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He restored Ashby to full command. Jackson even quarreled with the sainted Lee on one occasion. Lee did not force the issue. As serious as the situation was in the Army of Northern Virginia, it was nothing compared to the situation in the Western armies. The surrender of Fort Donelson offers a case study in how to lose a campaign through jealousy and infighting.
The Confederates began the campaign for the Tennessee River at a disadvantage because they were attempting to fight with a divided command. Grant initially besieged the fort. However, when Brig. Gideon Pillow arrived from Columbus, Ky. Simon B. From that point on, there was a definite lack of cooperation among the Confederate high command responsible for holding Fort Donelson.
Old insults were not easily forgotten, even in the face of a common enemy, and their mutual hostility was hardly kept under wraps. The fact that Pillow was a take- charge kind of person, in a situation calling for tact and diplomacy, did not help. While the three generals struggled to mount an effective defense of the vital fort, Grant tightened the noose. By February 15, a mood of defeatism had infected the Confederate side. That night there occurred one of the most amazing examples of a cumulative collapse of will in the annals of American warfare. The three generals held a council of war to decide on a course of action.
Should they fight, retreat or surrender? Floyd and Pillow decided to surrender. Having decided the fort could not be held, Pillow and Floyd then refused to surrender it personally to Grant. They feared they might be confined in a Yankee prison for the duration of the war, or worse, hanged as traitors. They turned the onerous task over to Buckner in the following famous exchange:. Several ironies resulted from this military fiasco. Although President Davis initially relieved Floyd and Pillow from command, the Southern press at first hailed them as heroes for refusing to surrender and castigated Buckner for turning over the keys to the fort and the Tennessee River.
Pillow later was restored to command. Meanwhile, Buckner, arguably the best officer of the three, was marched off to a Northern prisoner- of war camp. The Army of Tennessee had more than its share of general feuds, which usually seemed to start at the top with the general commanding. During his tenure at the head of the Army of Tennessee, Braxton Bragg made history by single-handedly setting military science and personnel management back to the Stone Age. It was Bragg, one should remember, who once got into an argument with himself while commanding a frontier post and serving at the same time as post quartermaster.
Bragg quarreled, at some point, with everybody who served under him. It was not just that his cold, imperious manner offended everyone; he also displayed appalling incompetence, which only he failed to discern. Long before Forrest became fed up with Bragg and told him so to his face, other general officers had reached the same conclusion, although they expressed their opinions with more circumspection.
It is doubtful that the men in the ranks failed to sense the cool relations between their senior officers. After the Battle of Stones River, a strategic reverse for the Confederacy, Bragg took the highly unusual step of canvassing his officers to ask for their frank assessment of his leadership. All his division commanders advised him to resign immediately. Polk even wrote a personal letter to Jefferson Davis asking that Bragg be relieved. It was no coincidence that shortly thereafter Bragg placed Polk under arrest for his conduct in the recent battle and forwarded formal charges against him to Richmond.
Davis, who considered both Bragg and Polk personal friends, refused to take action, and the charges were dropped. Worse still, Polk stayed with the army. He also added, disingenuously, I am influenced by no personal motive. Longstreet always saw himself in a grander role than his superiors allowed. After Bragg snatched stalemate from the jaws of victory at Chickamauga, Longstreet took up the pen again, this time writing the secretary of war to request that Lee be sent west to replace Bragg. At the end of September , he removed Generals Polk and Thomas Hindman, sending them to Atlanta to await further action from Richmond.
Again, Davis intervened by ordering charges dropped. The controversy swirling around Bragg was far from over. In fact, it was just climaxing in the famous Round- robin Letter, also known as the Revolt of the Generals. The dump-Bragg clique, now headed by Longstreet, was still hard at work. A letter was circulated among the senior officers of the army urging Davis to replace Bragg. Hill, among others. Longstreet, Hill, Benjamin Cheatham, Patrick Cleburne and Alexander Stewart all spoke up and said that Bragg was unfit for command and should be relieved.
Only Lafayette McLaws defended Bragg, but his voice was drowned out in the chorus of naysayers.
Unfortunately for the Army of Tennessee, the majority opinion was not shared by the president of the Confederacy. With practically everybody wanting to get rid of Bragg except Davis, the decision to retain him in command was carried by a majority of one. His campaign against Knoxville was badly bungled in the winter of ; and he blamed his subordinates, specifically Brig. Lafayette McLaws, one of his division commanders. On that earlier occasion, Longstreet had criticized Bragg for blaming his military setbacks on his subordinates; ironically, he now found himself doing the same thing.
