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How Did Republicans Gain Control Of Southern Governments

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The Return Of Conservative Control

Shortly after the election, the North Carolina House of Representatives brought charges against Holden, which alleged that he acted illegally in declaring martial law and arresting individuals; in refusing to obey the writs of habeas corpus; and in raising state troops and paying them. After a seven week trial, the Senate convicted Holden and voted to remove him from office. He became the first state governor in the country to be impeached and removed from office. Lt. Gov. Tod R. Caldwell replaced him as governor.

For the most part, after the 1870 election and the return of the Conservatives to power, Klan activity ceased in many areas. The group remained active in the western counties, resulting in federal intervention and trials for Klan leaders. By 1872, the Klan became more focused on race rather than politics and ceased to play a major role in North Carolina’s political circles until the next century.

Back in legislative power, the Conservatives set about changing much of what the Republicans had accomplished. They amended the constitution in 1873 and again in 1875, concentrating power in Raleigh and ensuring that only white Conservatives would hold local offices through legislative control of county governments. Other amendments, like those that outlawed interracial marriage and prohibited integrated public schools, served to relegate African Americans to a lower level of society and politics: the status quo antebellum.

Politics Of The Southern United States

United States Census Bureau

The politics of the Southern United States generally refers to the political landscape of the Southern United States. The institution of had a profound impact on the politics of the Southern United States, causing the American Civil War and continued subjugation of African-Americans from the Reconstruction era to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Scholars have linked slavery to contemporary political attitudes, including racial resentment. From the Reconstruction era to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, pockets of the Southern United States were characterized as being “authoritarian enclaves”.

The region was once referred to as the Solid South, due to its large consistent support for Democrats in all elective offices from 1877 to 1964. As a result, its Congressmen gained seniority across many terms, thus enabling them to control many Congressional committees. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, Southern states became more reliably Republican in presidential politics, while Northeastern states became more reliably Democratic. Studies show that some Southern whites during the 1960s shifted to the Republican Party, in part due to racial conservatism. Majority support for the Democratic Party amongst Southern whites first fell away at the presidential level, and several decades later at the state and local levels. Both parties are competitive in a handful of Southern states, known as swing states.

New Census Numbers Shift Political Power South To Republican Strongholds

Political power in the United States will continue to shift south this decade, as historically Democratic states that border the Great Lakes give up congressional seats and electoral votes to regions where Republicans currently enjoy a political advantage, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Texas, Florida and North Carolina, three states that voted twice for President Donald Trump, are set to gain a combined four seats in Congress in 2023 because of population growth, granting them collectively as many new votes in the electoral college for the next presidential election as Democratic-leaning Hawaii has in total.

At the same time, four northern states with Democratic governors that President Biden won in 2020 Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York will each lose a single congressional seat. Ohio, a nearby Republican-leaning state, will also lose a seat in Congress.

The data released Monday was better for Democrats than expected, as earlier Census Bureau estimates had suggested the congressional gains in Florida and Texas would be even bigger. The margins in certain states that determined the final congressional counts were razor thin, with New York losing a seat because of a shortfall of only 89 people.

Your questions about the census, answered

In other parts of the country, the shifts in population will have a less obvious effect on partisan power.

Ted Mellnik contributed to this report.

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 Johnson’s vetoes and pass the Civil Rights Act and the bill to extend the Freedmen’s Bureau, and they did so immediately. Congress had now taken charge of the South’s reconstruction.

Republican America: How Georgia Went ‘red’

The Reconstruction Era timeline

July 15, 2004

    Relaxing in front of his small ranch house, watching the birds flit around his feeder, Ronnie Pilcher looks out over the changing face of the place he calls home.

    In the four decades he and his wife have lived here on 10 verdant acres, Mr. Pilcher has seen an explosion in population and wealth that’s transformed this old orchard crossroads into a booming Atlanta exurb. Where once he knew almost everyone driving by on the old Birmingham Highway – and many of them stopped to chat – now an unfamiliar flow of Beemers and Hummers weave among the dented Fords and Chevys on the traffic-choked road. Nondenominational megachurches are replacing small country chapels, gated communities are spreading rapidly, and big chain restaurants compete with old-time establishments like Shelia’s BBQ, where the sign says proudly: “Parking for Rednecks Only.”

    Pilcher, a Baptist deacon and retired data cruncher for SunTrust Bank, says he’s an independent. But as a self-described conservative, he identifies with the GOP far more than with the Democrats. Like many in Crabapple, he admits his vote for President Bush this fall is pretty much assured.

