the once-united states, hoping that it would rally northern support for the war and persuade weary Confederate soldiers to surrender. (22) He seemed to favour self-Reconstruction by the states with little assistance from Washington. (22) To appeal to poorer whites, he offered to Pardon all Confederates; to appeal to former plantation owners and southern aristocrats, he pledged to protect private property. (22)

Ten Per Cent Plan

Lincoln feared that a protracted war would lose public support and that the North and South would never be reunited if the fighting did not stop quickly. (22) He tried to entice the South to surrender, and by late 1863, a large number of Democrats were clamoring for a truce and peaceful resolution. (22) In December 1863, (18,21) less than a year after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln announced the first comprehensive program for Reconstruction, the Ten Percent Plan. (21) Under it, when one-tenth of a state’s prewar voters took an oath of loyalty, they could establish a new state government. (21,22) They were required to prohibit slavery. (18) After which they could elect delegates to draft revised state constitutions and establish new state governments. (22) All southerners except for high-ranking Confederate army officers and government officials would be granted a full pardon. (22) Lincoln guaranteed southerners that he would protect their private property, though not their slaves. (22) This was an attempt to weaken the Confederacy rather than a blueprint for the postwar South. (21,22) [OR] a generous and tolerating Reconstruction policy towards the former Confederates and southerners. (17) It (21,22) was put into operation in parts of the Union-occupied Confederacy, but none of the new governments achieved broad local support. (21) White southerners in the Union-occupied state of Louisiana met in 1864—before the end of the Civil War—to draft a new constitution in accordance with the Ten-Percent Plan. (22) The progressive delegates promised free public schooling, improvements to the labour system, and public works projects. (22) They also abolished slavery in the state but refused to give the would-be freed slaves the right to vote. (22) Although Lincoln approved of the new constitution, Congress rejected it and refused to acknowledge the state delegates who won in Louisiana in the election of 1864. (22)

Wade-Davis Bill 1864

Most moderate Republicans in Congress supported the president’s proposal for Reconstruction because they wanted to bring a quick end to the war, but many leading ‘Radical Republicans’ in Congress feared that Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction was not harsh enough, believing that the South needed to be punished for causing the war. (22) They were convinced that equal rights for the former slaves had to accompany the South’s readmission to the Union. (21) They hoped to control the Reconstruction process, transform southern society, disband the planter aristocracy, redistribute land, develop industry, and guarantee civil liberties for former slaves. (22) Lincoln needed the support of these (17) ‘Radical Republicans’ in the Congress, (17,22) who objected strongly to the intent to impose new restrictions on the movement and rights of freedmen. (17) Although the Radical Republicans were the minority party in Congress, (22) They managed to sway many moderates in the postwar years and came to dominate Congress in later sessions. (22) In the summer of 1864 these ‘Radical Republicans’ (22) in Congress enacted the Wade-Davis Bill (21,22) to counter Lincoln’s Ten-Percent Plan. (22) by delaying the formation of new Southern governments and their readmission to the Union until a majority of voters had taken (21,22) an ‘ironclad (22) loyalty oath (21,22) of allegiance to the United States. (22) The bill also established safeguards for black civil liberties but did not give blacks the right to vote. (22) President Lincoln feared that asking 50 percent of voters to take a loyalty oath would ruin any chance of ending the war swiftly. (22) Moreover, 1864 was an election year, and he could not afford to have northern voters see him as an uncompromising radical. (22) Lincoln felt that this was likely to hinder the post war healing process, (21,22) and because the Wade-Davis Bill was passed near the end of Congress’s session, Lincoln (22) pocket vetoed it (21,22), effectively blocking the bill by refusing to sign it before Congress went into recess in 1865. (22)

Sherman’s Field Order No 15

The president and Congress disagreed not only about the best way to readmit southern states to the Union but also about the best way to redistribute southern land. (22) Blacks’ hopes that the federal government would provide them with land had been raised. (21) Lincoln, for his part, authorized several of his wartime generals to resettle former slaves on confiscated lands. (22) Gen. William (21,22) Tecumseh (22) Sherman’s Field Order No. 15 of January 1865, set aside a large swath of land along the coast of South Carolina (21,22) and on islands off the coast of (22) Georgia for the exclusive settlement of (21,22) roughly 40,000 (22) black families, (21,22) [Go to here for what happened to this]

The Freedman’s Bureau Act March 1865

The Radical Republicans in Congress, (17,18) wanted to provide relief and assistance to the soon-to-be former slaves. (18,22) To this end they created the Bureau of Refugees, (17,18) [OR] Freedmen’s (21,22) and Abandoned Lands (18) Bureau (21,22) by an act of March, (18,21) 3rd, (18) 1865 .(21,22) It was (17,18) an important program of Reconstruction, (16) an agency to help educate and assist the former slaves (17,18) in adjusting to living as free citizens. (16) The program was administered by the Department of War. (17,18) It was authorized to rent or sell land in its possession to former slaves. (21) including health services, (18) and land services. (18) It could distribute food and supplies. (22) It could distribute additional confiscated (22) [OR] abandoned (18) land to former slaves and poor whites. (22) It would help the freedmen negotiate contracts and other relations in the new free labour market. (17) Many freed blacks, previously forbidden to learn to read or write, wanted their children to receive the education that they themselves had been denied. (22) The Freedmen’s Bureau, assisted by former abolitionist organizations in the North, (22) set up educational services, (18,22) an established schools for thousands of blacks during the late 1860s. (22) White southern clergymen had often defended slavery in their sermons in the period before the Civil War. (22) As a result, blacks distrusted their white congregations, so they established their own Churches as soon as they had the opportunity. (22) Anyone who pledged loyalty to the Union could lease Forty Acres of land from the bureau and then have the option to purchase them several years later. (22) It was first headed by General Oliver Otis Howard who was appointed by President Lincoln on May 13th, 1865 (18) [OR] Lincoln was assassinated (16,18) in April (18,22) 1865. (16,18)

LincolnAssassinated

Figure 2: Lincoln Assassinated

Assassination of Lincoln

At the end of the Civil War, in the spring of 1865, Lincoln and Congress were on the brink of a political showdown with their competing plans for Reconstruction. (22) But five days after Lee’s surrender had brought the war to an end, (16) on April 14th (22) [OR] April 9th (18) 1865, (16,18) Lincoln was assassinated. (16,18) John Wilkes Booth, a popular stage actor from Maryland who was sympathetic to the secessionist South, shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. (22) When Lincoln died the following day, Vice President (22) Andrew Johnson, (12,15) a Democrat from Tennessee, (22) became president. (12,15) Unlike the Radical Republicans in Congress, Lincoln had not wanted to punish southerners or reorganize southern society. (22) His actions indicate that he wanted Reconstruction to be a short process in which secessionist states could draft new constitutions as swiftly as possible so that the United States could exist as it had before. (22) Historians can only speculate that Lincoln desired a swift reunification, for his assassination in 1865 cut his plans for Reconstruction short. (22)

Post War

The period after the Civil War, 1865 – 1877, was called the Reconstruction period. (10,18) It was a time in which attempts were made to redress the inequities of slavery and its political, social, and economic legacy and to solve the problems arising from the readmission to the Union of the 11 states that had seceded at or before the outbreak of war. (21) At the end of the Civil War fundamental issues facing the nation included what role former Confederates might play in the US government, and what role freed slaves would play in American society. (16) For 25 years following the Civil War, Mississippi’s former slaves and their former owners grappled with the political, social, and economic consequences of emancipation (14) The Union Army’s advance deep into southern territory in the final months of the Civil War freed thousands and thousands of slaves. (22) Although some of these slaves were emancipated officially in the final days of the conflict, most freed themselves, simply refusing to work or walking away from the fields to follow the Union Army. (22) The end of the war meant that thousands of blacks could search freely for family members from whom they had been separated when they were sold or auctioned. (22) Many black couples took the opportunity to get married after being freed, knowing that they could never again be lawfully separated. (22) The number of black marriages skyrocketed. (22) Lincoln’s assassination seemed to give the Radical Republicans in Congress the clear path they needed to implement their plan for Reconstruction. (22)

President Johnson

Andrew Johnson (12,15) Lincoln’s Vice President (18) became 17th (22) President of the U.S in (12,15) April (21) 1865 (12,15) after the assassination of (15,21) 16th (17) President Abraham Lincoln. (15,21)

AndrewJohnson
Figure 3: President Andrew Johnson

Presidential Reconstruction

Johnson declared that he would follow Lincoln’s intended policies toward Reconstruction. (16) This was the remaking of (15) the Southern United States, after the Civil War (15,16) between 1865 (1,2) and 1877. (13,16) Like Lincoln, Johnson wanted to restore the Union in as little time as possible, (22) and to make it easy to restore local rule in the previously rebellious states (15) outlining procedures by which new state governments would be created. (21) While Congress was in recess, (22) he inaugurated the period of Presidential Reconstruction (18,21) (1865–67). (21) Johnson briefly continued (18) [OR] tried to follow (17) Lincoln’s policies (17,18) requiring a vow of loyalty to the Nation and the abolition of slavery before Southern states could be readmitted to the Nation. (18) A Democrat, he preferred a stronger state government (in relation to the federal government) and believed in the doctrine of laissez- faire, which stated that the federal government should stay out of the economic and social affairs of its people. (22) Even after the Civil War, he believed that States’ Rights took precedence over central authority, and he disapproved of legislation that affected the American economy. (22) Although he had seemed supportive of punitive measures against the South in the past: he disliked the southern planter elite and believed they had been a major cause of the Civil War. (22) Given this, he surprised Radical Republicans by consistently blocking their attempts to pass punitive legislation. (22) He rejected all their attempts to dissolve the plantation system, reorganize the southern economy, and protect the civil rights of blacks. (22) [OR] He intended to grant citizenship and voting rights first to Black veterans, while slowly integrating the remainder of the freedmen into the political and economic life in the nation and the ‘new South’. (17) On the other hand he pardoned more people than any president before him, (22) including all Southern whites except Confederate leaders [OR] issued hundreds of pardons to former Confederate officers and government officials, (22) and wealthy planters (21) and most of those pardoned were wealthy southern landowners. (21,22) He restored (21,22) their political rights and (21) all their property (21,22) except slaves. (21)

