"Reconstruction in South Carolina - 1865-1877" by John S. Reynolds

Pat Young

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#21
Chapter 2 continued

Reynolds here turns to a discussion of the Freedmen's Bureau, which was established under Lincoln "for the relief of freedmen and refugees". After the war, the responsibilities of the bureau were extended to help the newly freed black population move towards being self-supporting citizens of the United States.

In the matter of contracts between landlords and tenants or between farmers and their laborers—where any party thereto was a person of color—the bureau established standards and regulations which, though put forth in the form of suggestions, were yet of sufficient force to cause the negroes to feel that the bureau was the authorized arbiter for the enforcement of their rights and the protection of their interests. Regulations made by the bureau were generally respected by the freedmen—and the white people had little choice in such matters. (p 46)​

There were thus, between the Federal occupation of territory in South Carolina and the appointment of the district commander under the Reconstruction acts hereafter noticed, at least three separate powers exercising authority over the people of this State—the civil government organized under the proclamations and directions of President Johnson; the military forces of the United States, acting in the apparent exercise of the right to control conquered territory, by express authority of Congress and with the apparent acquiescence of the President ; and, lastly, the organs of the Freedmen 's Bureau, deriving their quasi-military powers from the acts of the lawmaking branch of the Federal Government. (p 47)​

It became clear at this point that the Republican Congress was not going to go along with Andrew Johnson when it came to Reconstruction. Senators and representatives from the southern states were not admitted to Congress. Reynolds here lists all their names, so again we get some good basic history. The Congressional Reconstruction committee investigated the conditions in the south, and both houses of Congress declared that the military would not be withdrawn or representatives from those states admitted until Congress felt either was warranted. A Civil Rights act was passed over Johnson's veto, and it said in part "all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power (excluding Indians not taxed) are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States, and such citizens, of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude," (p 48)

But it was the report of the Reconstruction committee that really brought the hammer down. Its report was submitted June 18, 1866. Reynolds quotes from the report:

From the whole mass of testimony submitted by the President it appears that in no instance in the Southern States was any regard paid to any other consideration than obtaining immediate admission to Congress under the barren form of an election in which no precaution was taken to secure regularity of proceedings or the assent of the people.

Indeed, all feeling of conciliation on the part of the North has been treated with contempt. The bitterness and defiance against the United States have been unparalleled in the history of the world.

The burden rests upon the Southern people, before claiming to be reinstated in their former positions, to show that they ought to resume their federal relations. In order to do this they must prove that they have established, with the consent of the people, a republican form of government in harmony with the Constitution and laws of the United States—that all hostile purposes have ceased, and that they have given adequate guaranties against future treason and rebellion, which will be satisfactory to the Government against which they have rebelled and by whose army they were subdued." (p 49)​

In other words, while much of the population of the southern states and the President were pursuing one course and were satisfied with their progress, the Committee took the opposite view, though a minority disagreed and supported Johnson. A discussion on how to handle Reconstruction was held in the Congress and in the press. Meanwhile the southern states continued to object to the 14th amendment and offered an alternative, which Reynolds quotes in full. I can't fault his inclusion of relevant historic documents, though some other incidents could stand to be better sourced.

But it was all for nothing, as the Radicals in the Congress passed over Johnson's veto the first Reconstruction Act on March 21, 1867. The south was divided into military districts and the military given more control. Congress would decide when the states could return to the Union and enjoy full restoration of Constitutional rights, and no state would be admitted until the 14th amendment had been ratified. Reynolds quotes a number of passages directly from the law, and from the second Reconstruction Act. Congress nullified all elections in the "rebel states" since the war ended, putting the military in full command of the state. The states were also excluded from the electoral college. Andrew Johnson vetoed all of these acts, and in every case the veto was overriden.

Here Reynolds gives a quick summary of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson for violation of the tenure of office act. Johnson was not removed from office, but the attempt further damaged the relationship between the President and Congress. Reynolds details the protests and attempts to impede the Reconstruction Acts, including cases taken to the Supreme Court. Various attempts were made, all to no avail.

Thus every effort to have a judicial inquiry into the constitutionality of the Reconstruction acts was defeated by the action of the Government's law officers or by the action of Congress, evidently taken with the purpose to prevent such inquiry. The constitutional questions involved are yet open. (p 58)​
Interestingly, white South Carolinians did not think it important to protect an individual's right to keep and bear arms. According to Reynolds:

Persons of color were to constitute no part of the militia of the State, and no one of them should, without written permission from the district judge, be allowed to keep a firearm, sword or other mili tary weapon — except that one of them who should be the owner of a farm might keep a shotgun or rifle, such as was ordinarily used in hunting, but not a pistol, musket or other firearm or weapon appropriate for purposes of war.

Another interesting fact that Reynolds points out is that while the white South Carolinians had been mooting forcing blacks to come to the state just five years earlier, in 1866 they imposed a ban on blacks entering the state:

It was declared unlawful for any person of color to migrate into and reside in this State, unless within twenty days after his arrival within the same he should enter into a bond of $1,000 with two free holders as sureties, conditioned for his good behavior and for his support if he should become unable to support himself.
 

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Pat Young

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#22
Chapter 2 part 3

Returning to South Carolina, Reynolds casts the primary results of the Reconstruction acts as "introduced the negro vote as the dominant factor in restoring South Carolina to her place in the Federal Union", and giving the Republicans the opportunity to organize in the state. The Republican delegates of the May 1867 convention are listed, and in many cases (though not all), Reynolds notes whether they were black or white, and northern or southern. For example, from Barnwell we have C. P. Leslie, Northern white man and government employee. From Beaufort - R. H. Gleaves, Northern negro. From Charleston C. C. Bowen, Southern white man. etc. Reynolds notes at the end "all not otherwise specified were Southern negroes". He clearly wants the racial and regional composition of this convention to be known. He lists the party platform and notes the committee compositions. There's a lot of "dry fact" in this history as written by Reynolds. It's not all drama and political conflict.