    It’s not just because he sees Bush as standing up for “traditional” morals – though he is firmly against gay marriage, and on abortion says: “Only the good Lord has the right to choose life and death.”

    Georgia’s swift transformationFrom farms to a surge of new wealthOzzie, Harriet, and a white picket fenceFrom the wallet to the pews

    The South Becomes Majority Republican

    For nearly a century after , the majority of the white South identified with the Democratic Party. Republicans during this time would only control parts of the mountains districts in southern Appalachia and competed for statewide office in the former border states. Before 1948, Southern Democrats believed that their stance on states’ rights and appreciation of traditional southern values, was the defender of the southern way of life. Southern Democrats warned against designs on the part of northern liberals, Republicans , and civil rights activists, whom they denounced as “outside agitators”.

    After the Civil Rights act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed in Congress, only a small element resisted, led by Democratic governors Lester Maddox of Georgia, and especially George Wallace of Alabama. These governors appealed to a less-educated, working-class electorate, that favored the Democratic Party, but also supported segregation. After the Brown v. Board of EducationSupreme Court case that outlawed segregation in schools in 1954, integration caused enormous controversy in the white South. For this reason, compliance was very slow and was the subject of violent resistance in some areas.

    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 Johnson’s 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.

    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.

    READ MORE: How the 1876 Election Effectively Ended Reconstruction

    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.

    For Discussion And Writing

  • What legal devices did Southern states use to exclude most of their black citizens from voting? What other methods were used to stop blacks from voting?
  • What was unfair about the way literacy tests were used for voter registration in the South from 1890 to 1965?
  • What were the consequences to African Americans of being excluded from voting in the segregated South?
  • 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.

    How Did Southern Whites Regain Political Power During Reconstruction


    At the conclusion of the Civil War, the 13th Amendment was passed and slaves in all areas of the U.S. were emancipated. Reconstruction was implemented in 1866 to integrate the southern states back into the Union and provide resources for newly freed slaves. Reconstruction continued until 1877 when President Rutherford Hayes was elected. His presidency allowed the South to regain political power and indirectly facilitated practices that prevented African-Americans and other minorities from enjoying the rights granted by the 13th Amendment.

    Explore this article

    Who Should Not Vote

    All states have some voting restrictions. Are they necessary? Below are five traditional restrictions on the right to vote. Form small groups to decide whether your state should retain each of these restrictions. Before making a decision on each restriction, the group should discuss and write answers to these two questions:

  • What are some reasons favoring the restriction?
  • What are some reasons against the restriction?
  • After the groups have finished their work, each restriction should be discussed and voted on by the entire class.

    Impact Of The War On North Carolina


    North Carolina suffered terrible human losses from the Civil War. More than 30,000 troops died, almost half from battle deaths and the rest from disease. Untold numbers were wounded or disabled by injury. There were human costs at home as well. With the majority of white men off fighting the war, the women struggled to maintain farms and families. The results often included impaired health and even death of the elderly and weak.

    Economic costs were also staggering. These included millions of dollars of property destroyed or looted across the South; millions spent by the Confederate government to wage the war; and the abolition of slavery, which cost slaveholders nearly $200 million in capital investment. Worthless currency, repudiated war debts, and few avenues for credit caused many individuals, institutions, and businesses to declare bankruptcy. During the war many colleges closed, factories shut down, and banks collapsed. Almost none were in any condition to re-open after the war.

    Developments In The North And The West

    Events and trends occurring across the rest of the United States during the Reconstruction era both paralleled and, in some ways, influenced what was happening in the troubled Southern part of the country. In the North, the span of years from 1865 to 1877 was marked by economic growth and political and social reforms, but there were also periods of economic depression, episodes of political corruption, and clashes between the expanding class of wealthy people and professionals and the small farmers and workers who stillmade up the bulk of the population. Northern state governments, like those in the South, were raising taxes and expanding their budgets in order to pay for new social services and public schools. But the North had not experienced the devastation of the Civil War in the same dramatic way as the South, and its stronger economy meant that it could better afford to finance the changes.

    Between 1865 and 1873, industrial production increased by 75 percent. The population was expandingincluding the addition of three million immigrantsbut migration to the open spaces of the West had been eased by the construction of 35,000 miles of railroad routes. In the West were plenty of opportunities for farming as well as lumber harvesting, mining, and ranching.

