Monday, 4 February 2013

southern resistance after the civil war

File:Cicatrices de flagellation sur un esclave.jpg This famous 1863 photo was distributed by abolitionists to illustrate what they saw as the barbarism of Southern societyThe victim likely suffered from keloid, according to Kathleen Collins,making the scars more prominent , 

the simplest
 way to understand what slavery was like is to read the accounts of slaves who Storming Fort Wagner, charge of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment, July 18, 1863. to tell about it: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington.Port Hudson. Brilliant charge of the Phalanx upon the Confederate works.Port Hudson. Brilliant charge of the Phalanx upon the Confederate works.

 All three lived in the Upper South (Maryland and Virginia). In the Deep South conditions were worse.
They were always hungry. On the plantation where Douglass grew up, the children were often fed scraps in a trough. Frederick recalled fighting with the dog for food. Officers' luxury at Bealton - August, 1863. Washington never remembered his family sitting down to dinner together beforeThe return of a Federal foraging party into camp near Annandale Chapel, Va. emancipation. Harriet Tubman was once nearly killed for stealing a lump of sugar.
Clothing was scanty. Children wore a one piece garment, a long shirt. It was made of so rough a material, Washington recalled, that it was torture to “break in” a new shirt.
Booker Washington never slept in a bed until emancipation. Douglass often slept with hCamp of 13th Illinois Volunteers, Civil War.head in a sack to keep out the cold, his feet sometimes splitting from frost. "Sambo's right to be kilt" ; Colored troops at drill - Vicksburg, 1864. Tubman sometimes slept with her feet in the ashes of the fire.
Douglass saw his Aunt Esther get forty lashes. He saw a cousin walk onto his plantation from a plantation twelve miles distant, covered with blood from a beating; she was orderedRiding the sawbuck at the Vicksburg guard-house. to go back home. Harriet Tubman was hit in the head by a piece of iron thrown by an overseer, and suffered from dizzy spells for the rest of her life.The Seventh Regiment marching down Broadway to embark for the war.
The Seventh Regiment marching down Broadway to embark for the war.  [7th Regiment marching down Broadway to embark for the war.] (1866)
 is easy to understand why these leaders, in their different ways, struck out for freedom.The Mississippi River   for many slaves, a symbol of both liberty and bondage. When families were broken up by the auction block, it was often a steamboatAppealing to be allowed to help fight for the Union, or the condition in 1863. which would carry a slave’s loved ones away. Sometimes it was the children who were sent to new owners. Clay County, Mississippi ex-slave George Coleman recalled that youngsters “were not usually sold until they were twelve years old, however the age of selling depended on their sex, size, ability etc., [Battle, United States, Civil War, 1863.]sometimes a special order would come in for one or two younger ones, like when a family wanted the colored chillun' to play with theirs, you know.” In those cases, the Mississippi must haveHooker at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863. seemed like a relentless force, and an implement of repression.William Wells Brown recalls, in his Major Martin R. Delany, U. S. A.
Major Martin R. Delany, U. S. A. (1865?)
, seeing a free black man from Pittsburgh being taken from a steamboat and burned alive. Such dangers supplemented the normal risks of the steamboat trade – drowning, scalding, or being accidentally crushed by cargo.
Southern society was composed of the aristocracy who owned the laborers, and the great middle class, more ignorant than any corresponding class in the world at the time. Rations from the stalk. and distinction were in the hands of the aristocracy. The middle class were poor and wretched; but they felt their wretchedness compensated by the fact that there was a servile race beneath them, and that by virtue of color they were the peers of the aristocracy. Hence, although not rich enough to own slaves, they supported slavery, and they were the ready tools of the slave lords. Passionate, ignorant, prejudiced, ferocious---bred in a society where the unbridled will of rich proprietors was practically the sole law of a subject race--there were the elements of the most remorseless mob.During and immediately after Reconstruction in the South, the same entrepreneurs and bankers who had built the Confederacy's munitions and armament plants during the Civil War engineered a new form of industrial slavery. At its zenith in the early 20th century, this new system of labor held millions of African-Americans as slaves to the U.S. coal, steel, turpentine, lumber, housing, agricultural and railroad industries in the South.The story of how Southerners created this complex and nuanced machinery of forced labor, maintained it by using wholesale violence against manacled, black laborers, and, with their Northern collaborators, made fortunes off of it. Not everyone felt this way. Thaddeus Stevens and his fellows understood that the South had rebelled, and left the Union. He wanted the leaders of the Confederacy rounded up and shot, or at least imprisoned. He wanted the plantations confiscated and parceled out to the former slaves, and used to compensate Union veterans. He wanted the rebel states to be denied congressional representation until they could demonstrate that they deserved it yet again. His view did not prevail, and the torrent of self-serving, sentimentalizing, dishonest, distorted and reactionary narratives began to pour forth from the North and South. Today, the Confederate flag flies proudly in many locales – it’s just a cultural thing. Yep, and I’m sure there are some old Germans who would like to display the swastika and SS skulls, just to preserve that culture…

