Northern News Editors: Mia Jeremiah and Anushka Malecheruvu

Reconstruction Begins! Republican Relief Flows In!

What was reconstruction?

The country's peace was on thin ice, so in order to keep peace among differing sides the presidents of that time had to make expectations. Johnson, instead of only letting 10% of the the southern states "say sorry" for going to war and swear loyalty to the U.S.(like Lincoln said before he was assassinated), he also made them nullify their act of succession, take responsibility of their own debts, and ratify the thirteenth amendment.

Why did it need to happen?

Many people at this time, believed that reconstruction was essential to reunite the two poles of the U.S. To become one strong country once again.

What was Texas/the South like at the end of the war?

Imagine Texas, a state with almost 100% of their agriculture relying on slaves, to be told that the people that they were forcing to work for them, we're now free! Many Texans were filled with fear, their region’s transportation wasn't enact, and their plantation system and economy were eroding.

What was Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction?

Lincoln wanted to mend the nation’s relationship as quickly as possible, so he agreed to pardon the South. He said that as soon as 10% of Southern voters took an oath of loyalty to the United States, then the North would form a new government and they could return to the Union.

What happened to Lincoln?

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Lincoln was shot and assisted by John Wilkes Booth in April 1865, during an attempt to avenge the South and Andrew Johnson became his successor.

What was Johnson’s Plan for Reconstruction?

Johnson, a Southerner, set up a suspiciously confederate provisional government in every former confederate state, which would govern until the state was read tired to the Union, and he ordered federal troops to protect them. The south also had to cancel their act of rebellion, promise to stop slavery of African Americans, and get pardoned by the government.

Who was Gordon Granger and why did he come to Texas?

Gordon Granger was a Union general known for enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation stating that all slaves were free. He first went to Galveston to take control of the state and the news spread slowly for there.

What was Juneteenth? What was it like?

On June 19, 152 years ago, Gordon and his commanding force arrived at Galveston, now we celebrate the oldest known observance commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On that very first Juneteenth in 1865, African Americans rejoiced all around Galveston for their newfound freedom.

What is the Freedman’s Bureau?

African Americans didn't have anything to support them in freedom, so the Freedmen's Bureau, a volunteer group, provided them with education, supplies, jobs, and other necessities, in order to adjust to an environment unfamiliar to them.

Who did Johnson appoint as governor of Texas and why?

In an attempt to elect an all Unionist provisional government, Johnson elected Andrew J. Hamilton, a Texas representative during the succession crisis, as Governor. He was elected for his loyalty during threat of United State segregation and with the hope of great leadership.

Who were the delegates at the Constitutional Convention?

Hamilton along with other “Unionists” and no African American delegates, that had been high-ranking officers in the Confederate Army, were appointed to state positions

Was this Convention bias?

The appointed convention was very bias considering it mostly consisted of many who did not want to grant African Americans any rights beyond their freedom. As a result, of of their stubbornness to consider the practicability of equal rights.

What did the new Constitution of 1866 say?

The edited constitution stopped extremely short on the matter of granting African Americans equal rights. They accepted freedman’s ability to gain property and to enter into other contracts, however, they were barred from voting, holding public office, seeing on juries, or testifying in court against a white person.

When ex-Confederates took control, what did they refuse?

The provisional government was extremely persistent in opposing change and integrating freed people into their life (partly from fear of revenge).

What were black codes?

To keep the African Americans “in line”, the government created black codes, laws limiting the rights of African Americans passerby southern governments after the Civil War.

What plan did Congress make for Reconstruction?

Congress made a plan that would allow the military to rule the districts until the states met certain requirements. The Southern states had to ratify the 13th, 14th, and sometimes the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution. They had to repeal their black codes and would result in guaranteeing African American men the right to vote and hold public office.

What were the military districts?

The south was separated into five military districts and put an army general in charge of each to aid in better management. Louisiana and Texas made up the 5th district, and the other Southern states made up the rest of the districts.

What was the Ironclad Oath?

Congress required many white Southerners to take the oath known as the Ironclad Oath pledging that the individual had not voluntarily served in the Confederate army or aided the Confederacy.

Who registered freedmen to vote?

All around Texas, freedman worked together along with radical Republicans and Congress to register the African American population to vote. Half of the Texas population had had to learn about voting and citizenship.

About how many were registered?

By 1868 nearly 50,000 African American men were registered to vote.

What was the KKK?

The Ku Klux Klan, an anti-integration terrorist cult that used violence, physical assault, murder, and terror in an effort to block Reconstruction and to prevent African Americans from voting.

Why did the KKK oppose carpetbaggers and scalawags?

The KKK opposed all people who believed African Americans deserved a right in their community, so people living in the South that supported abolition and equal rights were definitely on their “naughty list”.

When did Reconstruction end in Texas?

After the Southern districts met all of the requirements to be admitted back into the country, the president officially ceased Reconstruction in Texas in March 1870.

What were white people in Texas upset out?

Most white Texans believed it would not truly end as long as Radical Republicans remained in power. The Radicals kept the relationship between White Texans and African Americans almost enforced and many thought that they needed some room away from the government.

Where did most freed people live in Texas?

After freedom, many African Americans either continued to live in rural areas and create small communities, settle near towns, or sought to find their own land.

What happened in 1872 and what will the lasting effect be?

In 1872, Democrats forcibly took control of the government through election and we would have a Democratic government for the next 105 years.

Blurb Of The Week

Anonymous African American Eyewitness:

"My brother and I were walking to the voting polls to submit our vote. We were excited to be involved because we had worked hard, going to meetings everyday before the election and teaching others about the white man's politics."

"As we approached the voting stand, the same burly men that always wait outside our meetings, are standing in the blind spot of the busy road. They approached us and grabbed my younger brother by the neck. More men emerge from the forest behind the cabin. They are wearing wizard-like hats and two in the front are preparing a two nooses tightened onto a tree branch. We tried to run away or call for help, but either no one heard us or dared get on the KKK's bad side."

"We have heard of them before, kidnapping people who interfere with their beliefs and killing them. The KKK were a terrorist cult that believed in white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration, Nordicism, anti-Catholic, and antisemitism. I remembered from long voting meeting that they used physical assault and murder."

"I manage to escape with only minor injuries, but my brother was hung in front of my eyes for being an African American leader. They had a ceremony process for the hanging that will scar me for life. They set crosses on fire and burned the body after he has fully suffocated. Everything went blurry as I ran and I can't remember the details of this occasion."

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