Reconstruction, how bad was it really?

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In their own words: read what the people who were there said about Reconstruction, Kevin. Interviews, sources, letters are all contained in this single volume. Trying to extract this information from a discussion forum will never give you what you are looking for, but reading the jarring transcripts from those who lived through it will.

View attachment 273523
Thank you for posting this. I wasn't aware of this book and just ordered it.
 

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Andersonh1

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I'd be interested in the burden this placed on individual families. Any idea what the average per person or per household state/county tax burden was in 1860 vs, 1869?
I'm honestly not sure. I know in SC the legislature spent a lot less before the war than during Reconstruction, but part of that was due to more public education and other expenditures that the Reconstruction government launched, along with the corruption in the state government. So in theory the tax burden, however that was collected pre-war, would certainly have been lower, but I could not say how much lower at this point.
 

CSA Today

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Fake news during the North Carolina 1870 gubernatorial election.

To back up [Governor] Holden's claim that the state was in a condition bordering on insurrection, Judge Tourgee wrote a letter to Senator Abbott of North Carolina, another carpetbagger, which was widely published during the 1870 campaign. The letter, as published, declared the Ku Klux had broken into 4000 or 5000 houses, that they had burned fourteen houses in the immediate district and that he knew of thirteen murders in the district. This letter was used with telling effect, without comment from Judge Tourgee; but after the election was over, he blandly stated that he had been misquoted. Instead of 4000 or 5000 houses opened, I wrote 400 or 500. 'I said thirteen murders in the state, not in the district.' Incidentally, it was later found that three of the men reported murdered were still alive; and it was also stated that some of the house-burnings and other acts of violence were perpetrated by supporters by Holden supporters to provoke resistance to the exaggerated Ku Klux menace. After the election, Kirk's Ku Klux prisoners were brought, before Judge Brooks of the United States district court and released."

"When the Congressional Committee completed its investigation of affairs in the state, the majority reported that 'The Ku Klux organization does exist and that it had political purposes which it sought to carry out by murders, whippings, intimidation and violence.' On the other hand, the minority report said that the outrages had been 'grossly and willfully exaggerated' and that no act of lawlessness at all had been proven except in six, perhaps eight, of the eighty-seven North Carolina counties.”

Stanley Fitzgerald Horn, Invisible Empire, the Story of the Ku Klux Klan, 1866-1871., pp.200-201.
 

Borderruffian

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Earlier today I said I would post a question on reconstruction. I have two books on the subject, Foner's, and Stampp's, I just haven't been able to dig deeply in them. The jest of the question is that all too often pro-confederate folk always claim (in the most vague, and general of terms) that reconstruction was SO bad for the South.

The problem is that nearly all the time when these claims are posted, NO DETAILS OF WHY IT WAS SO BAD, are posted. It's always complaints of "policies" during reconstruction were purposely used to (so to speak) down-trod the southern people, and keep em poor.

I'm giving folk a chance to show us if these claims are true. I'm not caring for vague "my GGrandpappy said", or "GGAunt so-n-so told my Father"...I'd like to see serious documentation and factual references please.

Kevin Dally
Oh it was peachy, a real party with endless fun, at least in Missouri and Tennessee.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Tried to avoid this thread and can't. Every, single day on this forum there's this ' thing ' where everyone goes to their corner and refuses to sit down, already, at the discussion. If the topic of decades of post war suffering by an entire race is discussed, no one wants to hear it. Topic of suffering by civilians, no one seems willing to concede how much they lost. It's just crazy. Once brought up policies practiced by Brownlow and regretted it- he's still walking on water 150 years later. Worst, possible guy to stick on a pedestal History has, as an example of Reconstruction and nope. He's not looked at honestly or clearly, seems to acquire new coats of varnish daily. Every, single thread on lynchings, for one example of terrorism endured by black America, gets mired in dreck, either excusatory ( figure that one out ) or dismissive, like it's all mythology. They sold postcards, for Heaven's sake, of dead Americans hanging from trees- like it was a tourist attraction.

