Wednesday, July 10, 2024

How Did Radical Republicans Gain Power In Congress

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The Thirteenth Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments

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The Thirteenth Amendment prevents slavery in the United States. To nail down blacks’ rights, Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It guaranteed the citizenship of freed slaves, reduced the representation of Southern states if they kept blacks from voting, disqualified anyone who had left public service in the North to join the Confederacy from ever holding office in the Union again, and guaranteed the debt of the Union while repudiating the debt of the Confederacy. The Fourteenth Amendment also encouraged universal male voting.

Congress was determined to not let any Confederate state back in unless it endorsed the Fourteenth Amendment. President Andrew Johnson told the former rebel states not to sign it. Johnson had been the only senator from a Southern state to remain loyal to the Union now that the fighting was over, he wanted to go easy on his Southern buddies. Even though Johnson was from a different political party, Lincoln had made him vice president as a show of national unity. Now Lincoln was dead and Johnson was unexpectedly president. The Republican Congress headed for a showdown with the president they never wanted.


Question: What was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Answer: The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed citizenship and civil rights for former slaves.


Why Did Radical Republicans Disagree With Lincoln

The Radical Republicans opposed Lincolns plan because they thought it too lenient toward the South. Radical Republicans believed that Lincolns plan for Reconstruction was not harsh enough because, from their point of view, the South was guilty of starting the war and deserved to be punished as such.

Why Did The Radical Republicans Eventually Abandon Reconstruction

Slaves had little rights or opportunities, such as the freedom of assembly or the right to an education. Why did the Radical Republicans eventually abandon Reconstruction? Reconstruction was no longer progressing as they had hoped. Northerners were outraged at the Souths secret attempt to expand slavery.

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The Radical Republicans Take Control

Northern voters spoke clearly in the Congressional election of 1866. Radical Republicans won over two-thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate. They now had the power to override Johnsons vetoes and pass the Civil Rights Act and the bill to extend the Freedmens Bureau, and they did so immediately. Congress had now taken charge of the Souths reconstruction.

The Radical Republicans After The Death Of Thaddeus Stevens


Thaddeus Stevens died on August 11, 1868. After lying in the state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, he was buried in a cemetery in Pennsylvania he had chosen as it allowed burials of both White and Black people.

The faction of Congress he had led continued, though without his fiery temperament much of the fury of the Radical Republicans subsided. Plus, they tended to support the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, who took office in March 1869.

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The Freedmen’s Bureau Bill

One of the first actions Congress had taken after refusing to recognize the Southern legislators was to create a Joint Committee on Reconstruction to investigate and report on conditions in the South. Already reports were arriving that documented the mistreatment of blacks in the South. Perhaps the most revealing report was compiled by ex-Union general . As the new year began, it was clear that the agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the federal agency established in March 1865 to assist the former slaves in their transition to freedom, needed more power to punish those who denied blacks their rights or physically assaulted them. To that end, Senator Trumbull introduced a bill to extend the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau and broaden the power of its agents to protect blacks.

It came as a surprise to almost everyone when President Johnson vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau bill. He claimed that it was not necessary and too expensive to extend the Bureau’s life and even asserted, as noted in A Short History of Reconstruction, that giving blacks assistance was unfair to “our own people” . Even Johnson’s supporters had urged him to sign the bill, as it would help to keep the moderate Republicans on his side. Congress immediately overrode the bill, and it became law.

African American Men In Government

The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave the vote to all male citizens regardless of color or previous condition of servitude. African Americans became involved in the political process not only as voters but also as governmental representatives at the local, state and national level. Although their elections were often contested by whites, and members of the legislative bodies were usually reluctant to receive them, many African American men ably served their country during Reconstruction. Pictured here are Senator Hiram R. Revels and Representatives Benjamin S. Turner, Josiah T. Walls, Joseph H. Rainey, Robert Brown Elliot, Robert D. De Large, and Jefferson H. Long.

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What Was The Aim Of Radical Republicans During Reconstruction

The Radical Republicans believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites. They also believed that the Confederate leaders should be punished for their roles in the Civil War.

What were the Radical Republicans goals for Reconstruction?

Radical Republican, during and after the American Civil War, a member of the Republican Party committed to emancipation of the slaves and later to the equal treatment and enfranchisement of the freed blacks.

What did Andrew Johnson feel was the main goal of Reconstruction?

In 1865 President Andrew Johnson implemented a plan of Reconstruction that gave the white South a free hand in regulating the transition from slavery to freedom and offered no role to blacks in the politics of the South. At the outset, most Northerners believed Johnsons plan deserved a chance to succeed.