    The Obama Years And The Rise Of The Tea Party: 20082016

    John BoehnerHouse SpeakerBarack Obama

    Following the 2008 elections, the Republican Party, reeling from the loss of the presidency, Congress and key state governorships, was fractured and leaderless.Michael Steele became the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, but was a poor fundraiser and was replaced after numerous gaffes and missteps. Republicans suffered an additional loss in the Senate in April 2009, when Arlen Specter switched to the Democratic Party, depriving the GOP of a critical 41st vote to block legislation in the Senate. The seating of Al Franken several months later effectively handed the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, but it was short-lived as the GOP took back its 41st vote when Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts in early 2010.

    Republicans won back control of the House of Representatives in the November general election, with a net gain of 63 seats, the largest gain for either party since . The GOP also picked up six seats in the Senate, falling short of retaking control in that chamber, and posted additional gains in state governor and legislative races. Boehner became Speaker of the House while McConnell remained as the Senate Minority Leader. In an interview with National Journal magazine about congressional Republican priorities, McConnell explained that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for Obama to be a one-term president”.

    Mitt Romney

    Republican Goals And Achievements

    Among the Republicans who were now in charge of the South’s new state governments, many differences of background and opinion existed. There was tension between the native Southerners and the Northerners, between blacks and whites, and between free blacks and former slaves. There were different views on how much power should be given to blacks, on whether or not the government should confiscate and redistribute land, and on whether or not former Confederates should be allowed to vote.

    On certain points, however, most Republicans were in agreement. They wanted to guarantee civil and political rights for African Americans, modify the Southern economy to benefitpeople at all income levels, and provide expanded public services. The idea that the state had a responsibility to offer such benefits to its citizens was somewhat revolutionary; indeed, before the war the Southern states had offered very few services. Describing prewar conditions in South Carolina, twentieth-century African American leader W. E. B. Du Bois , quoted in Reconstruction and Reaction: The Emancipation of Slaves, 18611913, wrote: “It is said that the ante-bellum state was ruled by 180 great landlords. They made the functions of the state just as few as possible, and did by private law on plantations most of the things which in other states were carried on by the local and state governments.”

    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.

    READ:  What is ethics in communication competence model?

    World War Ii And Its Aftermath: 19391952

    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 Roosevelt’s 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 .

    Southern strategy

    V Racial Violence In Reconstruction

    Violence shattered the dream of biracial democracy. Still steeped in the violence of slavery, white southerners could scarcely imagine Black free labor. Congressional investigator Carl Schurz reported that in the summer of 1865, southerners shared a near unanimous sentiment that You cannot make the negro work, without physical compulsion. Violence had been used in the antebellum period to enforce slave labor and to define racial difference. In the post-emancipation period it was used to stifle Black advancement and return to the old order.

    Much of life in the antebellum South had been premised on slavery. The social order rested on a subjugated underclass, and the labor system required unfree laborers. A notion of white supremacy and Black inferiority undergirded it all. White people were understood as fit for freedom and citizenship, Black people for chattel slave labor. The Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House and the subsequent adoption by the U.S. Congress of the Thirteenth Amendment destroyed the institution of American slavery and threw southern society into disarray. The foundation of southern society had been shaken, but southern whites used Black Codes and racial terrorism to reassert control over formerly enslaved people.


    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.

    The Voting Rights Act Of 1965

    Reconstruction Plans

    As a result of intimidation, violence, and racial discrimination in state voting laws, a mere 3 percent of voting-age black men and women in the South were registered to vote in 1940. In Mississippi, under 1 percent were registered. Most blacks who did vote lived in the larger cities of the South.

    Attempts to change this situation were met with animosity and outright violence. But in the 1950s, the civil rights movement developed. Facing enormous hostility, black people in the South organized to demand their rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. They launched voter registration drives in many Southern communities.

    In the early 1960s, black and white protesters, called Freedom Riders, came from the North to join in demonstrations throughout the South. In some places, crowds attacked them while white police officers looked on.

    Medgar Evers, the black veteran stopped by a white mob from voting, became a civil rights leader in his native Mississippi. Because of his civil rights activities, he was shot and killed in front of his home by a white segregationist in 1963.

    But through the efforts of local civil rights leaders like Medgar Evers and other Americans, about 43 percent of adult black men and women were registered to vote in the South by 1964. That same year, the 24th Amendment was ratified. It outlawed poll taxes in federal elections.


    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.


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