Union Failures During Reconstruction

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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Location
South Carolina
Historians have reinterpreted Civil War Reconstruction over the past fifty years. Shortly before the Centennial it was commonly believed that the chief aim of the Republican-dominated Congress was to ensure lasting Party control of the federal government by creating a reliable voting bloc in the South for which improved racial status among blacks was a coupled, but secondary, objective.

Daniel Chamberlain, Republican governor of South Carolina during Reconstruction, would agree with the earlier interpretation. And since he was a Republican and served in office during that time, his opinion should be taken as authoritative on this topic.

https://www.unz.com/print/AtlanticM...aVZOlPCvqZMst3qNwxCyl_Olb7U5kucBsKjo1veVESBeA
Out of these adverse conditions came reconstruction. Its inception and development into policy and law were not the results or dictates of sober judgment of what was best; least of all were they inspired by statesmanlike forecast, or the teachings of philosophy or history. The writer has recently turned over anew the congressional discussions, in 1866 and 1867, of reconstruction, the South, and especially the negro question, some large part of which he heard at first-hand. It is, for by far the greater part, melancholy reading, — shocking in its crudeness and disregard of facts and actualities, amazing for the confident levity of tone on the part of the leading advocates of the reconstruction acts of 1867, and for its narrowly partisan spirit. Confidence here rose easily into prophecy, and the country was assured of a peaceful, prosperous South, with negro loyalty forever at the helm. The white South was helpless. The black South was equal to all the needs of the hour: ignorant, to be sure, but loyal; inexperienced, but, with the ballot as its teacher and inspiration, capable of assuring good government. Hardly anywhere else in recorded debates can be found so surprising a revelation of the blindness of partisan zeal as these discussions disclose. But it may now be clear to all, as it was then clear to some, that underneath all the avowed motives and all the open arguments lay a deeper cause than all others, — the will and determination to secure party ascendency and control at the South and in the nation through the negro vote. If this is a hard saying, let any one now ask himself, or ask the public, if it is possibly credible that the reconstruction acts would have been passed if the negro vote had been believed to be Democratic.​
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
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Location
South Carolina
Chamberlain made another good point, and one I find myself agreeing was a major Union mistake, and that was not recruiting the defeated Southern leadership to help rebuilt the South in cooperation with the government, rather than making them into opposition.

True views of the situation — views sound, enlightened, and statesmanlike — were not wanting even then. Mr. Lincoln had presented such views ; but above all other men in the whole land, Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, in his farewell address to the Massachusetts legislature, January 2, 1866, discussed with elaboration the Southern situation, and urged views and suggested policies which will mark him always in our annals, at least with the highest minds, as a true, prescient, and lofty statesman, versed in the past and able to prejudge the future. His valedictory address is veritably prophetic, — as prophetic as it is politic and practical. With this great word resounding through the country, the last excuse for reconstruction as actually fixed upon is swept away; for it could no longer be held, as it had been said by the more timid or doubtful, that the whole business was a groping in the dark, without light or leading. Sentiment carried the day, sentiment of the lower kind, — hate, revenge, greed, lust of power.​
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Governor Andrew's argument and policy may be briefly stated. Three great, flashing apothegms summarize it: (1.) Prosecute peace as vigorously as we have prosecuted war. (2.) Inflict no humiliation, require no humiliation, of the South. (3.) Enlist the sympathy and services of " the natural leaders " of the South in the work of reconstruction. To the oftrepeated dictum that those who had ruled the South so long and rigorously — its natural leaders — could not be trusted with this work, Andrew pointed out, with prophetic insight, that these men, if not accepted as friends, would resume their leadership as enemies. Such a vision of the future, such a clear annunciation of truth and fact, fell on blind and impatient or angry minds. The most radical of ante-bellum and war Republicans, the greatest of all our war governors, was struck from the list of party leaders, and reconstruction proceeded apace on other lines and under other leaders. The writer recalls almost numberless interviews on reconstruction with Republican leaders at Washington, especially in the winter of 1866-67, and the summer and fall of the latter year, and particularly with the late Oliver P. Morton. Mr. Morton shared to some large degree with Mr. Thaddeus Stevens the leadership in this enterprise. Against the two combined, no policy could gain even consideration. With Mr. Stevens no argument was possible. His mind was fixed, proof against facts or reason that suggested other views. Mere personal self-respect limited the writer's intercourse with him to one brief conversation. Not one of these leaders had seen the South, or studied it at first-hand. Not one of them professed or cared to know more. They had made up their minds once for all, and they wished only to push on with their predetermined policy.​
 
