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Johnson had less than a year left in office once the

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Johnson had less than a year left in office once the senatefailed to convict him, and Reconstruction appeared to beprogressing.In June of 1868 Congress readmitted seven southernstates to the union.The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified inJuly of 1868.The Republican Party nominated victorious UnionGeneral Ulysses Grant for the presidency.By 1868 Grant agreedwith the congressional approach to Reconstruction.Grant won214 electoral votes and 53% of the popular vote to Seymour’s 80.Grant won the 26 red states to Seymour’s 8 blue states (see map).The green states had not been readmitted to the Union.12
Two developments in 1868 foreshadowed the future ofReconstruction.First, the 1868 elections were marred by theterrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists groupsin the South.Terrorists assassinated Republican office holdersincluding an Arkansas congressman and three South Carolina statelegislators.The violence of the Klan and similar groupsstopped Republicans from voting in some parts of the South.This violence did not bode well for the future of democracy inthe South.Grant won the popular vote by a margin of 300,000votes.His totals included 450,000 black votes in the South.This means a majority of white voters voted for the DemocraticParty and African Americans provided the margin of victory forGrant.In February of 1869, Republicans in Congress proposed theFifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the last of the threeReconstruction amendments.The Fifteenth Amendment prohibitedstates from denying the right to vote based on race.If ratifiedit would overturn, northern states laws prohibiting AfricanAmericans from voting and Republicans hoped protect black votersin the South.Radicals wanted to guarantee every adult malecitizen the right to vote.But moderate Republicans restrictedthe amendment to race.The moderates worried manhood suffragewould fail.The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified within a year13
but it left massive loopholes.States could restrict votingrights in a variety of ways and ultimately southern states wouldfind ways to exclude African Americans from voting.African American Aspirations: Social and Economic ChangeAt the heart of former slaves’ hopes for the future was a desireto be independent of white control.For most African Americansthat meant property ownership especially farm land.Formerslaves faced freedom with the hope that the federal governmentwould distribute land to black families.An Alabama conventionof former slaves declared, the property of southern elites was“nearly all earned by the sweat of our brows.”Although congressdebated various forms of land reform, no action was ever taken.But African Americans saw significant improvements in their livesover slavery.Three significant areas of change were familylife, the development of an autonomous black communityparticularly the black church and the reorganization ofplantation labor.

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