Reconstruction, Military Law and Rule
Civil War, The South, and Reconstruction
"...there is no such
thing as reconstruction. These States have not gone out of the Union, therefore reconstruction is unnecessary. I do not mean to treat them as inchoate
States, but merely as existing under a temporary suspension of their government, provided always they elect loyal men. The
doctrine of coercion to preserve a State in the Union has been vindicated by the people.
It is the province of the Executive to see that the will of the people is carried out in the rehabilitation of the rebellious
States, once more under the authority as well as the protection of the Union." --President
Andrew Johnson and Congress were
unable to agree on a plan for restoring the ravaged country following the Civil War. There was a marked difference between
Congressional Reconstruction - outlined in the first, second, and third Military Reconstruction Acts - and Andrew Johnson's
plan for Presidential Restoration. The Congressional Plan of Reconstruction was ultimately adopted, and it did not end until
1877. Many of the issues surrounding Reconstruction are still a part of society today.
|Southern Secession and Union Readmission Map
|(Map of Civil War Reconstruction, Military Rule, and the South)
The following is Andrew Johnson's template for restoring the country, as
followed in North Carolina:
WHEREAS the 4th section of the Constitution of the United States declares
that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each
of them against invasion and domestic violence; and whereas the President of the United States is, by the Constitution, made
Commander-in-chief of the army and navy, as well as chief civil executive officer of the United States, and is bound by solemn
oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States, and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed;
and whereas the rebellion, which has been waged by a portion of the people of the United States against the properly constituted
authorities of the government thereof, in the most violent and revolting form, but whose organized and armed forces have now
been almost entirely overcome, has, in its revolutionary progress, deprived the people of the State of North Carolina of all
civil government; and whereas it becomes necessary and proper to carry out and enforce the obligations of the United States
to the people of North Carolina, in securing them in the enjoyment of a republican form of government.
in obedience to the high and solemn duties imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States, and for the purpose of
enabling the loyal people of said State to organize a State government, whereby justice may be established, domestic tranquility
insured, and loyal citizens protected in all their rights of life, liberty, and prosperity, I, ANDREW JOHNSON, President of
the United States, and commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, do hereby appoint WILLIAM W. HOLDEN provisional
governor of the State of North Carolina, whose duty it shall be, at the earliest practicable period, to prescribe such rules
and regulations as may be necessary and proper for convening a convention, composed of delegates to be chosen by that portion
of the people of said State who are loyal to the United States, and no other, for the purpose of altering or amending the
constitution thereof; and with authority to exercise, within the limits of said State, all the powers necessary and proper
to enable such loyal people of the State of North Carolina to restore said state to its constitutional relations to the Federal
government, and to present such a republican form of State government as will entitle the State to the guarantee of the United
States therefor, and its people to protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection, and domestic violence;
provided that, in any election that may be hereafter held for choosing delegates to any State convention as aforesaid, no
person shall be qualified as an elector, or shall be eligible as a member of such convention, unless he shall have previously
taken and subscribed the oath of amnesty, as set forth in the President's proclamation of May 29, A.D. 1865, and is a voter
qualified as prescribed by the constitution and laws of the State of North Carolina in force immediately before the 20th day
of May, A.D. 1861, the date of the so-called ordinance of secession; and the said convention, when convened, or the legislature
that may be thereafter assembled, will prescribe the qualification of electors, and the eligibility of persons to hold office
under the constitution and laws of the State, a power the people of the several States composing the Federal Union have rightfully
exercised from the origin of the government to the present time.
And I do hereby direct -
First. That the military commander of the department, and all officers and persons in the military and naval
service, aid and assist the said Provisional Governor in carrying into effect this proclamation, and they are enjoined to
abstain from, in any way, hindering, impeding, or discouraging the loyal people from the organization of a State government
as herein authorized.