The August Convention in Mississippi

The Civil War disrupted the profitable (for slaveowners) economy, and much of the economic growth after the War is attributable to freed slaves who cleared land for farming and development. (8) They were able to work to ownership of the land, and at its peak a majority of farms were owned by black farmers. (8) [OR] despite the abolition of slavery, racial discrimination endured in Mississippi. (4,7) Much changed. (14,16) Many white people resisted having former slaves having equal rights and being able to vote (15) The Mississippi Confederate flag and coat of arms was withdrawn at a convention in August 1865, the first meeting Mississippians attended after the Civil War. (20) This meeting had had convened under orders from President Andrew Johnson to abolish slavery, approve the 13th Amendment, and extend voting rights to black male property owners. (20) The 1865 convention failed to meet any of those directives, but its withdrawal of the wartime flag and coat of arms signified an end to the state’s active rebellion. (20) Members were elected to Congress. (17)

The Thirteenth Amendment, January to December, 1865

FreedmansBureau

Figure 4: A hostile view of the Freedmen’s Bureau

In January (18) 1865, (3,14) Congress proposed an amendment to the Constitution which would abolish slavery in the United States. (18) By September 1865 Congress was under the control of more Radical Republicans from the North. (17) The planter James Lusk Alcorn (1816–1894), (17) a Confederate general, was elected by Mississippi to the U.S. Senate in 1865 but, Congress refused to allow any of the newly elected Congressmen from Mississippi to take their seats (17,25) while the Republican Congress was pondering Reconstruction. (25) On December 18th, 1865, Congress ratified (18) the Thirteenth Amendment (3,18) ending slavery. (15,18) President Johnson appointed governors to supervise the drafting of new state constitutions and agreed to readmit each state provided it ratified the Thirteenth Amendment. (22) Hoping that Reconstruction would be complete by the time Congress reconvened a few months later, he declared Reconstruction over at the end of 1865. (22) Radical and moderate Republicans in Congress were furious that Johnson had organized his own Reconstruction efforts in the South without their consent. (22) Johnson was not offering any security to former slaves, and his pardons allowed many of the same wealthy southern landowners who had held power before the war to regain control of the state governments. (22)

The Joint Committee on Reconstruction 1866

To challenge Presidential Reconstruction, Congress established the Joint Committee On Reconstruction in late 1865 (22) [OR] 1866 (22) and the committee began to devise stricter requirements for readmitting southern states. (22) In Congress established a Joint Committee on Reconstruction, (22) and passed legislation that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, (18,22) but States kept on the books laws that continued the legacy of the black codes and, therefore, second-class citizenship for the newly freed slaves. (18) Congress declared Martial Law in the territories, dispatching troops to keep the peace and protect former slaves. (22)

Freedman’s Bureau renewal blocked

The Freedman’s Bureau had been only slightly more successful than the pocket-vetoed Wade-Davis Bill. (22) Most southerners regarded the bureau as a nuisance and a threat to their way of life during the postwar depression. (22) The southern aristocracy saw the bureau as a northern attempt to redistribute their lands to former slaves and resisted the Freedmen’s Bureau from its inception. (22) Plantation owners threatened their former slaves into selling their forty acres of land, and many bureau agents accepted bribes, turning a blind eye to abuses by former slave owners. (22) Despite these failings, however, the Freedman’s Bureau did succeed in setting up schools in the South for nearly 250,000 free blacks. (22) Early in 1866, Congress voted to renew the charter that had created the Freedmen’s Bureau, in retaliation for the fact that Johnson had stripped the bureau of its power. (22) Congress also revised the charter to include special legal courts that would override southern courts. (22) Johnson, however, vetoed the renewed Freedmen’s Bureau, once again using the states’ rights argument that the federal government should not deprive the states of their judicial powers. (22) Congress’s first attempt to override the veto failed. (22) He shared southern aristocrats’ racist point of view that former slaves should not receive the same rights as whites in the Union. (22) He undermined the Freedmen’s Bureau by ordering it to return all confiscated lands to white landowners. (22) He also believed the bureau was an example of the federal government assuming political power reserved to the states, which went against his pro–states’ rights ideology, because he felt that targeting former slaves for special assistance would be detrimental to the South. (22) Johnson also claimed that it was not the federal government’s responsibility to provide special protection for blacks. (22) In the 1866 elections the Republicans gained sufficient power to override President Andrew Johnson’s veto, and the Bureau continued. (22) The bureau was weakened, however, and Congress finally terminated it in 1872. (22)

Carpetbaggers and Scalawags

CarpetbaggerIn the wake of the Confederacy’s defeat, (22) some northerners came south for political and economic reasons, (18,21) and to seek their fortunes. (18,22) They were white, including middle-class professional people. (18,21) There were former Union soldiers, (17,21) teachers, (21,22) Freedmen’s Bureau agents, (17,21) and businessmen. (21) They were collectively referred to by scornful (17,18) white Democrats in the South (17) as ‘carpetbaggers’ (17,18) because of their tendency to carry their possessions in large carpetbags. (22) Most officials in the Freedmen’s Bureau were former Union Army officers from the North. (17) Black Northerners also ventured south. (18) Some of them were veterans of the Civil War, others were teachers, ministers and returning children of free blacks who had been educated in the north including ‘Black carpetbaggers’ born in Great Britain and Dutch Guiana who had been elected members of Congress. (18) During the period of Reconstruction, fifty-two of the sixty individuals who served in the Congress were ex-Union soldiers, who had stayed in the south at the conclusion of the war. (18) They were held to be corrupt individuals who were using Reconstruction as a means to advance their own personal interests. (18) Many settled permanently in the state, (17) and some ‘carpetbaggers’ were asked to run for office by former slaves. (18) More than 100 blacks (18) became political leaders (17,18) in the Republican Party and in business. (17) The second large group, Scalawags, (17,19) were native-born white (21,22) local residents (17,21) mostly non-slaveholding small farmers from the Southern up-country, plus some businessmen and planters. (21) They attempted to achieve similar aims to those of the Carpetbaggers. (22) President Johnson permitted some of the ex-Confederate states to hold elections (10,15) in 1865, (15) and they saw the Republican Party (17,21) in coalition with ‘carpetbaggers’ (migrants from the North) (17,22) and freedmen. (17) as a means of keeping Confederates from regaining power in the South. (21) Carpetbaggers and scalawags served in state legislatures in every southern state during Reconstruction. (22) They comprised (17,21) about a third of (17) the Republican Party in Mississippi. (17,21)

The White resistance

While politicians in Washington, D.C., were busy passing Reconstruction legislation in the late 1860s, the South remained in upheaval, as the ruined economy tried to accommodate newly emancipated blacks (22) and political power struggles ensued. (21,22) As freed slaves tried to establish livelihoods for themselves and take advantage of their new rights under the 14th and 15th Amendments, (22) the political revolution of Reconstruction spawned increasingly violent opposition from white Southerners. (21) Politicians and vigilantes used insidious legislation and intimidation to try to maintain the prewar status quo. (22) The local white (10,13) minority (13) Democrats (10) could not or would not accept a biracial society based on equality of opportunity. (13) White Mississippians and other Southerners were committed to restoring white supremacy and circumscribing the legal, civil, political, and social rights of the freedmen. (17) They resisted full freedom for their former slaves, (10,17) and tried to restrict the African Americans to a second-class status without citizenship or voting rights. (17) See below ‘Black Codes’) They committed terrorist acts targeting local Republican leaders for beatings or assassination. (21) African Americans who asserted their rights in dealings with white employers, teachers, ministers, and others seeking to assist the former slaves also became targets. (21) Apart from the requirement that they abolish slavery, repudiate secession, and abrogate the Confederate debt, the former Confederate States were granted a free hand in managing their affairs. (21)

Mississippi ‘Civil Rights’ Act 1865

The Republican regime faced the determined opposition of the ‘unreconstructed’ white Democrats in the population. (17) Mississippi was the first state to institute (18) laws that abolished the full civil rights of African-Americans. (18,19) ‘An Act to Confer Civil Rights on Freedmen (18,19) and for Other Purposes,’ a very misleading title, (18) was passed (18,19) by the Mississippi Legislature in November (19) 1865. (18,19) Former leaders of the Confederate States of America who ran as Democrats were elected to Congress, and (15) other (18) states (12,15) quickly (18) passed laws that denied rights to former slaves (12,15) in 1865 and 1866. (12) Some of these were so restrictive that they resembled the old system of slavery such as forced labour for various offenses. (18) On a happier note, Columbus’ Friendship Cemetery earned this name when, (6) on April 25th (19) 1866, a group of women adorned the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers (6,19) in beautiful bouquets of flowers and floral garlands. (6) This became known as Decoration Day and is said to have evolved (19) [OR] into Memorial Day, the annual day of recognition of fallen soldiers. (6,19)

Civil Rights Act 1866

When Congress assembled in December 1865, Radical Republicans such as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania and Sen. Charles Sumner from Massachusetts called for the establishment of new Southern governments based on equality before the law and universal male suffrage. (21) But the more numerous moderate Republicans hoped to work with Johnson while modifying his program. (21) A few months after the battle over the Freedmen’s Bureau charter, Congress reversed the 1857 Dred Scott V. Sanford Supreme Court ruling which stated that blacks were not citizens, effectively legalizing slavery. (22) It passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, (18,19) which granted further rights to freed slaves (18,19) It declared all persons born in the United States to be citizens (19,21) regardless of race (except, in an unfortunate irony, Native Americans). (22) It guaranteed a number of civil liberties including the right to make contracts, own and sell property (18) and secured former slaves the right to own property, sue, testify in court, and sign legal contracts. (22) and receive equal treatment under the law, (18,21) President Johnson vetoed this bill as well, but Radical Republicans managed to secure enough votes to override it. (21,22) The Civil Rights Act became the first significant legislation in American history to become law over a president’s veto. (21) The Civil Rights Act was the first piece of congressional legislation to override state laws and protect civil liberties. (22)

