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
of Union --
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
“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.”)
Radical Republicans, the minority wing of the party, wanted an actual
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
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: