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RECONSTRUCTION I. INTRO: THE POLITICAL STRUGGLES OF RC We know that General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox in 1865, thus ending the war. Although Grant was the only General in American history to capture 3 separate armies--at Donelson, Vicksburg, and Appomattox--he proposed generous terms, paroling Lee’s entire army and allowing them to take home their mules and horses so that they could put in a crop. Grant later noted in his memoirs that, as the 2 men shook hands, he felt: “…sad and depressed [at] the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought.” A. Main Political Issues of RC: 2 Major Questions: 1. Who controls how it would be carried out--Congress or the President? 2. What does it mean? There were 3 divergent views of what RC meant.: a. For most Republicans it meant the restoration of Union -- bringing the Southern states back Some Republicans, however, wanted to punish the South for causing so much bloodshed and even the ones who wanted them back were prone to blast them on every occasion. Bitter feelings about the War of Rebellion translated into political demagoguery, and “waving the bloody shirt” soon became a staple of rhetoric for the R’s in every election--an example: “Every unregenerate rebel…every deserter, every sneak who ever ran away from the draft calls himself a Democrat…Every man who labored for the rebellion in the field, who murdered Union prisoners by cruelty and starvation calls himself a Democrat….everyone who shoots down Negroes in the streets, burns up Negro school-houses and meeting-houses and murders women and children by the light of their own flaming dwellings, calls himself a Democrat. In short, the Democratic party may be described as a common sewer and loathsome receptacle into which is emptied every element of treason North and South, every element of inhumanity and barbarism which has dishonored the age.” (All the Republicans in the class say “Amen.”) b. Radical Republicans, the minority wing of the party, wanted an actual reconstruction of the Union —they hoped to remake it to include equality for Blacks (they wanted this for both north and south) these forces were led by Senator Charles Sumner of MA. & Representative Thaddeus Stevens of PN.--who said: The fed govt. must "revolutionize Southern institutions, habits & manners--the foundations of their institutions must be broken up & re-laid or all our blood and treasure will have been spent in vain." c. ex-Confederates wanted the redemption of the South from destruction of a war that had deprived them of economic, political, and social systems * they also wanted to re-establish control over their former slaves, and re-establish their own political autonomy from the N. B. The political struggles of RC, then, were between these groups:
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course HIST 2010 taught by Professor Osburn during the Fall '07 term at TN Tech.

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