Slavery formed a
united identity for
Africans to hold
onto and keep
Possesed full civil
rights and the male
right to vote, but
these rights were
often theoretical. Still
a lot of hostility
party had formed
opposing slavery and
the civil war was
underpinned with this
In 1865 all slaves were
formally freed by the
ending of the Civil War.
Turning Point for their
progress in securing
rights and freedom.
They could have plantation
marriages, worship freely, own
property, become educated
and travel freely.
The south was
war and had lost
In the Conventions up until
1868, many black men helped
elect those who would rewrite
the constitution of states before
they could re-admit to the union.
These systems were unpopular in the south, those
southerners who aided the northerners in doing so
were called 'Scalawags' and the said northerners
were called 'Carpetbaggers'.
Blacks migration north/south
Most black had remained in the South,
although a few migrated North.
Their right to vote and equality was still
theoretical but their presensce
suggested inspiration toward to
Northern blacks took political
opportunities to move to the South
and pursue their political careers.
Blanche K. Bruce served a the whole 6
years on the Senate (75-81). Although the
first black leader, he lacked support from
the others and therefore did little for civil
rights. Others like Frederick Douglass also
have political careers, but also did little.
Black prospects in the 1860s-70s
There was fear that violence would
ensue, that would prevent AAs from
attempting to change their lives.
'South Carolina's Freedmen's Convention in 1865' summaries all
that AAs knew that they needed. They needed to recongised as
men, education, freedom to own land and they were to be treated
Blacks were always faced by southern white
resentment of their freedom, exploitation,
racism and violence from whites
Political Change after 1865
Reconstruction 1865-1877: Reconstructing the infrastructure of
Southern states, the Northern states attempt to impose the new
status of African Americans. Yet the southerners resisted and by
1877 they had achieved the rights to run their own states.
The South had been divided into military districts where
Generals decided on the who could vote, and set up the state
governments. They could nly have their own state governments
once they accepted these changes.
President Johnson's opposition of african American civil rights: He
struggled between Congress and Congress won and established
more rights. (1865-1869)
He believed that the South needed to be
re-admited back to pre-war relations, just minus
He pardoned thousands of Southern
rebels who owned plantations, so that
they could reassert their authority.
The 14th Amendment 1868: theoretically gave all freed blacks citizenship and protection
under the law. It was created to prevent from other states claiming it unconstitutional.
The 15th Amendment 1870: Forbade the denial of the vote to any man, even on the
basis of race.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866, apart from NAs, all other races were full citizens.
Radical Republicans, like Thaddeus Stevens, to a
stern line to try and intergrate blacks into American
society. They also believed that Reconstruction had
to be controlled by the North.
They were supported by the American Dream, as this
entails the freedoms to prosper to all Americans, even the
Not all politicians, even in Republicans, were as
ambitious for bringing about rights for African Americans,
they just liked the votes.
But they still were
successful in their aims, as
although Johnson vetoed
civil rights leglislations, this
was defeated by 2/3
majority from Congress.
Congress planned to impeach him, but this failed,
although it did weaken him so that he stopped
The Freedman's Bureau 1865
Set up to support freed slaves in the short-term
that would lead to long term security (e.g. finding
them homes as they were poor and homeless)
Supported 'black self-help groups' whop
provided education for blacks of all ages,
from financial support coming from the North.
Comprised of freedmen who compile their meagre
earnings to buy land to provide schools, as Souther
state governments weren't providing education for black
They trained black lawyers, scientists and teachers, indirectly educating
future black leaders. But this education was for a minority of AAs, by 1890,
65% of southern blacks couldn't write.
Congress didn't renew this and it ended in 1872,
showing a decline in Northern interest in the South.
This ended federal government's support
of black education.
Led by General Oliver Howard, who was
genuinly interesded in the welfare of the
African Americans. He was a great supporter
of African American Education. He was also a
war hero from the Civil War.
Sharecropping and Land Ownership
Most freedmen were wage-earning
labourers, in the south they lacked
the skills to anything other than
Sharecropping was where the white plantation
owners couldn't afford the wages for workers, so
they divided their lands up and freedmen could rent
the land and give half of their crop to the owner for
The white land owners still oppressed them and
gave strict supervision, as they claimed that the
blacks were lazy workers. Hence blacks remained
the bottom of the economic pile.
The 'Forty Acres and a mule' idea was that
all freedmen should have such, but this was
ineffective as Johnson practially allowed the
land to return to the white landowners, whom
it was confiscated from.
The 'crop-lien' system encouraged
the production of cotton as the profits
that were payed back for loans on
tools and supplies were requested to
be from cotton, as this was more
White Reaction to Black Freedom
The turning point of the post-civil
war had been completely reversed
by the southern's right to control their
states by the end of Reconstruction in 1877, as they
immediately began to reverse any
In the 1870s they had developed their 'Redemption
Governments' who were Democrat controlled began to work
against the development of the AA rights.
As it was clear that slavery wasn't returning, they northerners become less
interested. Especially since their had been cases of corruption amongst
carpetbaggers. The idea that states should be able to control their land with
minimal federal influence.
Congress passed a Civil Rights Act in 1875, extending
rights into public places, it wasn't enforced .
Cases such as 'US v. Cruikshank (1876)' were where the
Supreme Court ruled that the Enforcement Act allowed federal
officers to act only against states and not individuals.
The Presidential Election of 1976 led to a Compromise. As the
majority vote couldn't be found, the Republican Hayes agreed
that if he removed troops from the South, they should accept
him as their President.
The Slaughterhouse Case (1873) was
where the Supreme Court decided that
the rights of citizens were under control
of the State, not Federal.
The 14th Amendment was a
protection of an individuals
rights, not their state rights.
The Black Codes (1865/66) was where southern states
were determined to keep blacks as inferior.
The military commanders did remove these,
but most northerners were shocked by these
The codes varied between states, but they all defined the 'negro'
as someone with at least 1/8 black blood. Inter-racial marriages
were outlawed. Blacks couldn't give evidence against a white man
in court. They weren't allowed to vote and they only had education
in segragated schools.
Developed the attitudes to return in 1877.
Formal segragation were obvious from as early as 1865 (de facto).
It was suggested that in mixed-schools
blacks would corrupt the other children.
Hence blacks couldn't access higher
Some didn't mind sharing
homes and churches with
blacks, as under slavery, but
as long as they knew their
There was a freedom of religion. Christianity gave
them hope, encouragement and guidance. It
became a great base for Organisations for self-help.
The KKK formed in 1865, sought to enstill terror to
enforce seperation as they often created acts of
This extended to not only blacks but those who supported them. They
created an atmosphere of terror, majorly impeding support for African
American civil rights.
The Democrat controlled South
As it was believed that blacks would vote Republican, the southerners
even more viciously prevented blacks from voting, and until at least the
1960s they were a mostly Democratic dominated land.