What Were The Main Factors In Both The North And The South For The Abandonment Of Reconstruction

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Social effects were bringing families back together, the Emancipation act, and churches and schools being available to former slaves. What were the main factors, in both the North and South, for the abandonment of Reconstruction?- Land, jobs, and establishing the Bureau were the main factors for both.

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Read A Brief Summary Of This Topic

Radical Republican, during and after the American Civil War, a member of the Republican Party committed to emancipation of the slaves and later to the equal treatment and enfranchisement of the freed blacks.

The Republican Party at its formation during the 1850s was a coalition of Northern altruists, industrialists, former Whigs, practical politicians, etc. While not publicly committed to abolition of slavery prior to the Civil War, the party nonetheless attracted the most zealous antislavery advocates. While Pres. Abraham Lincoln declared restoration of the Union to be his aim during the Civil War, the antislavery advocates in Congress pressed for emancipation as a stated war aim as well.

In December 1861, frustrated at the poor showing of the Union Army and the lack of progress toward emancipation, the Radicals formed the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. They agitated for the dismissal of Gen. George B. McClellan, and they favoured the enlistment of black troops. Angry at Lincoln for his reluctance to move toward speedy abolition, they broke with him completely over Reconstruction policy.

Reconstruction Comes To An End

After 1867, an increasing number of southern whites turned to violence in response to the revolutionary changes of Radical Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations targeted local Republican leaders, white and Black, and other African Americans who challenged white authority. Though federal legislation passed during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 took aim at the Klan and others who attempted to interfere with Black suffrage and other political rights, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South after the early 1870s as support for Reconstruction waned.

Racism was still a potent force in both South and North, and Republicans became more conservative and less egalitarian as the decade continued. In 1874after an economic depression plunged much of the South into povertythe Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Civil War.

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The Compromise of 1876 marked the end of Reconstruction as a distinct period, but the struggle to deal with the revolution ushered in by slaverys eradication would continue in the South and elsewhere long after that date.

A century later, the legacy of Reconstruction would be revived during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as African Americans fought for the political, economic and social equality that had long been denied them.

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An Intense Debate Begins

The moderate Republicans in Congress were not initially prepared to go as far as the Radicals in reconstructingthe shattered South. Nevertheless, when the roll was called on the first day of the Thirty-ninth Congress, the Radicals were in agreement: The names of the Southern senators and representatives elected under Johnsons program were not to be recognizedthey would not be permitted to take their seats. Thus Johnson was put on notice that the plan he had implemented in the nearly eight months of his presidency had not been found acceptable by the legislators chosen by U.S. citizens to represent their interests. From this point on, Johnson would face an uphill battle.

Nevertheless, the moderate Republicans still dominated Congress. These moderates included U.S. senators Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, John Sherman of Ohio, and William Pitt Fessenden of Maine and U.S. representatives James G. Blaine of Maine and John A. Bingham of Ohio. Although unwilling to seat the new Southern legislators, they continued to hope for a compromise with the president. As 1866 began, an intense debate commenced as the senators and representatives discussed the role that black people would play in the life of the nation. Although the Republican majority did not yet accept black suffrage, they did support civil rights for blacks .

Freed Persons Receive Wages From Former Owner


Some emancipated slaves quickly fled from the neighborhood of their owners, while others became wage laborers for former owners. Most importantly, African Americans could make choices for themselves about where they labored and the type of work they performed. This account book shows that former slaves who became free workers after the Civil War received pay for their work on Hampton Plantation in South Carolina.

Hampton Plantation Account Book, 18661868. South Carolina. Handwritten manuscript. Page 68 Page 69. Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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The Civil Rights Bill

The next important piece of legislation introduced during this period was the Civil Rights Bill, which guaranteed that all persons born in the United States were to be considered U.S. citizens with the right to make contracts, bring lawsuits in court, and receive full protection of “person and property” under the law. This bill was intended to give fuller meaning to the which, when added to the Constitution the previous year, had officially outlawed slavery but had not specified exactly what black people’s new freedom entailed.

The Civil Rights Bill was in direct opposition to the Black Codes, which had made a legal distinction between the rights that blacks and whites enjoyed. It was truly a revolutionary document, in that it overturned not only the BlackCodes of the South but many discriminatory laws that existed in the Northern states. It also proved that the Republicans in Congress were united in their belief that civil rights for the former slaves must be part of any Reconstruction program.

Again, Johnson caused ripples of surprise and outrage when he vetoed the bill, on the grounds that it gave too much power to the federal government and also discriminated against white people. Once more, Congress overrode Johnson’s veto and enacted the Civil Rights Bill on April 9, 1866, the first time in U.S. history that this override had happened with such a major piece of legislation.

Who Did The Radical Republicans Want In Charge Of Reconstruction

The Radical Republicans reconstruction offered all kinds of new opportunities to African-American people, including the vote , property ownership, education, legal rights, and even the possibility of holding political office. By the beginning of 1868, about 700,000 African Americans were registered voters.