Joined
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Location
mo
Daniel Chamberlain, Republican governor of South Carolina during Reconstruction, would agree with the earlier interpretation. And since he was a Republican and served in office during that time, his opinion should be taken as authoritative on this topic.

https://www.unz.com/print/AtlanticM...aVZOlPCvqZMst3qNwxCyl_Olb7U5kucBsKjo1veVESBeA
Out of these adverse conditions came reconstruction. Its inception and development into policy and law were not the results or dictates of sober judgment of what was best; least of all were they inspired by statesmanlike forecast, or the teachings of philosophy or history. The writer has recently turned over anew the congressional discussions, in 1866 and 1867, of reconstruction, the South, and especially the negro question, some large part of which he heard at first-hand. It is, for by far the greater part, melancholy reading, — shocking in its crudeness and disregard of facts and actualities, amazing for the confident levity of tone on the part of the leading advocates of the reconstruction acts of 1867, and for its narrowly partisan spirit. Confidence here rose easily into prophecy, and the country was assured of a peaceful, prosperous South, with negro loyalty forever at the helm. The white South was helpless. The black South was equal to all the needs of the hour: ignorant, to be sure, but loyal; inexperienced, but, with the ballot as its teacher and inspiration, capable of assuring good government. Hardly anywhere else in recorded debates can be found so surprising a revelation of the blindness of partisan zeal as these discussions disclose. But it may now be clear to all, as it was then clear to some, that underneath all the avowed motives and all the open arguments lay a deeper cause than all others, — the will and determination to secure party ascendency and control at the South and in the nation through the negro vote. If this is a hard saying, let any one now ask himself, or ask the public, if it is possibly credible that the reconstruction acts would have been passed if the negro vote had been believed to be Democratic.​
Sums up the Radical philosophy, "ignorant to be sure" equals good government to them............
 
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uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
As we talk about the successes or failures of Reconstruction, I think it's important to note that different people wanted different things out the period. And what might be seen as success for some, might be seen as failure for others.

As I see it, there was not one single, coherent, and discrete Reconstruction agenda, but rather several. Using my own naming conventions, these include:

• the Union preservation agenda, whose goal was to ensure that the Union would not be dissolved

• the Republican Egalitarian agenda, whose goal was to ensure political, social, and to an extent, economic equality in the South, based largely around free labor ideals

• the White Southern/ Home Rule agenda, whose goal was to maintain, as much as possible, the ante-bellum status quo with regard to the relative status of whites and blacks

• the black southerner Egalitarian agenda, whose goal was to ensure political, social, and economic equality for African Americans

The Union preservation agenda was a clear success; indeed, we no longer see secession and civil war as a means of resolving political conflict.

For over 100 years, the White Southern / Home Rule agenda was a success, as evidenced by the Redemption and Jim Crow segregation.

The Republican Egalitarian agenda and the black southerner Egalitarian agenda had some moments of success, but these mostly failed. Mostly failed does not mean completely failed. African Americans did in fact achieve some gains in the social sphere. But it was a very limited success and progress. One key is that elements of that agenda survived, and were key to enabling the Civil Rights Movement and subsequent dismantling of Jim Crow.

The bottom line is, there was not "one" lived Reconstruction, but several. White southerners would probably insist that their vision of Reconstruction was just as valid and righteous, if not more so, than anybody else's.

As we conceive of these different agendas, we need to ask at least one question: what resources were available to achieve each of these varying agendas? Each agenda was engaged with very different levels of available resources, and examining these helps us to understand why each any particular agenda would fail or succeed.

- Alan


Well actually, I think the Republicans were United on their Objectives. A subdued South and a dominate Republican Party. Republicans knew they could manipulate the Negro to Vote for them. Second major Objective was to keep the Negro in the South and on the Plantation. As Sumner said, the Negro should be the brute labor of the South. Spoken like a Racist MA Yankee who knew his state depended on Southern Cotton. Worked for another 75 years.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Well actually, I think the Republicans were United on their Objectives. A subdued South and a dominate Republican Party. Republicans knew they could manipulate the Negro to Vote for them. Second major Objective was to keep the Negro in the South and on the Plantation. As Sumner said, the Negro should be the brute labor of the South. Spoken like a Racist MA Yankee who knew his state depended on Southern Cotton. Worked for another 75 years.