The Black Codes

ChainGang

Figure 7: A chain gang under the Black Codes

D espite the efforts of Radical Republicans in Congress, the white elite in the South did everything it could to prevent blacks from gaining civic power. (22) In reaction to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, (21,22) every southern legislature passed laws to restrict opportunities for blacks (22) by enacting (19,21) cruel and severe (18) Black Codes. (19,21) which aimed to control the labour and behaviour of former slaves and other African Americans (12,22) defining and (17) limiting the civil rights of freedmen, the former slaves, (17,18) with a view to reimposing the old social structure. (18) Southern whites passed these laws because they feared black political influence, especially in states like South Carolina where blacks outnumbered whites. (22) Many racist white southerners also worried that freed slaves would seek revenge on their masters, rape white women, and ruin the economy. (22) Wealthy southern landowners, for their part, supported the black codes because the codes ensured that they would have a stable and reliable black workforce. (22) These ranged widely in severity, outlawing everything from interracial marriage to loitering in public areas. (22) The Codes required African Americans to sign (21,22) yearly (21) labour contracts (21,22) and in other ways sought to limit the freedmen’s economic options and reestablish plantation discipline. (21) They included such curfews, poll taxes, and papers that certified employment. (19) Some of the black codes forced former slaves to sign contracts, requiring them to work for meagre wages, while some even required them to work on chain gangs in the fields. (22) Black children were forced into unpaid apprenticeships that usually led to fieldwork. (22) One code outlawed unemployment, which allowed white landowners to threaten their tenant farmers with eviction if they decided to give up their land. (22) The temporary government of Mississippi repealed the 1861 Ordinance of Secession and (17) wrote restrictive ‘black codes’. (12,16) The Mississippi black codes were arguably the worst: they stripped blacks of their right to serve on juries and testify against whites, and also outlawed free speech. (22) African Americans strongly resisted the implementation of these measures, and they seriously undermined Northern support for Johnson’s policies. (21) The establishment of the ‘Black Codes’ enraged northern Republicans (16,19) They felt that the Black Codes showed that the southerners were still persecuting freed slaves: (16) reasserting conditions of slavery and white supremacy. (17) They said the black codes were racist. (16,17) Once the Republican Party took control of Reconstruction, they forced southern state legislatures to repeal many of the black codes. (22) They were never fully implemented in any state (17) but many wealthy white southerners continued to enforce the codes unlawfully for years, even decades, after Reconstruction. (22) Black Codes were also adopted by midwestern states to regulate or inhibit the migration of free African-Americans to the midwest. (18,21) The Codes were the forerunners to the more formal Jim Crow ‘separate but equal’ laws of the 20th century. (19)

The Ku Klux Klan 1866

KKK

Figure 8: Mississippi Ku Klux Klansmen

Angry whites sometimes resorted to violence to intimidate blacks. (22) soon after the end of the war, (17,22) The first (23) Ku Klux Klan (12,14) was founded in (22,23) Pulaski, (23) Tennessee (22,23) on December 24th, 1865, (23) [OR] in 1866, (22) by six former officers of the Confederate army: Frank McCord, Richard Reed, John Lester, John Kennedy, J. Calvin Jones and James Crowe. (23) [OR] by Nathan Bedford Forrest. (23) It was a secret (22,23) reactionary (12) vigilante (23) society of white supremacists. (22) It aimed to terrorize black people (14,17) and so force them out of political and economic power. (15,19) Although there was little organizational structure above the local level, similar groups rose across the South and adopted the same name and methods. (23) As a secret group, the Klan targeted freedmen and their allies; it sought to restore white supremacy by threats and violence, including murder. (23) Chapters of it were organized in Mississippi. (17) The Klan and (19,22) after the Klan was suppressed, (23) other paramilitary terrorist organizations such as the White League, (17,23) which started in Louisiana in 1874 (23) the Red Shirts in Mississippi and the Carolinas, (17,23) and thousands of Confederate veterans (23) in associated rifle clubs (17,23) raised the level of violence at every election, (17) attacking blacks to suppress the freedmen’s vote (17,23) by scaring blacks away from the polls during elections and to punish those who did not obey their demands, (22) including allies of the blacks such as schoolteachers. (17) Klansmen wore white hoods to conceal their identities, harassed and beat blacks, carpetbaggers, and scalawags, and sometimes even conducted lynchings—mob killings of blacks, usually by hanging. (22) The Red Shirts were described as acting as the military arm of the Democratic Party and are attributed with helping white Democrats regain control of state legislatures throughout the South. (23) Klan groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement promoting resistance and white supremacy during the Reconstruction Era. (23) For example, Confederate veteran John W. Morton founded a chapter in Nashville, Tennessee. (23) They tried to turn Republicans out of office. targeting white Northern leaders, Southern sympathizers and politically active blacks. (23) The first Klan had mixed results in terms of achieving its objectives. (23) It seriously weakened the black political leadership through its use of assassinations and threats of violence; and drove some people out of politics. (23)

Northern backlash 1866

The outrage in the North over (12) Klan activity (23) and the Black codes (12) caused a sharp backlash, with passage of the Reconstruction Acts that historian Eric Foner says were a success in terms of “restoring order, reinvigorating the morale of Southern Republicans, and enabling blacks to exercise their rights as citizens”. (23) It eroded support for the approach known as Presidential Reconstruction (12) and many members (12,15) of the more radical wing (12) of the Republican Party (12,15) wanted stricter terms before local rule was returned to the South. (15) Many northerners were troubled by the presidential pardons Johnson had handed out to Confederates, his decision to strip the Freedmen’s Bureau of its power, and the fact that blacks were essentially slaves again on white plantations. (22)

WhiteMansGovt
Figure 9: A White Man’s Government

Moreover, many in the North believed that a president sympathetic to southern racists and secessionists could not properly reconstruct the South. (22) Ironically, the southern race riots and Johnson’s ‘Swing Around the Circle’ tour convinced northerners that Congress was not being harsh enough toward the postwar South. (22) ‘This Is a White Man’s Government,’ political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly, September 5, 1868, showed five [three?] white men standing on a black Civil War veteran: a ‘Five Points Irishman,’ Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Wall Street financier and Democrat August Belmont. (21) They made their repeal mandatory for readmittance into the Union. (19) The violence against the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (The murderous Memphis and New Orleans Race Riots of 1866) shocked many northerners, who accused President Johnson of turning a blind eye. (22) The president, in turn, placed the blame on Radical Republicans in Congress during his infamous ‘Swing Around The Circle,’ in which he travelled throughout the country giving speeches that lambasted Republicans, pro-war Democrats, and blacks. (22) His coarse rhetoric was counter-productive, hurting the Democratic Party’s credibility and persuading many northerners to vote Republican in the congressional (22) 1866 elections and the Republican Party triumphed, (12,15) winning a large majority of the Congressional seats. (15) These ‘Radical Republicans’ believed Johnson was being far too lenient and was allowing former rebels too much of a role in the new governments of the South. (16) Their plans for Reconstruction were more severe. (16) They refused to let former Confederate leaders (15,19) in Southern delegations, including Mississippi’s (19) take seats in the Congress (15,19) Early in 1866 (21) they passed laws that former leaders of the rebellion were not allowed to hold office (15,21) and were not allowed to vote (15) Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau Act, which extended the life of an agency Congress had created in 1865 to oversee the transition from slavery to freedom. (21)

Plight of the former slaves

Reforms reversed

But President Johnson in the summer of 1865 ordered land in federal hands to be returned to its former owners. (21) Sherman’s promise (21,22) of ‘40 acres and a mule’ (21) was stillborn. (21,22) Emancipation had given the former slaves freedom of mobility, but most remained in the state (13) [OR] Thousands of African Americans migrated to the Mississippi Delta in search of land and work to start a new life. (9)

Sharecropping

Despite efforts by white landowners to force blacks back into wage labour on large plantations, emancipation enabled southern blacks to rent their own plots of land, farm them, and provide for their families. (22) [OR] Some worked for wages. (21) Lacking land, most former slaves had little economic alternative other than resuming work on plantations owned by whites. (21) After the Civil War, tenant farming and sharecropping became a way of life for the vast majority of Mississippi farmers. (27) It probably originated in the Natchez District, roughly centered in Adams County, Mississippi with its county seat, Natchez. (27) The former slaves (13,22) generally had no resources or access to credit to purchase land (27) and were eventually absorbed into the system of tenant farming, as sharecroppers (13,21) A system in which many former plantation owners divided their lands and rented out each plot, or Share, to a black family. (13,22) The family farmed their own crops and rented their plot of land in exchange for a percentage of their crop’s yield (21,22) at the end of the year. (21) Many former slaves ended up sharecropping on land owned by their former masters, and the system kept blacks tied to their shares—their rented plots of land—and thereby indebted to white landowners. (22) With Mississippi’s devastated economy in the years following the Civil War. (27) Increasing numbers of (27) poor, landless whites also became sharecroppers, farming lands owned by wealthy planter elites. (22,27) By 1880, the vast majority of farmers in the South were sharecroppers. (22) Neither status offered much hope for economic mobility. (21,22) Most black farmers were able to purchase items only on credit at local shops—almost always owned by their landlords—and thus went deep into debt. (22) For decades, most Southern blacks remained propertyless and poor. (21,22) Many of Mississippi’s small white landowning farmers, also known as yeoman farmers, had not been heavily involved in the cotton economy before the Civil War; however, after the war, a number of factors led the white yeoman farmers to turn increasingly to cotton cultivation. (27) They needed cash to pay off debts acquired during four years of war and the increased taxes levied during Reconstruction and beyond. (27) In addition, new railroad lines built after the war improved access to distant markets and encouraged the development of commercial agriculture among formerly subsistence farmers (subsistence farmers are those who grow crops primarily to feed themselves, their families, and their livestock, rather than to make a profit). (27) Mississippians hoped to find economic recovery in the coming of industry and the railroads, but the hope was only partially realized (13,27) because, unfortunately, the price of cotton began a long period of decline in the late 1860s, (22,27) dropping steadily from about fifty cents per pound in 1864 to a little over ten cents per pound by the end of Reconstruction, (22) and many of those white yeomen who had staked their future on cotton production lost their farms. (27) When they did, they frequently became tenant farmers or sharecroppers, too. (27) By 1900, 36 percent of all white farmers in Mississippi were either tenant farmers or sharecroppers (by comparison, 85 percent of all black farmers in 1900 did not own the land they farmed). (27)

Black culture and religion

This demographic shift led to many great things such as Delta (9) Blues (7,9) and other music forms. (9) which originated in the Mississippi Delta after the Civil War. (7) Rooted in the songs sung by slaves working in the fields and African spirituals, the Blues offered an escape from oppression and a means of expression for many African Americans. (7) The ‘Vicksburg Colored Citizen’, the first African American newspaper in Mississippi, went into circulation in 1867. (19) The continued economic interdependence of the black and white communities kept intact many of the social customs and traditions that had developed before the war. (13) In 1867 the first temple built by the Beth Israel Congregation of Jackson. (19) Completed in 1868 the wood frame structure was built on the corner of State and South Streets. (19) The temple was used as both a school and house of worship. (19)

