Reconstruction is the effort, after the Civil War, to reorganize the seceded states and bring them back into the Union. After the Civil War, the south were mostly destroyed and plantation collapsed after the end of the slavery. The president and congress want to have the south back as one. Millions of enslaved African American were now free, without shelters, money, and food. The south society need to be established.
The south after the Civil War
President Lincoln wished to restore the south, he believe that punishing the south would only make the country sway apart. He recommend people from the south who were willing to swear an oath of the loyalty to the Unites States the release from punishing crime. 10% of the state's voter had taken the oath of loyalty, the state could form a new government and return to the Union. President Lincoln were assasinated in April 1865, the new President, Andrew Johnson took over the task of Reconstruction and adopted a new plan after Lincoln's plan. Johnson's plan include Confederate state could be readmitted under these conditions, each state required to cancel its way of secession, the goverment wouldn't pay its War dept, and agree with the facts that slavery end.
Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson
General Gordon Granger is a union force commander who arrived at Galveston to control the state. Granger announce Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and declare that all slaves were free. Granger's order to end slavery led to the celebration of African American. A years followed, African American in Texas observed the date as Juneteenth. Juneteenth is June 19th, the date to celebrate the anniversary of Emancipation Day for enslaved people in Texas. It's a legal holiday and known to be the end of slavery. The freedman doesn't have the full rights, but they can make money out of slaveholders. Freedman is a formerly enslaved person. Freed people want to support their family and own some land. Comgress decide to help freed people and started The Freedman's Bureau. The Freedman's Bureau helped freed people find food, provided jobs, clothing, and medicine. Freed kids can also get education in African American school.
President Johnson tried to appoint Unionist. Southerners who disagree with the idea of secession may lead the government. He chose Andrew J. Hamilton, a former state representative who had represented Texas in Congress when secession began in 1861. He flee from Texas during the far due to Hamilton's order. Hamilton wanted Texas to return to the Union quickly. He called for the election of delegates to a constitutional convention. The new state constitution will meet President Johnson condition to return to the union. This convention take place in Austin in February 1866, almost all of the delegates support the idea of secession and show loyalty to the Confederacy. However, they are no African American delegates and few delegates willing to give freedman some rights. The convention is bias because they granted African American equal rights.
The delegates amended the constitution Texas had before the Civil War. They cancel the secession and the state's war debt and end slavery. Besides, the Constitution of 1866 stopped, batting the African American Texans same rights. They have the power to own property and enter into contracts, but they can't vote, serve the government, or enter court against whites. The ex-confederate got back into the power by the voter because they feared the freed and refuse the change. They refused to ratify two amendments to the U.S. Constitution: the Thirteenth Amendments, which slavery are illegal, and the Fourteenth Amendments, which pretext the rights of enslave people. Texas legislature enacted laws called black code that restricted the rights of freedman. Black code is laws limiting the rights of African Americans passes by Southern governments after the Civil War.
The southern states had seceded from the Union. Northern leaders argued that Congress should control the reconstruction not the president. The argument grew bigger when President Johnson's plan only affect a few changes in the south. The southern act of the black codes, led many Northerner to attack President Johnson's Reconstruction plan for going easy on the south. These acts of the former confederate states strengthens a group of Republican, known as Radical Republic. Radical Republic is an Republican who believed that Congress should direct Reconstruction. The Radical Republicans also want to protect the freed slaves rights, so they voted for the Republican.
Thaddeus Stevens led the Radical Republicans.
The Radical Reconstruction's plan, known as Congressional Reconstruction plan was difficult than President Lincoln and Johnson's plan. They declared that government in the south were illegal. March 1867, Congress divided the South into five military and put an army general in each of the military. Louisiana and Texas made up Fifth District and control by General Philip Sheridan. The military need to rule the districts until each states meet their expectation. Ironclad oath is the oath pledged that the individual had not voluntarily served in the Confederate army or aided the Confederacy. This oath keep the southerners to do different types of things.
The Southerners that agree with the oath.
General Charles Griffin used the Freedman's bureau let the male freedman to vote across the state. He removed many whites out of the voting rolls. African American were determined to have the right to vote. By 1868, nearly 50,000 freedman had been registered to vote. Representing half of Texas voters. Some of the whites troop tried to prevent African American it an organizations called Ku Klux Klan (KKK). They were found in Tennessee in 1866. They were known to use violent against African Americans and block the Reconstruction. Not only that they attack the freedman, they also attack the other groups called carpetbaggers and scalawags. Carpet baggies were Northern who moved to the South with little more than what they could carry in carpet bags, or suitcases. Scalawags were whites Southerners who supported Reconstruction.
December 1866, The KKK were formed as an social club
Reconstruction in Texas officially end in March 1870. Many whites believed that it does not end as long as Radical Republican still in charged. Most freed people live in rural areas. Many continues to work for white owner, and many have their own land. In 1872, the Democrats won a seats in the state legislature. They immediately take the police forces down. The democrats would control Texas State government for the next 105 years.