On December 11, , he sent a curt note to McLaws containing odd, third person references to himself and an even odder ultimatum that one of them had to go and, since the commanding general could not leave, McLaws had to be the one. The charges against McLaws included neglect of duty, failure to instruct and organize his troops, and poor command decisions. Longstreet charged that McLaws had the poor judgment to exhibit a want of confidence in the efforts and plans which the commanding general had thought proper to adopt.
The irony of this vague charge from the same man who at Gettysburg had opposed the efforts and plans of his commanding general, seemed not to have registered on Longstreet. McLaws sought exoneration by insisting on a full court-martial, which was his right and, like most wartime courts-martial, this one dragged on for months, sapping the energy and distracting the attentions of all the officers involved. Davis immediately set the verdict aside and restored McLaws to full command. On January 21, , Longstreet filed court-martial charges against him for alleged delinquency and pessimistic remarks during the [Knoxville] campaign.
A military court was never convened to hear the charges; instead, a more subtle punishment was meted out by transferring Robertson to the Trans-Mississippi Department, where he finished out the war commanding reserve forces.
Eventually, after as much damage as possible had been done to the Army of Tennessee, he was replaced by Joe Johnston, whose last assignment prior to taking over the Army of Tennessee had been the poorly organized defense of Vicksburg. Unfortunately, Johnston was no better served by his lieutenants than Bragg had been.
His officers during the fight for Atlanta in the summer of raised dissension to a kind of art form, which eventually contributed to his downfall. Before that happened, however, the second great internal brawl of the Army of Tennessee occurred. A week after Johnston had assumed command, while the army was encamped at Dalton, Gal, Maj. Patrick Cleburne tossed a bombshell into the officer corps by proposing that the Confederacy arm its slaves and use them to fill up the depleted ranks of the armies. Other officers had already advised him not to bring up the controversial subject, if not out of consideration for army unity and morale, then out of consideration for his own promising career.
General W. Davis tried to put the lid on the entire matter, ordering Johnston to hush up any further discussion of it in the army. The Confederate situation, while not unique in military history, was nonetheless extremely disruptive. Reading through the records, one gets the feeling sometimes that more swords were surrendered to fellow officers during the war than to the enemy. The quaint practice of surrendering swords at least provided a peaceful method of resolving personal differences. In other instances, Southern officers preferred to use their sidearms on each other rather than surrendering them.
This is what happened on September 6, , at Little Rock, Ark. Marmaduke and Lucius M. Both commanded cavalry divisions in Arkansas, and Marmaduke impugned the personal courage of Walker, who had already been declared unfit as an officer by no less an authority than Braxton Bragg.
A duel resulted in which Walker was mortally wounded. Following his death the next day, Marmaduke was arrested but quickly released because the army could not afford to lose two cavalry commanders while the enemy was active in the vicinity. Furthermore, Marmaduke was a well-liked officer, and popular opinion in the army was clearly on his side. Baylor shot Brig. John A. Wharton, the latter being unarmed at the time. Baylor was never charged with any crime, and even if he had been, it is doubtful whether other Southern gentlemen, particularly if they were Texans, would have convicted him.
There is no telling how many dueling challenges were issued and never acted upon. Hill to a duel for accusing him of taking the field too late and leaving it too soon. The two men sparred back and forth in a series of letters, with Hill reminding Toombs that they were prohibited from issuing or accepting challenges to duel by the plainest principles of duty and the laws which we have mutually sworn to serve. Jefferson Davis himself never understood this fact and incredibly drew the opposite conclusion from his personal experience. After the Revolt of the Generals, he stated with more wishful thinking than common sense, I have learned that cordial cooperation between officers is not vital to success.
One who delves deeply into the literature of the period may easily conclude that Southerners hated each other more than they did the Yankees. Texas-based author Dr. Richard Selcer wishes to dedicate his article on Southern generals to the memory of his friend and colleague Colonel Harold B.
Simpson, author of Brawling Brass, North and South. Irene Sgambelluri was eleven years old, and living in Guam, when Japanese forces assaulted the area hours after bombing Pearl Harbor on Dec. Sgambelluri spoke with HistoryNet about the attack and the aftermath. When it came to military and diplomatic matters, these six people were able to accurately foretell the future Get inside articles from the world's premier publisher of history magazines.
List of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee General Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and is known as the most accomplished Confederate general. I entreat you to render a hearty and unequivocal obedience to the law of the land. Lincoln had already shown his attitude by his failure to countermand an order of one of his commanders, General Henry Halleck, who forbade fugitive Negroes to enter his army's lines.