It took a lot of studious avoidance of the situation to get us where we seem to remain today. A LOT of blame to go round.
 

wausaubob

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The term "Reconstruction" recognizes southern dominance and southern identity. The rest of the nation experienced settlement of the far west, industrialization, and rapid European immigration. The rest of the US simply did not care about the south.
 

wausaubob

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There is little evidence that Missouri and Texas experienced Reconstruction. The population of both states grew rapidly and the population drew railroad investors and railroad builders.
 

wausaubob

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The fundamental problem with Reconstruction was that the cotton industry never recovered. The 1850's had been a shot of economic juice based recovery in Europe and manufactured textiles replacing local textiles throughout the world. That was a one time event. By the time cotton production recovered in 1879, the price of cotton was sliding downwards. The overall production went up, but the industry was supporting more people, was consuming more fertilizer, and has paying freight on more railroads.
With growth in cotton demand slowing, and investment money being funneled to industrial and commercial enterprises, the south would have suffered under any social program.
 

matthew mckeon

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He was later reported to have fled to Belgium but was not found there and never returned to Texas. Davidson surfaced in New Plymouth, New Zealand, where he married Jane Ryan on October 20, 1874. They had six children. Apparently he was a member of the Armed Constabulatory Force in New Zealand. By 1880 he was a captain in the Taranaki Mounted Rifles headquartered in New Plymouth, and he served as mayor of that town from 1879 into the 1880s. Davidson committed suicide on April 7, 1885. His death records listed his profession as an accountant. He was buried in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fda26
He was the first and last corrupt Texas politician.
 

Tin cup

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the Fletcher Adminastration in Missouri and Brownlow Administration in Tennessee were Radical Republican and had vendettas not just against former CS combatants and vocal supporters, but also their families.
OK, but still only generalizes things.

Kevin Dally
 

19thGeorgia

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Speech of Gov. William G. Brownlow (TN)- "We had 40,000 loyal votes in Tennessee, and 80,000 rebel votes; and we disfranchised the 80,000 rebel votes, and we are now holding them back from the ballot-box....I am North, making arrangements to procure arms and ammunition. We have the boys at home; we have 30,000 men there who have been in the Federal army….our Legislature is square up with the Radical Congress of the United States…"
-New York Times, September 12, 1866
 

Tin cup

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Speech of Gov. William G. Brownlow (TN)- "We had 40,000 loyal votes in Tennessee, and 80,000 rebel votes; and we disfranchised the 80,000 rebel votes, and we are now holding them back from the ballot-box....I am North, making arrangements to procure arms and ammunition. We have the boys at home; we have 30,000 men there who have been in the Federal army….our Legislature is square up with the Radical Congress of the United States…"
-New York Times, September 12, 1866
Is there proof to be shown that what he SAYS was true? Politicians bluff-n-bluster all the time in their speeches, and communications.

Kevin Dally
 

19thGeorgia

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Is there proof to be shown that what he SAYS was true? Politicians bluff-n-bluster all the time in their speeches, and communications.

Kevin Dally
Tennessee election for House of Representatives, August 3, 1867. Republicans-8, Democrats-0.

Tennessee election for President, 1868. Grant 56,628, Seymour 26,129.
 
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CSA Today

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There is little evidence that Missouri and Texas experienced Reconstruction. The population of both states grew rapidly and the population drew railroad investors and railroad builders.
“In December 1873, the faltering Republican cause in Texas was dealt a stunning blow when Judge Richard Coke, the Democratic nominee, defeated Edmund J. Davis, the Republican incumbent, for the governorship. Davis, in one last desperate attempt at political survival, refused to surrender the office. When Coke arrived in Austin on January 12, 1874, to claim the Statehouse, he found his defeated rival firmly entrenched in the building, guarded by a body of Negro militia. For several days great excitement prevailed. While Davis awaited a reply to Grant for support, the “Travis, Rifles”, a company of white riflemen, were called up and open conflict seemed unavoidable. At this point, Davis received Grant's telegram refusing to send troops. Seeing the hopelessness of his situation, Davis capitulated, and the statehouse was taken by Coke and his supporters.”

Otis A. Singletary, Negro Militia and Reconstruction, pp. 38-39.
 


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