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FIU Historical Identifications Exam Practice

See the Difference with LearningCurve!
LearningCurve is a winning solution for everyone: students come to class better
prepared and instructors have more flexibility to go beyond the basic facts and
concepts in class. LearningCurve’s game-like quizzes are bookspecific and link back
to the textbook in LaunchPad so that students can brush up on the reading when they
get stumped by a question. The reporting features help instructors track overall class
trends and spot topics that are giving students trouble so that they can adjust lectures
and class activities.
LearningCurve is easy to assign, easy to customize, and easy to complete. See the
difference LearningCurve makes in teaching and learning history.
The American Promise
A History of the United States
The American Promise
A History of the United States
Seventh Edition
Volume 2
From 1865
James L. Roark
Emory University
Michael P. Johnson
Johns Hopkins University
Patricia Cline Cohen
University of California, Santa Barbara
Sarah Stage
Arizona State University
Susan M. Hartmann
The Ohio State University
Boston | New York
Vice President, Editorial, Macmillan Learning Humanities: Edwin Hill
Publisher for History: Michael Rosenberg
Senior Executive Editor for History: William J. Lombardo
Director of Development for History: Jane Knetzger
Developmental Editor: Robin Soule
Associate Editor: Tess Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Mary Posman
Editorial Assistant: Lexi DeConti
Senior Production Editor: Rosemary Jaffe
Media Producer: Michelle Camisa
Media Editor: Jennifer Jovin
Production Manager: Joe Ford
History Marketing Manager: Melissa Famiglietti
Copy Editor: Lisa Wehrle
Indexer: Mary White
Cartography: Mapping Specialists, Ltd.
Photo Editor: Cecilia Varas
Photo Researcher: Naomi Kornhauser
Permissions Editor: Eve Lehmann
Senior Art Director: Anna Palchik
Text Design: Cenveo Publisher Services
Cover Design: William Boardman
Cover Photo: Women at Work on the C-47 Douglas Cargo Transport, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long
Beach, California, October 1942. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Reproduction
number LC-DIG-fsac-1a35359.
Composition: Cenveo Publisher Services
Printing and Binding: LSC Communications
Copyright © 2017, 2015, 2012, 2009 by Bedford/St. Martin’s.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except as may
be expressly permitted by the applicable copyright statutes or in writing by the Publisher.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
1 0 9 8 7 6
f e d c b a
For information, write: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116 (617-399-4000)
ISBN 978-1-319-06198-2 (Combined Edition)
ISBN 978-1-319-06199-9 (Volume 1)
ISBN 978-1-319-07010-6 (Loose-leaf Edition, Volume 1)
ISBN 978-1-319-06200-2 (Volume 2)
ISBN 978-1-319-07012-0 (Loose-leaf Edition, Volume 2)
Acknowledgments and copyrights appear on the same page as the text and art selections they cover; these
acknowledgments and copyrights constitute an extension of the copyright page.
Why This Book This Way
What is the best way to engage and teach students in their history survey course? From the
beginning, The American Promise has been shaped by our firsthand knowledge that the survey
course is one of the most difficult to teach and, for many, also the most difficult to take. From
the outset we have met this challenge by providing a story students enjoy for its readability,
clear chronology, and lively voices of ordinary Americans, and by providing a full-featured text
that instructors prize for its full narrative with political backbone and the overall support for
teaching. We continue to feature these qualities in the Value Edition of The American Promise
in which we provide the core of the high-quality material included in the Seventh Edition —
the full narrative and select images, maps, and pedagogical tools — in a two-color, trade-sized
format at a low price.
We know that many students today are on a budget and that instructors want greater
flexibility and more digital options in their choice of course materials. We are proud to offer a
low-cost text that presents the engaging and readable narrative with a rich abundance of digital
tools. Free when packaged with the print text, LaunchPad makes meeting the challenges of the
survey course a great deal easier by providing an intuitive, interactive e-Book and course space
with a wealth of primary sources. Ready to assign as is with key assessment resources built into
each chapter, LaunchPad can also be edited and customized as instructors’ imaginations and
innovations dictate. LaunchPad grants students and teachers access to a wealth of online tools
and resources built specifically for our text to enhance reading comprehension and promote indepth study. LaunchPad is loaded with the full-color e-Book with all of the features, maps, and
illustrations of the full-sized edition, plus LearningCurve, an adaptive learning tool; the
popular Reading the American Past primary documents collection; additional primary
sources; special skills-based assessment activities; videos; chapter summative quizzes; and
What Makes The American Promise Special
Our experience as teachers and our frustrations with available textbooks inspired us to create a
book that we could use effectively with our own students. Our knowledge of classroom realities
has informed every aspect of each edition and version of The American Promise. We began
with a clear chronological, political framework, as we have found that students need both the
structure a political narrative provides and the insights gained from examining social and
cultural experience. To write a comprehensive, balanced account of American history, we focus
on the public arena — the place where politics intersects social and cultural developments — to
show how Americans confronted the major issues of their day and created far-reaching
historical change.
The unique approach of our narrative is reflected in our title, The American Promise. We
emphasize human agency and demonstrate our conviction that the essence of America has
been its promise. For millions, the nation has held out the promise of a better life, unfettered
worship, equality before the law, representative government, democratic politics, and other
freedoms seldom found elsewhere. But none of these promises has come with guarantees.
Throughout the narrative we demonstrate how much of American history is a continuing
struggle over the definition and realization of the nation’s promise.
To engage students in this American story and to portray fully the diversity of the American
experience, we stitch into our narrative the voices of hundreds of contemporaries. In
LaunchPad, the Value Edition is augmented with the comprehensive edition’s four-color art
and map program with visual and map activities that prompt students to think critically
about what they see. To help students of all levels understand American history, LaunchPad
offers the best in primary sources and pedagogical aids. To help instructors teach important
skills and evaluate student learning, we provide a rich assortment of assignments and
assessments in the LaunchPad format. While this edition rests solidly on our original goals and
premises, it breaks new ground in addressing the specific needs of today’s courses.
A New Skills Focus for the Special Features
Those using LaunchPad will have access to The American Promise’s acclaimed feature
program. The program has been revised to include more useful, skills-oriented assignments.
The features offer primary sources, visuals, essays, and discussion questions, as well as shortanswer and multiple-choice questions that test students’ critical reading skills. Making
Historical Arguments (formerly Historical Question) now offers active, skills-based
activities that demonstrate to students how historians make and support historical arguments.
Analyzing Historical Evidence (formerly Documenting the American Promise) then gives
students the opportunity to practice the skills introduced in Making Historical Arguments
through analysis of text and visual sources. Experiencing the American Promise (formerly
Seeking the American Promise) offers essays that illuminate the stories of individuals who
sought their dream in America, helping students evaluate to what extent individuals make
history. Finally, an enhanced Beyond America’s Borders continues to offer students a global
perspective on the narrative’s themes with essays that connect U.S. history to developments
around the globe.
Collectively these features provide a range of new topics and content that includes
increased attention to white servant women and slave men in the seventeenth-century
Chesapeake; a new focus on the weak opposition to the African slave trade in the eighteenth
century; a nuanced look at urban workers’ standard of living in the Gilded Age; a spotlight on
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of New Deal programs to rebuild the navy during the 1930s; an
exploration of the federal government’s influence on the economy in the post–World War II
years; a study of the impact of the Voting Rights Act; an in-depth look at the use of air power
in Vietnam; an investigation of the loss of American manufacturing jobs in the twenty-first
century; and much more.
Evaluation of Primary Sources
Primary sources form the heart of historical study and we are pleased to offer LaunchPad users
the new Analyzing Historical Evidence feature, which asks students to use historical thinking
skills to consider a range of documents. Each feature juxtaposes two to four primary documents
to reveal varying perspectives on a topic or issue and to provide students with opportunities to
build and practice their skills of historical interpretation. Because students are so attuned to
visuals and instructors deeply value their usefulness as primary sources, we have included both
text and visual sources in this new feature. Images, including artifacts of daily life in Chaco
Canyon, paintings of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, a 1920s mouthwash advertisement,
political cartoons, and more, show students how to mine visual documents for evidence about
the past.
In Analyzing Historical Evidence, feature introductions and document headnotes
contextualize the sources, and short-answer questions at the end of the feature promote critical
thinking about primary sources. New topics have been added that are rich with human drama
and include “Enslavement by Marriage” and “The Nation’s First Formal Declaration of War.”
These features are available both in print and online and are easily assigned in LaunchPad,
along with multiple-choice quizzes that measure student comprehension.
In addition, more than 150 documents in the accompanying collection Reading the
American Past are available free to users who package the reader with the main print text, and
they are automatically included in the LaunchPad e-Book. Multiple-choice questions are also
available for assignment to measure comprehension and hold students accountable for their
LaunchPad for The American Promise also comes with a collection of more than 135
additional primary sources that instructors can choose to assign. These sources include
letters, memoirs, court records, government documents, and more, and they include items by or
about such people as John Smith, William Penn, Anne Hutchinson, Jonathan Edwards, Mary
Jemison, Black Hawk, Rebecca Neugin, John C. Calhoun, Frederick Douglass, Abraham
Lincoln, Mary Elizabeth Lease, William Jennings Bryan, Rose Pastor Stokes, Theodore
Roosevelt, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman,
Paul Robeson, Ronald Reagan, and more.
To give students ample opportunity to practice thinking critically about primary source
images, LaunchPad includes four visual activity captions per chapter. One set of questions in
these activities prompts analysis of the image, while a second set of questions helps students
connect the images to main points in the narrative.
Distinctive Essay Features Practice Historical Thinking Skills
To demonstrate and engage students in various methods of historical thinking, LaunchPad’s
Making Historical Arguments feature essays, which occur in every chapter, pose and
interpret specific questions of continuing interest. We pair perennial favorites such as “Was the
New United States a Christian Country?,” “How Often Were Slaves Whipped?,” “Was There a
Sexual Revolution in the 1920s?,” and “Why Did the Allies Win World War II?,” with brandnew entries including “How Did Seventeenth-Century Colonists View Nature?” and “What Did
African Americans Want from World War I, and What Did They Get?”
