Texas reconstruction news By siddharth vetrivel and phillip wangnick

reconstruction begins!

A city in ruins after the Civil War

After the horrible civil war ended, our nation was left in ruins. This is why we need to undergo reconstruction. In reconstruction, we as a nation will fix physical damage, like cities and farms, as well as economic issues and ties between the North and the South. After all, the Southern economy, infrastructure, and government is all in ruins.

Two presidential plans

Presidents Lincoln (left) and Johnson (right).

President Lincoln's plan was very simple. He believed that he should focus on reconstructing quickly rather than focus on punishing the South for their crimes. He said that any Southerner willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States would get an official pardon. If 10 percent of the state did this, he would allow the state to form a new government and join the Union. However, Lincoln's plans were cut short when he was assassinated and Andrew Johnson took his place. The new president now has a different plan. He set up a provisional government in each former confederate state and now says that they can rejoin the Union after they meet three conditions. They have to cancel their act of secession, acknowledge that the US won't pay their war debts, and ratify the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Additionally, most white Southerners can only regain the right to vote once they have sworn an oath of loyalty to the United States.


To enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, the Federal government has sent General Gordon Granger to take control of the state. To the African Americans, the day that General Granger arrived is known as Juneteenth. It was a day in Texas that declared all slaves free. There were parades and parties all around Texas, where freedmen finally celebrated their freedom. Soon after all the slaves were freed, there was an organization called the Freedman's Bureau. The bureau currently works together in order to help poor and uneducated freedmen get supplies and a proper education.

A new texas governor appointed!

Provisional Governor, Andrew J. Hamilton

In order to get Texas a new government, President Johnson brought in Andrew Hamilton to become the new provisional Texas governor. President Johnson had chosen him because he was a Unionist during the civil war. At the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton brought in ex-confederates as delegates to write the new Texas state constitution. With the racist ex-confederates writing the constitution, it was very biased and against the African Americans. We don't know much about what this will mean yet, but we are sure that it won't be good for the African Americans.

A new constitution!

Part of the Constitution of 1866

Although the new Constitution of 1866 nullifies secession and abolishes slavery, it also does not grant freed people equal rights . The ex-confederates who wrote the constitution also refuse to ratify the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments, which protect freedmens' rights. Instead, they enacted laws called black codes. Black codes bar African Americans from voting, holding office, serving on juries, and testifying in court against a white man.

Congress takes control!

Congress, 1866

Congress felt like President Johnson's plan was not working, because little changes were happening in the South, and Southern elected leaders were all former confederates. When Johnson wouldn't take the initiative to be more forceful, Congress decided to give the mission of reconstruction to the Radical Republicans. The Radical Republicans are a more forceful form of republicans who want reconstruction to be quick, and they also support equal rights for African Americans. When the Radical Republicans tried to take over reconstruction, however, the president vetoed all of their plans. To solve this issue and take control, the Radical Republicans gained two-thirds control of both houses of congress, overrode any vetoes from the president, and began their reconstruction plan for the South.

Radical reconstruction begins

Radical republicans.

Congress has declared the existing governments of the South illegal, and divided the South into 5 military districts, each one with a general in charge. The military will rule a district until the district ratifies the Fourteenth Ammendment, repeals their black codes, and gives African Americans equal rights. Some states, like Texas, will even have to ratify the Fifthteenth Ammedment, which allows African Americans the right to vote. Congress also required many white Southerners to take the Ironclad Oath if they wanted to vote, take office, or serve on juries. The Ironclad Oath states that you have not previously aided the Confederacy, and because many white Southerners had, they could not be granted those rights.

Freedmen get the vote!

Freedmen exercising their right to vote at the polls

Freedmen are being helped to register to vote by General Griffin's army, the Freedmen's Bureau, and other freedmen. So far, by 1886, 50,000 freedmen have already been registered to vote. Unfortunately, the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) have come along. The KKK is a large group of racist white adults who want to stop freedmen from exercising their rights, including the right to vote. The KKK opposes carpetbaggers (Northerners who came to the South to help reconstruct) because they are coming to interfere with the KKK's plan and the oppose scalawags (white Southerners who support reconstruction) because they are supposedly "traitors."


The KKK has recently attacked a school belonging to the Freedmen's Bureau in North Texas to protest black voting rights (and other rights). Dozens killed, families devastated. May their souls rest peacefully.

Reconstruction ends!


As of March 1870, Reconstruction had officially ended. However, many white citizens feared that Reconstruction will never truly end as long as the Radical Republicans were still in power. After the Civil War, most African Americans still keep living in rural areas. Many own their own land and set out to make new communities or businesses. Many others also find jobs near towns, where they work for white people. Unfortunately, the peace will not be kept. 1872 is the year when the Democrats take back their control. They have won the majority of seats in the state legislature, and are immediately taking steps to undo the Republicans' progress. In short, things are not looking good for all of us, especially the African Americans.

The Democrats would control the state government for the next 105 years.


Created with images by ChristopherPluta - "old newspaper newspaper the 1960s" • WikiImages - "abraham lincoln president portrait" • mandalariangirl - "Andrew Johnson 1865-1869" • MotionStudios - "united states capitol politics government"

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