Second. That the Secretary of the State proceed to put in force all
laws of the United States, the administration whereof belongs to the State Department, applicable to the geographical limits
Third. That the Secretary of the Treasury proceed to nominate for appointment
assessors of taxes, and collectors of customs and internal revenue, and such other officers of the Treasury Department as
are authorized by law, and put in execution the revenue laws of the United States within the geographical limits aforesaid.
In making appointments, the preference shall be given to qualified loyal persons residing within the districts where their
respective duties are to be performed. But if suitable residents of the districts shall not be found, then persons residing
in other States or districts shall be appointed.
Fourth. That the Postmaster General proceed
to establish post offices and post routes, and put into execution the postal laws of the United States within the said State,
giving to loyal residents the preference of appointment; but if suitable residents are not found, then to appoint agents,
&c., from other States.
Fifth. That the district judge for the judicial district
in which North Carolina is included proceed to hold courts within said State, in accordance with the provisions of the act
of Congress. The Attorney General will instruct the proper offices to libel, and bring to judgment, confiscation, and sale,
property subject to confiscation, and enforce the administration of justice within said State in all manners within the cognizance
and jurisdiction of the Federal courts.
Sixth. That the Secretary of the Navy take
possession of all public property belonging to the Navy Department within said geographical limits, and put in operation all
acts of Congress in relation to naval affairs having application to the said State.
That the Secretary of the Interior put in force the laws relating to the Interior Department applicable to the geographical
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United
States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
|Civil War Reconstruction and the US Military
|Military Reconstruction Map with Military Districts and Commanding Generals
Andrew Johnson and Vetoes
Although strongly urged
by moderates in Congress to sign the Civil Rights bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27, 1866.
His veto message objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the Freedmen at a time when eleven out of thirty-six
states were unrepresented and attempted to fix by Federal law "a perfect equality of the white and black races in every State
of the Union." Johnson said it was an invasion by Federal authority of the rights of the
States; it had no warrant in the Constitution and was contrary to all precedents. It was a "stride toward centralization and
the concentration of all legislative power in the national government."
The Democratic Party, proclaiming
that it was the party of white men, north and south, supported Johnson. The Republicans in Congress, however, overrode his
veto (the Senate by the close vote of 33:15, the House by 122:41) and the Civil Rights bill became law. Congress also passed
the Freedmen's Bureau Bill over Johnson's veto.
A partial list of
Bills vetoed by Andrew Johnson: Freedmen's Bureau Bill; Civil Rights Bill; Colorado
Statehood Bill; District of Columbia Franchise Law; Nebraska Statehood Bill; Tenure of Office Act; First Military Reconstruction Act; Second Military Reconstruction Act; Third Military Reconstruction Act; Judiciary
Act Amendment; Arkansas Statehood
Bill; Admission of Six Southern States; Restrictions of Electoral Votes.
|Freedmen's Bureau Poster in 1866
(About) The debate over reconstruction and the Freedman's Bureau was nationwide. This 1866 Pennsylvania
election poster alleged that Freedman's Bureau money was being lavished on lazy freedmen at the expense of white workers.
The first Military Reconstruction
Act reveals the idea of Congressional Reconstruction, although there were two further supplements to the Act. Andrew Johnson
vetoed all three Military Reconstruction Acts, but they were passed by a Congressional majority over his veto.
The first Military Reconstruction
WHEREAS no legal State governments
or adequate protection for life or property now exists in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,
Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas; and whereas it is necessary that peace and good order should
be enforced in said States until loyal and republican State governments can be legally established: Therefore,
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That said
rebel States shall be divided into military districts and made subject to the military authority of the United States as hereinafter
prescribed, and for that purpose Virginia shall constitute the first district; North Carolina and South Carolina the second
district; Georgia, Alabama, and Florida the third district; Mississippi and Arkansas the fourth district; and Louisiana and
Texas the fifth district.
Section 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the President to assign
to the command of each of said districts an officer of the Army, not below the rank of brigadier general, and to detail a
sufficient military force to enable such officer to perform his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which
he is assigned.