Now he replied to Greeley:. So Lincoln distinguished between his "personal wish" and his "official duty. When in September , Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, it was a military move, giving the South four months to stop rebelling, threatening to emancipate their slaves if they continued to fight, promising to leave slavery untouched in states that came over to the North:.
Thus, when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued January 1, , it declared slaves free in those areas still fighting against the Union which it listed very carefully , and said nothing about slaves behind Union lines. As Hofstadter put it, the Emancipation Proclamation "had all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading. Limited as it was, the Emancipation Proclamation spurred antislavery forces.
By the summer of , , signatures asking legislation to end slavery had been gathered and sent to Congress, something unprecedented in the history of the country. That April, the Senate had adopted the Thirteenth Amendment, declaring an end to slavery, and in January , the House of Representatives followed. With the Proclamation, the Union army was open to blacks. And the more blacks entered the war, the more it appeared a war for their liberation.
And so the draft riots of took place, uprisings of angry whites in northern cities, their targets not the rich, far away, but the blacks, near at hand. It was an orgy of death and violence. A black man in Detroit described what he saw: a mob, with kegs of beer on wagons, armed with clubs and bricks, marching through the city, attacking black men, women, children. He heard one man say: "If we are got to be killed up for Negroes then we will kill every one in this town. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in human history up to that time: , dead on both sides, in a population of 30 million-the equivalent, in the United States of , with a population of million, of 5 million dead.
As the battles became more intense, as the bodies piled up, as war fatigue grew, the existence of blacks in the South, 4 million of them, became more and more a hindrance to the South, and more and more an opportunity for the North. Du Bois, in Black Reconstruction , pointed this out:. It was this plain alternative that brought Lee's sudden surrender. Either the South must make terms with its slaves, free them, use them to fight the North, and thereafter no longer treat them as bondsmen; or they could surrender to the North with the assumption that the North after the war must help them to defend slavery, as it had before.
George Rawick, a sociologist and anthropologist, describes the development of blacks up to and into the Civil War:. Black women played an important part in the war, especially toward the end. Sojourner Truth, the legendary ex-slave who had been active in the women's rights movement, became recruiter of black troops for the Union army, as did Josephine St.https://grupoavigase.com/includes/210/4037-chica-busca.php
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Pierre Ruffin of Boston. Harriet Tubman raided plantations, leading black and white troops, and in one expedition freed slaves. Women moved with the colored regiments that grew as the Union army marched through the South, helping their husbands, enduring terrible hardships on the long military treks, in which many children died. They suffered the fate of soldiers, as in April , when Confederate troops at Fort Pillow, Kentucky, massacred Union soldiers who had surrendered-black and white, along with women and children in an adjoining camp.
It has been said that black acceptance of slavery is proved by the fact that during the Civil War, when there were opportunities for escape, most slaves stayed on the plantation. In fact, half a million ran away- about one in five, a high proportion when one considers that there was great difficulty in knowing where to go and how to live. The owner of a large plantation in South Carolina and Georgia wrote in "This war has taught us the perfect impossibility of placing the least confidence in the negro.
In too numerous instances those we esteemed the most have been the first to desert us. A minister in Mississippi wrote in the fall of "On my arrival was surprised to hear that our negroes stampeded to the Yankees last night or rather a portion of them I think every one, but with one or two exceptions will go to the Yankees. Eliza and her family are certain to go.
She does not conceal her thoughts but plainly manifests her opinions by her conduct-insolent and insulting. Genovese notes that the war produced no general rising of slaves, but: "In Lafayette County, Mississippi, slaves responded to the Emancipation Proclamation by driving off their overseers and dividing the land and implements among themselves.
In Kentucky that year, houses and barns were burned by Negroes, and in the city of New Castle slaves paraded through the city "singing political songs, and shouting for Lincoln," according to newspaper accounts. After the Emancipation Proclamation, a Negro waiter in Richmond, Virginia, was arrested for leading "a servile plot," while in Yazoo City, Mississippi, slaves burned the courthouse and fourteen homes.
There were special moments: Robert Smalls later a South Carolina Congressman and other blacks took over a steamship, The Planter , and sailed it past the Confederate guns to deliver it to the Union navy. Most slaves neither submitted nor rebelled. They continued to work, waiting to see what happened. When opportunity came, they left, often joining the Union army. Two hundred thousand blacks were in the army and navy, and 38, were killed. Historian James McPherson says: "Without their help, the North could not have won the war as soon as it did, and perhaps it could not have won at all.