Short-answer questions at the end of the features prompt students to consider things such as
evidence, beliefs and values, and cause and effect as they relate to the historical question at
hand. These features are available both in print and online and can be easily assigned in
LaunchPad, along with multiple-choice quizzes that measure student comprehension.
Helping Students Understand the Narrative
Every instructor knows it can be a challenge to get students to complete assigned readings, and
then to fully understand what is important once they do the reading. The American Promise
addresses these problems head-on with a suite of tools in LaunchPad that instructors can
choose from.
To help students come to class prepared, instructors who adopt LaunchPad for The
American Promise can assign the LearningCurve formative assessment activities. This online
learning tool is popular with students because it helps them rehearse content at their own pace
in a nonthreatening, game-like environment. LearningCurve is also popular with instructors
because the reporting features allow them to track overall class trends and spot topics that are
giving their students trouble so they can adjust their lectures and class activities.
Encouraging active reading is another means for making content memorable and
highlighting what is truly important. To help students read actively and understand the central
idea of the chapter, instructors who use LaunchPad can also assign Guided Reading
Exercises. These excercises appear at the start of each chapter, prompting students to collect
information to be used to answer a broad analytic question central to the chapter as a whole.
To further encourage students to read and fully assimilate the text as well as measure how
well they do this, instructors can assign the multiple-choice summative quizzes in LaunchPad,
where they are automatically graded. These secure tests not only encourage students to study
the book, they can be assigned at specific intervals as higher-stakes testing and thus provide
another means for analyzing class performance.
Another big challenge for survey instructors is meeting the needs of a range of students,
particularly the students who need the most support. In addition to the formative assessment of
LearningCurve, which adapts to the needs of students at any level, The American Promise
offers a number of print and digital tools for the underprepared. Each chapter opener includes
Content Learning Objectives to prepare students to read the chapter with purpose. Once into
the heart of the chapter, students are reminded to think about main ideas through Review
Questions placed at the end of every major section. Some students have trouble connecting
events and ideas, particularly with special boxed features. To address this, we have added a set
of Questions for Analysis to the end of each feature in LaunchPad to help students understand
the significance of the featured topic, its context, and how it might be viewed from different
With this edition we also bring back two popular sets of end-of-chapter questions that help
widen students’ focus as they consider what they have read. Making Connections questions
ask students to think about broad developments within the chapter, while Linking to the Past
questions cross-reference developments in earlier chapters, encouraging students to make
comparisons, see causality, and understand change over longer periods of time.
Helping Instructors Teach with Digital Resources
With requests for clear and transparent learning outcomes coming from all quarters and with
students who bring increasingly diverse levels of skills to class, even veteran teachers can find
preparing for today’s courses a trying matter. With LaunchPad we have reconceived the
textbook as a suite of tools in multiple formats that allows each format to do what it does best
to capture students’ interest and help instructors create meaningful lessons.
But one of the best benefits is that instructors using LaunchPad will find they have a
number of assessment tools that allow them to see what it is their students do and don’t know
and measure student achievement all in one convenient space. For example, LaunchPad comes
with LearningCurve, an adaptive learning tool that garners more than a 90 percent student
satisfaction rate and helps students master book content. When LearningCurve is assigned, the
grade book results show instructors where the entire class or individual students may be
struggling, and this information in turn allows instructors to adjust lectures and course activities
accordingly — a benefit not only for traditional classes but invaluable for hybrid, online, and
newer “flipped” classes as well. In addition, not only can instructors assign all of the questions
that appear in the print book and view the responses in the grade book, they have the option to
assign automatically graded multiple-choice questions for all of the book features.
With LaunchPad for The American Promise we make the tough job of teaching simpler by
providing everything instructors need in one convenient space so they can set and achieve the
learning outcomes they desire. To learn more about the benefits of LearningCurve and
LaunchPad, see the “Versions and Supplements” section on page xiv.
We gratefully acknowledge all of the helpful suggestions from those who have read and taught
from previous editions of The American Promise, and we hope that our many classroom
collaborators will be pleased to see their influence in the seventh edition. In particular, we wish
to thank the talented scholars and teachers who gave generously of their time and knowledge to
review the previous edition in preparation for its revision: LeNie Adolphson, Sauk Valley
Community College; Daniel Anderson, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College; Ian
Baldwin, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Veronica Bale, MiraCosta College; Karen Cook
Bell, Bowie State University; Dustin Black, El Camino College; Nawana Britenriker, Pikes
Peak Community College; Elizabeth Broen, South Florida State College; Robert Browning,
University of Texas, San Antonio; Robert Bush, Front Range Community College; Brian David
Collins, El Centro College; Alexandra Cornelius, Florida International University; Sondra
Cosgrove, College of Southern Nevada; Rodney E. Dillon, Jr., Palm Beach State College;
Wayne Drews, Georgia Institute of Technology; Edward J. Dudlo, Brookhaven College; E. J.
Fabyan, Vincennes University; Randy Finley, Georgia Perimeter College; Cecilia GowdyWygant, Front Range Community College; Elizabeth Green, University of South Alabama;
William Grose, Wytheville Community College; Steven Heise, Holyoke Community College;
Jeff Janowick, Lansing Community College; Juneann Klees, Bay College; Leonard V. Larsen,
Des Moines Area Community College; Charles Levine, Mesa Community College; Kerima
Lewis, Bridgewater State University; Mary Linehan, University of Texas at Tyler; Annie Liss,
South Texas College; Patricia Loughlin, University of Central Oklahoma; Veronica McComb,
Lenoir-Rhyne University; Walter Miszczenko, College of Western Idaho; Rick Murray, Los
Angeles Valley College; Richard Owens, West Liberty University; Stacey Pendleton, University
of Colorado Denver; Michael J. Pfeifer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Robert Lynn
Rainard, Tidewater Community College; Chris Rasmussen, Fairleigh Dickinson University;
George D. Salaita, Eastern Tennessee University; Robert Sawvel, University of Northern
Colorado; Benjamin G. Scharff, West Virginia University; Mark Simon, Queens College of the
City of New York; Christopher Sleeper, MiraCosta College; Janet P. Smith, East Tennessee
State University; John Howard Smith, Texas A&M University–Commerce; William Z.
Tannenbaum, Missouri Southern State University; Ramon C. Veloso, Palomar College;
Kenneth A. Watras, Paradise Valley Community College; and Eric Weinberg, Viterbo
A project as complex as this requires the talents of many individuals. First, we would like
to acknowledge our families for their support, forbearance, and toleration of our textbook
responsibilities. Naomi Kornhauser contributed her vast knowledge, tireless energy, and
diligent research to make possible the useful and attractive illustration program. We would also
like to thank the many people at Bedford/St. Martin’s and Macmillan Learning who have been
crucial to this project. Thanks are due to Robin Soule, developmental editor; Edwin Hill, vice
president; Michael Rosenberg, publisher; William J. Lombardo, senior executive editor for
history; and Jane Knetzger, director of development for history for their support and guidance.
Thanks are also due to Heidi Hood, senior editor; Jennifer Jovin, media editor; Tess Fletcher,
associate editor; Mary Posman, assistant editor; and Lexi DeConti, editorial assistant. For their
imaginative and tireless efforts to promote the book, we want to thank executive marketing
manager Melissa Famiglietti, and marketing assistant Morgan Ratner. With great skill and
professionalism, senior production editor Rosemary Jaffe pulled together the many pieces
related to copyediting, design, and composition. Production manager Joe Ford oversaw the
manufacturing of the book. Designer Jerilyn Bockorick, copy editor Lisa Wehrle, and
proofreaders Roberta Sobotka and Linda McLatchie attended to the myriad details that help
make the book shine. Mary White provided an outstanding index. The covers for the book’s
many versions were researched and designed by William Boardman. Media producer Michelle
Camisa oversaw the timely and complex production of digital components of The American
Versions and Supplements
Adopters of The American Promise, Value Edition and their students have access to abundant
print and digital resources and tools, the acclaimed Bedford Series in History and Culture
volumes, and much more. The LaunchPad course space for The American Promise provides
access to the narrative as well as a wealth of primary sources and other features, along with
assignment and assessment opportunities. See below for more information, visit the book’s
catalog site at, or contact your local Bedford/St. Martin’s sales
Get the Right Version for Your Class
The American Promise franchise offers a variety of versions to best suit your course needs. The
comprehensive The American Promise features a full-color art program and a robust set of
features. Understanding the American Promise, with a more modest feature program, enhances
the full narrative with a question-driven approach and innovative active learning pedagogy. The
American Promise: A Concise History also provides the full narrative, with a streamlined art
and feature program, at a lower price. The American Promise, Value Edition offers a tradesized two-color option with the full narrative and selected art and maps at a steeper discount.
The Value Edition is also offered at the lowest price point in loose-leaf, and all versions are
available as low-priced PDF e-Books. For the best value of all, package a new print book with
LaunchPad at no additional charge to get the best each format offers — a print version for easy
portability with a LaunchPad interactive e-Book and course space with LearningCurve and
loads of additional assignment and assessment options.
Combined Volume (Chapters 1–31): available in the comprehensive, Understanding,
Concise, Value, loose-leaf, and e-Book formats and in LaunchPad
Volume 1, To 1877 (Chapters 1–16): available in the comprehensive, Understanding,
Concise, Value, loose-leaf, and e-Book formats and in LaunchPad
Volume 2, From 1865 (chapters 16–31): available in the comprehensive, Understanding,
Concise, Value, loose-leaf, and e-Book formats and in LaunchPad
As noted below, any of these volumes can be packaged with additional titles for a discount. To
get ISBNs for discount packages, visit or contact your Bedford/St.
Martin’s representative.
Assign LaunchPad — an Assessment-Ready
Interactive e-Book and Course Space
Available for discount purchase on its own or for packaging with new books at no additional
charge, LaunchPad is a breakthrough solution for history courses. Intuitive and easy-to-use for
students and instructors alike, LaunchPad is ready to use as is, and can be edited, customized
with your own material, and assigned quickly. LaunchPad for The American Promise includes
Bedford/St. Martin’s high-quality content all in one place, including the full interactive e-Book
with all of the full-color maps and images and features of the comprehensive edition and the
companion reader Reading the American Past, plus LearningCurve formative quizzing, guided
reading activities designed to help students read actively for key concepts, autograded quizzes
for each primary source, and chapter summative quizzes.