Section 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each officer
assigned as aforesaid to protect all persons in their rights of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and
violence, and to punish, or cause to be punished, all disturbers of the public peace and criminals; and to this end he may
allow local civil tribunals to take jurisdiction of and to try offenders, or, when in his judgment it may be necessary for
the trial of offenders, he shall have power to organize military commissions or tribunals for that purpose, and all interference
under color of State authority with the exercise of military authority under this act shall be null and void.
Section 4. And be it further enacted, That all persons put under military arrest
by virtue of this act shall be tried without unnecessary delay, and no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted, and
no sentence of any military commission or tribunal hereby authorized, affecting the life or liberty of any person, shall be
executed until it is approved by the officer in command of the district, and the laws and regulations for the government of
the Army shall not be affected by this act, except in so far as they conflict with its provisions; Provided, That no sentence
of death under the provisions of this act shall be carried into effect without the approval of the President.
Section 5. And be it further enacted, That when the people of any
one of said rebel States shall have formed a constitution of government in conformity with the Constitution of the United
States in all respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said State, twenty-one years old
and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in said State for one year previous to
the day of such election, except such as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion or for felony at common law,
and when such constitution shall provide that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all such persons as have the qualifications
herein stated for electors of delegates, and when such constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons voting
on the question of ratification who are qualified as electors for delegates, and when such constitution shall have been submitted
to Congress for examination and approval, and Congress shall have approved the same, and when said State, by a vote of its
Legislature, elected under said constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to the Constitution of the United States, proposed
by the Thirty-Ninth Congress, and known as article fourteen, and when said article shall have become part of the Constitution
of the United States, said State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress, and Senators and Representatives
shall be admitted therefrom on their taking the oath prescribed by law, and then and thereafter the preceding sections of
this act shall be inoperative in said State: Provided, That no person excluded from the privilege of holding office by said
proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States shall be eligible to election as member of the convention to frame
a constitution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such person vote for members of such convention. Section 6. And be it further enacted, That, until the people of said rebel States
shall be by law admitted to representation in the Congress of the United States, any civil governments which may exist therein
shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject to the paramount authority of the United States at any time
to abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same; and in all elections to any office under such provisional governments
all persons shall be entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote, under the provisions of the fifth section
of this act; and no person shall be eligible to any office under any such provisional governments who would be disqualified
from holding office under the provisions of the third article of said constitutional amendment.
(Sources listed at bottom of page.)
Recommended Reading: Race
and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Description: From Publishers
Weekly: Almost all the dominant views of the Civil War and its aftermath, including Reconstruction and "reunion," prevalent
in this country until the coming of the civil rights movement, were the direct result of an extensive Southern propaganda
war, argues Blight (Amherst College professor of history and black studies), remnants of which are still flourishing in various
racist subcultures. As W.E.B. Du Bois noted a century ago, shortly after the war, the North was tacitly willing to accept
the South's representation of the conflict in exchange for an opening of new economic frontiers. Continued below…
Blight sets out to prove this
thesis, surveying a mass of information (the end notes run to almost 100 pages) clearly and synthetically, detailing the mechanics
of mythmaking: how the rebels were recast as not actually rebelling, how the South had been unjustly invaded, and how, most
fabulously of all, the South had fought to end slavery which had been imposed upon it by the North. His argument that this
"memory war" was conducted on a conscious level is supported by the Reconstruction-era evidence of protest, by blacks and
whites alike, that he unearths. Yet these voices failed to dissuade the vast majority of Americans both North and South who
internalized some version of the story. This book effectively traces both the growth and development of what became, by the
turn of the 20th century and the debut of The Birth of a Nation, the dominant racist representation of the Civil War. A major
work of American history, this volume's documentation of the active and exceedingly articulate voices of protest against this
inaccurate and unjust imagining of history is just one of its accomplishments. (Feb. 19) Forecast: This book will be the standard
for how public perceptions of the Civil War were formed and propagated in a manner directly analogous to today's doublespeak
and spin control. It will be a regular on course syllabi, and will be glowingly reviewed, but the wealth and diversity of
sources may keep some general readers away. From Booklist: The year 1913 saw two separate ceremonies commemorating great events
50 years previously: elderly Union and Confederate veterans shook hands at the Gettysburg battlefield, and W.E.B DuBois staged
an elaborate "National Emancipation Exposition." Together they struck discordant chords of memory about the Civil War, which
Blight examines in this incisive discussion of how the conflict was popularly remembered in the half-century following Appomattox.