The heart of story is that slavery in the American South ended, not with the Emancipation Proclamation nor the end of the Civil War, but only with the onset of World War II. The author discovered this story by digging through county courthouses in Georgia, Alabama and Florida which held the original arrest records and convict lease contracts for hundreds of thousands of African-American males, incarcerated and forgotten in this new form of slave labor which flourished between 1885 and 1940.

This is a tough story to tell without the proper context. To his credit, the author sets forth a huge chunk of background history so the general reader can make sense of the details. He writes of how a new generation of African-Americans which came of age in the 1870s found themselves enmeshed in it; of how Southern legislatures criminalized all aspects of black behavior so the Southern states would have an abundant and flexible supply of low-cost labor to lease out to capitalists; of how the industrialists who benefited from this new slavery defeated efforts to unionize black labor; and of how the federal Department of Justice's investigation of peonage in 1903 led to the prosecution of hundreds of "slave contractors" and to the conviction of none.

Negroes and whites worked together in the abolitionist movement. Negroes and whites joined in John Brown’s raid, Negro and white soldiers fought for freedom in the Civil War. The Negroes were usually more militant. David Walker in 1829, Henry High Garnett in 1843, Frederick Douglass in 1849 called for slave insurrection. President Abraham Lincoln said that without the help of 150,000 Negro soldiers, the North could not have won the Civil War.

In the late 20th century, several historians focused on the Confederate government's decision to not use guerrilla warfare to prolong the war. Near the end of the war, there were those in the administration who advocated continuing the southern fight as a guerrilla conflict. He was opposed by generals such as Lee who ultimately believed that surrender and reconciliation were better than guerrilla warfare.In April 1865 Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, putting an end to four years of savage internecine conflict and settling the issue of slavery forever. “The war is over,” Grant said. “The rebels are our countrymen again.”

“In all except the actual results of the physical struggle, I consider the South to have been the real victors in the war,” Albion Tourgée, a North Carolina state judge, said caustically in 1879. “The way in which they have neutralized the results of the war and reversed the verdict of Appomattox is the grandest thing in American politics.” 
Five men tried to  make it not so .All but one, the brilliant Confederate general James Longstreet, are unknown today. Prince R. Rivers, a literate former slave, was a South Carolina legislator and a judge in a largely black town, Hamburg, a target of white wrath. Adelbert Ames, a Union war hero, served as governor of Mississippi until, after a campaign of violence and fraud, he was driven from office by impeachment in 1875.
Albert T. Morgan, a Union veteran who earned particular scorn by marrying a black woman, came to Mississippi to seek his fortune and stayed to serve as a state legislator and sheriff of Yazoo County. Lewis Merrill, an Army major, was sent to the South to put down violence by the Ku Klux Klan and the white rifle clubs engaged in a spreading insurgency.
All five men would fail. They would witness, as Ames put it, “the political death of the Negro.”
There is the sorry record of white resistance to Reconstruction, a campaign of terror that took the lives of more than 3,000 freedmen and their white allies
 Truth,was  a sly and scared animal skulking through thickets of deception. The collective memory of Reconstruction, , is weighted with stock characters of thieving carpetbaggers, ignorant Negroes and low scalawags” lifted straight from Gone With the Wind.

