SUMMARIES FOR HIST - 16 While some white Southerners saw...

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16 While some white Southerners saw the destruction of the Confederacy as punishment, others came to view the war as the Lost Cause and would not allow the memory of the Civil War to die. The myth of the Lost Cause was a need to rationalize and justify the devastation and loss of life; it forged community in a time of uncertainty about the future. In this mythology, African Americans were cast in the role of adversaries who challenged whites’ belief of their own racial superiority. Former slaves wanted to be free of white supervision; they also desired land, voting and civil rights, and education. At the end of the Civil War, African Americans had reason to hope their dreams might be achieved through such actions as the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The vast majority of former slaves were never able to realize their dreams of independent land ownership and continued to work as farm laborers; others migrated to cities. Their religious faith inspired them; they saw their emancipation in Biblical terms and the church became the primary focus of the African American community. The federal government had two great challenges following the Civil War: supporting the freedom of former slaves and rejoining the Confederacy to the Union. No blueprint for Reconstruction existed, the Constitution was silent on the issue and there was no agreement on policy. Presidential Reconstruction and Congressional Reconstruction brought mixed results. The Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were key legislative acts during this period; however, by 1870, white Southerners were gradually regaining control of their states and using violence and intimidation to erode gains made by African Americans. While most of the nation was distracted by political scandals and a serious economic depression, white Southerners regained control of the South. Racial violence through groups like the Ku Klux Klan subverted the electoral process; the success of political violence reflected the erosion of Northern support for Congressional Reconstruction and commitment to Southern Republican adminstrations. After more than fifteen years of Reconstruction, Republicans lost interest in policing their former enemies. By 1877 the Redeemers had triumphed, all the former Confederate states had returned to the Union in the Compromise of 1877 following the disputed 1876 presidential election. Southern states now had all of their rights and many of their leaders restored to pre-Civil War
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course HIST 2112 taught by Professor Manion during the Spring '08 term at Dalton State.

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SUMMARIES FOR HIST - 16 While some white Southerners saw...

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