Sunday, May 19, 2024

How Did Republicans Gain Control Of Southern Governments

Don't Miss

World War Ii And Its Aftermath: 19391952

GOP Lawmaker: Democrats Are ‘Trying To Take Us Authoritarian Control And No Freedom’

From 1939 through 1941, there was a sharp debate within the GOP about support for Great Britain as it led the fight against a much stronger Nazi Germany. Internationalists, such as Henry Stimson and Frank Knox, wanted to support Britain and isolationists, such as Robert A. Taft and Arthur Vandenberg, strongly opposed these moves as unwise for risking a war with Germany. The America First movement was a bipartisan coalition of isolationists. In , a dark horse Wendell Willkie at the last minute won over the party, the delegates and was nominated. He crusaded against the inefficiencies of the New Deal and Roosevelts break with the strong tradition against a third term, but was ambiguous on foreign policy.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 ended the isolationist-internationalist debate, as all factions strongly supported the war effort against Japan and Germany. The Republicans further cut the Democratic majority in the 1942 midterm elections in a very low turnout episode. With wartime production creating prosperity, the conservative coalition terminated nearly all New Deal relief programs as unnecessary.

In , a clearly frail Roosevelt defeated Dewey for his fourth consecutive term, but Dewey made a good showing that would lead to his selection as the candidate in .

Some Snags In The Plan

However much they were needed and appreciated by citizens, all these new public responsibilities came with a high price tag to the state governments, causing a dramatic growth in expenditures. As a result, the states increased property tax rates to pour money back into their treasuries. That meant that plantation ownerswho had previously paid hardly any taxes, despite owning so much propertywere now forced to part with a significant sum, which they deeply resented. Many blacks and others hoped that the high taxes would result in a breakup of the plantation system by forcing the planters to sell off pieces of their land. This did not occur, however, and the long-cherished dream of owning land was never realized for most blacks. Only South Carolina put a system of land distribution into place, but the number of families that benefitted was relatively small.

Prominent Redeemer Wade Hampton

Wade Hampton was a Confederate war hero who sat out most of the Reconstruction era but became the governor of South Carolina once the “Redeemer” movement restored white supremacist rule in the Southern states.

Born into a wealthy family that was a well-established part of the Southern aristocracy, Hampton grew up on the Mill-wood plantation in South Carolina. His father raised cotton and thoroughbred horses and owned hundreds of slaves. Hampton graduated from South Carolina College in 1836 anddespite having studied lawreturned to manage his family’s plantations, including several in Mississippi.

He was elected to the South Carolina state legislature in 1852 and reelected twice before becoming a senator in 1856. He resigned that position in 1861. Although Hampton had not approved of the idea of secession , once it occurred he gave his full support to the Confederacy, offering both money and military service to the cause. As an infantry officer, he was wounded at the battle of Manassas. His military skills were noticed by his superiors and he was promoted to brigadier general in May 1862. After being wounded again in the battle of Seven Pines, Hampton became second in command of a cavalry unit and took part in several major battles. At Gettysburg, he was wounded a third time. He took command of all Confederate cavalry forces in May 1864.

You May Like: New England Patriots Inflatable Lawn Helmet

Arming The Black Community

In theory, the lack of sufficient troops and local protection for Republican leaders, voters, and Freedmen’s Bureau officials could have been resolved by mobilizing, arming, and training the formerly enslaved as local militias to protect their right to vote and their communitiesa modern equivalent of the Colombian government’s use of militias against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia insurgency or France’s use of Muslim Algerian harkis as auxiliaries against the National Liberation Front in the 1950s and early 1960s. The Black community in the South represented a large pool of motivated manpower, and, in the few cases when members were armed and incorporated into militias, they proved effective. Some were already trained and armed, having brought their rifles home after fighting in the war. In Tennessee, Black militia units helped the state government repress the Klan. Similarly, in Mississippi, white supremacists prevented Black citizens from voting an exception was the town of Grand Gulf, where Black residents came to the polls carrying arms.

Why Was White Supremacist Violence Able To Prevail


White supremacists used violence to halt, and eventually reverse, the policies of Reconstruction. What enabled their success? The structural, federal policy, and local policy factors identified in the first section vary in their explanatory power. Structural factors such as the South’s economic and governance problems clearly hindered Reconstruction, but, on balance, they were indeterminate: some favored success, whereas others made failure more likely. Policy mistakes, such as the failure to deploy sufficient troops, develop civilian capacity, or plan for a long-term occupation proved most important. To adjudicate which factors mattered most, I use counterfactual analysis, particularly in the policy sections.

Also Check: Patriot Lighting 6 White Recessed Led Downlight

Who Were The Redeemers And Why Did They Change Society And Politics In The New South

Who were the Redeemers and how did they change society and politics in the New South. The Redeemers were a coalition of merchants, planters, and business entrepreneurs who dominated Southern politics after reconstruction. The goal of the Redeemers was to undo as much of reconstruction as they could.

More Troops And An Enduring Occupation

Federal troops, if used more aggressively and in greater numbers, could have prevented the intimidation and voter suppression that was vital for Democratic political victories in many Southern states. Had the Radical Republicans been able to ensure a long-term troop presence, Black political power might have solidifiedespecially in states such as South Carolina, which had a Black majority. In essence, the troop presence would have lasted for decades after the war itself ended, similar to the U.S. presence in Germany and South Korea, among other countries.

Americans during the Reconstruction era, however, were highly suspicious of a strong federal government, and the continued arrogation of civil powers to the Army had only limited support. Ongoing racism kept support for Black rights limited, and reports of corruption further diminished support. Even if the troop presence had continued beyond 1877, to preserve the gains of Reconstruction, Congress would have had to greatly expand the size of the Armyan option no one was consideringand have troops deploy far more extensively and use force more aggressively.

Recognizing the need for such advanced planning, however, is important if scholars and policymakers are to learn from Reconstruction and the insurgencies that broke out after various U.S. interventions. Planners should anticipate resistance, even in cases where the initial victory is easy and an insurgency seems unlikely.

Recommended Reading: Is Bernie Sanders Democrat Or Republican

Path Dependency And Counterfactuals

To explain the failure of Reconstruction, I process trace different causal narratives, using both path dependence and counterfactuals in my analysis. As Andrew Bennett and Colin Elman argue, case studies can be valuable for understanding path dependence, as they enable detailed analysis of historical events in ways that are suitable for rare cases and allow for the study of interaction effects, feedback loops, equifinality, and sequencing. If path dependency is in effect, later events, such as the spread of violence, are highly sensitive to previous decisions solutions that might have worked at the initial stage are less viable over time.

Counterfactuals help scholars assess causal hypotheses by making claims about events that did not actually occur. They are valuable when large-N or even comparative casework is difficult. Counterfactuals are particularly useful when the number of observations of a particular case is low and multiple variables are in play. It is difficult to make definitive claims from counterfactual analysis, however, even when there is a strong understanding of all the potential causal mechanisms in the system. Consequently, my findings are suggestive, not conclusive, particularly when applied to other cases.

Vi Economic Development During The Civil War And Reconstruction

‘Willfully Disregarded The Constitution’: GOP Lawmaker Assails Biden Over The Southern Border

George N. Barnard, City of Atlanta, Ga., no. 1, c. 1866. Library of Congress.

The Civil War destroyed and then transformed the American economy. In 1859 and 1860, wealthy southern planters were flush after producing record cotton crops. Southern prosperity relied on over four million enslaved African American to grow cotton, along with a number of other staple crops across the region. Cotton fed the textile mills of America and Europe and brought great wealth to the region. On the eve of war, the American South enjoyed more per capita wealth than any other slave economy in the New World. To their enslavers, these people constituted their most valuable assets, worth roughly $3 billion.36 Yet this wealth obscured the gains in infrastructure, industrial production, and financial markets that occurred north of the Mason-Dixon Line, a fact that the war would unmask for all to see.

War brought destruction across the South. Governmental and private buildings, communication systems, the economy, and transportation infrastructure were all debilitated. , c. 1865. Library of Congress.

Massachusetts Agricultural College was one of many colleges founded through the Federal Morrill-Land Grant Colleges Act. Massachusetts Agricultural College, Amherst, Mass. 1879, 1880. Wikimedia.

You May Like: How Many Registered Republicans Are There

White Terrorists Resist The Changes

Even before the end of the Civil War, white Southerners had begun to resist the changes occurring in the societyand culture they cherished. The familiar world they had known, in which black people existed as inferior beings fit only to serve whites, was falling down around them, and they fought back. They did so through violent attacks that included arson, beatings, rape, and murder. These attacks were focused not only on the former slaves but on anyone who tried to help them or seemed sympathetic to the idea of freedom, civil rights, and equality, including teachers, soldiers, and white Unionists.

During the period of President Johnsons Reconstruction program, race riots had occurred in two major Southern citiesMemphis, Tennessee, where forty-six blacks were killed, and New Orleans, Louisiana, where thirty-four blacks and three whites died. These riots had underscored the link between white resentment and violence. With the triumph of the Radical Republicans plan for Reconstruction, the violence increased. Secret terrorist societies, most of whose members covered their identities with masks and long robes, began a widespread campaign to try to control through fear what they had not been able to control any other way. They wanted to prevent blacks from exercising their new rights, and they also wanted to ensure that plantation owners had the same kind of disciplined labor force they had enjoyed during the days of slavery.

The Contested Election Of 1876

The country remained bitterly divided, and this was reflected in the contested election of 1876. While Grant wanted to run for a third term, scandals and Democratic successes in the South dashed those hopes. Republicans instead selected Rutherford B. Hayes, the three-time governor of Ohio. Democrats nominated Samuel Tilden, the reform governor of New York, who was instrumental in ending the Tweed Ring and Tammany Hall corruption in New York City. The November election produced an apparent Democratic victory, as Tilden carried the South and large northern states with a 300,000-vote advantage in the popular vote. However, disputed returns from Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, and Oregon, whose electoral votes totaled twenty, threw the election into doubt.