Radical or Congressional Reconstruction 1867-77

The First Reconstruction Act, March 1867

As a result, Radical (21,22) Northern (21) Republicans overwhelmingly beat their Democratic opponents in the elections (21,22) in the autumn (21) of 1866 (21,22) and gained almost complete control over policymaking in Congress. (22) This ended Presidential Reconstruction. (21,22) Responding to tumultuous conditions and violence (17) Congress decided to begin Reconstruction anew, (21) and the era of Radical (21,22) or Congressional (21,22) Reconstruction. (21,22) It was to last until the end of the last Southern Republican governments in 1877. (21) In 1867, (17) Congress began the task of Reconstruction by passing the First (17,22) or Military (22) Reconstruction Act (17,22) in March (22) 1867. (17,22) The murderous Memphis And New Orleans Race Riots of 1866 proved that Reconstruction needed to be declared and enforced, and the Military Reconstruction Act jump-started this process. (22) Congress chose to send in the military. (22) Five (18,19) military districts each under the leadership of a prominent military general were carved out in the south (17,18) in the states that had seceded. (19,22) Twenty thousand United States troops were sent to occupy the South. (19) and create ‘radical regimes’ throughout the secessionist states. (22) President Johnson appointed a temporary state government under provisional governor Judge William Lewis Sharkey (1798–1873). (17)

Mississippi Under Martial Law

Mississippi was one of the areas designated to be under military control, (17,19) and U.S. Army forces were directed to occupy and manage the state. (17) A military government was established in Mississippi after the reconstructed government of Mississippi was rejected by Congress. (19) The military Governor-General (17) of ‘the Fourth Military district’ (19,24) in which Mississippi lay, was Union Army Gen. Edward O.C. Ord, (1818–1883). (17) The tumultuous period called (10) ‘Reconstruction’ began. (13,15) The main issue of Reconstruction was how to bring the nation back together after the rebellion of the slave states had been ended. (16) Reconstruction witnessed far-reaching changes in America’s political life. (21) At the national level, new laws and constitutional amendments permanently altered the federal system and the definition of American citizenship. (21) Congress declared that southern states needed to redraft their constitutions, ratify the 14th Amendment, and provide suffrage to blacks in order to seek readmission into the Union. (22) In the South, a politically mobilized black community joined with white allies to bring the Republican Party to power, and with it a redefinition of the responsibilities of government. (21) In every state, African Americans formed the overwhelming majority of Southern Republican voters. (21) From the beginning of Reconstruction, black conventions and newspapers throughout the South had called for the extension of full civil and political rights to African Americans. (21) Composed of those who had been free before the Civil War plus slave ministers, artisans, and Civil War veterans, the black political leadership pressed for the elimination of the racial caste system and the economic uplifting of the former slaves. (21)

Second Reconstruction Act, March 1867

To further safeguard voting rights for former slaves, Republicans passed the Second Reconstruction Act, placing Union troops in charge of voter registration. (22) Radical Republicans hoped that by this they would be able to create a Republican political base in the seceded states to facilitate their plans for Radical Reconstruction. (22) Congress overrode two presidential vetoes from Johnson to pass the bills. (22)

Effects of Radical Reconstruction in Mississippi

FreedmansBureauEducation

Figure 10: A positive view of the educational work of the Freedmen’s Bureau

Mississippi was turned upside down. (9,10) For ten years (10) [OR] more than decade (13) political, social, and economic turmoil followed. (10) There were intense controversies, which included the impeachment of a president, outbreaks of racial violence, and the passage of Constitutional amendments. (16) Meanwhile Mississippi’s former slaves and their former owners (13) grappled with the political, social, and economic consequences of emancipation (10,13) The Republican Party encouraged blacks to vote and hold political office. (10) Though Radical Reconstruction was an improvement on President Johnson’s laissez-faire Reconstructionism, it had its ups and downs. (22) The daily lives of blacks and poor whites changed little. (22) While Radicals in Congress successfully passed rights legislation, southerners all but ignored these laws. (22) The newly formed southern governments established public schools, but they were still segregated and did not receive enough funding. (22) Black literacy rates did improve, but marginally at best. (22) General Ord was assigned to register the state’s electorate so that voters could elect representatives to write a new state constitution reflecting the granting of citizenship and the franchise to freedmen through amendments to the United States Constitution. (17) In a contested election, the state’s white voters rejected the proposal of a new state constitution. (17) Serving an expanded citizenry, Reconstruction governments in Mississippi established the South’s first state-funded public school systems, sought to strengthen the bargaining power of plantation labourers, made taxation more equitable, and outlawed racial discrimination in public transportation and accommodations. (21) They also offered lavish aid to railroads and other enterprises in the hope of creating a ‘New South’ whose economic expansion would benefit blacks and whites alike. (21) But the economic program spawned corruption and rising taxes, alienating increasing numbers of white voters. (21) Meanwhile, the social and economic transformation of the South proceeded apace. (21) To blacks, freedom meant independence from white control. (21) Reconstruction provided the opportunity for African Americans to solidify their family ties and to create independent religious institutions, which became centres of community life that survived long after Reconstruction ended. (21) The former slaves also demanded economic independence. (21)

The Reconstruction (14th) Amendment July, 28th 1868

In giving former slaves citizenship, the Civil Rights Act also gave them—at least in theory—equal protection under the law. (22) In 1867, (18) [OR] 1868 (19,22) shortly after the passage of the Civil Rights Act over Johnson’s veto, (21,22) Congress approved (21,22) the 14th Amendment (15,18) to ensure that the 1866 act would have its intended power. (22) It proposed to provide citizenship (15,18) and civil liberties (18) to the recently freed slaves. (15,18) It formally defined American citizenship (19,21) putting the principle of birthright citizenship into the Constitution (21) and prohibiting states from depriving people of the rights of citizenship. (19,21) Although the amendment did not give former slaves the right to vote, it guaranteed citizenship to all males born in the United States, regardless of race. (22) The ratification of the 14th Amendment guaranteed that from that point onward, no one in the United States—even a Supreme Court justice or president—could deny a black person citizenship rights on the basis of racial inequality. (22) Republicans in Congress specified that southern states had to ratify the amendment before they could reenter the Union. (22) The Congressional Joint Resolution proposing the amendment was submitted to the states for ratification on June 16, 1866. (21) On July 28th, [OR] July 9th, (19) 1868, enough states ratified, and the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution, (19,22) but it remained unenforceable until the 1960s. (21) It was dubbed the Reconstruction Amendment, and was an extreme Reconstructionist measure, but its attempt to guarantee civil rights was circumvented for many decades by the post-Reconstruction-era black codes, Jim Crow laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ‘separate but equal’ ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). (21) James Lusk Alcorn, the future governor of Mississippi, (17,19) supported suffrage for freedmen and endorsed (17,25) the 14th Amendment (17,19) as required by the Republicans in Congress. (17) He supported suffrage for freedmen and endorsed the Fourteenth Amendment, as demanded by the Republicans in Congress. (25) Arguably the most important addition to the Constitution other than the Bill of Rights, the amendment constituted a profound change in federal-state relations. (21) Traditionally, citizens’ rights had been delineated and protected by the states. (21) Thereafter, the federal government would guarantee all Americans’ equality before the law against state violation. (21) Alcorn became the leader of the ‘scalawags’. (17,25) In 1866 the Freedmen’s Aid Society of Methodist Episcopal Church established a school in Holly Springs. (19) Some newly freed black slaves won elected offices (15) The 14th Amendment prohibited the states from depriving any person of ‘life, liberty, or property, without due process of law’ and from denying anyone within a state’s jurisdiction equal protection under the law. (21) A section of the Constitution had originally apportioned representation in the House of Representatives according to a formula that counted each slave as three-fifths of a person: it had been nullified by the Thirteenth Amendment. (21) It was now replaced by a clause in the 14th Amendment specifying that representatives be ‘apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.’ (21) The amendment also prohibited former civil and military office holders who had supported the Confederacy from again holding any state or federal office—with the proviso that this prohibition could be removed from individuals by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress. (21) Moreover, the amendment upheld the national debt while exempting the federal government and state governments from any responsibility for the debts incurred by the rebellious Confederate States of America. (21) Finally, the last section, mirroring the approach of the Thirteenth Amendment, provided for enforcement. (21) 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. (21) 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. (21) Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. (21) But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state. (21) No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. (21) But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. (21) The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. (21) But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. (21) The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. (21) Among those legislators responsible for introducing the amendment’s provisions were Rep. John A. Bingham of Ohio, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, Rep. Henry Deming of Connecticut, Sen. Benjamin G. Brown of Missouri, and Rep. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania. (21) The Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment were milestones in the fight to give former slaves equal rights. (22) Constitutional law stood in the way: and equality did not happen in a day; the first real steps would not be taken for another hundred years. (22) But the 14th Amendment was a significant start. (22)

Ames
Figure 11 Adelbert Ames

Figure 11 Adelbert Ames

Ames Governor 1868

Mississippi continued to be governed by federal martial law, and (17) in 1868 (19) Union General (17) Adelbert Ames (17,19) (1835–1933) of Maine (17) was appointed by Congress to be provisional governor of Mississippi. (19,24) His command soon extended to the Fourth Military District, which consisted of Mississippi and Arkansas. (24) He deposed the provisional civil government under provisional governor Judge William Lewis Sharkey (1798–1873) appointed by President Johnson. (17) He was Mississippi’s 27th governor and served from 1868-1870. (19) Under direction from the Republican majority in the U.S. Congress, Ames enabled all black men of age to enrol as voters (not just veterans) , and temporarily prohibited about a thousand or so former Confederate leaders to vote or hold state offices. (17) In 1869 Tougaloo University was founded near Jackson by American Missionary Association (AMA) The Freedmen’s Bureau donated $10,500 to purchase land for the school. (19) During his administration, he took several steps to advance the rights of freed slaves. (24) Some held government positions. (14,24) the first black office-holders in state history. (24) White supremacist terrorism and violence was prevalent in the state, one of the last to comply with Reconstruction, but a general election was held during his tenure in 1869, and the legislature convened at the beginning of the next year. (24) In 1868 the ‘Colored Citizen’s Monthly’ was established in Jackson by James D. Lynch, a prominent African American who went on to serve as Secretary of State of Mississippi from 1869 to 1872. (19)