That's what Governor Chamberlain said, and he was there.

But it may now be clear to all, as it was then clear to some, that underneath all the avowed motives and all the open arguments lay a deeper cause than all others, — the will and determination to secure party ascendency and control at the South and in the nation through the negro vote. If this is a hard saying, let any one now ask himself, or ask the public, if it is possibly credible that the reconstruction acts would have been passed if the negro vote had been believed to be Democratic.​
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
That's what Governor Chamberlain said, and he was there.

But it may now be clear to all, as it was then clear to some, that underneath all the avowed motives and all the open arguments lay a deeper cause than all others, — the will and determination to secure party ascendency and control at the South and in the nation through the negro vote. If this is a hard saying, let any one now ask himself, or ask the public, if it is possibly credible that the reconstruction acts would have been passed if the negro vote had been believed to be Democratic.​
Chamberlain wasn’t the only one. Philip Leigh’s book on Reconstruction discusses these issues. Gene Dattel has written about Race and Cotton. Mr. Leigh has sourced him. Both highly recommended.

Republicans wanted X Slaves to have some basic rights in the South, Why. Because it would keep them from going North. Which some did go North, but they sure were disappointed when they got there. North thought that eventually their free blacks would go home, to the south. An extension of their Colonization Plan.
 

byron ed

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Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Location
Midwest
...Republicans wanted X Slaves to have some basic rights in the South, Why. Because it would keep them from going North. Which some did go North, but they sure were disappointed when they got there. North thought that eventually their free blacks would go home, to the south. An extension of their Colonization Plan.

This is confusing. Please elucidate.

- Are Republicans and the North the same thing here?

- Did all people who were Republican or North want to keep ex slaves* from going North? ...If not then which of them wanted that?

- Did all people who were Republican or North think "their free blacks would go home, to the South"? ...If not then which of them thought that?

- Is "free blacks would go home, to the South" supposed to mean that all free blacks considered the South to be their home? ...That's a new one!

- Does "their free blacks" mean that free blacks somehow belonged to people who were Republican or North?

- Does "their Colonization Plan" mean that all people who were Republican or North had a Colonization Plan? ...if so which plan was that?


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* we've been patient in supposing "X slave" merely means "ex-slave."
 
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uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
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* we've been patient in supposing "X slave" merely means "ex-slave."
[/QUOTE]
This is so confusing. Please elucidate.

Are Republicans and the North the same thing here?

Did all the people who were either or both Republican and North want to keep ex slaves from going North?

Did all the people who were either Republican and North think that "their" free blacks would go home?

Does "their" mean that free blacks somehow belonged to the people who were either or both Republican and North?

Did all the people who were either or both Republican and North have a Colonization Plan? (and which Colonization plan was "their" Colonization Plan?)

My, you’ve got a LOT of questions. I posted a couple of Sources. Maybe you can find them at the Library.
 

byron ed

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Location
Midwest
My, you’ve got a LOT of questions. I posted a couple of Sources. Maybe you can find them at the Library.

Good advice, but of course since you're the one who made the proclamations to begin with you're the only one that can definitively answer the questions. They are all asking what you meant by the proclamations you had made. But ok, here's what I've derived from general sources:

Q: Are Republicans and the North the same thing here?
A: NO. Generally sources don't believe Republicans and the North are interchangeable terms.

Q: Did all people who were Republican or North want to keep ex-slaves from going North?
A: NO. Generally sources haven't concluded that most Republicans or Northerners wanted to keep ex-slaves from going North, to merely observe how many Republicans and Northerners encouraged escaping slaves to go North.

Q: Did all people who were Republican or North think "their free blacks would go home, to the South"
A: NO. Generally sources haven't concluded that most Republicans or Northerners thought free blacks would go "home, to the South." That's only to observe how many free blacks headed to Canada.

Q: Is "free blacks would go home, to the South" suppose.d to mean that all free blacks considered the South to be their home?
A: NO. Generally sources haven't concluded that free blacks generally considered the South to be their home, to merely acknowledge the legacy that slave abodes were rarely permanent and never owned, so once free there was nothing to claim as home to begin with.