He closely examines the types of memorializations of the war, such as the creation and observance of Memorial Day, the erection
of statues to Robert E. Lee and Robert Gould Shaw, soldiers' reunions, soldiers' memoirs, popular literature, and anniversary
orations by such figures as Frederick Douglass. Within these modes of expression Blight recounts the strong tide in the post-war
years for "reunion on Southern terms," politically by the overthrow of the Republican Reconstruction governments in the South,
and ideologically in "Lost Cause" writings justifying secession and slavery. Freed blacks suffered the consequence of the
ascendance of a sentimental view of the war and amnesia about its central issue.
Recommended Reading: Reconstruction: America's
Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. Description: This
"masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history" made history when it was originally published
in 1988. It redefined how Reconstruction was viewed by historians and people everywhere in its chronicling of how Americans
-- black and white -- responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. This "smart book
of enormous strengths" (Boston Globe) has since gone on to become the classic work on the wrenching post-Civil War period
-- an era whose legacy reverberates still today in the United States. Continued below...
About the Author: Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor
of American History atColumbia University, is the author of
numerous works on American history, including Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before
the Civil War; Tom Paine and Revolutionary America; and The Story of American Freedom. He has served as president of both
the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, and has been named Scholar of the Year by
the New York Council for the Humanities.
Recommended Viewing: Aftershock - Beyond the Civil
War (History Channel) (2006). Description:
Despite common belief, the Civil War does not end in 1865, and the blood of many Americans continues to flow freely.
It is a period known as "Reconstruction," a time many consider to be the darkest in American History.America is
supposed to be reuniting, healing its wounds, and moving past civil discord. But by examining what is really going on in the
post-Civil War South, one can see snapshots of a larger, more menacing picture, a picture shadowed by murder, terrorism, and
chaos. Continued below...
U.S. Army soldiers plundered and pillaged southern homes and
plantations during the Civil War Aftermath
and Reconstruction. Meanwhile, insurgencies led by disgruntled ex-Confederate soldiers rip through nearly every
southern state. Atrocities were conducted by both northerners and southerners, and "Aftershock
- Beyond the Civil War" is a must have video for every individual remotely interested
in the American Civil War.
Recommended Viewing: American Experience - Reconstruction: The Second Civil War (DVD) (175 minutes).
Description: Spanning the years from 1863 to 1877, this dramatic mini-series recounts the tumultuous post-Civil War years. America was grappling with rebuilding itself, with bringing the South back into the Union, and with how best to offer citizenship to
former slaves. Stories of key political players in Washington are interwoven with those of ordinary
people caught up in the turbulent social and political struggles of Reconstruction.
Recommended Viewing: The American Civil War (DVD
Megaset) (2009) (A&E Television Networks-The History Channel) (14 DVDs) (1697 minutes) (28 Hours 17
Minutes + extras). Experience for yourself the historical and personal impact of the Civil War in a way that only
HISTORY can present in this moving megaset™, filled with over 28 hours of American Civil War content. This
MEGASET is the most comprehensive American Civil War compilation to date and is the mother of all Civil War documentaries. A multifaceted look at “The War Between the States,” this definitive
collection brings the most legendary Civil War battles, and the soldiers and leaders who fought them, vividly to life. From
Gettysburg and Antietam to Shiloh, and led by the likes of Sherman, McClellan, Grant, Beauregard, Lee, Davis, and Jackson,
delve into the full military and political contexts of these men, their armies, and the clashes between them. Continued below...