Through a wealth of formative and summative assessments, including the adaptive learning
program of LearningCurve (see the full description ahead), students gain confidence and get
into their reading before class. These features, plus additional primary-source documents, video
sources and tools for making video assignments, map activities, flashcards, and customizable
test banks, make LaunchPad an invaluable asset for any instructor. For more information, visit or to arrange a demo, contact us at
Assign LearningCurve So Your Students Come to Class
Students using LaunchPad receive access to LearningCurve for The American Promise.
Assigning LearningCurve in place of reading quizzes is easy for instructors, and the reporting
features help instructors track overall class trends and spot topics that are giving students
trouble so they can adjust their lectures and class activities. This online learning tool is popular
with students because it was designed to help them comprehend content at their own pace in a
nonthreatening, game-like environment. The feedback for wrong answers provides instructional
coaching and sends students back to the book for review. Students answer as many questions as
necessary to reach a target score, with repeated chances to revisit material they haven’t
mastered. When LearningCurve is assigned, students come to class better prepared.
Take Advantage of Instructor Resources
Bedford/St. Martin’s has developed a rich array of teaching resources for this book and for this
course. They range from lecture and presentation materials and assessment tools to course
management options. Most can be found in LaunchPad or can be downloaded or ordered from
the Instructor Resources tab of the book’s catalog site at
Bedford Coursepack for Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by D2L, or Moodle. We can
help you integrate our rich content into your course management system. Registered instructors
can download coursepacks that include our popular free resources and book-specific content
for The American Promise.
Instructor’s Resource Manual. The instructor’s manual offers both experienced and first-time
instructors tools for presenting textbook materials in engaging ways. It includes chapter content
learning objectives, annotated chapter outlines, and strategies for teaching with the textbook,
plus suggestions on how to get the most out of LearningCurve, and a survival guide for firsttime teaching assistants.
Guide to Changing Editions. Designed to facilitate an instructor’s transition from the previous
edition of The American Promise, Value Edition to this new edition, this guide presents an
overview of major changes as well as of changes in each chapter.
Online Test Bank. The test bank includes a mix of fresh, carefully crafted multiple-choice,
matching, short-answer, and essay questions for each chapter. Many of the multiple-choice
questions feature a map, an image, or a primary-source excerpt as the prompt. All questions
appear in easy-to-use test bank software that allows instructors to add, edit, resequence, filter
by question type or learning objective, and print questions and answers. Instructors can also
export questions into a variety of course management systems.
The Bedford Lecture Kit: Lecture Outlines, Maps, and Images. Look good and save time with
The Bedford Lecture Kit. These presentation materials include fully customizable multimedia
presentations built around chapter outlines that are embedded with maps, figures, and images
from the textbook and are supplemented by more detailed instructor notes on key points and
America in Motion: Video Clips for U.S. History. Set history in motion with America in
Motion, an instructor DVD containing dozens of short digital movie files of events in
twentieth-century American history. From the wreckage of the battleship Maine to FDR’s
fireside chats to Ronald Reagan speaking before the Brandenburg Gate, America in Motion
engages students with dynamic scenes from key events and challenges them to think critically.
All files are classroom-ready, edited for brevity, and easily integrated with presentation slides
or other software for electronic lectures or assignments. An accompanying guide provides each
clip’s historical context, ideas for use, and suggested questions.
Print, Digital, and Custom Options for More Choice and Value
For information on free packages and discounts up to 50 percent, visit
or contact your local Bedford/St. Martin’s sales representative.
Reading the American Past, Fifth Edition. Edited by Michael P. Johnson, one of the authors
of The American Promise, and designed to complement the textbook, Reading the American
Past provides a broad selection of more than 150 primary-source documents, as well as
editorial apparatus to help students understand the sources. Available free when packaged with
the print text and included in the LaunchPad e-Book. Also available on its own as a
downloadable PDF e-Book.
NEW Bedford Custom Tutorials for History. Designed to customize textbooks with
resources relevant to individual courses, this collection of brief units, each sixteen pages long
and loaded with examples, guides students through basic skills such as using historical
evidence effectively, working with primary sources, taking effective notes, avoiding plagiarism
and citing sources, and more. Up to two tutorials can be added to a Bedford/St. Martin’s history
survey title at no additional charge, freeing you to spend your class time focusing on content
and interpretation. For more information, visit
NEW Bedford Digital Collections for U.S. History. This source collection provides a
flexible and affordable online repository of discovery-oriented primary-source projects ready to
assign. Each curated project — written by a historian about a favorite topic — poses a
historical question and guides students step by step through analysis of primary sources.
Examples include “What Caused the Civil War?”; “The California Gold Rush: A Trans-Pacific
Phenomenon”; and “War Stories: Black Soldiers and the Long Civil Rights Movement.” For
more information, visit Available free when
NEW Bedford Digital Collections Custom Print Modules. Choose one or two document
projects from the collection (see above) and add them in print to a Bedford/St. Martin’s title, or
select several to be bound together in a custom reader created specifically for your course.
Either way, the modules are affordably priced. For more information visit or contact your Bedford/St. Martin’s
The Bedford Series in History and Culture. More than 100 titles in this highly praised series
combine first-rate scholarship, historical narrative, and important primary documents for
undergraduate courses. Each book is brief, inexpensive, and focused on a specific topic or
period. Revisions of several best-selling titles, such as The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History
with Documents by Theda Perdue; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, edited by David
Blight; and The Triangle Fire: A Brief History with Documents by Jo Ann Argersinger, are
now available. For a complete list of titles, visit Package discounts
are available.
Rand McNally Atlas of American History. This collection of more than eighty full-color maps
illustrates key events and eras from early exploration, settlement, expansion, and immigration
to U.S. involvement in wars abroad and on U.S. soil. Introductory pages for each section
include a brief overview, timelines, graphs, and photos to quickly establish a historical context.
Free when packaged.
The Bedford Glossary for U.S. History. This handy supplement for the survey course gives
students historically contextualized definitions for hundreds of terms — from abolitionism to
zoot suit — that they will encounter in lectures, reading, and exams. Free when packaged.
Trade Books. Titles published by sister companies Hill and Wang; Farrar, Straus and Giroux;
Henry Holt and Company; St. Martin’s Press; Picador; and Palgrave Macmillan are available at
a 50 percent discount when packaged with Bedford/St. Martin’s textbooks. For more
information, visit
A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. This portable and affordable reference tool by Mary
Lynn Rampolla provides reading, writing, and research advice useful to students in all history
courses. Concise yet comprehensive advice on approaching typical history assignments,
developing critical reading skills, writing effective history papers, conducting research, using
and documenting sources, and avoiding plagiarism — enhanced with practical tips and
examples throughout — have made this slim reference a best seller. Package discounts are
A Student’s Guide to History. This complete guide to success in any history course provides
the practical help students need to be successful. In addition to introducing students to the
nature of the discipline, author Jules Benjamin teaches a wide range of skills from preparing for
exams to approaching common writing assignments, and explains the research and
documentation process with plentiful examples. Package discounts are available.
Going to the Source: The Bedford Reader in American History. Developed by Victoria
Bissell Brown and Timothy J. Shannon, this reader combines a rich diversity of primary and
secondary sources with in-depth instructions for how to use each type of source. Mirroring the
chronology of the U.S. history survey, each of the main chapters familiarizes students with a
single type of source — from personal letters to political cartoons — while focusing on an
intriguing historical episode such as the Cherokee Removal or the 1894 Pullman Strike. The
reader’s wide variety of chapter topics and sources provoke students’ interest as it teaches them
the skills they need to successfully interrogate historical sources. Package discounts are
America Firsthand. With its distinctive focus on first-person accounts from ordinary people,
this primary documents reader by Anthony Marcus, John M. Giggie, and David Burner offers a
remarkable range of perspectives on America’s history from those who lived it. Popular Points
of View sections expose students to different perspectives on a specific event or topic. Package
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Brief Contents
Versions and Supplements
Maps and Figures
16 Reconstruction, 1863–1877
17 The Contested West, 1865–1900
18 Railroads, Business, and Politics in the Gilded Age, 1865–1900
19 The City and Its Workers, 1870–1900
20 Dissent, Depression, and War, 1890–1900
21 Progressivism from the Grass Roots to the White House, 1890–1916
22 World War I: The Progressive Crusade at Home and Abroad, 1914–1920
23 From New Era to Great Depression, 1920–1932
24 The New Deal Experiment, 1932–1939
25 The United States and the Second World War, 1939–1945
26 Cold War Politics in the Truman Years, 1945–1953
27 The Politics and Culture of Abundance, 1952–1960
28 Reform, Rebellion, and Reaction, 1960–1974
29 Vietnam and the End of the Cold War Consensus, 1961–1975
30 America Moves to the Right, 1969–1989
31 The Promises and Challenges of Globalization, Since 1989
U.S. Political/Geographic and World Maps
Visual Activity
About the Authors
Reconstruction 1863–1877
OPENING VIGNETTE: James T. Rapier emerges in the early 1870s as Alabama’s most prominent
black leader
Wartime Reconstruction
“To Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds” • Land and Labor • The African American Quest for Autonomy
Presidential Reconstruction
Johnson’s Program of Reconciliation • White Southern Resistance and Black Codes • Expansion of
Federal Authority and Black Rights
Congressional Reconstruction
The Fourteenth Amendment and Escalating Violence • Radical Reconstruction and Military Rule •
Impeaching a President • The Fifteenth Amendment and Women’s Demands
The Struggle in the South
Freedmen, Yankees, and Yeomen • Republican Rule • White Landlords, Black Sharecroppers
Reconstruction Collapses
Grant’s Troubled Presidency • Northern Resolve Withers • White Supremacy Triumphs • An
Election and a Compromise
Conclusion: “A Revolution but Half Accomplished”
The Contested West 1865–1900
OPENING VIGNETTE: Frederick Jackson Turner delivers his “frontier thesis”
Conquest and Empire in the West
Indian Removal and the Reservation System • The Decimation of the Great Bison Herds • Indian
Wars and the Collapse of Comanchería • The Fight for the Black Hills
Forced Assimilation and Indian Resistance
Indian Schools and the War on Indian Culture • The Dawes Act and Indian Land Allotment • Indian
Resistance and Survival
Mining the West
Life on the Comstock Lode • The Diverse Peoples of the West
Land Fever
Moving West: Homesteaders and Speculators • Tenants, Sharecroppers, and Migrants • Commercial
Farming and Industrial Cowboys • Territorial Government
Conclusion: The West in the Gilded Age
Railroads, Business, and Politics in the Gilded Age 1865–1900
OPENING VIGNETTE: Mark Twain and the Gilded Age
Railroads and the Rise of New Industries
Railroads: America’s First Big Business • Andrew Carnegie, Steel, and Vertical Integration • John
D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil, and the Trust • New Inventions: The Telephone and the Telegraph
From Competition to Consolidation
J. P. Morgan and Finance Capitalism • Social Darwinism, Laissez-Faire, and the Supreme Court
Politics and Culture
Political Participation and Party Loyalty • Sectionalism and the New South • Gender, Race, and
Politics • Women’s Activism
Presidential Politics
Corruption and Party Strife • Garfield’s Assassination and Civil Service Reform • Reform and
Scandal: The Campaign of 1884
Economic Issues and Party Realignment
The Tariff and the Politics of Protection • Railroads, Trusts, and the Federal Government • The
Fight for Free Silver • Panic and Depression
Conclusion: Business Dominates an Era
The City and Its Workers 1870–1900
OPENING VIGNETTE: Workers build the Brooklyn Bridge
The Rise of the City
The Urban Explosion: A Global Migration • Racism and the Cry for Immigration Restriction • The
Social Geography of the City
At Work in Industrial America
America’s Diverse Workers • The Family Economy: Women and Children • White-Collar Workers:
Managers, “Typewriters,” and Salesclerks
Workers Organize
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 • The Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor •
Haymarket and the Specter of Labor Radicalism
At Home and at Play
Domesticity and “Domestics” • Cheap Amusements
City Growth and City Government
Building Cities of Stone and Steel • City Government and the “Bosses” • White City or City of Sin?
