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Armed opposition and insurgency during Reconstruction

Discussion in 'Post Civil War History, The Reconstruction Period' started by leftyhunter, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    This thread will show examples of armed opposition and insurgency against the US govt and Reconstruction. Please if possible cite sources.
    One example is voter intimidation by former Confederates against blacks and Unionists. Here are some examples from Alabama .
    "In Madison County, for example, former rebels managed to get inside the room where the election judges sat watching as people submitted their ballots , hoping to "intimidate persons as they offered their tickets". The effect was electric-men who arrived to pick up Pro Constitution tickets saw what was happening turned around and left.
    White Unionist voter where threatened with being expelled from the county and black voters where threatned with loosing their jobs. White Unionist voter where also threatened with violence.
    Loyalty and Loss Alabama's Unionists in the Civil War and reconstruction Margret Storey Lousisiana State University Press p.215-216
    Leftyhunter
     
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  3. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    Their was extensive violence against Unionists and blacks from former Confederates. Unionists and blacks refereed to all Confederate paramilitaries or terrorists as KKK but in reality their where a variety of white supermacist groups that were simply refereed to by its victims as KKK. Storey p.218
    Attacks by former Confederate terrorists could be quite large. the following occurred in Alabama
    In 1870 St. Clair County Union veteran and Constitutional convention delegate Henry J. Springfield was besieged by two hundred men "armed with rifles, shotguns and revolvers" as well as members of the sheriff's posse".Denouncing Springfield" as a dangerous man and a Scalawag"and for"his service to the Union Army" the attackers opened fire on his house at eight in the morning and continued firing until the morning of the next day. Springfield finally surrendered , but not before narrowly cheating death. Confederate terrorists also attacked Unionist churchs.
    Storey p.220 -221.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  4. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    Unionists in Alabama where in a bad way after the CW. From page 224 of Storey "Many felt as loyalist C,P. Simmons did abandoned and desperate. In the name of God he wrote to Governor William Smith what are we to do, when will we ever get protection in this state"?
    The sad truth was protection was not going to happen by the Fall of 1868 their where only twenty thousand troops in the entire South and only six hundred in Al p.225 Storey. Gov. Smith faced the problem that the Military Reconstruction Act did not allow the formation of state militias and even if it did sot heir was no money in the state budget to do so. Congress had a bill to finance state militias but as of 1868 it did not pass p.226 Storey.
    Their was only one thing for Unionists to do and that was either flee or fight fire with fire.
    W.T. Beard of Marshall County grew frustrated that local officials would
    not take action against the KKK for a murder plot against him. Beard thus took matter in his own hands and killed a KKK leader.
    Henry Smith of DeKalb County grew weary of constant KKK threats and killed at least two KKK members in the spring of 1869.
    "In Blount and Morgan Counties , Union men determined to put down the Klan where able to gather enough support among neighbors, unionists and former rebels alike, to actually end the reign of terror in their counties. As veteran Isaac Berry explained to the congressional committee investigating the Klan in 1870 ,"loyal men -men for the Government what we term Union men formed in these counties what we called the anti Ku Klux. The objectives of this organization was to protect all good loyal and peaceable citizens from the Klan. Berry's group attracted three hundred men. These men rode throughout the above counties and let all KKK members know if they continued to attack Unionists they would pay for it and the KKK violence stoped p.226-227 Storey.
    Leftyhunter
     
  5. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    Hi CSA Today,
    I finally found the fore mentioned thread. I would argue the basic reason Reconstruction failed ( not that their where not other reasons) was that their simply where not enough federal troops to oversee and assist the local militias resist the violent Democratic party paramilitaries such has but not limited to the KKK, the Red Shirts of La and the Knights of the White Camilia.
    During the 1950's and 1960's which one could argue was Reconstruction 2.0 the federal govt was willing under limited circumstances to supplement local law enforcement with federal troops and or federal law enforcement agents. Some major examples are when President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock Ark to assist in the desegregation of Little Rock High School. President Kennedy sending in US Marshals to Old Miss and then supplementing them with federal troops when rioters almost overwhelmed the US Marshals . Perhaps even more significant was when President Johnson pressured J. Edger Hoover to stop KKK violence after the murder of three Civil Rights workers in Nebosha County Ms resulting in the Countertelpro program. Had the first President Johnson been more pro active perhaps Reconstruction would of worked but at the time their was little public appetite for a pro active approach to Democratic Party paramiltaries .
    No doubt counter insurgency is messy long and expensive. The Democratic Party gambled on violence after the Civil War and it worked. It did not work as well 100 years later due to a not perfect but more vigerous effort by the federal govt to counter KKK terror.
    leftyhunter
     
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  6. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Captain

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    Hi @Bee and @cash here is the thread I discused where Unionists fought back. I can supply more examples.
    Leftyhunter
     
  7. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    @Pat Young may be interested in switching this thread over to his Reconstruction Forum. Thank you for pointing it out.
     
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