Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Social and Political Problems Did the South Face During Reconstruction?

The South faced many social and political problems during the Revolution. One of these problems was created by the Radicals new plan itself: "While slavery had been a complex institution that welded black and white southerners together in intimate relationships...after the war...planters increasingly embraced the ideology of segregation" (Davidson 486). The controversial issue of segregation was a natural consequence of the Union's Reconstruction efforts. Instead of the ideal (black equality), emancipation would lead to increasing violence and racism in the South.

Another problem in the South during Reconstruction was racism. Republicans often terrorized black voters who wanted to use their new right to vote. The most famous group that accomplished this terrorism was the Ku Klux Klan founded in 1866. The Klan used violence to intimidate blacks from voting: "violence and intimidation prevented as many as 60,000 black and white Republicans from voting, converting the normal Republican majority into a Democratic majority of 30,000 (Davidson 490).

While I believe racism was most likely present in the South during Reconstruction I have found, with a little bit of research, that the idea of racism wasn't the main focus of the Democratic agenda during the Democratic Convention in 1868. The main focus during the Democratic National Convention, the event that would lead to the party's presidential nomination, was about Republican rule in the South: "The party platform accepted the demise of slavery and secession, but in effect demanded the end of Reconstruction by calling for the return of authority to the states, the non-renewal of the Freedman's Bureau, amnesty for all former Confederates, and military retrenchment." It would only make sense that Southerners would vote in support of this agenda - why would they want troops in their backyards? This could also help to explain how Grant's "popular margin was only 300,000 votes" (Davidson 487).

http://elections.harpweek.com/1868/Overview-1868-1.htm

Davidson, James, Brian Delay, Christine Heyrman, Mark Lytle, and Michael Stoff, Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic Volume II: Since 1865. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

6 comments:

  1. This was just what I was looking for! Thank you!!

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  2. That helped me a lot, except I thought that it was the Democrats that terrorized black voters.

    ReplyDelete