Conclusion: Who Built the Cities?
Dissent, Depression, and War 1890–1900
OPENING VIGNETTE: Frances Willard participates in the creation of the Populist Party in 1892
The Farmers Unite
The Farmers’ Alliance • The Populist Movement
The Labor Wars
The Homestead Lockout • The Cripple Creek Miners’ Strike of 1894 • Eugene V. Debs and the
Pullman Strike
Women’s Activism
Frances Willard and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B.
Anthony, and the Movement for Woman Suffrage
Depression Politics
Coxey’s Army • The People’s Party and the Election of 1896
The United States and the World
Markets and Missionaries • The Monroe Doctrine and the Open Door Policy • “A Splendid Little
War” • The Debate over American Imperialism
Conclusion: Rallying around the Flag
Progressivism from the Grass Roots to the White House 1890–
OPENING VIGNETTE: Jane Addams founds Hull House
Grassroots Progressivism
Civilizing the City • Progressives and the Working Class
Progressivism: Theory and Practice
Reform Darwinism and Social Engineering • Progressive Government: City and State
Progressivism Finds a President: Theodore Roosevelt
The Square Deal • Roosevelt the Reformer • Roosevelt and Conservation • The Big Stick • The
Troubled Presidency of William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson and Progressivism at High Tide
Progressive Insurgency and the Election of 1912 • Wilson’s Reforms: Tariff, Banking, and the
Trusts • Wilson, Reluctant Progressive
The Limits of Progressive Reform
Radical Alternatives • Progressivism for White Men Only
Conclusion: The Transformation of the Liberal State
World War I: The Progressive Crusade at Home and Abroad
OPENING VIGNETTE: Doughboy George “Brownie” Browne sees combat on the front lines in
Woodrow Wilson and the World
Taming the Americas • The European Crisis • The Ordeal of American Neutrality • The United
States Enters the War
“Over There”
The Call to Arms • The War in France
The Crusade for Democracy at Home
The Progressive Stake in the War • Women, War, and the Battle for Suffrage • Rally around the
Flag — or Else
A Compromised Peace
Wilson’s Fourteen Points • The Paris Peace Conference • The Fight for the Treaty
Democracy at Risk
Economic Hardship and Labor Upheaval • The Red Scare • The Great Migrations of African
Americans and Mexicans • Postwar Politics and the Election of 1920
Conclusion: Troubled Crusade
From New Era to Great Depression 1920–1932
OPENING VIGNETTE: Henry Ford puts America on wheels
The New Era
A Business Government • Promoting Prosperity and Peace Abroad • Automobiles, Mass
Production, and Assembly-Line Progress • Consumer Culture
The Roaring Twenties
Prohibition • The New Woman • The New Negro • Entertainment for the Masses • The Lost
Resistance to Change
Rejecting the Undesirables • The Rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan • The Scopes Trial • Al Smith and
the Election of 1928
The Great Crash
Herbert Hoover: The Great Engineer • The Distorted Economy • The Crash of 1929 • Hoover and
the Limits of Individualism
Life in the Depression
The Human Toll • Denial and Escape • Working-Class Militancy
Conclusion: Dazzle and Despair
The New Deal Experiment 1932–1939
OPENING VIGNETTE: “Migrant Mother” Florence Owens struggles to survive in the Great
Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Patrician in Government
The Making of a Politician • The Election of 1932
Launching the New Deal
The New Dealers • Banking and Finance Reform • Relief and Conservation Programs • Agricultural
Initiatives • Industrial Recovery
Challenges to the New Deal
Resistance to Business Reform • Casualties in the Countryside • Politics on the Fringes
Toward a Welfare State
Relief for the Unemployed • Empowering Labor • Social Security and Tax Reform • Neglected
Americans and the New Deal
The New Deal from Victory to Deadlock
The Election of 1936 • Court Packing • Reaction and Recession • The Last of the New Deal
Conclusion: Achievements and Limitations of the New Deal
The United States and the Second World War 1939–1945
OPENING VIGNETTE: Colonel Paul Tibbets drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan
Peacetime Dilemmas
Roosevelt and Reluctant Isolation • The Good Neighbor Policy • The Price of Noninvolvement
The Onset of War
Nazi Aggression and War in Europe • From Neutrality to the Arsenal of Democracy • Japan Attacks
Mobilizing for War
Home-Front Security • Building a Citizen Army • Conversion to a War Economy
Fighting Back
Turning the Tide in the Pacific • The Campaign in Europe
The Wartime Home Front
Women and Families, Guns and Butter • The Double V Campaign • Wartime Politics and the 1944
Election • Reaction to the Holocaust
Toward Unconditional Surrender
From Bombing Raids to Berlin • The Defeat of Japan • Atomic Warfare
Conclusion: Allied Victory and America’s Emergence as a Superpower
Cold War Politics in the Truman Years 1945–1953
OPENING VIGNETTE: Helen Gahagan Douglas, congresswoman and loyal Truman ally, supports the
Marshall Plan, the creation of NATO, and the war in Korea
From the Grand Alliance to Containment
The Cold War Begins • The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan • Building a National Security
State • Superpower Rivalry around the Globe
Truman and the Fair Deal at Home
Reconverting to a Peacetime Economy • Blacks and Mexican Americans Push for Their Civil
Rights • The Fair Deal Flounders • The Domestic Chill: McCarthyism
The Cold War Becomes Hot: Korea
Korea and the Military Implementation of Containment • From Containment to Rollback to
Containment • Korea, Communism, and the 1952 Election • An Armistice and the War’s Costs
Conclusion: The Cold War’s Costs and Consequences
The Politics and Culture of Abundance 1952–1960
OPENING VIGNETTE: Vice President Richard Nixon debates Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev
Eisenhower and the Politics of the “Middle Way”
Modern Republicanism • Termination and Relocation of Native Americans • The 1956 Election and
the Second Term
Liberation Rhetoric and the Practice of Containment
The “New Look” in Foreign Policy • Applying Containment to Vietnam • Interventions in Latin
America and the Middle East • The Nuclear Arms Race
New Work and Living Patterns in an Economy of Abundance
Technology Transforms Agriculture and Industry • Burgeoning Suburbs and Declining Cities • The
Rise of the Sun Belt • The Democratization of Higher Education
The Culture of Abundance
Consumption Rules the Day • The Revival of Domesticity and Religion • Television Transforms
Culture and Politics • Countercurrents
The Emergence of a Civil Rights Movement
African Americans Challenge the Supreme Court and the President • Montgomery and Mass Protest
Conclusion: Peace and Prosperity Mask Unmet Challenges
Reform, Rebellion, and Reaction 1960–1974
OPENING VIGNETTE: Fannie Lou Hamer leads grassroots struggles of African Americans for voting
rights and political empowerment
Liberalism at High Tide
The Unrealized Promise of Kennedy’s New Frontier • Johnson Fulfills the Kennedy Promise •
Policymaking for a Great Society • Assessing the Great Society • The Judicial Revolution
The Second Reconstruction
The Flowering of the Black Freedom Struggle • The Response in Washington • Black Power and
Urban Rebellions
A Multitude of Movements
Native American Protest • Latino Struggles for Justice • Student Rebellion, the New Left, and the
Counterculture • Gay Men and Lesbians Organize
The New Wave of Feminism
A Multifaceted Movement Emerges • Feminist Gains Spark a Countermovement
Liberal Reform in the Nixon Administration
Extending the Welfare State and Regulating the Economy • Responding to Environmental Concerns
• Expanding Social Justice
Conclusion: Achievements and Limitations of Liberalism
Vietnam and the End of the Cold War Consensus 1961–1975
OPENING VIGNETTE: Lieutenant Frederick Downs Jr. is wounded in Vietnam and returns home to a
country divided over the war
New Frontiers in Foreign Policy
Meeting the “Hour of Maximum Danger” • New Approaches to the Third World • The Arms Race
and the Nuclear Brink • A Growing War in Vietnam
Lyndon Johnson’s War against Communism
An All-Out Commitment in Vietnam • Preventing Another Castro in Latin America • The
Americanized War • Those Who Served
A Nation Polarized
The Widening War at Home • The Tet Offensive and Johnson’s Move toward Peace • The
Tumultuous Election of 1968
Nixon, Détente, and the Search for Peace in Vietnam
Moving toward Détente with the Soviet Union and China • Shoring Up U.S. Interests around the
World • Vietnam Becomes Nixon’s War • The Peace Accords • The Legacy of Defeat
Conclusion: An Unwinnable War
America Moves to the Right 1969–1989
OPENING VIGNETTE: Phyllis Schlafly promotes conservatism
Nixon, Conservatism, and Constitutional Crisis
Emergence of a Grassroots Movement • Nixon Courts the Right • The Election of 1972 • Watergate
• The Ford Presidency and the 1976 Election
The “Outsider” Presidency of Jimmy Carter
Retreat from Liberalism • Energy and Environmental Reform • Promoting Human Rights Abroad •
The Cold War Intensifies
Ronald Reagan and the Conservative Ascendancy