 Vivid particulars assert themselves in  the chaos of Reconstruction and the terrifying guerrilla war waged by embittered Southerners desperate to assert white supremacy.
They used every weapon at their disposal. Newspapers poured vitriol on Republican Party officials. Supposedly upstanding citizens aided and abetted insurgents who burned black schoolhouses, incited riots, assassinated public officials and beat and whipped blacks who tried to take part in civil society.
Resistance should not have come as a surprise. The dispatches of John Richard Dennett, a correspondent for The Nation, who toured the South immediately after the war and found a people unrepentant and unprepared to admit anything except that the North had prevailed by force of arms. Sullen resentment quickly matured into open rebellion.
For the most part,  the appalling facts, and the words of the participants, speak for themselves. (“Coons in the canebreaks, have taken a hundred scalps,” the mayor of Vicksburg, Miss., telegraphed to a lawyer after one violent episode.

General Longstreet, reviled for arguing that Southerners should accept defeat and its consequences, faced down an armed insurrection in New Orleans and lost. Ames, who tried to bring good government to Mississippi, looked on helplessly as the wildfire of rebellion spread over the state, just as Merrill did in Louisiana, victimized by lassitude in Washington.
“The whole public are tired out with these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South,” a weary Grant told his attorney general in 1875.
Albert Morgan, after a coup had ousted him from the sheriff’s office in Yazoo City, threw in the towel. Meanwhile, in Hamburg, S.C., furious white citizens finally rebelled against black officialdom. Provoked by a black constable sitting in an office chair and “fanning himself very offensively,” a local warlord by the name of Matthew C. Butler unleashed his followers, who set the town ablaze and murdered as many of the members of the black militia as they could hunt down.
That was the end of Reconstruction in Hamburg. In a poignant conclusion to the affair, Mr. Budiansky follows Prince Rivers, the town’s trial justice, to Aiken, S.C., where he found employment in the last years of his life.
“He was working for a local hotel, driving a coach; sitting as erect as a statue, said the people who saw him,” Mr. Budiansky writes. “It was the same job he had performed in slavery.”.One of the most notorious outlaws to ever scourge the Old West, Jesse James  managed to be both a popular hero and a universally feared sociopathic killer. On April 3, 1882, after a spectacular career of train and bank robberies54mm (1/32) - Jesse James (which James and his gang presented as a guerrilla-style continuation of Southern resistance after the Civil War), James was famously betrayed by a fellow gang-member named Robert Ford in the hope of collecting a substantial reward. Thousands of people turned out to see his corpse, which was preserved on ice so visitors could have their picture taken with it — as if to reassure themselves that the seemingly invincible outlaw was really dead. Nonetheless rumors circulated that James had survived and it was all hoax well into the 20th century.People like James  as well as other types like White supremacist paramilitary organizations allied with the Democratic Party and practiced intimidation, violence and assassinations to repress and prevent blacks exercising their civil and voting rights in elections from 1868 through the mid-1870s. In most Southern states, black voting decreased markedly under such pressure, and white Democrats regained political control of Southern legislatures and governors' offices in the 1870s. As a result of a national compromise related to the presidency, the federal government withdrew its forces from the South in 1877.

- The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1870 to protect the suffrage of freedmen after the American Civil War. It prevented any state from denying the right to vote to any male citizen on account of his race.
Blacks constituted absolute majorities of the populations in Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina, and represented over 40% of the population in four other former Confederate states. Southern whites resisted the freedmen's exercise of political power, fearing black domination. During Reconstruction, blacks controlled a majority of the vote in states such as South Carolina.
Starting with the Georgia poll tax in 1877, white Southern legislatures passed statutes that created more barriers to voting by blacks and poor whites. Results could be seen in states such as Tennessee. After Reconstruction, Tennessee had the most "consistently competitive political system in the South" A bitter election battle in 1888 marked by unmatched corruption and violence resulted in white Democrats' taking over the state legislature. To consolidate their power, they worked to suppress the black vote and sharply reduced it through changes in voter registration, election procedures and poll taxes.
From 1890 to 1908, starting with Mississippi, Southern Democratic legislators created new constitutions with provisions for voter registration that effectively completed disfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites. They created a variety of barriers, including requirements for poll taxes, residency requirements, rule variations, literacy and understanding tests, that achieved power through selective application against minorities, or were particularly hard for the poor to fulfill
The constitutional provisions survived Supreme Court challenges in cases such as Williams v. Mississippi (1898) and Giles v. Harris (1903). In practice, these provisions, includingwhite primaries, created a maze that blocked most blacks and many poor whites from voting in Southern states for decades after the turn of the 20th century.