Reynolds here turns to the Union League. He describes it as follows:

While the negroes in South Carolina were openly invited to join the Republican party they were secretly enjoined to unite with another organization—the Union League—which had a powerful influence upon them.

In 1862, when the repeated victories of the Confederate armies had caused apprehensions among the Northern people for the safety of the Union as contemplated by them, and when there was more or less "disloyalty" among them, there began a movement for the formation of "loyal leagues," the mission of which was to organize
and cement the Unionists and at the same time crush out the doubting or disaffected. Thus was instituted the Union League of America, the object of which, as declared in its constitution, was "to preserve liberty and the union of the United States of America ; to maintain the constitution thereof and the supremacy of the laws ; to sustain the government and assist in putting down its enemies; to protect, strengthen and defend all loyal men, without regard to sect, condition or race; and to elect honest and reliable union men to all offices of profit or trust in National, State and local government ; and to secure equal civil and political rights to all men under the government." (p 63)​

Reynolds says that the Union League appealed to the black men to vote Republican, telling them that the Democrats would take their right to vote and return them to slavery if they could. The Union League was "secret but active" and had great success in recruiting.
Reynolds recounts the Union League outreach:

In connection with the work of the Union League there were dis tributed by its agents among the negroes of the South a paper purporting to represent a dialogue between a "sound Radical Re publican" and a newly enfranchised freedman seeking light upon the subject of his political duties. By this catechism it was enjoined upon the colored man that he should vote with the Union Repub lican party because that party made him free and gave him the right to vote; that the friends of the colored race in Congress belong to that party; that a Democrat was a "member of that party which before the rebellion sustained every legislative act demanded by the slaveholders, such as the fugitive slave law and the attempt made to force slavery upon the western territories"; that the Democratic party "resisted every measure in Congress looking to emancipation, and denounced the Government for arming colored men as soldiers" ; that the Democratic party was otherwise known as "Conservative, Copperhead and Rebel, and under each name is still the same enemy of freedom and the rights of man"; that it was fair to pre sume that the Democrats would make slaves of the colored people if they could, and would not allow colored men to vote — having "tried to keep them in slavery and opposed giving them the benefit of the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights bill and the right to vote"; that the Democratic party would disfranchise the colored people and if possible return them to slavery; that that party was composed of the "slaveholders and leaders of the rebellion"; that the colored men should vote with the Republican party and "shun the Democratic party as they would the overseer's lash and the auc tion block"; that if the colored men should vote with the Demo cratic party "the people of the North would think that they did not fully understand either their own rights or the duties devolving on them" ; that the money which the colored people of the Southern States had paid as taxes had been used to establish schools for white children, to pay the expenses of making and executing laws in which the colored people had had no voice, and in endeavoring to have the Supreme Court set aside the law which gave the colored man the right to vote; and that the colored people ought to suffer or even starve to death rather than aid the Democratic party to enslave them. p. 64

Reading it now, we realize that the Union League gave a pretty honest assessment of the intentions of white South Carolina Democrats. As Reynolds describes the 1866 constitution, whites had approved a constitution regulating every aspect of black life:

"Visitors or other persons shall not be invited or allowed by the servant to come or remain upon the premises of the master without his express permission. "Servants shall not be absent from the premises without the per mission of the master. "The servant shall obey all lawful orders of the master or his agent, and shall be honest, truthful, sober, civil, and diligent in his business. The master may moderately correct servants who have made contracts and are under eighteen years of age."
 
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#23
Chapter 3 - Scott's First Term part 1

pp 106 - 153

Reynolds opens this chapter with the composition of the July 6, 1868 General Assembly by county and race. He also notes the taxes these men paid.

The number of white representatives was forty-six, and of colored seventy-eight. The counties marked * were Democratic. On joint ballot there were sixty-seven whites and eighty-eight colored—135 Republicans and twenty Democrats.

The amount of taxes paid by the entire Legislature was $635.23, of which the twenty Democrats paid $203.84. The average tax of the Republican members was therefore $3.12; and of those members ninety-one paid no tax whatever. (p 108)​

The house and senate chose officers, the governor and lieutenant governor were sworn in, and the first order of business was to pass the 14th amendment. The Democrats all voted against it, and R. H. Cain of Charleston offered a resolution, which ended up tabled, which would have investigated the senators who voted no for perjury and violating their oath.

Reynolds has a low opinion of "Daddy" Cain, who he denounces for stirring up trouble between black and white. Renolds credits him with sometimes being honest enough to denounce "the corrupt practices of his party", but he normally sided with "the thieves" (p 110). No one in the House offered any similar resolution.

Senators needed to be sent to Washington, and the candidates are listed. Due to the staggering of Senate terms, one man would only serve two years, but an 1862 act of Congress would entitle him to full pay for the six year term, which Reynold's calls "imaginary service". Reynolds paints a favorable picture of one man, unfavorable of the other. The Supreme Court was organized at this time as well, and each of those men is described. I'm trying not to go into get too deep into the weeds with details on each of these men. We get for all what I might call a "biographical sketch", a paragraph length summation of life and career based on what the author believed important about each. He praises some men, and criticizes others. If you picked up this book and wanted to know who was elected judge for the Seventh Circuit of South Carolina in 1868, or what the chief justice of the Supreme Court's salary was that same year, or who was in the running for the United States senate, you would find an answer.