What happened to blacks in the Union army and in the northern cities during the war gave some hint of how limited the emancipation would be, even with full victory over the Confederacy. Off- duty black soldiers were attacked in northern cities, as in Zanesville, Ohio, in February , where cries were heard to "kill the nigger. Late in the war, a black sergeant of the Third South Carolina Volunteers, William Walker, marched his company to his captain's tent and ordered them to stack arms and resign from the army as a protest against what he considered a breach of contract, because of unequal pay.
He was court-martialed and shot for mutiny. Finally, in June , Congress passed a law granting equal pay to Negro soldiers. The Confederacy was desperate in the latter part of the war, and some of its leaders suggested the slaves, more and more an obstacle to their cause, be enlisted, used, and freed. After a number of military defeats, the Confederate secretary of war, Judah Benjamin, wrote in late to a newspaper editor in Charleston: ".
It is well known that General Lee, who commands so largely the confidence of the people, is strongly in favor of our using the negroes for defense, and emancipating them, if necessary, for that purpose. By early , the pressure had mounted, and in March President Davis of the Confederacy signed a "Negro Soldier Law" authorizing the enlistment of slaves as soldiers, to be freed by consent of their owners and their state governments.
But before it had any significant effect, the war was over. Former slaves, interviewed by the Federal Writers' Project in the thirties, recalled the war's end. Susie Melton:. You's free! In , a North Carolina Negro wrote that "if the strict law of right and justice is to be observed, the country around me is the entailed inheritance of the Americans of African descent, purchased by the invaluable labor of our ancestors, through a life of tears and groans, under the lash and yoke of tyranny.
Abandoned plantations, however, were leased to former planters, and to white men of the North. As one colored newspaper said: "The slaves were made serfs and chained to the soil. Such was the boasted freedom acquired by the colored man at the hands of the Yankee. Under congressional policy approved by Lincoln, the property confiscated during the war under the Confiscation Act of July would revert to the heirs of the Confederate owners.
John Rock, a black physician in Boston, spoke at a meeting: "Why talk about compensating masters? Compensate them for what? What do you owe them? What does the slave owe them? What does society owe them? Compensate the master? It is the slave who ought to be compensated.
The property of the South is by right the property of the slave. Some land was expropriated on grounds the taxes were delinquent, and sold at auction. But only a few blacks could afford to buy this. In the South Carolina Sea Islands, out of 16, acres up for sale in March of , freedmen who pooled their money were able to buy 2, acres, the rest being bought by northern investors and speculators.
A freedman on the Islands dictated a letter to a former teacher now in Philadelphia:. De word cum from Mass Linkum's self, dat we take out claims and hold on ter um, an' plant um, and he will see dat we get um, every man ten or twenty acre. We too glad. We stake out an' list, but fore de time for plant, dese commissionaries sells to white folks all de best land. Where Linkum? In early , General William T. Sherman held a conference in Savannah, Georgia, with twenty Negro ministers and church officials, mostly former slaves, at which one of them expressed their need: "The way we can best take care of ourselves is to have land, and till it by our labor.
Freedmen could settle there, taking no more than 40 acres per family. By June , forty thousand freedmen had moved onto new farms in this area. But President Andrew Johnson, in August of , restored this land to the Confederate owners, and the freedmen were forced off, some at bayonet point. The American government had set out to fight the slave states in , not to end slavery, but to retain the enormous national territory and market and resources. Yet, victory required a crusade, and the momentum of that crusade brought new forces into national politics: more blacks determined to make their freedom mean something; more whites-whether Freedman's Bureau officials, or teachers in the Sea Islands, or "carpetbaggers" with various mixtures of humanitarianism and personal ambition-concerned with racial equality.
There was also the powerful interest of the Republican party in maintaining control over the national government, with the prospect of southern black votes to accomplish this. Northern businessmen, seeing Republican policies as beneficial to them, went along for a while. The result was that brief period after the Civil War in which southern Negroes voted, elected blacks to state legislatures and to Congress, introduced free and racially mixed public education to the South.
A legal framework was constructed. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. It also seemed to make a powerful statement for racial equality, severely limiting "states' rights":.
The Fifteenth Amendment said: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Congress passed a number of laws in the late s and early s in the same spirit-laws making it a crime to deprive Negroes of their rights, requiring federal officials to enforce those rights, giving Negroes the right to enter contracts and buy property without discrimination. And in , a Civil Rights Act outlawed the exclusion of Negroes from hotels, theaters, railroads, and other public accommodations.
