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Reconstruction Comes to an End

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Tara Fugate

on 28 April 2016

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Transcript of Reconstruction Comes to an End

Reconstruction Comes to an End
Republicans Lose Power
By the mid-1870s, Northerners were losing interest in Reconstruction and trying to fix the South.

Though they elected him enthusiastically, Northerners were also growing tired of President Grant, who they felt was corrupt. They believed this because he appointed many of his friends to government jobs, and some of them used their government position to steal money.

In 1872. Congress passed the Amnesty Act, restoring almost all rights to southern whites, who voted largely for Democratic candidates. These same southerners increased threats on African Americans--who voted Republican--to keep them from voting. By 1876, almost all Southern states were controlled by Democrats. Only three states (South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee remained controlled by Republicans.

The election of 1876 was very close, and though the Republican candidate (Rutherford B. Hayes) won, he promised Americans that he would end Reconstruction. And, once he took office, he did exactly that by removing all federal troops from the South.
Rights Restricted
Once they were back in power Conservative Democrats found new ways to limit the rights of African Americans, and passed laws ensuring that they could do so.
One of their main goals was to restrict voting.
Many southern states passed a
poll tax
, requiring voters to pay a fee each time they voted. Many poor freedmen could not afford this tax.
Many southern states also passed
literacy test requirements
, requiring voters to read and explain a section of the US Constitution. Since most freedmen had little education, this made it impossible for them to vote.
Many poor whites also could not vote as a result of the literacy tests.
However, the southern states wanted poor whites to vote, so they passed
grandfather clauses
, which stated that if a voter's grandfather was eligible to vote, they, too, could vote. Obviously, no African American's grandfather would have been able to vote, as they had not yet been freed.
Another goal was to keep African Americans and whites separate.
This was called
segregation
and was a legal way to separate the races in schools, restaurants, theaters, trains and streetcars, playgrounds, hospitals and even in cemeteries.
These laws became known as "
Jim Crow Laws
."
The purpose of Jim Crow Laws was to keep African Americans in a hopeless situation.
The "New South"
During Reconstruction, the South began to rebuild its economy. And by 1890, the South was once again producing as much cotton as they produced in 1860.

A new generation of southern leaders, like Henry Grady, worked to expand the economy beyond just the cotton industry.
This was part of an idea called, "The New South," which called upon southerners to use the vast natural resources available to them to rebuild and grow the South's economy. He also urged southerners to begin building factories so that they did not need to depend on the North.
They began to open textile mills and hired workers to spin cotton into fabric.
The tobacco industry also grew. By 1890, Duke's American Tobacco Company controlled 90% of the nation's tobacco industry.
The South also began to tap into mineral resources, like iron ore and coal, lumber and more.
Alabama became a leader in the steel industry.
Louisiana and Texas discovered oil--which would make them millions by the 1900s.
Other southern states discovered and capitalized on marble, granite, and copper.
In the 1890s, furniture factories began to produce hardwood furniture that was well-crafted and sold internationally.

By 1900, the south's economy was balanced and thriving, and had complete recovered from the devastation of the war. Still, it could not compete with the economies of the North and the West.


Pros and Cons
Make a list of the pros and cons of Reconstruction.

What were the positive things to happen during or because of Reconstruction?

What were the negative things to happen during or because of Reconstruction?
The Impact of Reconstruction
Though Reconstruction ended in 1876, it had a lasting effect on the South and Southern politics.

White southerners were bitter over Radical Reconstruction and the way Republicans had taken over the South.

After Reconstruction, African American steadily lost the rights they had been given through Reconstruction.

For the next hundred years, the South remained loyal to the Democratic party and continued to limit the rights of African Americans.
It wasn't until the 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson (a Democrat) signed the Civil Rights Act (ending segregation in the South) that the South broke away from the Democratic Party.
Restricting Rights of African Americans
Plessy vs. Ferguson
African Americans challenged segregation in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case in 1896, claiming that segregation violated the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal as long as facilities for blacks and whites were equal.
In truth, this was never the case and southern states spent much less on the upkeep of establishments meant for African Americans.

This was considered a huge set back for Civil Rights because despite being considered citizens and supposed protection from racial discrimination because of the 14th Amendment, Jim Crow laws remained law in the South for about 100 years after the end of Reconstruction.
It wasn't until the 1950s and 60s that the US Congress and the President began to take interest in racial issues in the South.
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