Appealing to the New Right and Beyond • Unleashing Free Enterprise • Winners and Losers in a
Flourishing Economy
Continuing Struggles over Rights
Battles in the Courts and Congress • Feminism on the Defensive • The Gay and Lesbian Rights
Ronald Reagan Confronts an “Evil Empire”
Militarization and Interventions Abroad • The Iran-Contra Scandal • A Thaw in Soviet-American
Conclusion: Reversing the Course of Government
The Promises and Challenges of Globalization Since 1989
OPENING VIGNETTE: Colin Powell adjusts to a post–Cold War world
Domestic Stalemate and Global Upheaval: The Presidency of George H. W. Bush
Gridlock in Government • The Cold War Ends • Going to War in Central America and the Persian
Gulf • The 1992 Election
The Clinton Administration’s Search for the Middle Ground
Clinton’s Reforms • Accommodating the Right • Impeaching the President • The Booming
Economy of the 1990s
The United States in a Globalizing World
Defining America’s Place in a New World Order • Debates over Globalization • The
Internationalization of the United States
President George W. Bush: Conservatism at Home and Radical Initiatives Abroad
The Disputed Election of 2000 • The Domestic Policies of a “Compassionate Conservative” • The
Globalization of Terrorism • Unilateralism, Preemption, and the Iraq War
The Obama Presidency: Reform and Backlash
Governing during Economic Crisis and Political Polarization • Redefining the War on Terror
Conclusion: Defining the Government’s Role at Home and Abroad
The Declaration of Independence
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union
The Constitution of the United States
Amendments to the Constitution with Annotations (including the six unratified
Maps and Figures
MAP 16.1 A Southern Plantation in 1860 and 1881
MAP 16.2 The Election of 1868
MAP 16.3 The Reconstruction of the South
MAP 16.4 The Election of 1876
MAP 17.1 The Loss of Indian Lands, 1850–1890
MAP 17.2 Western Mining, 1848–1890
MAP 17.3 Federal Land Grants to Railroads and the Development of the West, 1850–1900
MAP 18.1 Railroad Expansion, 1870–1890
MAP 18.2 The Election of 1884
MAP 19.1 Economic Regions of the World, 1890
MAP 19.2 The Impact of Immigration, to 1910
MAP 19.3 The Great Railroad Strike of 1877
MAP 20.1 The Election of 1892
MAP 20.2 The Election of 1896
MAP 20.3 The Spanish-American War, 1898
MAP 20.4 U.S. Overseas Expansion through 1900
MAP 21.1 National Parks and Forests
MAP 21.2 The Panama Canal, 1914
MAP 21.3 The Election of 1912
MAP 22.1 U.S. Involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1895–1941
MAP 22.2 European Alliances after the Outbreak of World War I
MAP 22.3 The American Expeditionary Force, 1918
MAP 22.4 Women’s Voting Rights before the Nineteenth Amendment
MAP 22.5 Europe after World War I
MAP 22.6 The Election of 1920
MAP 23.1 Auto Manufacturing
MAP 23.2 The Shift from Rural to Urban Population, 1920–1930
MAP 23.3 The Election of 1928
FIGURE 23.1 Manufacturing and Agricultural Income, 1920–1940
MAP 24.1 The Election of 1932
MAP 24.2 Electoral Shift, 1928–1932
MAP 24.3 The Tennessee Valley Authority
MAP 25.1 Axis Aggression through 1941
MAP 25.2 Japanese Aggression through 1941
MAP 25.3 Western Relocation Authority Centers
MAP 25.4 The European Theater of World War II, 1942–1945
MAP 25.5 The Pacific Theater of World War II, 1941–1945
MAP 26.1 The Division of Europe after World War II
MAP 26.2 The Election of 1948
MAP 26.3 The Korean War, 1950–1953
MAP 27.1 The Interstate Highway System, 1930 and 1970
MAP 27.2 The Rise of the Sun Belt, 1940–1980
MAP 28.1 The Election of 1960
MAP 28.2 The Rise of the African American Vote, 1940–1976
MAP 28.3 Urban Uprisings, 1965–1968
MAP 29.1 U.S. Involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1954–1994
MAP 29.2 The Vietnam War, 1964–1975
MAP 29.3 The Election of 1968
MAP 30.1 The Election of 1976
MAP 30.2 Worldwide Oil Reserves, 1980
MAP 30.3 The Middle East, 1948–1989
MAP 31.1 Events in Eastern Europe, 1989–2002
MAP 31.2 Events in the Middle East, 1989–2011
MAP 31.3 The Election of 2000
MAP 31.4 The Election of 2012
After reading and studying this chapter, you should be able to:
◆ Identify the challenges facing reconstruction efforts.
◆ Describe President Johnson’s reconstruction plan and the ways in which it aligned and differed
from Lincoln’s.
◆ Recount the significance of the Fourteenth Amendment and why President Johnson advised
southern states to reject it. Explain the terms of radical reconstruction and how Johnson’s
interventions led some in Congress to seek his impeachment.
◆ Describe the provisions of the Fifteenth Amendment, and explain why some women’s rights
advocates were dissatisfied with it.
◆ Describe how congressional reconstruction altered life in the South. Explain why the North
abandoned reconstruction, including the role of Grant’s troubled presidency and the election
of 1877 in this abandonment.
urged his four freeborn sons to flee the increasingly repressive and dangerous South.
James T. Rapier chose Canada, where he went to live with his uncle in a largely black
community and studied Greek and Latin in a log schoolhouse. In a letter to his father, he
vowed, “I will endeavor to do my part in solving the problems [of African Americans] in
my native land.”
The Union victory in the Civil War gave James Rapier the opportunity to redeem his
pledge. In 1865, after more than eight years of exile, the twenty-seven-year-old Rapier
returned to Alabama, where he presided over the first political gathering of former slaves
in the state. He soon discovered, however, that Alabama’s whites found it agonizingly
difficult to accept defeat and black freedom. They responded to the revolutionary
changes under the banner “White Man — Right or Wrong — Still the White Man!”
During the elections of 1868, when Rapier and other Alabama blacks vigorously
supported the Republican ticket, the recently organized Ku Klux Klan went on a bloody
rampage. A mob of 150 outraged whites scoured Rapier’s neighborhood seeking four
black politicians they claimed were trying to “Africanize Alabama.” They caught and
hanged three, but the “nigger carpetbagger from Canada” escaped. After briefly
considering fleeing the state, Rapier decided to stay and fight.
In 1872, Rapier won election to the House of Representatives, where he joined six other
black congressmen in Washington, D.C. Defeated for reelection in 1874 in a campaign
marked by ballot-box stuffing, Rapier turned to cotton farming. But persistent black
poverty and unrelenting racial violence convinced him that blacks could never achieve
equality and prosperity in the South. He purchased land in Kansas and urged Alabama’s
blacks to escape with him. In 1883, however, before he could leave Alabama, Rapier died
of tuberculosis at the age of forty-five.
Union general Carl Schurz had foreseen many of the troubles Rapier encountered in
the postwar South. In 1865, Schurz concluded that the Civil War was “a revolution but
half accomplished.” Northern victory had freed the slaves, he observed, but it had not
changed former slaveholders’ minds about blacks’ unfitness for freedom. Left to
themselves, whites would “introduce some new system of forced labor, not perhaps
exactly slavery in its old form but something similar to it.” To defend their freedom,
Schurz concluded, blacks would need federal protection, land of their own, and voting
rights. Until whites “cut loose from the past, it will be a dangerous experiment to put
Southern society upon its own legs.”
As Schurz understood, the end of the war did not mean peace. Indeed, the nation
entered one of its most turbulent eras — Reconstruction. Answers to the era’s central
questions — about the defeated South’s status within the Union and the meaning of
freedom for ex-slaves — came not only from Washington, D.C., where the federal
government played an active role, but also from the state legislatures and county seats of
the South, where blacks eagerly participated in politics. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth
Amendments to the Constitution strengthened the claim of African Americans to equal
rights. The struggle also took place on the South’s farms and plantations, where former
slaves sought to become free workers while former slaveholders clung to the Old South.
A small band of white women joined in the struggle for racial equality, and soon their
crusade broadened to include gender equality. Their attempts to secure voting rights for
women were thwarted, however, just as were the efforts of blacks and their allies to
secure racial equality. In the contest to determine the consequences of Confederate defeat
and emancipation, white Southerners prevailed.
James T. Rapier
In 1874, when Representative James T. Rapier spoke before Congress on behalf of a civil
rights bill, he described the humiliation of being denied service at inns all along his route
from Montgomery to Washington. Elsewhere in the world, he said, class and religion
were invoked to defend discrimination. But in America, “our distinction is color.”
Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.