With these laws, with the Union army in the South as protection, and a civilian army of officials in the Freedman's Bureau to help them, southern Negroes came forward, voted, formed political organizations, and expressed themselves forcefully on issues important to them. They were hampered in this for several years by Andrew Johnson, Vice-President under Lincoln, who became President when Lincoln was assassinated at the close of the war.
Johnson vetoed bills to help Negroes; he made it easy for Confederate states to come back into the Union without guaranteeing equal rights to blacks. During his presidency, these returned southern states enacted "black codes," which made the freed slaves like serfs, still working the plantations. For instance, Mississippi in made it illegal for freedmen to rent or lease farmland, and provided for them to work under labor contracts which they could not break under penalty of prison.
It also provided that the courts could assign black children under eighteen who had no parents, or whose parents were poor, to forced labor, called apprenticeships - with punishment for runaways. Andrew Johnson clashed with Senators and Congressmen who, in some cases for reasons of justice, in others out of political calculation, supported equal rights and voting for the freedman. These members of Congress succeeded in impeaching Johnson in , using as an excuse that he had violated some minor statute, but the Senate fell one vote short of the two-thirds required to remove him from office. In the presidential election of that year, Republican Ulysses Grant was elected, winning by , votes, with , Negroes voting, and so Johnson was out as an obstacle.
Now the southern states could come back into the Union only by approving the new Constitutional amendments. Whatever northern politicians were doing to help their cause, southern blacks were determined to make the most of their freedom, in spite of their lack of land and resources. A study of blacks in Alabama in the first years after the war by historian Peter Kolchin finds that they began immediately asserting their independence of whites, forming their own churches, becoming politically active, strengthening their family ties, trying to educate their children. Kolchin disagrees with the contention of some historians that slavery had created a "Sambo" mentality of submission among blacks.
Negroes were now elected to southern state legislatures, although in all these they were a minority except in the lower house of the South Carolina legislature. A great propaganda campaign was undertaken North and South one which lasted well into the twentieth century, in the history textbooks of American schools to show that blacks were inept, lazy, corrupt, and ruinous to the governments of the South when they were in office.
Undoubtedly there was corruption, but one could hardly claim that blacks had invented political conniving, especially in the bizarre climate of financial finagling North and South after the Civil War. Not only were seventy thousand Negro children going to school by where none had gone before, but fifty thousand white children were going to school where only twenty thousand had attended in Black voting in the period after resulted in two Negro members of the U.
Senate Hiram Revels and Blanche Bruce, both from Mississippi , and twenty Congressmen, including eight from South Carolina, four from North Carolina, three from Alabama, and one each from the other former Confederate states. This list would dwindle rapidly after ; the last black left Congress in One has to measure against those words the black leaders in the postwar South. For instance, Henry MacNeal Turner, who had escaped from peonage on a South Carolina plantation at the age of fifteen, taught himself to read and write, read law books while a messenger in a lawyer's office in Baltimore, and medical books while a handyman in a Baltimore medical school, served as chaplain to a Negro regiment, and then was elected to the first postwar legislature of Georgia.
In , the Georgia legislature voted to expel all its Negro members-two senators, twenty-five representatives- and Turner spoke to the Georgia House of Representatives a black woman graduate student at Atlanta University later brought his speech to light :. The scene presented in this House, today, is one unparalleled in the history of the world Never, in the history of the world, has a man been arraigned before a body clothed with legislative, judicial or executive functions, charged with the offense of being of a darker hue than his fellow-men.
The Anglo-Saxon race, sir, is a most surprising one I was not aware that there was in the character of that race so much cowardice, or so much pusillanimity. I tell you, sir, that this is a question which will not die today. This event shall be remembered by posterity for ages yet to come, and while the sun shall continue to climb the hills of heaven Why, sir, though we are not white, we have accomplished much. We have pioneered civilization here; we have built up your country; we have worked in your fields, and garnered your harvests, for two hundred and fifty years!
And what do we ask of you in return? Do we ask you for compensation for the sweat our fathers bore for you-for the rears you have caused, and the hearts you have broken, and the lives you have curtailed, and the blood you have spilled? Do we ask retaliation? We ask it not. As black children went to school, they were encouraged by teachers, black and white, to express themselves freely, sometimes in catechism style. The records of a school in Louisville, Kentucky:. Black women helped rebuild the postwar South. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, born free in Baltimore, self-supporting from the age of thirteen, working as a nursemaid, later as an abolitionist lecturer, reader of her own poetry, spoke all through the southern states after the war.
