United States History from 1865

United States History from 1865

by Arnold M. Rice, Arnold M. Rice, John A. Krout, Charles M. Harris

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Prepared for students by renowned professors and noted experts, here are the most extensive and proven study aids available, covering all the major areas of study in college curriculums. Each guide features: up-to-date scholarship; an easy-to-follow narrative outline form; specially designed and formatted pages; and much more.


Prepared for students by renowned professors and noted experts, here are the most extensive and proven study aids available, covering all the major areas of study in college curriculums. Each guide features: up-to-date scholarship; an easy-to-follow narrative outline form; specially designed and formatted pages; and much more.

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Part of the HarperCollins college outline series. Contains examples, exercises, bibliographies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
HarperCollins College Outline Series
Edition description:
20th ed
Product dimensions:
7.37(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.24(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
The Reconstruction Period
1863Lincoln announces his Reconstruction plan
1864 Lincoln pocket-vetoes Wade-Davis bill
1865Civil War ends
Lincoln assassinated;
Johnson becomes president
Freedmen's Bureau established
Joint Committee on Reconstruction created
Thirteenth Amendment ratified
1865-1866Black Codes passed
1866 Civil Rights Act
Ku Klux Klan founded
1867 Tenure of Office Act
1867-1868Reconstruction Acts
1868 Johnson impeached but acquitted
Fourteenth Amendment ratified
1870 Fifteenth Amendment ratified
1870-1871Enforcement Acts
1872 General Amnesty Act
1875 Civil Rights Act
1877 Hayes withdraws remaining troops from South

The Civil War workeda revolution in the life of the American people in many respects more profound than did the American Revolution. During the Reconstruction period, which lasted from the surrender of the Confederate forces in 1865 to the removal of the last Union occupation troops in 1877, the South was the scene of bitter strife, as its status in the federal government and the plans for its rebuilding were debated. From the Reconstruction period emerged new patterns of government, economy, and society that transformed the southern states.


The views among the political leaders who tried to formulate and carry out a program for the rehabilitation of the former Confederate states were so mixed that the American people were badly confused.

The ProstrateSouth

War always disfigures. And a civil war often scars the face of society so greatly that it is hardly recognizable. This was true of the South during the Reconstruction period. Confederate soldiers, returning home after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, found destruction, poverty, and hopelessness all about them.


Throughout the former Confederacy farmhouses, barns, and mills had been burned; bridges and railroad tracks had been destroyed; towns had been looted and their inhabitants driven out. Plantation owners had lost their slaves, and they could not afford the capital for agricultural equipment to replace slave labor. Business was at a standstill, except for speculative enterprises that preyed on people left destitute by war.


The war had destroyed the whole structure of southern society. Aristocratic planters, shorn of their wealth and power, yielded reluctantly to the growing influence of bankers, merchants, and small farmers. The changing status of blacks, as they made the transition from slaves to wage earners, created serious social tensions between them and whites.


The collapse of the Confederacy had stalled most political processes in the South. State and local governments had to be organized; the new state governments had to establish normal relations within the Union. In the nation's capital and throughout the North, political leaders differed sharply over what should be done and how it should be done. There were bitter quarrels among the leaders of the dominant Republican party concerning the proper basis for political reconstruction.

Framing a Policy

The approaches of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson on the one hand and of Congress on the other for the readmission of the former Confederate states to the Union were so opposed that a rift between the executive and legislative branches of the government soon occurred that was unprecedented in the nation's history.


Some members of Congress, including such influential Republican leaders as Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio and Representative Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, argued that secession was an illegal act and that southerners must pay a heavy penalty for having committed it. By having engaged in this crime, the southern states had placed themselves outside the protection of the Constitution. They must now be treated as "conquered provinces," which Congress had the constitutional power to govern.


President Lincoln brushed aside the "conquered provinces" theory, although he knew it had support from important members of his own party. He believed that the right to secede did not exist. Therefore, despite attempts to sever relations by force of arms, the southern states had never left the Union but had merely been "out of their proper practical relation" to it. (In 1869 the Supreme Court in Texas v. White upheld the position that the Union was constitutionally indestructible.) Lincoln was convinced that he should help the southern people to quickly resume their former status within the Union. In December 1863, he presented a two-part plan for reconstruction. First, the plan pardoned all southerners (except high Confederate officials and those who had left United States government or military service to aid the Confederacy) who would swear allegiance to the United States and accept "all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves." Second, it authorized the establishment of a new government, with representation in the national government, for any state if one-tenth of its qualified voters (as registered in 1860) would take the required loyalty oath.


Lincoln's moderate plan ran into strong opposition among the congressional leaders of his own party. They feared that the president would "let the South off too easily" and that former Confederate officials would return immediately to political power in their states. In July 1864, Congress passed the stringent Wade-Davis bill. Named after its sponsors, Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio and Representative H. Winter Davis of Maryland, it provided that a majority of white male citizens had to take a loyalty oath before a civil government could be organized in a seceded state. It also excluded from the electorate of such states former Confederate officeholders and military personnel who had "voluntarily borne arms against the United States." Lincoln defeated the bill with a pocket veto; that is, he failed to sign it into law before the adjournment of Congress. Thereupon Wade and Davis issued a manifesto accusing him of "dictatorial usurpation."


The assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865, was a particular blow to those who favored a policy of moderation. His unfinished work fell into the hands of his vice-president, Andrew Johnson, a pro-Union Democrat from Tennessee.

United States History from 1865. Copyright © by Arnold M. Rice. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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