Wartime Reconstruction
Reconstruction did not wait for the end of war. As the odds of a northern victory increased,
thinking about reunification quickened. Immediately, a question arose: Who had authority to
devise a plan for reconstructing the Union? President Abraham Lincoln firmly believed that
reconstruction was a matter of executive responsibility. Congress just as firmly asserted its
jurisdiction. Fueling the argument were significant differences about the terms of
In their eagerness to formulate a plan for political reunification, neither Lincoln nor
Congress gave much attention to the South’s land and labor problems. But as the war rapidly
eroded slavery and traditional plantation agriculture, Yankee military commanders in the
Union-occupied areas of the Confederacy had no choice but to oversee the emergence of a new
labor system. Freedmen’s aspirations played little role in the plans that emerged.
“To Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds”
As early as 1863, Lincoln began contemplating how “to bind up the nation’s wounds” and
achieve “a lasting peace.” While deep compassion for the enemy guided his thinking about
peace, his plan for reconstruction aimed primarily at shortening the war and ending slavery.
Lincoln’s Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in December 1863 set out his
terms. He offered a full pardon, restoring property (except slaves) and political rights, to most
rebels willing to renounce secession and to accept emancipation. When 10 percent of a state’s
voting population had taken an oath of allegiance, the state could organize a new government
and be readmitted into the Union. Lincoln’s plan did not require ex-rebels to extend social or
political rights to ex-slaves, nor did it anticipate a program of long-term federal assistance to
freedmen. Clearly, the president looked forward to the rapid, forgiving restoration of the
broken Union.
Lincoln’s easy terms enraged abolitionists such as Wendell Phillips of Boston, who charged
that the president “makes the negro’s freedom a mere sham.” He “is willing that the negro
should be free but seeks nothing else for him.” Comparing Lincoln to the Union’s most passive
general, Phillips declared, “What McClellan was on the battlefield — ‘Do as little hurt as
possible!’ — Lincoln is in civil affairs — ‘Make as little change as possible!’” Phillips and
other northern Radicals called instead for a thorough overhaul of southern society. Their ideas
proved to be too drastic for most Republicans during the war years, but Congress agreed that
Lincoln’s plan was inadequate.
In July 1864, Congress put forward a plan of its own. Congressman Henry Winter Davis of
Maryland and Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio jointly sponsored a bill that demanded that at
least half of the voters in a conquered rebel state take the oath of allegiance before
reconstruction could begin. The Wade-Davis bill also banned almost all ex-Confederates from
participating in the drafting of new state constitutions. Finally, the bill guaranteed the equality
of freedmen before the law. Congress’s reconstruction would be neither as quick nor as
forgiving as Lincoln’s. When Lincoln refused to sign the bill and let it die, Wade and Davis
charged the president with usurpation of power.
Undeterred, Lincoln continued to nurture the formation of loyal state governments under
his own plan. Four states — Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia — fulfilled the
president’s requirements, but Congress refused to seat representatives from the “Lincoln
states.” Lincoln admitted that a government based on only 10 percent was not ideal, but he
argued, “We shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.”
Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner responded, “The eggs of crocodiles can produce only
crocodiles.” In his last public address in April 1865, Lincoln defended his plan but for the first
time expressed publicly his endorsement of suffrage for southern blacks, at least “the very
intelligent, and … those who serve our cause as soldiers.” The announcement demonstrated
that Lincoln’s thinking about reconstruction was still evolving. Four days later, he was dead.
Land and Labor
Of all the problems raised by the North’s victory in the war, none proved more critical than the
South’s transition from slavery to free labor. As federal armies invaded and occupied the
Confederacy, hundreds of thousands of slaves became free workers. In addition, Union armies
controlled vast territories in the South where legal title to land had become unclear. The
Confiscation Acts passed during the war punished “traitors” by taking away their property. The
question of what to do with federally occupied land and how to organize labor on it engaged
ex-slaves, ex-slaveholders, Union military commanders, and federal government officials long
before the war ended.
In the Mississippi valley, occupying federal troops announced a new labor code. It required
landholders to give up whipping, sign contracts with ex-slaves, pay wages, and provide food,
housing, and medical care. The code required black laborers to enter into contracts, work
diligently, and remain subordinate and obedient. Military leaders clearly had no intention of
promoting a social or economic revolution. Instead, they sought to restore traditional plantation
agriculture with wage labor. The effort resulted in a hybrid system that one contemporary
called “compulsory free labor,” something that satisfied no one.
Planters complained because the new system fell short of slavery. Blacks could not be
“transformed by proclamation,” a Louisiana sugar planter declared. Without the right to whip,
he argued, the new labor system did not have a chance. Either Union soldiers must “compel the
negroes to work,” or the planters themselves must “be authorized and sustained in using force.”
African Americans found the new regime too reminiscent of slavery to be called free labor.
Its chief deficiency, they believed, was the failure to provide them with land of their own.
Freedmen believed they had a moral right to land because they and their ancestors had worked
it without compensation for centuries. “What’s the use of being free if you don’t own land
enough to be buried in?” one man asked. Several wartime developments led freedmen to
believe that the federal government planned to undergird black freedom with landownership.
In January 1865, General William Tecumseh Sherman set aside part of the coast south of
Charleston for black settlement. By June 1865, some 40,000 freedmen sat on 400,000 acres of
“Sherman land.” In addition, in March 1865, Congress passed a bill establishing the Bureau of
Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. The Freedmen’s Bureau, as it was called,
distributed food and clothing to destitute Southerners and eased the transition of blacks from
slaves to free persons. Congress also authorized the agency to divide abandoned and
confiscated land into 40-acre plots, to rent them to freedmen, and eventually to sell them “with
such title as the United States can convey.” By June 1865, the Bureau had situated nearly
10,000 black families on a half million acres abandoned by fleeing planters. Other ex-slaves
eagerly anticipated farms of their own.
Despite the flurry of activity, wartime reconstruction failed to produce agreement about
whether the president or Congress had the authority to devise policy or what proper policy
should be.
The African American Quest for Autonomy
Ex-slaves never had any doubt about what they wanted from freedom. They had only to
contemplate what they had been denied as slaves. Slaves had to remain on their plantations;
freedom allowed blacks to see what was on the other side of the hill. Slaves had to be at work
in the fields by dawn; freedom permitted blacks to sleep through a sunrise. Freedmen also
tested the etiquette of racial subordination. “Lizzie’s maid passed me today when I was coming
from church without speaking to me,” huffed one plantation mistress.
To whites, emancipation looked like pure anarchy. Blacks, they said, had reverted to their
natural condition: lazy, irresponsible, and wild. Actually, former slaves were experimenting
with freedom, but they could not long afford to roam the countryside, neglect work, and
casually provoke whites. Soon, most were back at work in whites’ kitchens and fields.
But they continued to dream of land and independence. “The way we can best take care of
ourselves is to have land,” one former slave declared in 1865, “and turn it and till it by our own
labor.” Another group of former slaves in South Carolina declared that they wanted land, “not a
Master or owner[,] Neither a driver with his Whip.”
Slavery had deliberately kept blacks illiterate, and freedmen emerged from bondage eager
to learn to read and write. “I wishes the Childern all in School,” one black veteran asserted. “It
is beter for them then to be their Surveing a mistes [mistress].” Freemen looked on schools as
“first proof of their independence.”
The restoration of broken families was another persistent black aspiration. Thousands of
freedmen took to the roads in 1865 to look for kin who had been sold away or to free those who
were being held illegally as slaves. A black soldier from Missouri wrote his daughters that he
was coming for them. “I will have you if it cost me my life,” he declared. “Your Miss Kitty
said that I tried to steal you,” he told them. “But I’ll let her know that god never intended for a
man to steal his own flesh and blood.” And he swore that “if she meets me with ten thousand
soldiers, she [will] meet her enemy.”
Independent worship was another continuing aspiration. African Americans greeted
freedom with a mass exodus from white churches, where they had been required to worship
when slaves. Some joined the newly established southern branches of all-black northern
churches, such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Others formed black versions of the
major southern denominations, Baptists and Methodists.
REVIEW To what extent did Lincoln’s wartime plan for reconstruction reflect the
concerns of newly freed slaves?
Presidential Reconstruction
Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, just hours after John Wilkes Booth shot him at a
Washington, D.C., theater. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase immediately administered the oath
of office to Vice President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee. Congress had adjourned in March
and would not reconvene until December. Throughout the summer and fall, Johnson drew up
and executed a plan of reconstruction without congressional advice.
Congress returned to the capital in December to find that, as far as the president and former
Confederates were concerned, reconstruction was completed. Most Republicans, however,
thought Johnson’s plan made far too few demands of ex-rebels and made a mockery of the
sacrifice of Union soldiers. They claimed that Johnson’s leniency had acted as midwife to the
rebirth of the Old South, that he had achieved political reunification at the cost of black
freedom. Republicans in Congress then proceeded to dismantle Johnson’s program and
substitute a program of their own.
Johnson’s Program of Reconciliation
Born in 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Andrew Johnson was the son of illiterate parents.
Self-educated and ambitious, Johnson moved to Tennessee, where he worked as a tailor,
accumulated a fortune in land, acquired five slaves, and built a career in politics championing
the South’s common white people and assailing its “illegitimate, swaggering, bastard, scrub
aristocracy.” The only senator from a Confederate state to remain loyal to the Union, Johnson
held the planter class responsible for secession. Less than two weeks before he became
president, he announced what he would do to planters if he ever had the chance: “I would arrest
them — I would try them — I would convict them and I would hang them.”
A Democrat all his life, Johnson occupied the White House only because the Republican
Party in 1864 had needed a vice presidential candidate who would appeal to loyal, Unionsupporting Democrats. Johnson vigorously defended states’ rights (but not secession) and
opposed Republican efforts to expand the power of the federal government. A steadfast
supporter of slavery, Johnson had owned slaves until 1862, when Tennessee rebels, angry at his
Unionism, confiscated them. When he grudgingly accepted emancipation, it was more because
he hated planters than sympathized with slaves. “Damn the negroes,” he said. “I am fighting
those traitorous aristocrats, their masters.” The new president harbored unshakable racist
convictions. Africans, Johnson said, were “inferior to the white man in point of intellect —
better calculated in physical structure to undergo drudgery and hardship.”
