The Old South


Subject: History 12


Section no.: 3429


Date: 03/04/2004


X-Credit No.1: What steps did the leaders of the Old South take between 1865 and 1900


To regain the power they had lost from their total defeat in the Civil


War? (Chaps.15 & 18)


On New Year’s Day,1863, President Abraham Lincoln began the process by which all people in the nation became free by singing the Emancipation Proclamation which established the destruction of slavery as Civil War aim. This also was part of reconstruction goals. Reconstruction, the period between 1865 and 1877, was a time of physical rebuilding throughout the South. The term “Reconstruction”, refers primarily to the rebuilding of the federal Union and to the political, economic, and social charges that came to the South after the war. Republican Party played an important role through the whole Reconstruction process. This faction developed a third objective: citizenship for the former slaves and the equality of all citizens before the law. Their Radicals advocated the Black rights which mean Black people also have the same rights as other people especially white people. Also, all Republicans agreed that slavery had to be destroyed permanently. Basically, most South American except the leaders of the Old South wanted to achieve this goal through the reconstruction.


For advancing of a Union army brought the reality of emancipation to the Confederacy. Congress in early 1865 approved the Thirteenth Amendment, which means that constitutional amendment ratified in 1865 that abolished slavery in the United States and its territories. To destroy slavery forever throughout was the purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment.


To regain the power, the leaders of the Old South took plenty action between 1865 and 1900. First of all, Sharecropping is one of the agricultural system in which tenant farmers give landlords a share of the crops as rent rather than cash. Under this system, many southerners became trapped by sharecropping and debt because sharecroppers often found themselves in debt to a local merchant who had advanced supplies on credit until the harvest came and many landlords required tenants to patronize the stores they ran. Thus, the debt owed the store exceeded the value of the tenant’s share of the harvest. For this reason, the power of the landlord and the merchant often extended to politics. When a landlord or merchant advocated a particular candidate, the unspoken message was often an implicit threat to cut off credit at the store or to evict a farmer from his plot if he did not vote as directed. Such forms of economic coercion had the potential to undercut voting rights.


In 1865, the newly reconstructed state legislatures passed black codes to define the new legal status of African Americans. Black code placed significant required all African Americans to have an annual employment contract, restricted them from moving about the countryside without permission, forbade them from owning guns or carrying weapons, restricted ownership of land, and required those without a job to perform forced labor. The black codes clearly represented an effort by white southerners to define a legally subordinate place for African Americans.


The Civil Right Act of 1866 defined all persons born in the United States (with the exception of certain Indians) as citizens. It also listed certain rights of all citizens, including the right to testify in court, own property, make contracts, bring lawsuits, and enjoy “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property.” It authorized federal officials to bring suit against violations of civil rights. It was the first effort to define some of the rights of American citizenship.


About Fourteenth Amendment is not that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The Constitution and Bill of Rights prohibited federal interference with basic civil rights. The Fourteenth Amendment extended this protection against action by state governments.


Congress passed those civil rights bill that gave citizenship to African Americans and defined the rights of all citizens. And Military Reconstruction Act of 1867, passed on March 2 over Johnson’s veto, divided the