Reynolds here describes "some of the more important acts" of the legislature to "show the temper and ideas of the new lawmakers". I'll note the first few as examples:
  • An act to establish a state police force - Reynolds notes the the chief constable, John B. Hubbard "was alleged to have helped to manufacture some of the evidence against Mrs. Surratt for alleged complicity in the assassination of Lincoln, and who was an unscrupulous hireling admirably suited for the dirty work for which he was employed—the endeavor to intimidate white people into quiet submission to negro domination".
  • An act to suppress insurrection and rebellion - created a small armed force and empowered the governor to call out the militia to disperse crowds and to sieze railroads and telegraphs. Reynolds notes that for the fiscal year, $10,000 was appropriated, $30,000 was "allowed" and $55,056.60 was spent. "Fraudulent statements were freely used to procure payment for fictitious services" (p 115).
  • An act to close the Bank of the State of South Carolina. I note that future governor Daniel Chamberlain is attorney general at this point, and he is mentioned here giving a legal opinion on this law, which the state Supreme Court later voided.
  • An act "to authorize a State loan to pay interest on the public debt", which Reynolds says was used to "inaugurate the series of irregular, unlawful and fraudulent acts committed in connection with the public debt of the state.
The list goes on at length, and Reynolds finds very little positive to say about any of the man acts of this legislature. An act to organize townships was "inapplicable" to South Carolina and would have created "a multitude of offices to be filled by negroes" (p 116). A resolution to have the governor request more troops as needed was "an early acknowledgment of the inability of the negro government to sustain itself without the aid of Federal bayonets." (p 117). A state orphan asylum was established, but the purpose was to "exclude white children" since it was open to children of both races. This section of the book is probably a good example of the problems modern historians have with the Dunning School, because while these acts of the legislature are real enough, the judgment of their results is filtered through the world view of a white man in 1905, who frowns on racial equality.

Not all of his conclusions are based on his racial world view. He is on more solid ground when he criticizes the state census of 1869 as redundant (given that the United States census would be taken the following year) as well as wasteful, given that it cost $75,524 as opposed to $43,203 for the US census. If there was some pressing need for a census that could not wait a year, no reason is given.

The session ended with 89 working days, with 107 acts and 21 joint resolutions. At the end of the session, Governor Scott gave an official reception at the executive mansion at which (gasp!!) "whites and blacks of both sexes intermingled on terms of actual social equality." (p 121)
 
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#24
Chapter 3 part 2

Reynolds titles the next section of this chapter "Ignorance in Official Stations", in which he lists "men of very limited education" in government. He does note that many of the black members of the legislature had been slaves, so they had not had much education (who is to blame for that? Not the former slaves) and many, he says, could not read or write. He equates lack of education with ignorance, and I have no doubt this will color his evaluation of the legislature going forward. He will occasionally give poorly written and spelled documents as evidence for the unfitness of a man to head a school board, for example, but I have to admit I've seen letters written by white men of the era that are just as bad.
He's on a bit stronger ground when he lists the board of trustees of the State University by name, and then notes that all except one were later charged with bribery or conspiracy or corruption. But then he says that these people were destructive because they wanted to convert the school into a mixed race school. On it goes. There is a lot to untangle in this section, but it often seems as if the greatest "crimes" committed, according to Reynolds, were attempts to mix black and white in public institutions. A black doctor in the state asylum was the cause of much outrage because he might come into contact with white patients.

Obviously, the attitude displayed here is blatantly racist, and the only real value I see for the modern reader in this section, apart from learning some names and positions that men held at this time, is that it allows us to see what the attitude of the white population in 1870 was. There is no hiding their world view here. They did not want black men to govern them, and they did not want racial integration.

Reynolds begins another section "More new laws", and in a surprise to me, notes that a law was passed to "punish bribery and corruption". A civil rights law was passed, and a public school system was established. The city limits of Columbia were extended which gave blacks a larger vote. "Under the Radical administration, the city debt was increased in four years from $360,000 to $850,000, whilst the value of all permanent improvements made during the period stated did not exceed $75,000." ( p 126). No indication is made of what expenditures caused the debt.

Interestingly, Reynolds notes that the adoption of a code of procedure for the courts, taken almost word for word from New York, was not well received at the time, but by the time he is writing thirty-five years later, "has come to be regarded as an admirable system". By reputation, I do not expect anything positive to be said about Reconstruction in a Dunning history, so things like this stand out to me. I will be on the lookout for more examples. For example, Reynolds praises a Republican, 5th circuit judge Samuel Melton as "a man of far more than ordinary ability, a painstaking lawyer and one among the very best advocates that have ever appeared in any of the courts of South Carolina." (p 128)

The next section concerns "The Civil Rights Bill", and the purpose of the lawmakers was "to enforce social equality between the races". Reynolds quotes the full law on pages 128-131. He only offers two paragraphs of commentary, and makes it clear that he does not think much of the law.

Occasional attempts were made to enforce this act in the courts, but it seems that no case resulted in the conviction of the offender. The negroes, as a class, were little affected, and the few who under took to assert their social rights in the courts were so plainly actuated by the desire for notoriety or political advantage that they gained nothing by their performances. The law soon became a dead letter. It was repealed in 1889. (p 131)​

There are other examples of what Reynolds considers waste and fraud, and the first two years of "negro rule" are summarized, with Reynolds calling this period "seriously hurtful to every interest of the people without regard to race or color". I'm glad to see some numbers rather than strictly racial bias to back up his assertions, though given his strong bias against the government of this era, I would check other sources for corroboration. Nevertheless, it's not hard to see why he viewed this session as harmful to the state:

The State debt was increased from $5,407,306.27 to $14,833,349.17, and in December 1870 the amount as given in the official reports was $18,575,033.91.