In the s she wrote the first novel published by a black woman: Iola Leroy or Shadows Uplifted. In she described what she had seen and heard recently in the South:. Through all the struggles to gain equal rights for blacks, certain black women spoke out on their special situation. I am above eighty years old; it is about time for me to be going. I have been forty years a slave and forty years free, and would be here forty years more to have equal rights for all. I suppose I am kept here because some-thing remains for me to do; I suppose I am yet to help break the chain.
I have done a great deal of work; as much as a man, but did not get so much pay. I used to work in the field and bind grain, keeping with the cradler; but men doing no more, got twice as much pay I suppose I am about the only colored woman that goes about to speak for the rights of the colored women.
I want to keep the thing stirring, now that the ice is cracked. The Constitutional amendments were passed, the laws for racial equality were passed, and the black man began to vote and to hold office. Cut so long as the Negro remained dependent on privileged whites for work, for the necessities of life, his vote could be bought or taken away by threat of force. Thus, laws calling for equal treatment became meaningless. While Union troops-including colored troops- remained in the South, this process was delayed.
But the balance of military powers began to change. The southern white oligarchy used its economic power to organize the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups. Northern politicians began to weigh the advantage of the political support of impoverished blacks-maintained in voting and office only by force-against the more stable situation of a South returned to white supremacy, accepting Republican dominance and business legislation.
It was only a matter of time before blacks would be reduced once again to conditions not far from slavery. Violence began almost immediately with the end of the war. In Memphis, Tennessee, in May of , whites on a rampage of murder killed forty-six Negroes, most of them veterans of the Union army, as well as two white sympathizers.
Five Negro women were raped. Ninety homes, twelve schools, and four churches were burned. In New Orleans, in the summer of , another riot against blacks killed thirty-five Negroes and three whites. The violence mounted through the late s and early s as the Ku Klux Klan organized raids, lynchings, beatings, burnings. For Kentucky alone, between and , the National Archives lists acts of violence.
A sampling:. A Negro blacksmith named Charles Caldwell, born a slave, later elected to the Mississippi Senate, and known as "a notorious and turbulent Negro" by whites, was shot at by the son of a white Mississippi judge in Caldwell fired back and killed the man. Tried by an all-white jury, he argued self-defense and was acquitted, the first Negro to kill a white in Mississippi and go free after a trial.
But on Christmas Day , Caldwell was shot to death by a white gang. It was a sign. The old white rulers were taking back political power in Mississippi, and everywhere else in the South. As white violence rose in the s, the national government, even under President Grant, became less enthusiastic about defending blacks, and certainly not prepared to arm them. The Supreme Court played its gyroscopic role of pulling the other branches of government back to more conservative directions when they went too far.
It began interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment- passed presumably for racial equality-in a way that made it impotent for this purpose. In , the Civil Rights Act of , outlawing discrimination against Negroes using public facilities, was nullified by the Supreme Court, which said: "Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject-matter of the amendment.
A remarkable dissent was written by Supreme Court Justice John Harlan, himself a former slaveowner in Kentucky, who said there was Constitutional justification for banning private discrimination. He noted that the Thirteenth Amendment, which banned slavery, applied to individual plantation owners, not just the state.
He then argued that discrimination was a badge of slavery and similarly outlawable. He pointed also to the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, saying that anyone born in the United States was a citizen, and to the clause in Article 4, Section 2, saying "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States. Harlan was fighting a force greater than logic or justice; the mood of the Court reflected a new coalition of northern industrialists and southern businessmen-planters.
The culmination of this mood came in the decision of , Plessy v. Ferguson , when the Court ruled that a railroad could segregate black and white if the segregated facilities were equal:. It was the year that spelled out clearly and dramatically what was happening. When the year opened, the presidential election of the past November was in bitter dispute.
The Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, had votes and needed one more to be elected: his popular vote was greater by , The Republican candidate, Rutherford Hayes, had electoral votes. Three states not yet counted had a total of 19 electoral votes; if Hayes could get all of those, he would have and be President.
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This is what his managers proceeded to arrange. They made concessions to the Democratic party and the white South, including an agreement to remove Union troops from the South, the last military obstacle to the reestablishment of white supremacy there. Northern political and economic interests needed powerful allies and stability in the face of national crisis.
The country had been in economic depression since , and by farmers and workers were beginning to rebel. Vann Woodward puts it in his history of the Compromise, Reunion and Reaction :. It was a time for reconciliation between southern and northern elites. Woodward asks: " With billions of dollars' worth of slaves gone, the wealth of the old South was wiped out. They now looked to the national government for help: credit, subsidies, flood control projects. So one of the things the South looked for was federal aid to the Texas and Pacific Railroad.
