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History of the United States Since 1865 - Essay Example

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Name History and Political Science 3 April 2012 History of the United States Since 1865 Reconstruction period is a term used to refer to the years that followed the surrender of the confederate military forces in April 1865 to the ultimate retreat of union occupation troops in early 1877…
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History of the United States Since 1865
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Download file to see previous pages Republicans turned their attention from pursuing war to reconstructing the union. Radical Republicans gained control over policy making in congress, together with more moderate republicans they managed to gain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. With this, they obtained adequate power to control possible declinations by President Andrew Johnson. The first Reconstruction act was passed by congress in March 1867. Secessionist states were divided into five military districts, each of which was governed by a Union general. Martial law was declared and troops dispatched to cultivate peace and protect former slaves. Thaddeus Stevens who was a radical supported the seizing of land from rich planters giving it to former slaves, moderates continued the Freedmen’s bureau which had always been underfunded and understaffed and was the only thing that had offered hope for former slaves by intervening between blacks and whites. General Oliver Howard who was the bureau’s commissioner backed up education for blacks with the aim of improving their prospects and living conditions. In 1869, more schools serving large numbers of students reported to the bureau. The bureau pushed for establishment of official contracts between landlords and laborers’ as well as a civil rights bill to grant citizenship for everyone born in the United States irrespective of color which would bring about equal protection of citizens under the law, the bill stated nothing about voting by blacks. The freedmen’s bureau and civil rights bill were supported by republicans as the hallmark to rebuilding the United States. President Andrew Johnson declined both bills claiming that they violated the State’s rights and those of white southerners who had not taken part in the decision making process. To ensure that blacks retained their rights, the republicans proposed the fourteenth amendment which was approved granting citizenship to everyone born in America and equal protection for all citizens as stated in the law. Southern men who gathered in state conventions did not accept the Fourteenth amendment; they displayed their disapproval in every way in an attempt to prevent further prospects of remaking the south. In the spring of 1866, there were riots in New Orleans and Memphis, policemen and whites ruthlessly attacked and assassinated black people burning their homes with light or no cause. In the same year the Ku Klux Klan emerged, it was founded in Tennessee by Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Ku Klux Klan strived to ensure that the whites remained powerful in America; they wore costumes meant to overawe former slaves and stayed anonymous to avoid any retaliation. A military wing formed under the Democratic Party worked tirelessly fiving warnings and assassinating any whites and blacks who supported black rights or associated with the Republicans. Although Republicans had gained control of all northern states they were dissatisfied with the voting system, distribution of land, courts and education. In March 1867, they passed the Reconstruction act that placed the south under military leadership; all other southern states with the exception of Tennessee were divided into military districts. Consequently black and white men contested for leadership positions within the Republican Party. In 1868, the Republicans elected Ulysses D. Grant as president after Johnson was charged with impeachment, Grant was believed to be independent of party ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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