At the close of the year 1870 all the counties except Anderson and Fairfield were in debt—the aggregate of these liabilities exceeding $250,000. At that time also there were outstanding pay certificates of teachers in the public schools amounting to $57,320.40.

The average annual tax levy for some years before the Civil War had been less than $550,000—which, however, did not include the interest on the State debt, amounting to about $350,000 annually, which was paid out of the net earnings of the Bank of the State of South Carolina. The taxes, State and county, for the fiscal year ending October 31, 1869, amounted to $1,764,357.41.
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The public school system was grossly inefficient throughout, by reason not only of the incapacity of school commissioners and their consequent inability to organize any proper system of education, but because of the lack of funds.
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The land commission, to which the Legislature had allowed $700,000 for the purchase of "homes for the homeless, lands for the landless," had accomplished little but the acquisition of quantities of land, much of it at prices far beyond its real value, accompanied with many scandalous transactions. False entries in deeds of conveyance
were made, so that the price paid for the property might appear more than the sum received by the seller. In one of these "deals" the land commission divided $90,000 as their profits. The doings of the commission were tainted throughout with fraud, and there were, besides, irregularities involving loss to the State.

The administration of the public business had been marked by reckless waste amounting to actual malfeasance. Members of the Legislature had sold their votes, and State officers had made money out of their positions at the expense of the taxpayers. The legislative and the executive department were tainted with corruption, and the entire administration was weak by reason of the incapacity of most of its agents. Among the white people the almost universal feeling towards the State Government was contempt for its weakness and disgust for its rottenness. (pp 134-135)​

Scott planned to run for reelection in 1870 (governors only served two year terms at the time), and seeing that the white population wanted to take power back, Scott made a accusatory speech about the white population in Washington DC, and on his return to the state armed "the negro militia". There were protests from the white population that this would only lead to trouble. Reynolds says over 7000 guns were issued to the black militia between March and July 1870 while there was only one white militia company. That company disbanded when assigned to a regiment commanded by a black man. The militia companies were located mainly in Charleston, Beaufort and "in upcountry counties where the Radical managers expected most trouble in electing their tickets" (p 138). In other words, Reynolds says, these men were armed to be sure Governor Scott was re-elected.
 
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#25
Chapter 3 concluded

Reynolds summarizes Scott's first term:

The first term of R. K. Scott as Governor of South Carolina was marked by the inception of several of the schemes whereby the people were robbed and oppressed. It was during this term that what was then called the "Radical ring" was actually organized—a combination of men high in the councils of the Republican party, whose robberies, instituted very shortly after the inauguration of the negro government, continued without ceasing and without remorse for six years, and then stopped only because of the fear of opposition by the national Republican organization and repudiation by the National Government, whose bayonets were necessary to enable the State administration to maintain its authority.

Some of the schemes were completed in Governor Scott's first term, but their consequences extended into his second term and into the term of Governor Moses. Some of the later schemes were devised to cover up previous frauds. Some of the actors in these plans to defraud the State continued in their villainous work for the six years preceding the inauguration of Governor Chamberlain in 1874. The history of these frauds is the history of the Republican party in South Carolina—the continuous story of that party's abuse of opportunity, its infamous use of its power over the white race, its flagrant breach of every pledge contained in its platforms, its unvarying support of plunderers and corruptionists. (p 138)​

He promises as the book proceeds that enough evidence will be given to prove his accusation.

The campaign of 1870 began, and the white population were divided on how to "drive Governor Scott and his party out of power". A conference resulted in a set of resolutions and a convention to nominate candidates. Once again, Reynolds provides his customary list of each county and who represented that county. The convention produced the following paper, which seems to me to indicate grudging acceptance of the current situation, and the white population was compelled to at least give lip service to protecting the rights of the black population:

This convention, representing citizens of South Carolina, irrespective of party, assembled to organize the good people of the State in an effort to reform the present incompetent, extravagant, prejudiced and corrupt administration of the State government and to establish instead thereof just and equal laws, order and harmony, economy in public expenditures, a strict accountability of office holders, and the election to office of men of known honesty and integrity, doth declare and pronounce the following principles upon
which men of all parties may unite for the purposes aforesaid :

1. The Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States having been by the proper authorities proclaimed ratified by the requisite number of States, and having been received and acquiesced in as law in all the States of the Union, ought to be fairly administered and faithfully obeyed as fundamental law.

2. The vast changes in our system of government, wrought by the internecine war between the two sections of the States, and following in its train, are so far incorporated into the constitutions and laws of the States and of the United States as to require that they be regarded accomplished facts, having the force and obligations of law.

3. This solemn and complete recognition of the existing laws brings the people of South Carolina into entire harmony upon all questions of civil and political rights and should unite all honest men in an earnest and determined effort to establish a just, equal and
faithful administration of the government in the interest of no class or clique, but for the benefit of a united people.​

This convention produced the "Reform Party of South Carolina", and they nominated candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, as well as candidates in many counties, with some black men on the ticket. The Republicans nominated Scott for governor. Reynolds continues to criticize Scott as a radical, who was "extreme", "offensive" and "insolent". Reynolds again paints a picture of the state constabulary's primary job to be getting Scott re-elected, primarily by provoking racial conflicts between black and white which were beneficial to the Republican party. The negro militia would drill and cause a scene, and some radical leaders made inflammatory speeches. Comptroller-General John Neagle is reported to have said "matches are cheap", and there are other similar examples given. The situation is very much the white population of South Carolina versus the black population and the state government backed up by the US Army.