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Woodward says: "By means of appropriations, subsidies, grants, and bonds such as Congress had so lavishly showered upon capitalist enterprise in the North, the South might yet mend its fortunes- or at any rate the fortunes of a privileged elite. The farmers wanted railroads, harbor improvements, flood control, and, of course, land-not knowing yet how these would be used not to help them but to exploit them.
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For example, as the first act of the new North-South capitalist cooperation, the Southern Homestead Act, which had reserved all federal lands-one-third of the area of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi-for farmers who would work the land, was repealed. This enabled absentee speculators and lumbermen to move in and buy up much of this land.
And so the deal was made. The proper committee was set up by both houses of Congress to decide where the electoral votes would go. The decision was: they belonged to Hayes, and he was now President. The importance of the new capitalism in overturning what black power existed in the postwar South is affirmed by Horace Mann Bond's study of Alabama Reconstruction, which shows, after , "a struggle between different financiers. Without sentiment, without emotion, those who sought profit from an exploitation of Alabama's natural resources turned other men's prejudices and attitudes to their own account, and did so with skill and a ruthless acumen.
It was an age of coal and power, and northern Alabama had both. The only thing lacking was transportation. Morgan appears by as director for several lines in Alabama and Georgia. In the audience were J. Morgan, H. His talk was called "The New South" and his theme was: Let bygones be bygones; let us have a new era of peace and prosperity; the Negro was a prosperous laboring class; he had the fullest protection of the laws and the friendship of the southern people. Grady joked about the northerners who sold slaves to the South and said the South could now handle its own race problem.
He received a rising ovation, and the band played "Dixie. The North, it must be recalled, did not have to undergo a revolution in its thinking to accept the subordination of the Negro. When the Civil War ended, nineteen of the twenty-four northern states did not allow blacks to vote. By , all the southern states, in new constitutions and new statutes, had written into law the disfranchisement and segregation of Negroes, and a New York Times editorial said: "Northern men The necessity of it under the supreme law of self-preservation is candidly recognized.
While not written into law in the North, the counterpart in racist thought and practice was there. An item in the Boston Transcript , September 25, In the postwar literature, images of the Negro came mostly from southern white writers like Thomas Nelson Page, who in his novel Red Rock referred to a Negro character as "a hyena in a cage," "a reptile,' "a species of worm," "a wild beast. I kin take a bar'l stave an fling mo' sense inter a nigger in one minnit dan all de schoolhouses betwixt dis en de state er Midgigin.
In this atmosphere it was no wonder that those Negro leaders most accepted in white society, like the educator Booker T. Invited by the white organizers of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta in to speak, Washington urged the southern Negro to "cast down your bucket where you are"-that is, to stay in the South, to be farmers, mechanics, domestics, perhaps even to attain to the professions. He urged white employers to hire Negroes rather than immigrants of "strange tongue and habits. Perhaps Washington saw this as a necessary tactic of survival in a time of hangings and burnings of Negroes throughout the South, It was a low point for black people in America.
Thomas Fortune, a young black editor of the New York Globe, testified before a Senate committee in about the situation of the Negro in the United States. He spoke of "widespread poverty," of government betrayal, of desperate Negro attempts to educate themselves. The average wage of Negro farm laborers in the South was about fifty cents a day, Fortune said.
He was usually paid in "orders," not money, which he could use only at a store controlled by the planter, "a system of fraud. Fortune spoke of "the penitentiary system of the South, with its infamous chain-gang. The white man who shoots a negro always goes free, while the negro who steals a hog is sent to the chaingang for ten years. Many Negroes fled. About six thousand black people left Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and migrated to Kansas to escape violence and poverty.
Frederick Douglass and some other leaders thought this was a wrong tactic, but migrants rejected such advice. Henry Adams, another black migrant, illiterate, a veteran of the Union army, told a Senate committee in why he left Shreveport, Louisiana: "We seed that the whole South - every state in the South - had got into the hands of the very men that held us slaves. Even in the worst periods, southern Negroes continued to meet, to organize in self-defense. Herbert Aptheker reprints thirteen documents of meetings, petitions, and appeals of Negroes in the s - in Baltimore, Louisiana, the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Kansas - showing the spirit of defiance and resistance of blacks all over the South.
This, in the face of over a hundred lynchings a year by this time. Despite the apparent hopelessness of this situation, there were black leaders who thought Booker T. Washington wrong in advocating caution and moderation. Rise, Brothers! Come let us possess this land. Be discontented. Be dissatisfied. Be as restless as the tempestuous billows on the boundless sea.