This map illustrates the results of the presidential election of 1876. Tilden, the Democratic candidate, swept the South, with the exception of the contested states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

Also Check: Renaissance Hotel Boston Patriot Place

Iii The Meaning Of Black Freedom

Land was one of the major desires of the freed people. Frustrated by responsibility for the growing numbers of freed people following his troops, General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, in which land in Georgia and South Carolina was to be set aside as a homestead for the freedpeople. Sherman lacked the authority to confiscate and distribute land, so this plan never fully took effect. One of the main purposes of the Freedmens Bureau, however, was to redistribute lands to formerly enslaved people that had been abandoned and confiscated by the federal government. Even these land grants were short-lived. In 1866, land that ex-Confederates had left behind was reinstated to them.

In working to ensure that crops would be harvested, agents sometimes coerced formerly enslaved people into signing contracts with their former enslavers. However, the bureau also instituted courts where African Americans could seek redress if their employers were abusing them or not paying them. The last ember of hope for land redistribution was extinguished when Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumners proposed land reform bills were tabled in Congress. Radicalism had its limits, and the Republican Partys commitment to economic stability eclipsed their interest in racial justice.

Grant Reconstruction And The Kkk

  • Copy Link

At the time of Ulysses S. Grant’s election to the presidency, white supremacists were conducting a reign of terror throughout the South. In outright defiance of the Republican-led federal government, Southern Democrats formed organizations that violently intimidated blacks and Republicans who tried to win political power.

The most prominent of these, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865. Originally founded as a social club for former Confederate soldiers, the Klan evolved into a terrorist organization. It would be responsible for thousands of deaths, and would help to weaken the political power of Southern blacks and Republicans.

Racist activity in the South often took the form of riots that targeted blacks and Republicans. In 1866, a quarrel between whites and black ex-soldiers erupted into a full-fledged riot in Memphis, Tennessee. White policemen assisted the mobs in their violent rampage through the black sections of town. By the time the violence ended, 46 people were dead, 70 more were wounded, and numerous churches and schools had been burned. Just two months later, on July 30, a similar outbreak of violence erupted in New Orleans. This time, a white mob attacked the attendees of a black suffrage convention, killing 37 blacks and three whites who allied with them.

Don’t Miss: Patriot Portable Solar Generator 1500w

Reaction To The Freedmens Bureau

In North Carolina, as well as elsewhere in the South, questions existed as to how to assimilate 350,000 freed slaves into the economy, society and political system of the state. These questions arose before the war was over, at such places as Roanoke Island and James City, but were now being addressed across the state in emancipation communities such as Freedom Hill. While whites accepted the abolishment of slavery, most did not agree that the freedmen and women were equal to them. They found the Freedmens Bureau to be meddlesome and believed everyone would find his or her natural place in society if left alone.

In the minds of most white people, the natural place for former slaves was still at the bottom of the social order. Early in 1866, the North Carolina legislature enacted the Black Code, a series of laws that regulated control of the African American population. Although North Carolinas code was less rigid than those of other southern states with larger black populations, it nevertheless denied the rights of citizenship to free blacks and the recently emancipated. The code also placed restrictions on free movement within and outside the state, made it difficult for blacks to purchase and carry firearms, and prohibited interracial marriages. This denial of rights created strong opposition by northerners and blacks within and outside the state.

The End Of Reconstruction

As white Democrats won control of political power at both the local and the state levels, they used this power to enact laws that further disenfranchised the formerly enslaved. Over time, white Democrats were able to peel off parts of the Republican coalition in the South, as many white Southern Republicans shared the racial views of the Democrats but had disagreed with them on economic issues and were also vulnerable to social pressure from fellow whites.

Political corruption also soured many in both the South and the North on Reconstruction, decreasing support for the Radical Republican agenda. Although government programs under Reconstruction fell well short of modern standards, public spending and associated taxation grew tremendously with federal funding of railroads and schools. Some leaders recognized that their time in office might be short and sought to cash in. But, in some states, such as Louisiana, corruption had already been endemic , and both parties were highly corrupt. Critics of Reconstruction played up abuses, declaring that the involvement of the Black community in government made corruption inevitable. Independent of Reconstruction, Grant’s administration was plagued by scandal, decreasing overall support for it.

Don’t Miss: Who Is More Popular Democrats Or Republicans

How Did Democrats Regain Control Of Southern Governments From The Republican Partypost Civil War

The Democrats used the racist backlash against the freeing of the slaves as a tool to regain power. They generally opposed Republican policies of reintegration and policies encouraged at moving the country forward after the Civil War.

Answer: They had to regain political power.


During the Reconstruction years, the Democratic Party worked to recover political power in the South appealing to the white Southerners who resisted the Republican ideas about civil and voting rights of African Americans. They spread ideas of white racism and practiced election fraud to gradually return to power in the Southern states throughout the 1870s.

White Supremacy Terrorism And The Failure Of Reconstruction In The United States

Top House Republican: Why Biden is responsible for “crisis at America’s southern border’

Daniel Byman is a professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Daniel Byman is a professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

International Security

Daniel Byman White Supremacy, Terrorism, and the Failure of Reconstruction in the United States. International Security 2021 46 : 53103. doi:

Also Check: When Is The Republican Primary In Illinois

Popular Articles