Against this, the white population armed themselves, certain that there would be some sort of conflict. Reynolds here maintains that it was the Republicans stirring up racial division, while the Union Reform party preached peace between the two races. The Reform party appealed to the black voters to join them and "restore honest government". But the power of the Union League and intimidation against black men who were known to oppose Republicans was often effective in preventing much crossover vote. The Radicals insisted that Democrats would deprive black men of their rights and put them back into slavery if they could.

On election day, everyone was looking for trouble, and there were rumors that black soldiers would be at the polling places. This generally did not happen, though there were some instances related where white voters or poll workers were harassed or attacked by black men, largely in Charleston or along the coast. There was apparently less violence elsewhere in the state, though some shooting took place in Laurens, but in most cases, "the coolness of the whites prevented serious results." (p 150) US Troops were present in several places, but only to keep the peace. The Radical nominee "was declared elected" in each congressional district.

After the election, some men were arrested for the trouble in Laurens, and then a judge was impeached by "notoriously corrupt men", which benefitted some carpetbaggers. Reynolds details "a gang of New York roughs" being inducted into the state constables and paid $10,000 and immunity for disposing of Democrat leaders. More carpetbaggers and their efforts to "feather their nest" are detailed. All of this was at the behest of Governor Scott, who also appealed to President Grant for troops, who promised and delivered more troops.
 
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#26
Chapter 4 is not as long or involved, so I'm going to summarize it in one post. There's less complaining about "negro government" in this chapter, and a lot more fiscal evidence given for the wastefulness of the state government, and while more context is needed, it's a welcome change.And the fact that Governor Scott chose to defend against some claims of excessive spending shows that there were contemporary complaints, not just after the fact judgments by historians.

Chapter 4 - Scott's Second Term pp 154 -178

The General Assembly met on November 22, 1870, and we get another list of names, only this time the first list is a list of men who were "active in the several schemes of robbery that were initiated or consumated in this session". I note that Robert Smalls is among those listed. Reynolds then goes on to list all members of the house and senate, and whether they are "colored" or white. The reelected Scott gave an inaugural message in which he acknowledged some of the charges of corruption in the courts and land commission and essentially said "we need to look into this" or "it's not my fault". The theme of corruption in government is looming large here, in all three branches of SC government.

The next senator from SC had to be chosen, and Thomas Robertson, the incumbent, is said to have bought his way to reelection with $40,000. A former Confederate colonel, Robert Graham, who had become a Republican, was elected 1st circuit judge, and he's the first former Confederate I've seen elected to some sort of public office, five years after the war ended, unless I just missed a reference. Other judges, legislative acts, and financial matters are listed here, and again we're back to a list of names and events rather than a narrative, and while these sections can be dry reading, they're often solid history, with the occasional note about fraud and corruption by the author. Taxes also went up, and the various millage rates around the state are listed.

Reynolds even breaks down all the various expenses of that session of the legislature to pay members, chaplains, stenographers, etc. It's interesting to note that pay of members was $103,000, while money spent on "sundries" (wines, cigars, liquors, groceries, dry goods, etc) was $157,800. $37,000 was spent on furniture, and $152,565 was spent on printing. The author puts the total expenditures for the session at $679,071.83 (down to the cent!), and then contrasts it with the later Democrat run session of 1876-77 of $75,019. He clearly regards this spending as excessive and as an example of the legislature living it up with the public money. The House attempted to investigate all the money spent "fitting and furnishing" the legislative halls and committee rooms, but it never passed. It was more fraud, Reynolds says, and offers the discrepancy in the cost of the items and the money paid out as evidence:

The claims thus disposed of consisted of the bills of certain dealers for furniture and fittings sold the State for use in the legislative halls and committee rooms. The articles bought were of the most expensive character, the prices paid for some being as follows: Chandeliers, from $1,500 to $2,500 each; window curtains, from $500 to $1,500; sofas, $150 to $175; Gothic chairs, $70 to $90; marble top washstands, $35; spittoons (billed as "cuspadores") $8 each.

The total of the bills actually presented for these articles was $40,189.87. The House committee reported the sum due to be $90,556.31, and that amount was actually paid out of the State treasury. The difference between the two amounts ($50,466.44) was divided among certain members, as their reward for putting the claim through the House. (p 161)​

The legislature at this time requested more troops from President Grant. The printing bill was so high because two clerks of the House ran the "Republican Printing Company", which held a monopoly on SC government printing.

The taxpayers of the state were indignant and alarmed, and the press was screaming about the waste. A convention of taxpayers was held in Charleston on March 24, 1871, and their resolution essentially complained of taxation without representation. They had no say in how their taxes were spent, and the money taken was "excessive and extravagant". The convention let it be known that they would not be held liable for the spending and debt the current government was running up. The list of convention representatives is given, and the various other resolutions they offered are summarized. They resolved and appointed men to talk to the governor and present their resolutions. Daniel Chamberlain was involved with this convention, interestingly.

The November 1871 state of the state report noted an increase of the state's debt by $3,129,000, so the legislature was still spending more than they took in. Scott criticized all the money spent on furniture for the State House, and he criticized the "Republican Printing Company". A major portion of his speech was devoted to denouncing the KKK.

