The Impact the Civil War 1861-1865 on Economic, Politic and Industry Development in the USA (Reconstruction1)

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Tne Impact the Civil War 1861-1865 on Economic, Politic and Industry Development in the USA







Written by

53-th group student

Tatiana Ryabchun

















Kyiv, 2000


Reconstruction


(1865-77), in U.S. history, period during and after the American Civil War in which attempts were made to solve the political, social, and economic problems arising from the readmission to the Union of the 11 Confederate states that had seceded at or before the outbreak of war.

As early as 1862, Pres. Abraham Lincoln had appointed provisional military governors for Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The following year, initial steps were taken to reestablish governments in newly occupied states in which at least 10 percent of the voting population had taken the prescribed oath of allegiance. Aware that the presidential plan omitted any provision for social or economic reconstruction, the Radical Republicans in Congress resented such a lenient political arrangement under solely executive jurisdiction. As a result, the stricter Wade-Davis Bill was passed in 1864 but pocket vetoed by the President.

After Lincoln's assassination (April 1865), Pres. Andrew Johnson further alienated Congress by continuing Lincoln's moderate policies. The Fourteenth Amendment, defining national citizenship so as to include blacks, passed Congress in June 1866 and was ratified, despite rejection by most Southern states (July 28, 1868). In response to Johnson's intemperate outbursts against the opposition as well as to several reactionary developments in the South (e.g., race riots and passage of the repugnant black codes severely restricting rights of blacks), the North gave a smashing victory to the Radical Republicans in the 1866 congressional election.

That victory launched the era of congressional Reconstruction (usually called Radical Reconstruction), which lasted 10 years starting with the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. Under that legislation, the 10 remaining Southern states (Tennessee had been readmitted to the Union in 1866) were divided into five military districts; and, under supervision of the U.S. Army, all were readmitted between 1868 and 1870. Each state had to accept the Fourteenth or, if readmitted after its passage, the Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment, intended to ensure civil rights of the freedmen. The newly created state governments were generally Republican in character and were governed by political coalitions of blacks, carpetbaggers (Northerners who had gone into the South), and scalawags (Southerners who collaborated with the blacks and carpetbaggers). The Republican governments of the former Confederate states were seen by most Southern whites as artificial creations imposed from without, and the conservative element in the region remained hostile to them. Southerners particularly resented the activities of the Freedmen's Bureau, which Congress had established to feed, protect, and help educate the newly emancipated blacks. This resentment led to formation of secret terroristic organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Knights of the White Camelia. The use of fraud, violence, and intimidation helped Southern conservatives regain control of their state governments, and, by the time the last Federal troops had been withdrawn in 1877, the Democratic Party was back in power.

About 1900, many U.S. historians espoused a theory of racial inferiority of blacks. The Reconstruction governments were viewed as an abyss of corruption resulting from Northern vindictiveness and the desire for political and economic domination. Later, revisionist historians noted that not only was public and private dishonesty widespread in all regions of the country at that time but also that a number of constructive reforms actually were introduced into the South during that period: courts were reorganized, judicial procedures improved, public-school systems established, and more feasible methods of taxation devised. Many provisions of the state constitutions adopted during the postwar years have continued in existence.

The Reconstruction experience led to an increase in sectional bitterness, an intensification of the racial issue, and the development of one-party politics in the South. Scholarship has suggested that the most fundamental failure of Reconstruction was in not effecting a distribution of land in the South that would have offered an economic base to support the newly won political rights of black citizens.


Wade-Davis Bill

(1864), unsuccessful attempt by Radical Republicans and others in the U.S. Congress to set Reconstruction policy before the end of the Civil War. The bill, sponsored by senators Benjamin F. Wade and Henry W. Davis, provided for the appointment of provisional military governors in the seceded states. When a majority of a state's white citizens swore allegiance to the Union, a constitutional convention could be called. Each state's constitution was to be required to abolish slavery, repudiate secession, and disqualify Confederate officials from voting or holding office. In order to qualify for the franchise, a person would be required to take an oath that he had never voluntarily given aid to the Confederacy. President Abraham Lincoln's pocket veto of the bill presaged the struggle that was to take place after the war between President Andrew Johnson and the Radical Republicans in Congress.

Property law

Ownership as the absolute right to possession

One may thus define ownership in the same way that the legal philosopher Felix Cohen defined property: "That is property to which the following label can be attached: To the world: Keep off X unless you have my permission, which I may grant or withhold. Signed: Private citizen. Endorsed: The state." Cohen, however, goes on to warn that all the terms of the definition "shade off imperceptibly into other things." Consider, for example, the large range of possibilities encompassed in the phrase "permission, which I may grant or withhold." In all Western legal systems there are a number of situations in which the law will either assume that permission has been granted or will require the private citizen to grant his permission. The situations tend to be dramatic: Firefighters, for example, are usually allowed to enter private property to prevent the spread of a fire and frequently are authorized to destroy private property in order to prevent the spread of a fire.

In the 1960s a number of U.S. Supreme Court cases starkly posed the conflict between the property owner's right to exclude and civil rights, in the context of "sit-ins" in restaurants that were excluding customers on racial grounds. These cases suggested, if they did not quite hold, that in this context the possessory right of the restaurant owner would have to yield to the civil-rights claim of those sitting in. In the same period a number of courts held that owners of farms could not exclude visitors from agricultural migrant labour camps.

The conflict in these cases between property rights and civil rights was made starker by the practice in the United States of treating social issues as constitutional controversies. The issue, however, of the use of property to discriminate against members of the society whom the property owner disfavours is present throughout the Western world. Ultimately in the United States the problem of restaurant sit-ins was resolved by national legislation that made it the duty of anyone providing food or lodging to serve all comers without regard to race. Similar legislation exists in many Western countries, as does legislation allowing access to premises in which workers are employed.


Black code

in the United States, any of numerous laws enacted in the states of the former Confederacy after the American Civil War, in 1865 and 1866; the laws were designed to replace the social controls of slavery that had been removed by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and were thus intended to assure continuance of white supremacy.

The black codes had their roots in the slave codes that had formerly been in effect. The general philosophy supporting the institution of chattel slavery in America was based on the concept that slaves were property, not persons, and that the law must protect not only the property but also the property owner from the danger of violence. Slave rebellions were not unknown, and the possibility of uprisings was a constant source of anxiety in colonies and then states with large slave populations. (In Virginia during 1780-1864, 1,418 slaves were convicted of crimes; 91 of these convictions were for insurrection and 346 for murder.) Slaves also ran away. In the British possessions in the New World, the settlers were free to promulgate any regulations they saw fit to govern their labour supply. As early as the 17th century, a set of rules was in effect in Virginia and elsewhere; but the codes were constantly being altered to adapt to new needs, and they varied from one colony, and later one state, to another.

All the slave codes, however, had certain provisions in common. In all of them the colour line was firmly drawn, and any amount of Negro blood established the race of a person, whether slave or free, as Negro. The status of the offspring followed that of the mother, so that the child of a free father and a slave mother was a slave. Slaves had few legal rights: in court their testimony was inadmissible in any litigation involving whites; they could make no contract, nor could they own property; even if attacked, they could not strike a white person. There were numerous restrictions to enforce social control: slaves could not be away from their owner's premises without permission; they could not assemble unless a white person was present; they could not own firearms; they could not be taught to read or write, or transmit or possess "inflammatory" literature; they were not permitted to marry.


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