Like Lincoln, Johnson stressed the rapid restoration of civil government in the South. Like
Lincoln, he promised to pardon most, but not all, ex-rebels. Johnson recognized the state
governments created by Lincoln but set out his own requirements for restoring the other rebel
states to the Union. All that the citizens of a state had to do was to renounce the right of
secession, deny that the debts of the Confederacy were legal and binding, and ratify the
Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, which became part of the Constitution in December
Johnson also returned all confiscated and abandoned land to pardoned ex-Confederates,
even if it was in the hands of freedmen. Reformers were shocked. Instead of punishing planters
as he had promised, Johnson canceled the promising beginnings made by General Sherman and
the Freedmen’s Bureau to settle blacks on land of their own. As one freedman observed,
“Things was hurt by Mr. Lincoln getting killed.”
White Southern Resistance and Black Codes
In the summer of 1865, delegates across the South gathered to draw up the new state
constitutions required by Johnson’s plan of reconstruction. They refused to accept even the
president’s mild requirements. Refusing to renounce secession, the South Carolina and Georgia
conventions merely “repudiated” their secession ordinances, preserving in principle their right
to secede. South Carolina and Mississippi refused to disown their Confederate war debts.
Mississippi rejected the Thirteenth Amendment, and Alabama rejected it in part. Despite this
defiance, Johnson did nothing. White Southerners began to think that by standing up for
themselves they could shape the terms of reconstruction.
New state governments across the South adopted a series of laws known as black codes,
which made a travesty of black freedom. The codes sought to keep ex-slaves subordinate to
whites by subjecting them to every sort of discrimination. Several states made it illegal for
blacks to own a gun. Mississippi made insulting gestures and language by blacks a criminal
offense. The codes barred blacks from jury duty. Not a single southern state granted any black
the right to vote.
At the core of the black codes, however, lay the matter of labor. Legislators sought to hustle
freedmen back to the plantations. Whites were almost universally opposed to black
landownership. Whitelaw Reid, a northern visitor to the South, found that the “man who should
sell small tracts to them would be in actual personal danger.” South Carolina attempted to limit
blacks to either farmwork or domestic service by requiring them to pay annual taxes of $10 to
$100 to work in any other occupation. Mississippi declared that blacks who did not possess
written evidence of employment could be declared vagrants and be subject to involuntary
plantation labor. Under so-called apprenticeship laws, courts bound thousands of black children
— orphans and others whose parents they deemed unable to support them — to work for
planter “guardians.”
Johnson refused to intervene. A staunch defender of states’ rights, he believed that citizens
of every state should be free to write their own constitutions and laws. Moreover, Johnson was
as eager as other white Southerners to restore white supremacy. “White men alone must
manage the South,” he declared.
Johnson also recognized that his do-nothing response offered him political advantage. A
conservative Tennessee Democrat at the head of a northern Republican Party, he had begun to
look southward for political allies. Despite tough talk about punishing traitors, he personally
pardoned fourteen thousand wealthy or high-ranking ex-Confederates. By pardoning powerful
whites, by accepting state governments even when they failed to satisfy his minimal demands,
and by acquiescing in the black codes, he won useful southern friends.
In the fall elections of 1865, white Southerners dramatically expressed their mood. To
represent them in Congress, they chose former Confederates. Of the eighty senators and
representatives they sent to Washington, fifteen had served in the Confederate army, ten of
them as generals. Another sixteen had served in civil and judicial posts in the Confederacy.
Nine others had served in the Confederate Congress. One — Alexander Stephens — had been
vice president of the Confederacy. As one Georgian remarked, “It looked as though Richmond
had moved to Washington.”
Expansion of Federal Authority and Black Rights
Southerners had blundered monumentally. They had assumed that what Andrew Johnson was
willing to accept, Republicans would accept as well. But southern intransigence compelled
even moderates to conclude that ex-rebels were a “generation of vipers,” still untrustworthy
and dangerous. The black codes became a symbol of southern intentions to “restore all of
slavery but its name.” “We tell the white men of Mississippi,” the Chicago Tribune roared,
“that the men of the North will convert the State of Mississippi into a frog pond before they
will allow such laws to disgrace one foot of the soil in which the bones of our soldiers sleep
and over which the flag of freedom waves.”
The moderate majority of the Republican Party wanted only assurance that slavery and
treason were dead. They did not champion black equality, the confiscation of plantations, or
black voting, as did the Radical minority within the party. But southern obstinacy had
succeeded in forging unity (at least temporarily) among Republican factions. In December
1865, Republicans refused to seat the southern representatives elected in the fall elections.
Rather than accept Johnson’s claim that the “work of restoration” was done, Congress
challenged his executive power.
Republican senator Lyman Trumbull declared that the president’s policy meant that an exslave would “be tyrannized over, abused, and virtually reenslaved without some legislation by
the nation for his protection.” Early in 1866, the moderates produced two bills that
strengthened the federal shield. The first, the Freedmen’s Bureau bill, prolonged the life of the
agency established by the previous Congress. Arguing that the Constitution never contemplated
a “system for the support of indigent persons,” President Andrew Johnson vetoed the bill.
Congress failed by a narrow margin to override the president’s veto.
The moderates designed their second measure, what would become the Civil Rights Act of
1866, to nullify the black codes by affirming African Americans’ rights to “full and equal
benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property as is enjoyed by
white citizens.” The act boldly required the end of racial discrimination in state laws and
represented an extraordinary expansion of black rights and federal authority. The president
argued that the civil rights bill amounted to “unconstitutional invasion of states’ rights” and
vetoed it. In essence, he denied that the federal government possessed the authority to protect
the civil rights of African Americans.
In April 1866, an incensed Republican Party again pushed the civil rights bill through
Congress and overrode the presidential veto. In July, it passed another Freedmen’s Bureau bill
and overrode Johnson’s veto. For the first time in American history, Congress had overridden
presidential vetoes of major legislation. As a worried South Carolinian observed, Johnson had
succeeded in uniting the Republicans and probably touched off “a fight this fall such as has
never been seen.”
REVIEW When the southern states passed the black codes, how did the U.S. Congress
Congressional Reconstruction
By the summer of 1866, President Andrew Johnson and Congress had dropped their gloves and
stood toe-to-toe in a bare-knuckle contest unprecedented in American history. Johnson made it
clear that he would not budge on either constitutional issues or policy. Moderate Republicans
responded by amending the Constitution. But the obstinacy of Johnson and white Southerners
pushed Republican moderates ever closer to the Radicals and to acceptance of additional
federal intervention in the South. To end presidential interference, Congress voted to impeach
the president for the first time since the nation was formed. Soon after, Congress also debated
whether to make voting rights color-blind, while women sought to make voting sex-blind as
The Fourteenth Amendment and Escalating Violence
In June 1866, Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and two years
later the states ratified it. The most important provisions of this complex amendment made all
native-born or naturalized persons American citizens and prohibited states from abridging the
“privileges and immunities” of citizens, depriving them of “life, liberty, or property without
due process of law,” and denying them “equal protection of the laws.” By making blacks
national citizens, the amendment provided a national guarantee of equality before the law. In
essence, it protected blacks against violation by southern state governments.
Reconstruction Cartoon
This 1865 cartoon pokes fun at two Richmond ladies as they pass by a Union officer on
their way to receive free government rations. One says sourly to the other, “Don’t you
think that Yankee must feel like shrinking into his boots before such high-toned Southern
ladies as we?”
The New York Public Library/Art Resource, NY.
The Fourteenth Amendment also dealt with voting rights. It gave Congress the right to
reduce the congressional representation of states that withheld suffrage from some of its adult
male population. In other words, white Southerners could either allow black men to vote or see
their representation in Washington slashed. Whatever happened, Republicans stood to benefit
from the Fourteenth Amendment. If southern whites granted voting rights to freedmen,
Republicans would gain valuable black votes. If whites refused, the number of southern
Democrats in Congress would plunge.
The Fourteenth Amendment’s suffrage provisions ignored the small band of women who
had emerged from the war demanding “the ballot for the two disenfranchised classes, negroes
and women.” Founding the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, Susan B. Anthony and
Elizabeth Cady Stanton lobbied for “a government by the people, and the whole people; for the
people and the whole people.” They felt betrayed when their old antislavery allies refused to
work for their goals. “It was the Negro’s hour,” Frederick Douglass explained. Senator Charles
Sumner suggested that woman suffrage could be “the great question of the future.”
The Fourteenth Amendment provided for punishment of any state that excluded voters on
the basis of race but not on the basis of sex. The amendment also introduced the word male into
the Constitution when it referred to a citizen’s right to vote. Stanton predicted that “if that word
‘male’ be inserted, it will take us a century at least to get it out.”
Tennessee approved the Fourteenth Amendment in July, and Congress promptly welcomed
the state’s representatives and senators back. Had President Johnson counseled other southern
states to ratify this relatively mild amendment, they might have listened. Instead, Johnson
advised Southerners to reject the Fourteenth Amendment and to rely on him to trounce the
Republicans in the fall congressional elections.
Johnson had decided to make the Fourteenth Amendment the overriding issue of the 1866
elections and to gather its white opponents into a new conservative party, the National Union
Party. The president’s strategy suffered a setback when whites in several southern cities went
on rampages against blacks. Mobs killed thirty-four blacks in New Orleans and forty-six blacks
in Memphis. The slaughter shocked Northerners and renewed skepticism about Johnson’s
claim that southern whites could be trusted. “Who doubts that the Freedmen’s Bureau ought to
be abolished forthwith,” a New Yorker observed sarcastically, “and the blacks remitted to the
paternal care of their old masters, who ‘understand the nigger, you know, a great deal better
than the Yankees can.’”
The 1866 elections resulted in an overwhelming Republican victory. Johnson had bet that
Northerners would not support federal protection of black rights and that a racist backlash
would blast the Republican Party. But the war was still fresh in northern minds, and as one
Republican explained, southern whites “with all their intelligence were traitors, the blacks with
all their ignorance were loyal.”