When the legislature got underway, C. C. Bowen of Charleston tried to have the governor and the treasurer impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors". In a book filled with detailed information, Reynolds fails to tell us just what the legislature had against Scott, but he apparently escaped impeachment by bribing enough members of the House to vote against it. Bowen was offered $15,000 to stop impeachment proceedings, but his price was $25,000. My guess, given that Scott criticizes the legislature and vetoes some of their legislation is that they just wanted to punish him for not cooperating, but we're not given enough information to determine that with any certainty.

At the end of the session, expenses are again given, and the amount spent for sundries shot way up, to $282,514.50. $72,815 was spent on stationary, $116,578 on furniture and $173,000 on printing, so nearly all expenses went up from the prior year. No indication is given by the author as to what these expenses were for, only that they were excessive and extravagant. When it comes to the amount of taxpayer money spent on cigars and liquor, it's hard to argue. A bill to issue bonds to ostensibly build a railroad was vetoed by Scott, but it passed over his veto, again by bribery. Reynolds characterizes it as a financial scheme to benefit various members of the state board, but the bonds were later declared void by both the SC supreme court and the US Supreme Court.

The last section of this chapter details a committee to investigate the accounts of the State Treasurer, Comptroller General and Financial agent. All sorts of waste, fraud and poor financial stewardship was discovered, and some sort of "impeachment fiasco" took place, but the book is short on details.
 
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#27
I'm doing a bit of side research as I read, and this exchange was of interest with regard to this book. Pages 106-110 list some errors that Reynolds made, many of them misspellings of someone's name, and some identifying a black man as white or vice versa. Some other assertions are disputed as well.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Q...bAhXJ1lMKHcHJAx8Q6AEISDAF#v=onepage&q&f=false

It would be really nice to have Reynold's sources to see how he obtained his information.
 

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#28
John Reynolds writes, The [post-war South Carolina federal military] garrisons were at first of white troops entirely. Soon, however, came negro soldiers — the use of which, essentially cruel, was likewise reckless in the extreme.

So even if an individual black unit was well-disciplined, the mere employment of black soldiers was essentially cruel. These sorts of assumptions appear throughout the Dunningites writings, although few of them put them in the first few pages of their books.
Lieutenant-General Ulysses Grant came to the same conclusion as Reynolds. He advised against using blacks as garrison troops because their use might provoke race riots.*

* Ludwell Johnson, Division and Reunion, 220
 
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Harvey Johnson

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#29
Another interesting fact that Reynolds points out is that while the [some] white South Carolinians had been mooting forcing blacks to come to the state just five years earlier, in 1866 they imposed a ban on blacks entering the state:

It was declared unlawful for any person of color to migrate into and reside in this State, unless within twenty days after his arrival within the same he should enter into a bond of $1,000 with two free holders as sureties, conditioned for his good behavior and for his support if he should become unable to support himself.
In the war's immediate aftermath some ex-slaves—perhaps many—descended to vagrancy and petty theft. Since South Carolina whites were a racial minority they worried that black immigration would enlarge the problem.

As late as eight months after the war Lieutenant-General Ulysses Grant took a four-state tour for President Johnson and observed that the blacks of Virginia and North Carolina were refusing to work. He complained that their idleness was retarding economic recovery.*

*William Hesselltine, Ulysses S. Grant: Politician, 59-60
 

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#30
In the war's immediate aftermath some ex-slaves—perhaps many—descended to vagrancy and petty theft. Since South Carolina whites were a racial minority they worried that black immigration would enlarge the problem.

As late as eight months after the war Lieutenant-General Ulysses Grant took a four-state tour for President Johnson and observed that the blacks of Virginia and North Carolina were refusing to work. He complained that their idleness was retarding economic recovery.*

*William Hesselltine, Ulysses S. Grant: Politician, 59-60
Shows you Grant was no Radical.
 

Harvey Johnson

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#31
I think that it is important to recognize that Reynolds understood the profoundly race-based opposition to [Congressional] Reconstruction [in South Carolina.]
Over half of South Carolinians were African-Americans. The "race-based opposition" to Congressional Reconstruction by the state's whites may have been chiefly motivated by their expectation that black suffrage would enable Republicans to manipulate the black vote in order to install a corrupt regime. One, for example, that would heavily tax whites and lightly tax blacks.

As one of your later posts (copied below) shows the Republicans were vigorously using the Union Leagues to promote black distrust and hatred of Southern whites as they had earlier used the taxpayer-subsidized Freedmen's Bureau. Such matters may have been a bigger worry to South Carolina whites than the color of the black man's skin.

Reynolds recounts the Union League outreach:

In connection with the work of the Union League there were distributed by its agents among the negroes of the South a paper purporting to represent a dialogue between a "sound Radical Republican" and a newly enfranchised freedman seeking light upon the subject of his political duties. By this catechism it was enjoined upon the colored man that he should vote with the Union Republican party because that party made him free and gave him the right to vote; that the friends of the colored race in Congress belong to that party; that a Democrat was a "member of that party which before the rebellion sustained every legislative act demanded by the slaveholders, such as the fugitive slave law and the attempt made to force slavery upon the western territories"; that the Democratic party "resisted every measure in Congress looking to emancipation, and denounced the Government for arming colored men as soldiers" ; that the Democratic party was otherwise known as "Conservative, Copperhead and Rebel, and under each name is still the same enemy of freedom and the rights of man"; that it was fair to presume that the Democrats would make slaves of the colored people if they could, and would not allow colored men to vote — having "tried to keep them in slavery and opposed giving them the benefit of the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights bill and the right to vote"; that the Democratic party would disfranchise the colored people and if possible return them to slavery; that that party was composed of the "slaveholders and leaders of the rebellion"; that the colored men should vote with the Republican party and "shun the Democratic party as they would the overseer's lash and the auction block"; that if the colored men should vote with the Democratic party "the people of the North would think that they did not fully understand either their own rights or the duties devolving on them" ; that the money which the colored people of the Southern States had paid as taxes had been used to establish schools for white children, to pay the expenses of making and executing laws in which the colored people had had no voice, and in endeavoring to have the Supreme Court set aside the law which gave the colored man the right to vote; and that the colored people ought to suffer or even starve to death rather than aid the Democratic party to enslave them. p. 64