 Voter registration and turnout dropped sharply across the South. The consequences and longevity of disfranchisement can be seen at the feature "Turnout for Presidential and Midterm Election sat the University of Texas Politics: Historical Barriers to Voting page. It shows results for Texas, the South overall, and the rest of the United States.
Disfranchisement attracted the attention of Congress, and in 1900 some members proposed stripping the South of seats related to the numbers of people who were barred from voting.
In the end, Congress did not act to change apportionment. For decades, white Southern Democrats exercised Congressional representation derived from a full count of the population, but they disfranchised several million black and white citizens. Southern white Democrats comprised a powerful voting block in Congress until the mid-20th century and their representatives, re-elected repeatedly by one-party states, became senior members, controlling numerous chairmanships of important committees in both houses. Their power allowed them to defeat federal legislation against lynching, among other issues.
 Because of one-party control, many Southern Democrats achieved seniority in Congress and occupied chairmanships of significant Congressional committees, thus increasing their power over legislation, rules, budgets and important patronage projects.Between 1864 and 1866, ten of the eleven Confederate state  inaugurated governments that did not provide suffrage and equal civil rights to freedmen. Because of this, Congress refused to readmit these states to the Union and established military districts to oversee affairs until the state governments could be reconstructed.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) formed in 1865 and quickly became a powerful secret vigilante group, with chapters across the South, during early Reconstruction. It was one form of insurgency after the Civil War, as armed veterans in the South began varied forms of resistance. Starting in 1866, the KKK tried to prevent black Americans from voting and from participating in government affairs. The Klan initiated a campaign of intimidation marked by lynchings and other acts of violence directed against blacks and allied whites, including vandalization and destruction of their property.