The Black and Tan Convention, 1868

Many southern whites were angered by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment of 1868. (22) Angry mobs took to the streets in communities throughout the South, and riots erupted in Memphis and New Orleans, leaving many innocent blacks dead. (22) Klansmen murdered several hundred black voters in Louisiana in 1868. (22) In Mississippi, a Constitutional Convention (17) the state’s first biracial constitutional convention (17,19) was held for the purpose of drafting a new constitution for the state (17) which would protect the rights of freedmen (ex-slaves) and punishing ex-Confederates. (19) Although whites composed the overwhelming majority of delegates, (17,19) it was mockingly entitled the ‘Black and Tan’ Convention (17,19) by opponents of black franchise (17) because it included African American (then referred to as ‘Negro’ or ‘Colored’) representatives. (17) In reality only 17 of the 100 members were black, although blacks comprised more than half of the state population of the time. (17) Thirty-two Mississippi counties had black majorities, but freedmen elected whites as well as blacks to represent them. (17) The new constitution was adopted by referendum (17) in 1868 (17,19) The 1868 constitution (17,19) had major elements that lasted for 22 years. (17) and was ratified (14,19) in December (14) 1869. (14.19) The convention adopted universal male suffrage (unrestricted by property qualifications, educational requirements or poll taxes). (17) It protected the voting and civil rights of former slaves (19) thereby giving black people the right to vote (14,19) and created the framework for the state’s first public school system (17,19) (which Northern and border states had begun 40 years earlier) (17) and set the educable age of children as 5 to 21. (19) 1870: Mississippi’s first system of public education established Teacher’s Certificates. (19) On February 23rd 1870: the ‘Jackson Field Hand’, an African American newspaper, was founded. (19) Race distinctions in the possession and inheritance of property were prohibited as was the limiting of civil rights in travel. (17) It required legislative reapportionment of seats to recognize the new voting freedmen in many jurisdictions; and repudiated the ordinances and powers of secession. (17)

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson 1868

Tenure of Office Act

A combination of personal stubbornness, fervent belief in states’ rights, and racist convictions led Johnson to reject the Reconstruction Acts, causing (21) a permanent rupture between himself and Congress. (16, 21) In addition to the Reconstruction Acts, Congress also passed a series of bills in 1867 to limit President Johnson’s power, one of which was the Tenure Of Office Act. (22) The bill sought to protect prominent Republicans in the Johnson administration by forbidding their removal without congressional consent. (22) Although the act applied to all officeholders whose appointment required congressional approval, Republicans were specifically aiming to keep Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton in office, because Stanton was the Republicans’ conduit for controlling the U.S. military. (22) Defiantly, Johnson ignored the act, and fired Stanton in the summer of 1867 (while Congress was in recess). (22) He replaced him with former Union general Ulysses S. Grant. (22) Afraid that Johnson would end Military Reconstruction in the South, Congress ordered him to reinstate Stanton when it reconvened in 1868. (22) Johnson refused, but Grant resigned, and Congress put Edwin M. Stanton back in office over the president’s objections. (22) After removing (22) [OR] attempting to remove (21) Edwin M. Stanton, (21,22) who had been Secretary of War under Lincoln and Johnson (22) in violation of the new Tenure of Office Act, (21) House Republicans, tired of presidential vetoes that blocked Military Reconstruction (22) voted for Johnson to be impeached by the House of Representatives in 1868. (16,21) Although Johnson did technically violate the Tenure Of Office Act, the bill was passed primarily as a means to provoke Johnson and give Radical Republicans in Congress an excuse to get rid of him. (22) He was impeached by a vote of 126–47 for violating the Tenure of Office Act. (22) The Senate then tried Johnson in May 1868 in front of a gallery of spectators. (22) Johnson’s trial in Congress exposed the real reason that House Republicans impeached the president: he had ignored them in the process of crafting Reconstruction policies, and they wanted retaliation. (22) The prosecutors, two Radical Republicans from the House, were unable to convince a majority of senators to convict the president. (22) Seven Republican senators sided with the Senate Democrats supporting Johnson: a frivolous impeachment would have set a dangerous precedent, and if Congress had removed a president from office simply on the basis of a power struggle between the president and Congress, they might have endangered the system of separation of powers—an integral part of U.S. government. (22) Although Johnson had stubbornly opposed Congress, he had not violated the Constitution and was not guilty of committing ‘high crimes and misdemeanours.’ (22) Another factor was the fact that, because Johnson had no vice president, the president pro tempore of the Senate was next in line for the presidency should Johnson be impeached. (22) This man was a rather liberal Republican named Benjamin Wade, whose politics did not sit well with certain other senate Republicans. (22) Some of these Republicans deemed the prospect of a Wade presidency just as unpalatable as the dangerous precedent of impeachment and thus voted with the Democrats to acquit Johnson. (22) For these reasons the Republicans fell one vote shy of convicting Johnson. (21,22) But although he had been acquitted by the Senate (21,22 his power to obstruct the course of Reconstruction was gone. (21)

President Ulysses S. Grant 1868-72

Grant

Figure 12: President Ulysses S Grant

As the presidential election of 1868 drew near, Republicans nominated Ulysses S. Grant (16,19) formerly a Union general and Civil War hero (22) to became (16,19) 18th (22) president following the election of 1868. (16,19) Although Grant had never held public office, he had been a successful Union general, was popular in the North, and served as a reminder that Republicans had won the war. (22) Democrats nominated Horatio Seymour, a former governor of New York who opposed emancipation, supported states’ rights, and wanted to regain control of Reconstruction from Congress. (22) Although Grant received 214 electoral votes to Seymour’s 80, he won the popular vote by only 300,000, a slim margin. (22) Republicans maintained control of Congress. (21,22) and were therefore firmly in control of all three branches of the federal government. (21) Reconstruction policies continued in the South. (16) But they were often plagued by racial problems and the Grant administration often found itself trying to protect the civil rights of former slaves. (16) Increasingly, the new Southern governments looked to Washington, D.C., for assistance. (21) Meanwhile in Mississippi 1869 the ‘Canton Citizen’, an African American newspaper, was founded, although like many of the African American newspapers established in the 1870s it was short lived. (19) No copies of these early papers have been found. (19)

The Gilded Age

Grant’s presidency marked the beginning of the Gilded Age—the name that novelist Mark Twain sarcastically gave to the postwar, post-Reconstruction era of big business, graft, and scandal that lasted until about 1900. (22) The Gilded Age was enabled partly because most presidents during this era, including Grant, were weak in relation to Congress. (22) The U.S. government’s economic policy became lax during these years, allowing Americans to take advantage of the laissez-faire economics via increased speculation, investment, and corruption. (22)

Railway Boom

Grant’s presidency also saw a flurry of Railroad construction throughout the United States, meaning big business for railroaders both North and South. (22) American industrial production was booming (mostly in the North), and the demand for railroad lines to transport manufactured goods throughout the country had rapidly increased. (22) During the Civil War, the U.S. government had granted subsidies to large railroad companies like the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad to lay rail tracks throughout the North and West. (22) In 1869, these northern and western railroad systems were finally united when Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines were joined at Promontory, Utah, forming a transcontinental rail link. (22)

The Fisk-Gould Gold Scheme 1869

Indeed, Grant had not even completed his first year in office before scandal hit. (22) In 1869, financial tycoons Jim Fisk and Jay Gould bribed officials in Grant’s cabinet, including Grant’s own brother-in-law, to turn a blind eye while the two wealthy businessmen attempted to corner the gold market. (22) Fisk and Gould even conned Grant himself into not releasing any more of the precious metal into the economy. (22) Fisk and Gould’s attempt to corner the gold market led to the panic of September 24, 1869, ‘Black Friday.’ Congress was able to restore gold prices only after releasing more gold into the economy, despite Grant’s promise that more gold would not be released. (22) Though Grant was unknowingly part of the scandal, no formal charges were filed against him. (22)

The Fifteenth Amendment 1869

Prior to the Civil War, landowners were the only social group who had the privilege to vote, excluding the majority of poor, landless whites from active political participation. (22) Even the ‘Great Emancipator’ himself, Abraham Lincoln, considered giving the right to vote only to a few blacks. (20,22) In his last speech, on April 11th, 1865 Lincoln, referring to Reconstruction in Louisiana, had expressed the view that (21) only some blacks (21,22) the ‘very intelligent’ (21) [OR] who were freedmen before the Civil War (22) and those who had served in the Union Army, ought to enjoy the right to vote. (21,22) Most moderate Republicans saw freedmen suffrage as unnecessary until they realized that the Republican Party would never gain influence in the South unless blacks had the right to vote. (22) Blacks would support the Republican Party en masse, so ratifying the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed Republicans this support. (22) Even though most of the new postwar state constitutions in the South gave blacks the right to vote, many northern states refused to follow suit, because they considered universal manhood suffrage a solution unique to the South that was unnecessary in the North. (22) The amendment also granted voting rights to poor whites, especially in the South. (22) The 13th and 14th Amendments had abolished slavery and granted blacks citizenship, but blacks still did not have the right to vote. (22) Radical Republicans feared that black suffrage might be revoked in the future, so they decided to amend the Constitution to solidify this right. (22) They also believed that giving blacks the right to vote would weaken southern elites, who had regained political power in the South. (22) In 1869, therefore, Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment, granting all American males the right to vote and thus prohibiting states from restricting the right to vote because of race. (21,22) This brought sweeping changes for blacks, poor whites, and politics in general in the United States. (22) Prior to 1866, most Republicans had opposed black suffrage. (22) After the amendment’s ratification, southern blacks flocked to the polls. (22) By the beginning of 1868, more than 700,000 blacks (and nearly the same number of poor landless whites) had registered to vote. (22) Not surprisingly, virtually all of them declared themselves Republicans, associating the Democratic Party with secession and slavery. (22) Black civic societies and grassroots political organizations began to sprout up across the South, most led by prominent blacks who had been freedmen since before the Civil War. (22) Soon, black voters gained majorities in South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi and were able to facilitate Republican plans for Reconstruction. (22) These voters elected many Black Politicians in the majority states and throughout the South: fourteen black politicians were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, (22) and two to the Mississippi State Senate. (22) These new state governments funded the creation of roads, hospitals, prisons, and free public schools. (22) Congress also required secessionist states that had not yet reentered the Union to ratify the amendment in order to rejoin. (22) By 1870, three-quarters of the Union had ratified the amendment, and it became law. (22) Ironically, the Fifteenth Amendment also forced reluctant northern states to give blacks the right to vote. (22)