Let your discontent break mountain-high against the wall of prejudice, and swamp it to the very foundation.. Another black man, who came to teach at Atlanta University, W. Du Bois, saw the late- nineteenth-century betrayal of the Negro as part of a larger happening in the United States, something happening not only to poor blacks but to poor whites. In his book Black Reconstruction, written in , he said:. Du Bois saw this new capitalism as part of a process of exploitation and bribery taking place in all the "civilized" countries of the world:.
Was Du Bois right-that in that growth of American capitalism, before and after the Civil War, whites as well as blacks were in some sense becoming slaves? John Little, a former slave, wrote: They say slaves are happy, because they laugh, and are merry. I myself and three or four others, have received two hundred lashes in the day, and had our feet in fetters; yet, at night, we would sing and dance, and make others laugh at the rattling of our chains.
Happy men we must have been! We did it to keep down trouble, and to keep our hearts from being completely broken: that is as true as the gospel! Just look at it,-must not we have been very happy? Yet I have done it myself-I have cut capers in chains. An answer was given in by James Hammond, a supporter of slavery: But if your course was wholly different-If you distilled nectar from your lips and discoursed sweetest music With a total population of 1,,, the State of Virginia was able to field a militia force of , men, including cavalry, artillery, grenadiers, riflemen, and light infantry!
It is true that this was a "paper army" in some ways, in that the county regiments were not fully armed and equipped, but it is still an astonishing commentary on the state of the public mind of the time. During a period when neither the State nor the nation faced any sort of exterior threat, we find that Virginia felt the need to maintain a security force roughly ten percent of the total number of its inhabitants: black and white, male and female, slave and free! Ulrich Phillips, a southerner whose American Negro Slavery is a classic study, wrote: A great number of southerners at all times held the firm belief that the negro population was so docile, so little cohesive, and in the main so friendly toward the whites and so contented that a disastrous insurrection by them would be impossible.
But on the whole, there was much greater anxiety abroad in the land than historians have told of Du Bois wrote, in The Gift of Black Folk : As a tropical product with a sensuous receptivity to the beauty of the world, he was not as easily reduced to be the mechanical draft-horse which the northern European laborer became. An episode of this sort was recounted in a letter of a Georgia overseer to his absent employer: "Sir, I write you a few lines in order to let you know that six of your hands has left the plantation-every man but Jack.
They displeased me with their work and I give some of them a few lashes, Tom with the rest. On Wednesday morning, they were missing. Genovese says: The slaveholders White men sometimes were linked to slave insurrectionary plots, and each such incident rekindled fears. That may well have been true, but Fanny Kemble, the famous actress and wife of a planter, wrote in her journal: But the Irish are not only quarrelers, and rioters, and fighters, and drinkers, and despisers of niggers-they are a passionate, impulsive, warm-hearted, generous people, much given to powerful indignations, which break out suddenly when not compelled to smoulder sullenly-pestilent sympathizers too, and with a sufficient dose of American atmospheric air in their lungs, properly mixed with a right proportion of ardent spirits, there is no saying but what they might actually take to sympathy with the slaves, and I leave you to judge of the possible consequences.
You perceive, I am sure, that they can by no means be allowed to work together on the Brunswick Canal. But interviews with ex-slaves, done in the s by the Federal Writers Project of the New Deal for the Library of Congress, showed a different story, which George Rawick summarizes From Sundown to Sunup : The slave community acted like a generalized extended kinship system in which all adults looked after all children and there was little division between "my children for whom I'm responsible" and "your children for whom you're responsible.
A kind of family relationship in which older children have great responsibility for caring for younger siblings is obviously more functionally integrative and useful for slaves than the pattern of sibling rivalry and often dislike that frequently comes out of contemporary middle-class nuclear families composed of highly individuated persons. Indeed, the activity of the slaves in creating patterns of family life that were functionally integrative did more than merely prevent the destruction of personality.
It was part and parcel, as we shall see, of the social process out of which came black pride, black identity, black culture, the black community, and black rebellion in America. The remarkable southern black farmer Nate Shaw recalled that when his sister died, leaving three children, his father proposed sharing their care, and he responded: That suits me. Let's handle em like this; don't get the two little boys, the youngest ones, off at your house and the oldest one be at my house and we bold these little boys apart and won't bring em to see one another.
I'll bring the little boy that I keep, the oldest one, around to your home amongst the other two. And you forward the others to my house and let em grow up knowin that they are brothers.