Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Still more on reconstruction...

Riding roughshod over Presidential vetoes and federal courts, the U.S. Congress put the South under military occupation and formed new Southern state governments. The South, decimated by the war, was powerless to offer resistance. Not satisfied with reducing the South to political slavery and financial bankruptcy, Congress even laid their obscene hands on the pure fabric of the U.S. Constitution. 

They impeached President Johnson and came within one vote of removing him from office. Congress denied the power to raise state militias of their own to all of the former Confederate states. Arkansas, among others, begged Congress to repeal the law, and Congress obliged after some debate. In March 1869, Alabama, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Florida, and Louisiana were once more granted the power to establish militias. In 1870 Congress extended the privilege to Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia.

After the end of the War there were laws which were passed that were specifically written against Confederate Partisan Rangers, groups for the most part came out of Missouri. The laws prohibited any Confederate veteran of the Partisan Rangers from voting, holding any public office and from holding office in their local churches. This is just one example of how Reconstruction’s harshness was aimed at a specific group of Southern individuals.

The South was then invaded by what became known as "carpetbaggers," which Webster defined as "a Northerner who went South after the Civil War to profit from the unsettled conditions of the war and Reconstruction period or any person, especially a politician who takes up residence in a place opportunistically." These individuals from the North who came to make money off of the misery of a shattered South. The carpetbaggers bought land for practically nothing from poor and starving Southerners, or simply purchased it from the government because of back taxes due. They were aided in their enterprise by the "Scalawag" as Webster defined as " a scamp, a rascal, a Southerner who supported Republican policy during Reconstruction often for political and/or economic gain." The scalawag allied with the carpetbaggers using the Radical Republican Reconstruction policies to punish the loyal Southerners and profit from their pain.

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