Radical Reconstruction and Military Rule
When Johnson continued to urge Southerners to reject the Fourteenth Amendment, every
southern state except Tennessee voted it down. “The last one of the sinful ten,” thundered
Representative James A. Garfield of Ohio, “has flung back into our teeth the magnanimous
offer of a generous nation.” After the South rejected the moderates’ program, the Radicals
seized the initiative.
Each act of defiance by southern whites had boosted the standing of the Radicals within the
Republican Party. Except for freedmen themselves, no one did more to make freedom the
“mighty moral question of the age.” Radicals such as Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner
and Pennsylvania representative Thaddeus Stevens united in demanding civil and political
equality. Southern states were “like clay in the hands of the potter,” Stevens declared in
January 1867, and he called on Congress to begin reconstruction all over again.
In March 1867, Congress overturned the Johnson state governments and initiated military
rule of the South. The Military Reconstruction Act (and three subsequent acts) divided the ten
unreconstructed Confederate states into five military districts. Congress placed a Union general
in charge of each district and instructed him to “suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence”
and to begin political reform. After the military had completed voter registration, which would
include black men, voters in each state would elect delegates to conventions that would draw
up new state constitutions. Each constitution would guarantee black suffrage. When the voters
of each state had approved the constitution and the state legislature had ratified the Fourteenth
Amendment, the state could submit its work to Congress. If Congress approved, the state’s
senators and representatives could be seated, and political reunification would be
Radicals proclaimed the provision for black suffrage “a prodigious triumph,” for it
extended far beyond the limited suffrage provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. When
combined with the disfranchisement of thousands of ex-rebels, it promised to cripple any neoConfederate resurgence and guarantee Republican state governments in the South.
Despite its bold suffrage provision, the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867 disappointed
those who also advocated the confiscation of southern plantations and their redistribution to exslaves. Thaddeus Stevens agreed with the freedman who said, “Give us our own land and we
take care of ourselves, but without land, the old masters can hire us or starve us, as they
please.” But most Republicans believed they had provided blacks with what they needed: equal
legal rights and the ballot. Besides, confiscation was too radical, even for some Radicals.
Confiscating private property, declared the New York Times, “strikes at the root of all property
rights in both sections. It concerns Massachusetts quite as much as Mississippi.” If blacks were
to get land, they would have to gain it themselves.
Declaring that he would rather sever his right arm than sign such a formula for “anarchy
and chaos,” Andrew Johnson vetoed the Military Reconstruction Act, but Congress overrode
his veto. With the passage of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867, congressional reconstruction
was virtually completed. Congress left whites owning most of the South’s land but, in a
departure that justified the term radical reconstruction, had given black men the ballot.
Impeaching a President
Despite his defeats, Andrew Johnson had no intention of yielding control of reconstruction. In a
dozen ways, he sabotaged Congress’s will and encouraged southern whites to resist. He issued
a flood of pardons, waged war against the Freedmen’s Bureau, and replaced Union generals
eager to enforce Congress’s Reconstruction Acts with conservative officers eager to block
them. Johnson claimed that he was merely defending the “violated Constitution.” At bottom,
however, the president subverted congressional reconstruction to protect southern whites from
what he considered the horrors of “Negro domination.”
Radicals argued that Johnson’s abuse of constitutional powers and his failure to fulfill
constitutional obligations to enforce the law were impeachable offenses. According to the
Constitution, the House of Representatives can impeach and the Senate can try any federal
official for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” But moderates
interpreted the Constitution to mean violation of criminal statutes. As long as Johnson refrained
from breaking the law, impeachment (the process of formal charges of wrongdoing against the
president or other federal official) remained stalled.
Then in August 1867, Johnson suspended Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton from office.
As required by the Tenure of Office Act, which demanded the approval of the Senate for the
removal of any government official who had been appointed with Senate approval, the
president requested the Senate to consent to Stanton’s dismissal. When the Senate balked,
Johnson removed Stanton anyway. “Is the President crazy, or only drunk?” asked a
dumbfounded Republican moderate. “I’m afraid his doings will make us all favor
News of Johnson’s open defiance of the law convinced every Republican in the House to
vote for a resolution impeaching the president. Supreme Court chief justice Salmon Chase
presided over the Senate trial, which lasted from March until May 1868. When the vote came,
thirty-five senators voted guilty and nineteen not guilty. The impeachment forces fell one vote
short of the two-thirds needed to convict.
After his trial, Johnson called a truce, and for the remaining ten months of his term,
congressional reconstruction proceeded unhindered by presidential interference. Without
interference from Johnson, Congress revisited the suffrage issue.
The Fifteenth Amendment and Women’s Demands
In February 1869, Republicans passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which
prohibited states from depriving any citizen of the right to vote because of “race, color, or
previous condition of servitude.” The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 already required black
suffrage in the South; the Fifteenth Amendment extended black voting nationwide.
Some Republicans, however, found the final wording of the Fifteenth Amendment “lame
and halting.” Rather than absolutely guaranteeing the right to vote, the amendment merely
prohibited exclusion on grounds of race. The distinction would prove to be significant. In time,
white Southerners would devise tests of literacy and property and other apparently nonracial
measures that would effectively disfranchise blacks yet not violate the Fifteenth Amendment.
But an amendment that fully guaranteed the right to vote courted defeat outside the South.
Rising antiforeign sentiment — against the Chinese in California and European immigrants in
the Northeast — caused states to resist giving up total control of suffrage requirements. In
March 1870, after three-fourths of the states had ratified it, the Fifteenth Amendment became
part of the Constitution.
Woman suffrage advocates, however, were sorely disappointed with the Fifteenth
Amendment’s failure to extend voting rights to women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony condemned the Republicans’ “negro first” strategy and pointed out that women
remained “the only class of citizens wholly unrepresented in the government.” Increasingly,
activist women concluded that woman “must not put her trust in man.” The Fifteenth
Amendment severed the early feminist movement from its abolitionist roots. Over the next
several decades, feminists established an independent suffrage crusade that drew millions of
women into political life.
Republicans took enough satisfaction in the Fifteenth Amendment to conclude that black
suffrage was the “last great point that remained to be settled of the issues of the war” and
promptly scratched the “Negro question” from the agenda of national politics. Even that
steadfast crusader for equality Wendell Phillips concluded that the black man now held
“sufficient shield in his own hands…. Whatever he suffers will be largely now, and in future,
his own fault.” Northerners had no idea of the violent struggles that lay ahead.
REVIEW Why did Congress impeach President Andrew Johnson?
The Struggle in the South
Northerners believed they had discharged their responsibilities with the Reconstruction Acts
and the amendments to the Constitution, but Southerners knew that the battle had just begun.
Black suffrage had destroyed traditional southern politics and established the foundation for the
rise of the Republican Party. Gathering outsiders and outcasts, southern Republicans won
elections, wrote new state constitutions, and formed new state governments.
Challenging the established class for political control was dangerous business. Equally
dangerous were the confrontations that took place on southern farms and plantations, where
blacks sought to give fuller meaning to their newly won legal and political equality. Ex-masters
had their own ideas about the labor system that should replace slavery, and freedom remained
contested territory. Southerners fought pitched battles with one another to determine the
contours of their new world.
Freedmen, Yankees, and Yeomen
African Americans made up the majority of southern Republicans. After gaining voting rights
in 1867, nearly all eligible black men registered to vote as Republicans, grateful to the party
that had freed them and granted them the franchise. “It is the hardest thing in the world to keep
a negro away from the polls,” observed an Alabama white man. Southern blacks did not all
have identical political priorities, but they united in their desire for education and equal
treatment before the law.
Northern whites who made the South their home after the war were a second element of the
South’s Republican Party. Conservative white Southerners called them carpetbaggers,
opportunists who stuffed all their belongings in a single carpet-sided suitcase and headed south
to “fatten on our misfortunes.” But most Northerners who moved south were young men who
looked upon the South as they did the West — as a promising place to make a living.
Northerners in the southern Republican Party supported programs that encouraged vigorous
economic development along the lines of the northern free-labor model.
Southern whites made up the third element of the South’s Republican Party. Approximately
one out of four white Southerners voted Republican. The other three condemned the one who
did as a traitor to his region and his race and called him a scalawag, a term for runty horses and
low-down, good-for-nothing rascals. Yeoman farmers accounted for the majority of southern
white Republicans. Some were Unionists who emerged from the war with bitter memories of
Confederate persecution. Others were small farmers who wanted to end state governments’
favoritism toward plantation owners. Yeomen supported initiatives for public schools and for
expanding economic opportunity in the South.
The South’s Republican Party, then, was made up of freedmen, Yankees, and yeomen — an
improbable coalition. The mix of races, regions, and classes inevitably meant friction as each
group maneuvered to define the party. But Reconstruction represented an extraordinary
moment in American politics: Blacks and whites joined together in the Republican Party to
pursue political change. Formally, of course, only men participated in politics — casting ballots
and holding offices — but white and black women also played a part in the political struggle by
joining in parades and rallies, attending stump speeches, and even campaigning.
Most whites in the South condemned southern Republicans as illegitimate and felt justified
in doing whatever they could to stamp them out. Violence against blacks — the “white terror”
— took brutal institutional form in 1866 with the formation in Tennessee of the Ku Klux Klan,
a social club of Confederate veterans that quickly developed into a paramilitary organization
supporting Democrats. The Klan went on a rampage of whipping, hanging, shooting, burning,
and throat-cutting to defeat Republicans and restore white supremacy. Rapid demobilization of
the Union army after the war left only twenty thousand troops to patrol the entire South.
Without effective military protection, southern Republicans had to take care of themselves.
Republican Rule
In the fall of 1867, southern states held elections for delegates to state constitutional
conventions, as required by the Reconstruction Acts. About 40 percent of the white electorate
stayed home because they had been disfranchised or because they had decided to boycott
politics. Republicans won three-fourths of the seats. About 15 percent of the Republican
delegates to the conventions were Northerners who had moved south, 25 percent were African
Americans, and 60 percent were white Southerners. As a British visitor observed, the delegate
elections reflected “the mighty revolution that had taken place in America.”
The conventions brought tog…
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