Almost 150 years after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House,
the unexpected secrets and little-known stories from Civil War history are divulged with fascinating detail. Cutting-edge
CGI and accurate dramatizations illustrate archival letters and original diary entries, and the country’s most renowned
historians describe the less familiar incidents that add perspective and depth to the war that divided a nation. If the DVDs
in this Megaset were purchased separately, it could cost hundreds of dollars. This one-of-a-kind compilation belongs on the
shelf of every Civil War buff, and if you know anyone that is interested in the most costliest and bloodiest war in American
history, buy this, they will love it.
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR contains the following programs:
* The Most Daring Mission Of The Civil War
* April 1865
Detectives: The Civil War (3 Episodes): Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh
* Secret Missions Of The Civil War
* The Lost Battle
Of The Civil War
* Tales Of The Gun: Guns Of The Civil War
* Eighty Acres Of Hell
* Investigating History:
Lincoln: Man Or Myth
* Man, Moment, Machine: Lincoln & The Flying, Spying Machine
* Conspiracy?: Lincoln Assassination
High Tech Lincoln
* Sherman’s March
* The Hunt For John Wilkes Booth
* Civil War Combat (4 Episodes): The Hornets’
Nest At Shiloh, The Bloody Lane At Antietam, The Wheatfield At Gettysburg, The Tragedy At Cold Harbor
* Civil War Journal
(8 Episodes): John Brown's War, Destiny At Fort Sumter, The Battle of 1st Bull Run, The 54th Massachusetts, West Point Classmates—Civil
War Enemies, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Sherman And The March To The Sea
* Full-Length Documentary “Save Our History: Sherman’s Total
* Behind the Scenes Featurettes for “Sherman’s March” and “Lincoln”
Recommended Reading: Impeached:
The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's
Legacy. Description: From School Library Journal: One of our more controversial political figures, Andrew
Johnson came closer than any other U.S. President to being removed from office through impeachment. This study by Stewart
(Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution), a Washington
lawyer who has argued against impeachment in Senate proceedings, examines Johnson's rocky relationship with the post-Civil
War radical Republicans. Continued below…
He breaks with those historians
who have suggested that Johnson followed what would have been Lincoln's path to reconstruct the South, as he discusses
the complex impeachment proceedings against Johnson and the effectiveness of the impeachment process in calming political
tensions, if not in removing Presidents from office. Readers who wish to broaden their understanding of Lincoln in this anniversary
year will do well to select this well-researched work even if their collection already includes such examinations as Howard
Mean's narrower The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation.—Theresa McDevitt,
Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Library. From Publishers Weekly: Fresh from his masterful The Summer of 1787, Stewart takes
on one of the seamiest events in American history: the vengeful impeachment of Lincoln's
successor as president; the Senate failed to convict Andrew Johnson by a single vote. At issue was the continuation of Lincoln's plans to reintegrate the South into the union after the Civil
War. But also at stake, as always, was party politics. Stewart takes readers through a tangled web of motives and maneuverings
in lively, unadorned prose. He's skilled at characterizing his large cast of characters and, as a lawyer, has a practiced
nose for skullduggery, of which there was much. Corruption deeply marred the entire impeachment effort. Justifiably, Stewart
holds his nose about most of the people involved and admires few of them. As he sums it up, in 1868 none of the country's
leaders was great, a few were good, all were angry, and far too many were despicable. Stewart offers little analysis and advances
no new ideas about what he relates, but he tells the story as well as it's ever been told. Black and white photos.
Sources: Andrew Johnson National Historic Site; Library
of Congress; National Archives; National Park Service; Berlin, Ira, ed. Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom,
and the Civil War (1995); Howard, O.O. (1907). Autobiography of Oliver Otis Howard Major General United States Army (Volume
Two). New York: The Baker & Taylor Company; Bentley George R. A History of the Freedmen's Bureau (1955); Carpenter, John
A. Sword and Olive Branch: Oliver Otis Howard (1999); Cimbala, Paul A. and Trefousse, Hans L. (eds.) The Freedmen's Bureau:
Reconstructing the American South After the Civil War. 2005; Colby, I.C. (1985). The Freedmen's Bureau: From Social Welfare