Mississippi Rejoins the Union 1870

Hiram
Figure 13: Senator Hiram R. Revels

 Reconstruction soon began to wane. (21) New Republican controlled governments were instituted in the South, but were almost certainly doomed to fail, (16) as the popular sentiment (15,16) of most southern whites (22) in the region was obviously opposed to Abraham Lincoln’s Republicans (15,16) who hated the ‘regimes’ that Congress established. (22) In spite of this they proved successful in speeding up Reconstruction. (22) Indeed, by 1870 all of the southern states had been readmitted to the Union. (22) So, along with the others, following the terms of reconstruction (5) Mississippi rejoined the Union (1,2) on February 23rd (5,14) [OR] January 11th (17) 1870, (1,2) after changing the state constitution to allow former slaves to vote. (2,14) The State government was re-established and the Fourth Military District abolished. (19) All the former Confederate states had now been readmitted to the Union, and nearly all were controlled by the Republican Party. (21) Mississippi began growing and working to bring industrial jobs to the communities (11) By the first (18) Reconstruction Act (12,18) of March 2nd (18) 1867, (12,18) new governments, based on manhood suffrage without regard to race, were to be established. (21) The newly enfranchised blacks gained a voice in government for the first time in American history, (12,18) winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S Congress (12) Black Mississippians, participating in the political process for the first time, (17,19) formed a coalition with white Republicans made up of locals and Northerners in a Republican party that controlled the state legislature for a time. (17) Most of the Republican voters were freedmen, several of whom held important state offices. (17) Some black leaders emerged who had gained education in the North and were returning to the South. (17) Its Republican representatives and senators were seated in Congress on February 23rd 1870. (17) Sixteen African Americans served in Congress during Reconstruction, more than 600 in state legislatures, and hundreds more in local offices from sheriff to justice of the peace scattered across the South. (21) A. K. Davis served as lieutenant governor, (17) and Hiram (17,19) R. (19) Revels (17,19) (1827–1901) (17) and Blanche K. Bruce (17,19) (1841–1898) (17) were elected by the Legislature to the U.S. Senate. (17,19) Blanche K. Bruce was the first African American United States Senator. (19) Hiram Revels was the first African American (17,19) from Mississippi (17) seated in the United States Senate, (17,19) and one of only six African Americans to have served in the United States Senate before 2010. (19) John R. Lynch was elected as a representative to Congress. (17) In those elections John R. Lynch (17,19) (1847–1939) (17) and Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar were (19) elected to U.S. House of Representatives. (17,19) So-called ‘black supremacy’ never existed, but the advent of African Americans in positions of political power marked a dramatic break with the country’s traditions and aroused bitter hostility from Reconstruction’s opponents. (21)

Adelbert Ames Senator for Mississippi, 1870-74

After the readmission of Mississippi to the Union in 1870, (17,24) as was the process at the time, (17) the Mississippi Legislature elected (17,24) its former military governor (17) Adelbert Ames to the US Senate (17,24) He served from February 24, 1870, to January 10, 1874, as a Republican. (24) As a senator, Ames became a talented public speaker to the point where even some of his Democratic opponents acknowledged his ability. (24) In the US Senate, Ames was chairman of the Senate Committee on Enrolled Bills. (24)

Enforcement Acts 1870-75

Southern white opposition to Reconstruction led to (17) the passage of (17,19) a series of four acts from 1870 (18,23) to 1875 (19) [OR] 1871 (23) called Enforcement (17,23) [OR] Force (19) Acts (17,19) intended to prosecute and suppress Klan crimes (23) and so to protect the civil rights guaranteed by the 14th and 25th Amendments, penalizing any interference with the registration, voting, officeholding, or jury service of African Americans. (19) They authorized national action (21) to suppress political violence. (21,23) The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 was passed to try to curb the tide of violence and intimidation. (22) Historian George C. Rable argues that the Klan was a political failure and therefore was discarded by the Democratic leaders of the South. (23) He says: The Klan declined in strength in part because of internal weaknesses; its lack of central organization and the failure of its leaders to control criminal elements and sadists. (23) More fundamentally, it declined because it failed to achieve its central objective – the overthrow of Republican state governments in the South. (23)

Alcorn Governor 1870-71

Alcorn
Figure 14 James L. Alcorn, Governor, Senator & Scalawag

 The most prominent (25) scalawag of all was James L. Alcorn of Mississippi. (24,25) In 1870, following the election of Ames to the Senate, he became Mississippi’s twenty-eighth governor (17,19) He served from 1870-1871. (17,19) Alcorn became the leader of the scalawags, who composed about a third of the Republicans in the state, in coalition with carpetbaggers and freedmen. (25) As a modernizer, he appointed many like-minded former Whigs, even if they had become Democrats. (17) He strongly supported education, conceding segregation of public schools in order to get them started. (17) In 1870 Chinese immigrants were recruited to Mississippi as a solution to the labour upheaval caused by emancipation: they were concentrated in Washington County. (19) The riverboat Robert E. Lee I defeated the Natchez VI in the Great Riverboat Race, winning a trophy of golden elk antlers. (19) In 1871 (17) Alcorn supported (17,19) the state of Mississippi (19) founding a new college for freedmen (17,19) on a site originally occupied by Oakland College (19) in Lorman. (17) established and named in honor of the Governor, James L. Alcorn, as ‘Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College’ in 1878 It was the first land-grant college for blacks and one of the first state-supported colleges for blacks in the state. (19) It has been known as Alcorn State University since 1974. (17,19) The Methodist school in Holly springs was chartered as Shaw University in 1870 and changed to Rust University in 1882. (19) It later became Rust College (1915) (19) Alcorn manoeuvred to make his ally Hiram Revels its president. (17) Radical Republicans opposed Alcorn as they were angry about his patronage policy. (17) One complained that Alcorn’s policy was to see ‘the old civilization of the South ‘modernized’ rather than lead a total political, social and economic revolution. (17) A Riot in Meridian in 1871 was instigated by white vigilantes who resented growing African American political power: it was described as ‘the bloodiest day Meridian ever saw’, and left at least thirty people dead. (19) Governor Alcorn resigned in 1871. (19)

Alcorn senator 1871

Alcorn resigned the governorship to become a U.S. senator (17,19) (1871 to 1877), replacing his ally Hiram Revels. (17) In speeches to the Senate, Alcorn urged the removal of the political disabilities of white southerners and rejected Radical Republican proposals to enforce social equality by federal legislation. (17) He denounced the federal cotton tax as robbery, and defended separate schools for both races in Mississippi. (17) Although a former slaveholder, he characterized slavery as ‘a cancer upon the body of the Nation’ and expressed his gratitude for its end. (17)

Ridgley Powers Governor 1871

Ridgley C. Powers became Mississippi’s twenty-ninth governor, serving from 1871 to 1874 after Governor Alcorn resigned. (19) In 1871 the town of Liberty became the first town in America to erect a Confederate monument. (19) Ames and James Lusk Alcorn battled for control of the Republican Party in Mississippi, (17,14) which then had mostly black voters. (24) Their struggle ripped the party apart. (24) The Jewish temple burned down in 1874 and was rebuilt. (19) In 1873, both sought a decision by running for governor. (24) Go to Ames 1870

The Tweed Ring 1871

Historians also associate the Grant presidency with corrupt political bosses and ‘Machines,’ the most notorious of which was the Tammany Hall machine in New York City, led by William ‘Boss’ Tweed. (22) Tweed, more than anyone else, was the symbol of corruption during the Gilded Age: he controlled nearly every aspect of political life in New York City; used bribery, extortion, and fraud to get what he wanted; and even sponsored phony elections to put his associates in office. (22) Historians estimate that he may have fleeced as much as $200 million from New Yorkers. (22) Though it could be argued that Tweed preyed on recent immigrants, he also provided valuable services for them: Tammany Hall often gave newly arrived immigrants housing, jobs, and security in exchange for votes. (22) The law finally caught up with Tweed in 1871, when New York prosecutor Samuel J. Tilden helped expose the Democratic politician’s corrupt dealings and sent him to jail. (22) Tweed ultimately died in prison. (22) Tilden, for his part, capitalized on his sudden fame and entered politics; within five years, he ran for president of the United States. (22)

The Crédit Mobilier Scandal 1872

The booming railroad industry quickly attracted corporate corruption. (22) In the 1860s, corrupt Union Pacific Railroad executives had created a dummy railroad construction company called Crédit Mobilier. (22) The executives contracted themselves out as tracklayers for the phony company and earned huge profits, bribing several Congressmen and even Grant’s vice president, Schuyler Colfax, to keep quiet about Crédit Mobilier’s unlawful profiteering. (22) In 1872, the scandal was exposed, and Colfax resigned. (22) Again, though Grant had not been knowingly involved in the scandal, he suffered a major blow to his political reputation. (22)

The 1872 Presidential Election

The Liberal Republican Party

Fed up with scandals in the Grant administration, a significant number of Republicans broke ranks with the radicals and moderates in Congress before the 1872 presidential elections, forming a breakaway party called the Liberal Republican Party. (22) These congressmen wanted to put an end to governmental corruption, restore the Union, and downsize the federal government. (22) The Liberal Republicans were largely businessmen, professionals, reformers, and intellectuals who disliked big government and preferred a laissez-faire economic policy. (22) Some historians argue that the Liberal Republicans opposed democracy; indeed, they did not support universal manhood suffrage or the enfranchisement of blacks. (22) They also believed that the widespread corruption and graft in American big business and politics were the result of too much democracy and governmental interference. (22)

Grant defeats Greeley, 1872

The Liberal Republicans nominated New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley as their candidate for president. (22) The Democratic Party also nominated Greeley as their candidate, because he opposed the army’s presence in the South and wanted to end Reconstruction. (22) Radical and moderate Republicans once again nominated Ulysses S. Grant, despite all the scandals during his term. (22) Grant was reelected in 1872 (21,22) in the most peaceful election of the period. (21) Grant got 286 electoral votes to Greeley’s 66, and took the popular vote by a margin of more than 700,000. (22)

The Depression of 1873

Grant’s second term was as difficult as his first, this time due to economic problems rather than scandals. (22) During the economic boom of his first term, Americans had taken out too many bad loans and overspeculated in the railroad and business industries. (22) This activity led to the Depression Of 1873, the first major economic collapse in U.S. history. (22) The depression lasted for roughly five years, and millions of Americans lost their jobs. (22) The Resumption Act of 1875 In response to dire economic conditions, the poor clamoured for cheaper paper and silver money to combat day-to-day hardships. (22) Afraid of driving up inflation, however, Republicans in Congress stopped coining silver dollars in 1873 and passed the Resumption Act Of 1875 to remove all paper money from the economy. (22) These economic policies helped end the depression in the long run but made the interim years more difficult for many Americans. (22)