Reading it now, we realize that the Union League gave a pretty honest assessment of the intentions of white South Carolina Democrats. As Reynolds describes the 1866 constitution, whites had approved a constitution regulating every aspect of black life:

"Visitors or other persons shall not be invited or allowed by the servant to come or remain upon the premises of the master without his express permission. "Servants shall not be absent from the premises without the per mission of the master. "The servant shall obey all lawful orders of the master or his agent, and shall be honest, truthful, sober, civil, and diligent in his business. The master may moderately correct servants who have made contracts and are under eighteen years of age."
Whether Republicans promoted black suffrage as a matter of racial justice or as a tool to keep their Party in power is a key question for evaluating the merits, or evils, of Congressional Reconstruction. This post provides abundant evidence that Republicans were principally interested in black votes and not racial equality per se.

Some leading South Carolina blacks would gradually realize that the Republicans had hoodwinked them. In 1871 the black editor of the Charleston Missionary Record, Richard Harvey Cain, wrote: "When the smoke and fighting is over the Negroes have nothing gained, and the [Southern] whites have nothing left, while the [Carpetbagger and Scalawag] jackals have all the booty."
 
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Pat Young

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#32
Over half of South Carolinians were African-Americans. The "race-based opposition" to Congressional Reconstruction by the state's whites may have been chiefly motivated by their expectation that black suffrage would enable Republicans to manipulate the black vote in order to install a corrupt regime.
The same "race-based opposition" existed in those former Confederate states with Black minorities.
Edited.
 

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Whether Republicans promoted black suffrage as a matter of racial justice or as a tool to keep their Party in power is a key question for evaluating the merits, or evils, of Congressional Reconstruction.
Can we get beyond discussions of good and evil? Did Democrats want to gain power? Did Republicans want to maintain power? Are we five years old?

Most South Carolinians were Black. They had been enslaved in South Carolina for going on two centuries, much of which time they formed half the population. Safe to say that most decisions of the South Carolina government made when there was whites-only minority rule were made with a consciousness of keeping black people enslaved. The white-minority government even started a war to do that.

Any sort of normal democratic functioning would have led to a mostly black electorate. This black electorate need not have been Republican, but it would have been black, nonetheless. None of these new black voters had parents who had been Republican voters before the war!

Most Republican voters were Black. Is it odd that a political party would reflect the interests of a majority of its voters? Is that evil?
Edited.
 
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#36
Chapter 5 - The Kuklux Troubles pp 179-217

"The State Government was in fact hostile to the white race, and that government.... was doggedly backed by the military power of the United States." (p 179)​

This situation, Reynolds says, is why some white citizens joined the Kuklux Klan. That's the way he spells it, two words rather than three, and he maintains that it was barely active apart from an incident in Rock Hill in 1868, but the government was after them, and produced what was said to be the constitution and by-laws of the Klan, which Reynolds quotes in full, as he has other source documents. In many ways it's a bureaucratic organization with minutes, meetings, committees and quorums needed to vote. But it was to be kept secret on pain of death. Reynolds give the origin of the name as follows:

(Of the origin of the word kuklux it is said that in the organization of the Klan the name "circle" was proposed. Then kuklos, the Greek equivalent, was taken. Kuklos became kuklux. For reasons suggested by the history of the word the author has preferred the from kuklux to ku klux and ku-klux.) (p 182)​

The Klan "was quiet" until 1870, when the black men were armed. Reynolds accuses the black men of burning houses and at least one murder, so he paints KKK activity as self-defense. The black militias would march and threaten and harass whites, and Reynolds lists several incidents, noting that similar incidents were "frequent". After the election, things got worse, and the Klan retaliated with nighttime raids.

Here Reynolds relates the January 1871 story of Matt Stevens, Confederate vet who had lost an arm. He was driving a wagon with barrels of whiskey when the black militia stopped him and demanded it. When he wouldn't give it to them, they beat him and shot him to death. The white population saw this as government sanctioned murder, and somehow they were able to disarm the company and arrest 13 of the militia after a fight with the sheriff. The men were put in jail where the Klan raided it at night and took five of the militia, killing two while three escaped. A week later, an estimated 1000 to 1500 Klan went to the same jail, took the other eight men and shot them to death. The Klan insisted that they were forced to do what they did.

As you can imagine, this incident made the news and produced a strong reaction in Columbia and in Washington. Federal troops were sent in to keep order, and the two escaped me were recaptured, sentenced and executed for murder. The KKK continued activities, threatening men to resign from office or face the consequences, so the intimidation had begun. The KKK operated in York, Union and Spartanburg counties in the upstate. Black men were intimidated or killed. Reynolds blames a lot of Klan activity on the "affrontery" of negro militia parading and firing in the air and harassing whites and issuing threats, and he almost always paints the Klan as responding rather than inciting. He claims that by May 1871 most of the black militia had been disbanded, and the Klan activity ended.