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Senator Revels On Segregated Schools In Washington Dc

Hiram R. Revels became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate in 1870. In 1871, he gave the following speech about Washingtons segregated schools before Congress.

According to Senator Revelss speech, what is social equality and why is it important to the issue of desegregated schools? Does Revels favor social equality or social segregation? Did social equality exist in the United States in 1871?

Though the fact of their presence was dramatic and important, as the New York Times description above demonstrates, the few African American representatives and senators who served in Congress during Reconstruction represented only a tiny fraction of the many hundreds, possibly thousands, of blacks who served in a great number of capacities at the local and state levels. The South during the early 1870s brimmed with freed slaves and freeborn blacks serving as school board commissioners, county commissioners, clerks of court, board of education and city council members, justices of the peace, constables, coroners, magistrates, sheriffs, auditors, and registrars. This wave of local African American political activity contributed to and was accompanied by a new concern for the poor and disadvantaged in the South. The southern Republican leadership did away with the hated black codes, undid the work of white supremacists, and worked to reduce obstacles confronting freed people.

Reconstruction Of The South

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During Reconstruction, Radical Republicans increasingly took control, led by Sumner and Stevens. They demanded harsher measures in the South, more protection for the Freedmen and more guarantees that the Confederate nationalism was totally eliminated. Following Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Andrew Johnson, a former War Democrat, became President.

The Radicals at first admired Johnson’s hard-line talk. When they discovered his ambivalence on key issues by his veto of Civil Rights Act of 1866, they overrode his veto. This was the first time that Congress had overridden a president on an important bill. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 made African Americans United States citizens, forbade discrimination against them and it was to be enforced in Federal courts. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution of 1868 was the work of a coalition formed of both moderate and Radical Republicans.

The Radicals were opposed by former slaveowners and white supremacists in the rebel states. Radicals were targeted by the Ku Klux Klan, who shot to death one Radical Congressman from Arkansas, James M. Hinds.

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Johnson’s Bold Reconstruction Stance

After the assassination of President in April 1865, , a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, was thrust unexpectedly into the highest office in the nation. Instead of waiting for Congress to convenean event scheduled for December 1865Johnson abruptly put into effect his own plan for readmitting the Southern states into the Union and reorganizing their state governments.

Expected to deal harshly with those who had rebelled against the Union, Johnson surprised everyone by treating them leniently. Owing to Johnson’s liberal signing of presidential pardons, many Confederate military and civil leaders were able to regain power in . The governments they formed then went about trying to recreate the conditions of slavery, using laws called Black Codes to limit the economic options and of the former slaves.

The Nazification Of The Republican Party

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

After World War II, the Nazis who helped Hitler rise to power and murder millions of people, including at least 6 million Jews, were put on trial to send a warning to the world. Not all of them faced a judicial process, but enough were not protected by their high status, official offices, or claims of innocence and patriotism. Power through violence was the only language they spokenot justice, not freedomand they were held accountable. These criminals faced a tribunal at Nürnberg so momentous that the disgraced word Nazi is forever attached to those who participated in and enabled their horrific crimes.

After the war, Germany banned Nazi flags and neo-Nazis. In fact, the only way that Nazi paraphernalia got into Germany was through smuggling from other countries such as the United States, like from Nazi propagandist Gerhard Lauck in Nebraska, the man called the Farm Belt Führer who served four years in a German prison for distributing banned pro-Nazi materials throughout Europe.

I know this because I teach a course on White Supremacy at Smith College that focuses on anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, and the many intersecting components of white supremacist ideology. After more than 30 years of organizing and teaching about fascism as a Black feminist activist and academic, I know the destructive influence of these noxious ideas, and I teach young people how to interpret and resist them.

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The Radical Republicans Move Forward With Reconstruction

At a Freedmen’s Convention held in Arkansas soon after the end of the , an African American leader named William H. Grey spoke about his people’s newfound independence. As quoted in Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery, Grey declared, “We have thrown off the mask, hereafter to do our own talking, and to use all legitimate means to get and to enjoy our political privileges. We don’t want anybody to swear for us or to vote for us we want to exercise these privileges for ourselves.”

The spirit present in Grey’s words coexisted with both the jubilation that of this period felt and their worries about the challenges that they faced. This mix of forces had been unleashed by the war’s outcome: a victory for the Union over the Confederacy, the eleven Southern states that had seceded or separated themselves from the in order to protect the traditions of . These traditions centered around the enslavement of four million black people, who had been brought since the seventeenth century from Africa andforced to work in the fields and homes of white Southerners. During the Reconstruction era , both blacks and whites attempted to forge a new Southern society in which slavery no longer existed. However, anger, fear, and confusion about the future remained.

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