The Whiskey Ring Scandal 1874

Two years later, in 1874, Grant was hit by yet another scandal when several federal employees whom he had appointed embezzled millions of dollars of excise tax revenue. (22) The president vowed to hunt down and punish all those involved in the Whiskey Ring but was forced to eat his words when he discovered that his own personal secretary was involved in the ring. (22) Although Grant ended up pardoning his secretary, the Whiskey Ring left yet another stain on his presidency. (22)

The End of Radical Reconstruction

The Depression of 1873 was politically damaging to radical and moderate Republicans in Congress. (22) Many long-time supporters of the Republican Party, especially in the North, voted Democrat in the congressional Election Of 1874, angry that radical and moderate Republicans adhered so rigidly to hard-money policies even when unemployment in the United States reached nearly fifteen percent. (22) These northern votes, combined with white votes in the South, ousted many Republicans from Congress and gave the Democratic Party control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1856. (22) The remaining Radical Republicans in Congress who had not lost their seats suddenly found themselves in the minority party, unable to pass any further legislation concerning southern Reconstruction efforts. (22) The 1874 elections thus marked the beginning of the end of Radical Reconstruction. (22)

Waning Interest in Reconstruction

During the 1870s, many Republicans retreated from both the racial egalitarianism and the broad definition of federal power spawned by the Civil War. (21) Southern corruption and instability, Reconstruction’s critics argued, stemmed from the exclusion of the region’s ‘best men’—the planters—from power. (21) As Northern Republicans became more conservative, Reconstruction came to symbolize a misguided attempt to uplift the lower classes of society. (21) In 1872 Congress discontinued the Freedmen’s Bureau Established after the Civil War to aid newly freed slaves with legal, education, heath, and housing issues; it had been the point of contact for the African American population and government during the Reconstruction Era. (19) As the Depression Of 1873 wore on into the mid-1870s, northern voters became less interested in southern Reconstruction. (22) With unemployment high and hard currency scarce, northerners were more concerned with their own financial well-being than in securing rights for freedmen, punishing the Ku Klux Klan, or readmitting secessionist states. (22) After Democrats capitalized on these depression conditions and took control of the House of Representatives in 1874, Reconstruction efforts stalled. (22) Reconstruction ended because of several factors. (22) Northerners were tired of a decade of Reconstruction efforts and had become less interested in the South with the rise of speculation and profit-making in the Gilded Age and then the hardships of the Depression of 1873. (22) In addition, the conservative Supreme Court repeatedly struck down Radical Republican legislation, issuing rulings that had a devastating effect on blacks’ civil liberties. (22)

The Civil Rights Act of 1875

The Radical Republicans’ last successful piece of legislation in Congress was the Civil Rights Act Of 1875. (22) The bill aimed to eliminate social discrimination and forbade discrimination in all public places, such as theaters, hotels, and restaurants. (22) The bill stated that blacks should be treated as equals under the law and that they could sue violators of the law in federal court. (22) Unfortunately, the act proved ineffective, as Democrats in the House made sure the bill was unenforceable. (22) The act stated that blacks had to file claims to defend their own rights; the federal government could not do it for them. (22) Many blacks were still poor and worked hard to make a living, and House Democrats knew that lawsuits would require money and considerable effort. (22)

Democrats Take the South

Meanwhile, Democrats were steadily regaining control of the South, as the already-weak Republican presence in region only became weaker as northerners lost interest in Reconstruction. (22) The Depression of 1873, along with continued pressure from the Ku Klux Klan, drove most white Unionists, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags out of the South by the mid-1870s, leaving blacks alone to fight for radical legislation. (22) Democrats regained their seats in state legislatures, beginning with majorities in Virginia and Tennessee in 1869 and moving steadily onward to other states. (22) Many Democrats used violence to secure power, and the persistent scare tactics of the Ku Klux Klan and other southern white groups drove many Republicans out of office. (22) several Republicans were murdered in Mississippi in the 1875 elections. (22) Blacks continued to be terrorized and intimidated into not voting. (22) By 1877, Democrats had majorities in every southern state. (22) The swift changes in political power in the South rendered useless most of the legislation that Radical Republicans had passed through Congress. (22) Rutherford B. Hayes’s removal of federal troops from the South in 1877 allowed many former Confederates and slave owners to regain power, and this return of power to whites also meant a return to the policy of the old South. (22) Southern politicians passed the black codes and voter qualifications and allowed the sharecropping system to thrive—all with the support of a conservative U.S. Supreme Court, whose key court rulings in the 1870s and 1880s effectively repealed the 14th and Fifteenth Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1875. (22) As a result, by 1877, northerners were tired of Reconstruction; weary of battling southern elites, scandal, and radicalism; and had largely lost interest in supporting black civil rights. (22) Theoretically, North and South reached a compromise: black civil liberties and racial equality would be set aside in order to put the Union back together. (22)

Radical Reconstruction ends: the Slaughterhouse Cases 1873

The shift of political power in the South was only one cause of the end of Radical Reconstruction. (22) The other key factor was a series of sweeping Supreme Court rulings in the 1870s and 1880s that weakened radical policy in the years before. (21,22) The first of these were the 1873 Slaughterhouse Cases, (21,22) so named because they involved a suit against a New Orleans slaughterhouse. (22) In these cases, the conservative Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment protected U.S. citizens from rights infringements only on a federal level, not on a state level, (22) severely limiting the scope of Reconstruction laws and constitutional amendments. (21) Grant’s (17) administration launched a legal and military offensive that destroyed the Klan. (17,21) [OR] In 1876, the Supreme Court ruled in United States V. Cruikshank that only states, not the federal government, could prosecute individuals under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. (22) Countless Klan crimes went unpunished by southern state governments, who tacitly condoned the violence. (22) The final nail in the coffin was the Civil Rights Cases of 1883. (22) In these rulings, the Court further declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional, saying that the 14th Amendment applied only to discrimination from the government, not from individuals. (22) Collectively, these rulings from the Supreme Court, along with the Democratic Party’s political resurgence in the South, brought an end to Radical Reconstruction. (22)

Congressional Elections of 1874

The Depression of 1873 had been politically damaging to radical and moderate Republicans in Congress. (21,22) Many long-time supporters of the Republican Party, especially in the North, voted Democrat in the congressional Election of 1874, angry that radical and moderate Republicans adhered so rigidly to hard-money policies even when unemployment in the United States reached nearly fifteen percent. (22) These northern votes, combined with white votes in the South, ousting many Republicans from Congress, (22) giving the Democratic Party control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1856, (21,22) before the Civil War. (21)

Adelbert Ames 30th Governor 1874-6

In 1873 both Ames and Alcorn ran for governor in Mississippi. (17) Ames was supported by the Radicals and most African Americans, while Alcorn won the votes of conservative whites and most of the scalawags. (17,24) Ames won by a vote of 69,870 to 50,490, (17,24) becoming Mississippi’s thirtieth governor. (19) Upon being elected governor, he resigned his Senate seat to assume his duties, (24) and served from 1874 to 1876. (19) The struggle between Ames and Alcorn caused the Republican party to lose its precarious unity. (17) In 1874 Republican voters elected a black sheriff in the city of Vicksburg and dominated other elections. (17) As governor, Ames fought to cut spending and to lower the tax rate, with moderate success. (24) The state rate of 14 1/2 mills in 1874 was reduced to 9 1/2 in 1875 and 6 1/2 in 1876. (24) Even his enemies agreed that the governor had a rigorous integrity and was incorruptible and sincere. (24) His appointments included some scalawags and a few former Confederates, but he was never happy in Mississippi, and much of the time, his wife and family remained in the North, where the weather was cooler and the socioeconomic conditions were less unpleasant. (24) Ames was proud of his record, and, he considered himself one of the best Republican governors of any of the Reconstructed states, an opinion that has been generally shared by historians ever since. (24) However, he had little success in winning over his enemies in the party and was quick to impute sinister motives on their part. (24) His real problems came from the Democratic efforts to undo Reconstruction and gain control. (24) White citizens organized (17,19) to oppose the policies and actions of the state’s Reconstruction government, (19) and began a return to the racial status quo antebellum (10) They used economic and political pressure against scalawags and carpetbaggers, persuading them to change parties or leave the state. (17)

The Mississippi Plan 1874-5

Riot
Figure 15: Removing the bodies after a ‘riot’

The Democratic Party (17,19) had factions of the Regulars and New Departures, but as the state election of 1875 (17) [OR] in the autumn of 1874 (24) approached, they united and worked on (17) the ‘Mississippi Plan’, to organize whites to defeat both white and black Republicans and overthrow Republican rule (17,19) From 1874 926) to the elections of 1875, (10,26) they intimidated whites to join the Democrats (26) and used violence and intimidation (10,19) against blacks in what was called the “white line” campaign, based on asserting white supremacy. (26) There were attacks (17,24) on Republicans by (17,24) well armed (26) paramilitary groups (17,19) such as the Red Shirts, (17,26) White League and rifle clubs (17) There was violence against blacks in at least 15 known “riots” (better described as massacres of blacks) in cities around the state to intimidate blacks, (26) as in the September (17,24) 4th (24) 1875 ‘Clinton Riot’. (17,24) Riots took place in Vicksburg, Clinton, Macon and elsewhere, in which whites broke up black meetings and lynched known black leaders, destroying local political organizations. (26) A riot in Yazoo county drove out the Republican sheriff and resulted in some blacks and party officers being lynched. (24) It ended with white Democratic paramilitaries riding over the county shooting any and every black person they chanced upon. (24) They killed a total of 150 blacks, although other estimates place the death toll at twice as many. (26) A total of three white Republicans and five white Democrats were reported killed. (26) In rural areas, deaths of blacks could be covered up. (26)