The Force Act of 1870
 was used to reduce the power of the KKK. The Federal government banned acts of terror, force, or bribery to prevent someone from voting because of his race. It empowered the President to deploy the armed forces to suppress organizations that deprived people of rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Any such organizations that appeared in arms was considered in rebellion against the United States. The President could suspend habeas corpus under those circumstances.The Klan's murders moved the Congress to pass laws to end it. In 1870, the strongly Republican Congress passed an act imposing fines and damages for conspiracy to deny black suffrage.
President Ulysses S. Grant used these provisions in parts of the Carolinas in the fall of 1871. United States marshals supervised state voter registrations and elections and could summon the help of military or naval forces if needed.
More significant in terms of their effects were paramilitary organizations that arose in the 1870s as part of continuing insurgent resistance in the South. Groups included the White League, formed in Louisiana in 1874 out of white militias, with chapters forming in other Deep South states; the Red Shirts, formed in 1875 in Mississippi but also active in North Carolina and South Carolina; and other "White Liners" such as rifle clubs.The Red Shirts or Redshirts of the Southern United States were white paramilitary groups that were active in the late 19th century after the end of the Reconstruction era of the United States. They first appeared in Mississippi in 1875, when Democratic Party private militia units adopted red shirts to make themselves more visible and threatening to Southern Republicans, both white and freedmen. Similar groups in other states also adopted Red Shirts.
Among the most prominent Red Shirts were the supporters of Democratic Party candidate Wade HamptonFile:Wade Hampton.gif during the campaigns for the South Carolina gubernatorial elections of 1876 and 1878. The Red Shirts were one of several paramilitary organizations, such as the White League in Louisiana, arising in the continuing efforts of white Democrats to regain political power in the South in the 1870s. These groups acted as "the military arm of the Democratic Party."
While sometimes engaging in terrorism, in contrast to secret vigilante groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Red Shirts, the White League and similar groups in the late nineteenth century worked openly and were better organized: they had one goal, the restoration of the Democrats to power by getting rid of Republicans, which usually meant repressing civil rights and voting by the freedmen.
 During the 1876, 1898 and 1900 campaigns in North Carolina, the Red Shirts played prominent roles in intimidating non-Democratic voters. Compared to the Klan, they were open societies, better organized, and often solicited newspaper coverage for publicity. Made up of well-armed Confederate veterans, a class that covered most adult men who could have fought in the war, they worked for political aims: to turn Republicans out of office, disrupt their organizing, and use force to intimidate and terrorize freedmen to keep them from the polls. They have been described as "the military arm of the Democratic Party."
These groups were instrumental in many southernDespite white Southerners' complaints about Reconstruction, several of the Southern states had kept most provisions of their Reconstruction constitutions for more than two decades, until late in the 19th century. In some states the number of blacks elected to local offices reached a peak in the 1880s. Subsequently, state legislatures passed restrictive laws that made election rules and voter registration more complicated. In addition, most legislatures drafted new constitutions. Florida approved a new constitution in 1885 that included provisions for poll taxes as a prerequisite for voter registration and voting. From 1890 to 1908, ten of the eleven Southern states rewrote their constitutions. All included provisions that restricted voter registration and suffrage, including new requirements for poll taxes, residency, and literacy tests.
With educational improvements, the rate of black illiteracy in the South by 1891 had declined to 58%. The white rate of illiteracy in the South was 31%. Some states usedgrandfather clauses to exempt white voters from literacy tests. Other states required otherwise elegible black voters to meet literacy and knowledge requirements to the satisfaction of white registrars who appllied subjective measurements and, in the process, rejected most black voters. By 1900, the majority of blacks were literate, but even many of the best-educated of these men continued to "fail" literacy tests administered by white registrars.
The historian J. Morgan Kousser noted, "Within the Democratic party, the chief impetus for restriction came from the black belt members," whom he identified as "always socioeconomically privileged." In addition to wanting to affirm white supremacy, the planter and business elite were also concerned about voting by lower-class and uneducated whites. "They disfranchised these whites as willingly as they deprived blacks of the vote."
 Other historians have found more complexity underlying the goals of disfranchisement; competition between white elites and lower classes, for exampe, and a desire to prevent alliances between lower class white and black Americans have both served to motivate voter restrictions
With passage of new constitutions, Southern states adopted provisions that caused disfranchisement of large portions of their populations by skirting US constitutional protections of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. While their voter registration requirements applied to all citizens, in practice they disfranchised most blacks and also "would remove [from voter registration rolls] the less educated, less organized, more impoverished whites as well - and that would ensure one-party Democratic rules through most of the 20th century in the South."
A number of negative effects were associated with Reconstruction. For some members of the Republican Party, Reconstruction was viewed as an opportunity to humiliate Southern whites even further in defeat. This treatment so infuriated and consolidated Southerners that they flocked to the Democrats where they remained for virtually a hundred years
For the Democrats, Reconstruction gave them a Southern anchor that was useful for congressional clout but at the same time inhibited the party from fulfilling center-left initiatives prior to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
 For the states of the former Confederacy, Reconstruction left behind a one-party Democratic voting pattern, which suppressed productive political competitiveness and left Republican presidents (as well as Republicans in Congress) disinclined to view the rebellious South in a positive light. For black Americans, the end of Reconstruction meant disaster; the reaction epitomized by Jim Crow laws eroded the progress in civil rights, and provisions of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and FifteenthAmendments to the U.S. Constitution were substantially undermined by landmark court decisions such as Plessy v. Ferguson.In Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and in some northern and western states, proof of having paid taxes or poll taxes was made a prerequisite to voting. The poll tax was sometimes used alone or together with a literacy qualification. Georgia began by passing a cumulative poll tax in 1877: men of any race 21 to 60 years of age had to pay a sum of money for every year from the time they had turned 21, or from the time that the law took effect
 Virginia used this policy until 1882 and resumed it again in 1902. Texas added a requirement for a poll tax by state law in 1901.
 Such taxes excluded poor whites as well as blacks at the turn of the 20th century. Many states required payment of the poll tax at a time separate from the election, and then required voters to bring receipts with them to the polls. If they could not locate such receipts, they could not vote. In addition, many states surrounded registration and voting with complex record-keeping requirements
 These were particularly difficult for sharecropper and tenant farmers to comply with, as they moved frequently.

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