Q. Does "their free blacks" mean that free blacks somehow belonged to people who were Republican or North?
A: NO. Apparently no sources at all believe that free blacks in any way ever belonged to Republicans or Northerners.

Q: Does "their Colonization Plan" mean that all people who were Republican or North had a Colonization Plan?
A: NO. Generally sources merely point out that there were multiple colonization plans -- many of them proposed by Democrats and Southerners. Apparently the various segments within the Republican party or within the North were never able to agree on a Colonization plan, let alone the Democrats or the South.
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Why would the Republicans do anything for the southern states, when there were people in those areas shooting and hanging Republican voters?
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
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Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The southerners mostly claimed they wanted to left alone to govern their own affairs. They mostly got it. Because, frankly, dearest, the north did give a darn. This is what Gone With the Wind was all about. The north left the former Confederate states alone, they turned backward in time.
A never read much about Yankees burning down schools in the south. Were teachers in Nebraska and Colorado chased and intimidated for political reasons?
 

retexan599

Private
Joined
Jun 3, 2018
Location
Houston, TX
I have thought that the main 'failure' in Reconstruction was the bitter fight between the executive branch (Johnson) and the legislative branch of the U.S. (northern) government. Each branch wanted to be in charge and failure to put in place a sensible and workable Reconstruction policy was the result of this inability to work together. That, to me, summarizes the Union failure.

In another view, I might say that the main reason for the Union 'failure' lay at the feet of one John Wilkes Booth.....
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Agree, the whole trying to change these discussions into are the Republicans and the north the same thing seems a bit of a herring.......the Republicans drove policy for awhile with the aid of northern democrats, but northern democrats tired of the punitive policies, and shifted away from any alliance with them.......once they did the Republicans had little support of their own.

Think most people would credit the northern democrats and the northerners they represented with greatly helping to end the Radical Republician rule.

That's another thing those who simply always wish to talk about the south, rather conveniently overlook. The radicals don't fall from Grace merely in the south......but the in the north as well.
 
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Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Steadily declining cotton prices after 1879, had a lot to do with it. Too many people doing the same thing and getting very good at cotton production.
https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1 See page 406.

Planters knew that when tariff rates go up, cotton prices go down. They also knew that, when in power, the Republicans would raise tariff rates. Cotton prices would consequently fall to ruinous levels. They would face poverty--certain and severe.

The following chart shows the relationship between the tariff rate and cotton prices over the period of years after the Republicans came to power and after the war's effect on prices had begun to settle.


R squared.jpg




continued here
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Not a strange mathematical result for two time series with no causal relationship between the two. 😃
The correlation coefficient in the regression is about 80%. A correlation coefficient with no relationship is zero percent. The cited article explains (continued here link above) the causal relationship. The burden of proof is on his critics to refute his case.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Thus, we have overproduction of cotton and a decline in price of cotton. It is a mere reflection of the apparent fact that Northern interest was the production of cotton and most assuredly other commodities also. This is a product of the lack of interest in the Radical Republican Reconstruction plan with those same Elites in the North who were conservatives/reactionaries and who previously had supported the Radical during a hot War earlier. Now we see a struggle within the Republican Party that eventually overthrew the Radicals. The old planter elites are now embraced as business partners. They are given a new mythology of the Lost Cause and the myth of victimhood under that claimed terror of Radical Reconstruction.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
View attachment 360571
https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1
Texas, fertilizers, and the opening up of the Yazoo river areas are the reasons the price declined.

None of that is inconsistent with argument that high import tariffs cause a decline in cotton prices for the World's chief producer, America. In 1860 77% of American cotton was exported whereas in 1876 it had dropped only slightly to 70%

High import duties cause a decline in cotton prices because the duties tend to shrink (everything else being equal) the market for European manufactured goods in the United States. By making smaller sales into the USA than they would otherwise make w/o tariffs, the Europeans had less exchange credits with which to buy American cotton.

The import duties also adversely affected American cotton by giving the Europeans and incentive to buy cotton from other countries that did not place a high tariff on manufactured goods. That way the Europeans could sell merchandise to such countries free of tariff and use all of the exchange credits so generated (w/o a tariff haircut) to buy cotton from the applicable country.
 
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