Vicksburg Massacre 1874

The white Democrats launched a coup in Vicksburg (24) in December (17,24) 6th, (17) 1874. (17,24) They forced the newly elected sheriff Peter Crosby to leave his office. (17) Freedmen tried to support him, coming in from the rural areas on December 7th, but he advised them to return home peacefully. (17) When the sheriff called on his supporters to restore him to office, (24) the threatened riot broke out. (17,19) Armed white militia attacked the freedmen that day and in the following days, (17) in what became known as the (17,24) Vicksburg (17) Massacre. (17,24) [OR] Colfax Massacre. (24) [wrong: Colfax is in Louisiana, but there was a riot there in 1873, scores of black militiamen were killed after surrendering to armed whites intent on seizing control of local government. (21)] White Democrats are estimated to have killed 300 blacks in the area. (17) [OR] Thirty-one people were killed. (19) The massacre was carried by newspapers from New York to California. (17) Disturbances occurred throughout the state. (19) Ames had no forces to send and depended on the federal government for troops to reinstate the ousted officials. (24) He appealed to the federal government for armed assistance, but it was refused. (17,19) [OR] It was not refused, but authorities urged him to exhaust state resources first. (24) In the months that followed, he failed to mobilize a state militia to cope with renewed troubles. (24) Unable to organize a state militia in time, Ames signed a peace treaty with Democratic leaders. (24) In return for disarming the few militia units that he had assembled, they promised to guarantee a full, free, fair election, which they did not keep. (24) That November, Democrats terrorized a large part of the Republican vote to keep it home, drove voters from the polls with shotguns and cannon, and gained firm control of both houses of the legislature. (24) By these means the Democrats recaptured control (10,17) of both houses of the Mississippi legislature (17) from the Republicans (10,17) in the ‘Counterrevolution’ (19) of November, (17) 1875.’ (17,19) Ames requested the intervention of the U.S. Congress since the election had been subject to voter intimidation and fraud. (17)

Civil Rights Act 1875

In 1875 the U.S. Congress ratified the Civil Rights Act of 1875, guaranteeing equal use of public accommodations and public spaces and forbidding the exclusion of African Americans from juries. (19) John R. Lynch was a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which would ban discrimination on public transport and facilities and facilitate equal education in schools, (19)

Impeachment and Resignation of Ames 1876

The New York Times carried reporting on the congressional investigation into these events, beginning in January 1875. (17) The state legislature, convening in 1876, drew up articles of impeachment against him; (17,24) and all statewide officials. (17) With a five-to-one majority and deeply hostile feelings towards Ames, their investigations “failed to trace a dollar of unearned money to his pockets,” one reporter noted. (24) “Whatever Ames may be, he is not dishonest.” (24) Though insiders agreed that their case was a very weak one, removal was certain, particularly after his black lieutenant-governor had been removed and the line of succession led to a Democrat. (24) Rather than face a trial that would entail great expense, Ames’s lawyers made a deal: once the legislature had dropped all charges, he would resign his office, (24) which occurred (17,24) on March 29, 1876, (the last surviving Civil War General). (24) He fled the state, (17) ‘marking the end of Republican Reconstruction in Mississippi.’ (17,21) By 1876 Mississippi was no longer under Republican control although South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana still were. (21)

John Stone 31st Governor 1876

1876: John M. Stone became Mississippi’s thirty-first governor serving from 1876 to 1882. (19) In 1876 the Mississippi Legislature passed the ‘Pig Law’ defining the theft of any property over $10 as grand larceny. (19) The Mississippi Encyclopaedia says that ‘the law was blatantly racist in its targeting of cattle and swine theft, because such stealing was stereotypically considered “Negro” behavior, and whites owned the preponderance of cattle and swine, but that (19)’s idea that it quadrupled the prison population is wrong.

The disputed Presidential Election of 1876

In 1876, the Democratic Party, having already secured a majority in the South, made a concerted effort to win the White House as well. (22) The remaining Radical Republicans in Congress who had not lost their seats suddenly found themselves in the minority party, unable to pass any further legislation concerning southern Reconstruction efforts. (22) Even the end of Reconstruction was controversial, as it was marked by a presidential election which many, to the present day, contend was stolen. (16) The Democrats nominated the famous Grant-era prosecutor Samuel J. Tilden as their presidential hopeful. (22) After briefly thinking about re-nominating Ulysses S. Grant for an unprecedented third term, Republicans instead nominated Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes. (22) Even though Hayes was a relative unknown, Republicans thought of him as the perfect candidate: he had been a Union general in the Civil War, had no controversial opinions, and came from a politically important state. (22) In the election, Tilden received 184 electoral votes of the 185 needed to become president. (22) Hayes only received 165 votes and lost the popular vote by approximately 250,000 votes. (22) However, the result was disputed. (19,21) because of confusing ballots in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida. (21,22) Under normal procedure, disputed votes would be recounted in front of Congress by the president of the Senate. (22) However, the president of the Senate was a Republican and the Speaker of the House was a Democrat, so neither man could be trusted to count the votes fairly. (22)

The Compromise of 1877

Blanche
Figure 16 Senator Blanche Bruce

 Congress found a way out of the impasse. (21,22) Negotiations between Southern political leaders and representatives of Hayes produced (21) a bargain (19,21), this was the Compromise of 1877 (19,22) which awarded Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency over Samuel Tilden. (19) The Electoral Count Act of 1877 established a special committee to recount the votes in a fair and balanced way. (22) The committee consisted of fifteen men from the House, Senate, and Supreme Court. (22) The committee concluded by a margin of one vote that the Republican Hayes had won the disputed states and therefore was the new president. (22) Democrats were outraged at first but quickly realized that the situation gave them the perfect opportunity to strike a bargain with the opposition to achieve their political goals. (22) The result was the Compromise Of 1877, in which Democrats agreed to let Hayes become president in exchange for a complete withdrawal of federal troops from the South. (22) Republicans agreed, and shortly after Hayes was sworn in as president, he ordered the remaining federal troops to vacate South Carolina and Louisiana. (22) Hayes would recognize Democratic control of the remaining Southern states, and Democrats would not block the certification of his election by Congress. (21) In exchange, Hayes removed all federal troops from the former Confederacy, effectively ending the Reconstruction Era. (19,21) The 1874 elections thus marked the beginning of the end of Radical Reconstruction. (22)

The End of Reconstruction

Southerners felt that northerners were using the power of the federal government to punish the south. (10,16) [OR] The Compromise of 1877, which decided the highly controversial election of 1876, (16) effectively ended the era of Reconstruction. (15,16) This helped end Reconstruction. (21) The end of Reconstruction was the beginning of the period of ‘Jim Crow’ (16) in which white people in the South used their regained political powers to pass Jim Crow Laws (4,15) These laws enforced segregation (keeping blacks and whites separate) and took the vote away from African Americans whose parents or grandparents were slaves (15) which kept even freed slaves impoverished, ignorant, and forced to serve white settlers, in many instances at least. (4) In 1879, Blanche Bruce became the first African American to preside over the Senate. (19)  “Just at the time of writing I am hearing that many former Confederate soldiers morphed into the outlaws in the cowboy stories, and the sheriffs who pursued them were ex Union officers. (AM.)  One such famous case of former Confederates turned outlaw were the James Gang headed by Jesse James.”

In Mississippi

Lucius
Figure 16 Senator Blanche Bruce

Following the Civil War, (28) Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (19,28) taught at the University of Mississippi and was a delegate to several state constitutional conventions. (28) After Reconstruction, white Southerners voted mostly against the Republican Party for about 80 years (15) In 1873 Lamar became the first Mississippi Democrat elected to Congress during Reconstruction, and the first former Confederate to become a United States Senator. (19,28) He opposed Reconstruction and voting rights for African Americans. (28) Reconstruction left its legacy in the minds of Mississippians: to the whites it seemed proof that blacks were incapable of exercising political power; to the blacks it proved that political and social rights could not long be maintained without economic rights. (10) In 1890 the ruling elite adopted a constitution that both institutionalized a system of racial segregation and established an economic order that kept the black population in a position of dependency (13) It took away voting rights from most black people (14) Segregation began within schools, buses, and many public places (14)

In the 20th Century

MississippiFlag
Figure 18: Mississippi flag with controversial Confederate motif

By the turn of the century, a new racial system had been put in place in the South, resting on the disenfranchisement of black voters, a rigid system of racial segregation, the relegation of African Americans to low-wage agricultural and domestic employment, and legal and extralegal violence to punish those who challenged the new order. (21) Nonetheless, while flagrantly violated, the Reconstruction amendments remained in the Constitution, sleeping giants, as Charles Sumner called them, to be awakened by subsequent generations who sought to redeem the promise of genuine freedom for the descendants of slavery. (21) Soon, thanks to sharecropping, cotton was again a major industry in Mississippi. Mississippi did not become industrialized until well into the 1900s. (4) While there are many industries operating in the state, the per capita income is still very low compared to the rest of the country (11) Mississippi continues to grow and work toward better lives for all of its citizens (11) The name of Tougaloo University was changed to Tougaloo College in 1916. (19) Not until the 1960s, in the civil rights movement, sometimes called the ‘second Reconstruction,’ would the country again attempt to fulfill the political and social agenda of Reconstruction. (21) This so-called Reconstruction Amendment prohibited the states from depriving any person of ‘life, liberty, or property, without due process of law’ and from denying anyone within a state’s jurisdiction equal protection under the law. (21) A s it turned out, blacks would not regain the support of the federal government until the civil rights movement of the 1960s. (22) Mississippi remained segregated until the very end. (9) In 1995, lawmakers had finally voted to ratify the 13th amendment, but the paperwork was never sent to the U.S. Archivist to be made official, and it was not ratified by Mississippi until 2013. (3) During a 2001 statewide referendum, Mississippi voters were asked whether they supported the continuance of the 1894 flag (containing the Confederate Battle Flag) or a new design. (20) More than sixty percent of voters approved the continuation of the 1894 version, and today, Mississippi’s flag represents the last official state flag in the United States containing the Confederate Battle Flag. (20) Some famous people from Mississippi include Ida B Wells, Newton Knight, Walter Payton, Brett Favre, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruby Bridges, and Sarah Boone. (11)

Historiography

Reconstruction was, and remains, a highly controversial subject. (16) As one historian noted, the United States before the Civil War were a country, but the United States after the war was a nation. (22) Long portrayed by many historians as a time when vindictive Radical Republicans fastened black supremacy upon the defeated Confederacy, Reconstruction has since the late 20th century been viewed more sympathetically as a laudable experiment in interracial democracy. (21)

Appendix I: Women’s Suffrage

The Fifteenth Amendment did not secure the right to vote for all Americans: women still did not have the right to vote, and leaders in the Women’s Suffrage movement felt betrayed by their exclusion from the amendment. (22) Prior to the Civil War, the women’s suffrage movement and the Abolition Movement had been closely related: both groups strived to achieve political and civil rights for the underrepresented in society. (22) After the Union victory, prominent women in the movement, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, saw a window of opportunity: they believed that with progressive, Unionist support in Congress, blacks and women would achieve enfranchisement. (22) Radical Republicans in Congress believed otherwise. (22) Republicans assumed that if Congress granted all men and women the right to vote, their party would lose support in both the South and North. (22) As it turned out, women would have to wait almost fifty more years for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that granted them the right to vote. (22)

Bibliography

BibliographyMississippi

Figure 19 Bibliography

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