True or not, KKK activity had gained the attention of Congress and President Grant, who signed the Enforcement Act to help put an end to intimidation of the black population. The Kuklux Act was passed on April 20, 1871, essentially calling activities like the ones the Klan were engaged in "rebellion against the government of the United States". The President would have the authority to suspend the writ of habeus corpus and put an end to the rebellion. At the same time, Congress put together a committee "to inquire into the condition of the late insurrectionary States, so far as regards the execution of the laws and the safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the United States." (p 194)

Congress appointed an investigatory committee. Reynolds describes the committee as divided along party lines, with Republicans looking to prove the truth of Grant's statement, and the Democrats wanting to investigate state government corruption and the conduct of the black militia. Attorney General Amos Ackerman was sent to SC, and he suggested executive action. Local investigation and prosecution also took place, but it seems that all was quiet after those few months of Klan activity.
 
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#37
Chapter 5 - The Kuklux Troubles concluded

The "actual peace" in these counties was not seen as such by Grant, who declared "unlawful combinations and conspiracies " in nine South Carolina counties, commanding them to go home and turn over arms, disguises, etc. used to carry out their conspiracies. This was on October 12, and on October 17, Grant suspended the writ of habeus corpus in these counties so that "the rebellion may be overthrown".

Reynolds here describes the career of Major Lewis Merill, 7th cavalry USA, commanding the post in Yorkville, and he describes him as cruel and bloodthirsty, essentially. Merrill was in charge of arresting and interrogating Klan suspects. Reynolds describes the treatment of those arrested as often rushed and sometimes deliberately humiliating to the person arrested. These arrests, though small in number for each county, created an atmosphere of paranoia among the white population. Where the Klan would arrive at night and go after their intended victim, so too would the US cavalry when they came to make an arrest. Reynolds writes with more sympathy for the Klan arrests than he ever did for Klan victims. He lists the number of arrests by county and offers brief discussion of each, as well as some related arrests made by the military at the same time.

Reynolds narrows the focus to a couple of SC residents affected at this time. A man named Minor Paris was shot and killed in York County, and physician J. Rufus Bratton, who had actually left the country and was practicing medicine in Ontario was "seized in the nightime" by US agents and returned to Yorkville. Canada protested and demanded his release, and when Bratton was released, he went right back to Ontario, returning to South Carolina in 1876. No one was held to account for the shooting of Paris, though the kidnappers of Bratton were tried in a Canadian court.

The suspension of the writ of habeus corpus expired on June 10, 1872. Most of those arrested were never actually charged, though some trials were held during the winter term of the US Circuit Court. Reynolds portrays the grand juries as stacked against the accused, being majority Republican and majority black. "It was evident that the panel of petit jurors had been corruptly manipulated in the interest of the Government." (p 203) He details some of the various court proceedings. Some accused of being involved with the KKK turned state's evidence if they could be given immunity. One claimed to have been paid by the Department of Justice. Many black victims gave testimony in court. Reynolds does not portray these court proceedings in a positive light, though he does note that several men confessed, and were properly convicted. Despite the sympathetic light in which Reynolds portrays KKK activities and the unsympathetic way he details US Government attempts to crack down, there are some facts to be learned from this section, mainly names, charges and verdicts. His analysis of the fairness of the trials I would question, and it's worth looking elsehwere for other perspectives on them. Reynolds sees the trials in Charleston, and later in Columbia as having been "fixed" and not fair. All attempts to test the constitutionality of the Enforcement Act and Kuklux Act in the Supreme court failed for one reason or another.

Surprisingly, Reynolds does offer some condemnation of the Klan's actions:

.... it must, nevertheless, be said that many acts were ascribed to the Kuklux which no good citizen could palliate or excuse. Allowance made for the negro's fondness for the dramatic or sensational and his manifest satisfaction in telling in public his stories against white men apparently at his mercy, it must, nevertheless, be admitted that there was truth enough in these stories to justify the strongest condemnation of the Kuklux doings described. (p 212)​

Even the KKK trials were an opportunity for profit, as the Republican Printing company charged $45,788 to print what was probably $10,000 worth of work, detailing the court proceedings. Governor Scott offered a reward of $200 for each person arrested with proof to convict, and the recipients of the rewards were mainly the US Military officers, with Merill making over $15,000 in reward money. The chapter ends with a condemnation of Merill.

There was considerable comment upon the course of Major Merrill in demanding money for military services performed in obedience to the orders of his superiors, and he evidently lost caste with the army officers. In 1886 the bill to retire him with the rank of lieutenant-colonel was defeated in the Senate—the Southern senators having exposed his conduct in taking pay from South Carolina for services already paid for by the National Government. A second effort on the part of Merrill's friends, in 1890, was successful. (p 217)​
 
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#38
Question for the Reconstruction scholars among us (which I am not): are there any comparable histories of South Carolina Reconstruction written later that can provide a contrast to Reynold's point of view? I'm interested in an apples to apples comparison. Are there any chapters in books that encompass the larger history of Reconstruction that focus on South Carolina in detail? Thanks.
 

CSA Today

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#39
Question for the Reconstruction scholars among us (which I am not): are there any comparable histories of South Carolina Reconstruction written later that can provide a contrast to Reynold's point of view? I'm interested in an apples to apples comparison. Are there any chapters in books that encompass the larger history of Reconstruction that focus on South Carolina in detail? Thanks.
I've found Reynolds' history to be the most complete and reliable study of Reconstruction in the state. Good job on summarizing the chapters.
 
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#40
Whether Republicans promoted black suffrage as a matter of racial justice or as a tool to keep their Party in power is a key question for evaluating the merits, or evils, of Congressional Reconstruction. "
Do you consider white suffrage rights to have been "evil" because white voters were used to support the Democratic Party?

- Alan
 



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