Segments descriptions
      Regions of the U.S. Series
      South, Part

         Description: Slavery 3

South, Part 2
              sampler  1 36    (87 lecture)

What are the differences among the abolitionists in their views of what is to become of the ex-slaves after the Civil War?                            
play sampler


Post-Civil War 19th Century



Reconstruction.    Lasts for 7 years.  President Lincoln allows the South's leaders back if they swear loyalty to the Union.  After Lincoln's assassination, Andrew Johnson from Tennessee, an overt racist and inept politician, becomes President and follows Lincoln's plan of reconciliation.  The Republican Congress have mixed motives: moral, political, economic, and thirst for revenge against the South. 



Fate of the ex-slaves.  Plantation land is confiscated and divided up among ex-slaves and poor whites as independent small farms.  Some temporary alliances between blacks and whites for economic reasons and to achieve education goals for their children. 



The 14th, 15th, and 16th Amendments.  This establishes due process protection for all citizens, gives black males the vote (they are expected to vote for Republicans).  Blacks enter into the political process and political office.  The negative image of blacks in Southern politics is not documented.  Their record is similar to white political leadership who have political and economic motives mixed with moral ones.  Only some abolitionist ask what becomes of freed slaves.  Ulysses Grant as President lacks the competence he had shown as military leader. 



The end of reconstruction.  The 1876 election is won by Democrat Tilden but is disputed and Republican Hayes is declared President.  The Compromise of 1877 ends Reconstruction, and federal troops, needed to break strikes in the North and to finish off the Indians in the West, are withdrawn from the South. 



Reemergence of the Master Class. The South promotes Reconstruction as exploitation by the North and the "Gone With The Wind" stereotype of Southern life.  Instead, Reconstruction is a valiant experiment which failed because the North forsakes it.  



The economy.  Blacks and poor whites are now sharecroppers who borrow from landlords to lease their land, never to get out of debt and become virtual slaves doomed to perpetual poverty. 



The Populist Party.  With the one-party Republican South the Farmers Alliance of 1880 becomes the basis for Populist Party, a third independent farmers' party.  The party collapses when the candidate it backs, William Jennings Bryan, looses to Republican William McKinley. 



Jim Crow Era.  With the collapse of the Populist Party the upper class whites are in control of the one-party South and have no need to woo black voters.  The Jim Crow era of segregation begins in 1896 with the Supreme Court decision that separate but equal is constitutional.  Segregation becomes a fact in every aspect of life for blacks starting in the late 1890s. 


20th Century-1st Half



A reign of terror for blacks in the South continues well into the 20th century.  The KKK revives in the1920s as a national phenomenon.  The indifference of state government, federal government and the local authorities.  Varied motivation for lynching, mutilation, torture of blacks often well planned as public spectacles.  The 1924 Democratic presidential convention cannot get support for an anti-lynching plank.  The powerful coalition of Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans is increasingly conservative, pro-business, and aggressive in its foreign policy.