The American History Company



Books for Study and Reading

References.--Scribner's Popular History, V; McMaster's School History, chs. xxx-xxxiii; Andrews's Last Quarter-Century.

Home Readings.--Hale's Mr. Merriam's Scholars.



Position of the seceded states.
Lincoln's policy of reconstruction. McMaster, 427-428.

437. Lincoln's Reconstruction Policy.--The great question now before the country was what should be done with the Southern states and people. And what should be done with the freedmen? On these questions people were not agreed. Some people thought that the states were "indestructible"; that they could not secede or get out of the Union. Others thought that the Southern states had been conquered and should be treated as a part of the national domain. Lincoln thought that it was useless to go into these questions. The Southern states were out of the "proper practical relations with the Union." That was clear enough. The thing to do, therefore, was to restore "proper practical relations" as quickly and as quietly as possible. In December, 1863, Lincoln had offered a pardon to all persons, with some exceptions, who should take the oath of allegiance to the United States, and should promise to support the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation. Whenever one-tenth of the voters in any of the Confederate states should do these things, and should set up a republican form of government, Lincoln promised to recognize that government as the state government. But the admission to Congress of Senators and Representatives from such a reconstructed state would rest with Congress. Several states were reconstructed on this plan. But public opinion was opposed to this quiet reorganization of the seceded states. The people trusted Lincoln, however, and had he lived he might have induced them to accept his plan.

Andrew Johnson President, 1865.
His ideas on reconstruction. McMaster, 428.

438. President Johnson's Reconstruction Plan.--Johnson was an able man and a patriot. But he had none of Lincoln's wise patience. He had none of Lincoln's tact and humor in dealing with men. On the contrary, he always lost his temper when opposed. Although he was a Southerner, he hated slavery and slave owners. On the other hand, he had a Southerner's contempt for the negroes. He practically adopted Lincoln's reconstruction policy and tried to bring about the reorganization of the seceded states by presidential action.

Force of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
Abolition of slavery, 1865.

439. The Thirteenth Amendment, 1865.--President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (p. 331) had freed the slaves in those states and parts of states which were in rebellion against the national government. It had not freed the slaves in the loyal states. It had not destroyed slavery as an institution. Any state could reestablish slavery whenever it chose. Slavery could be prohibited only by an amendment of the Constitution. So the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, December, 1865. This amendment declares that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, ... shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." In this way slavery came to an end throughout the United States.


Forced labor in the South. McMaster, 429.
The Freedmen's Bureau. Source-book, 339-342.

440. Congress and the President, 1865-66.--Unhappily many of the old slave states had passed laws to compel the negroes to work. They had introduced a system of forced labor which was about the same thing as slavery. In December, 1865, the new Congress met. The Republicans were in the majority. They refused to admit the Senators and Representatives from the reorganized Southern states and at once set to work to pass laws for the protection of the negroes. In March, 1865, while the war was still going on, and while Lincoln was alive, Congress had established the Freedmen's Bureau to look after the interests of the negroes. Congress now (February, 1866) passed a bill to continue the Bureau and to give it much more power. Johnson promptly vetoed the bill. In the following July Congress passed another bill to continue the Freedmen's Bureau. In this bill the officers of the Bureau were given greatly enlarged powers, the education of the blacks was provided for, and the army might be used to compel obedience to the law. Johnson vetoed this bill also.

Civil Rights Bill, 1866.
It is passed over Johnson's veto.
The Fourteenth Amendment, 1866.

441. The Fourteenth Amendment.--While this contest over the Freedmen's Bureau was going on, Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill to protect the freedmen. This bill provided that cases concerning the civil rights of the freedmen should be heard in the United States courts instead of in the state courts. Johnson thought that Congress had no power to do this. He vetoed the bill, and Congress passed it over his veto. Congress then drew up the Fourteenth Amendment. This forbade the states to abridge the rights of the citizens, white or black. It further provided that the representation of any state in Congress should be diminished whenever it denied the franchise to any one except for taking part in rebellion. Finally it guaranteed the debt of the United States, and declared all debts incurred in support of rebellion null and void. Every Southern state except Tennessee refused to accept this amendment.

[Illustration: ANDREW JOHNSON.]

Elections of 1866.
Tenure of Office Act, 1867.
The Reconstruction Acts, 1867. Process of reconstruction. Source-Book, 344-346.

442. The Reconstruction Acts, 1867.--The Congressional elections of November, 1866, were greatly in favor of the Republicans. The Republican members of Congress felt that this showed that the North was with them in their policy as to reconstruction. Congress met in December, 1866, and at once set to work to carry out this policy. First of all it passed the Tenure of Office Act to prevent Johnson dismissing Republicans from office. Then it passed the Reconstruction Act. Johnson vetoed both of these measures, and Congress passed them both over his veto. The Reconstruction Act was later amended and strengthened. It will be well to describe here the process of reconstruction in its final form. First of all the seceded states, with the exception of Tennessee, were formed into military districts. Each district was ruled by a military officer who had soldiers to carry out his directions. Tennessee was not included in this arrangement, because it had accepted the Fourteenth Amendment. But all the other states, which had been reconstructed by Lincoln or by Johnson, were to be reconstructed over again. The franchise was given to all men, white or black, who had lived in any state for one year--excepting criminals and persons who had taken part in rebellion. This exception took the franchise away from the old rulers of the South. These new voters could form a state constitution and elect a legislature which should ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. When all this had been done, Senators and Representatives from the reconstructed state might be admitted to Congress.

Charges against Johnson.
He is impeached.
But not convicted.

443. Impeachment of Johnson, 1868.--President Johnson had vetoed all these bills. He had declared that the Congress was a Congress of only a part of the states, because Representatives from the states reconstructed according to his ideas were not admitted. He had used language toward his opponents that was fairly described as indecent and unbecoming the chief officer of a great nation. Especially he had refused to be bound by the Tenure of Office Act. Ever since the formation of the government the Presidents had removed officers when they saw fit. The Tenure of Office Act required the consent of the Senate to removals as well as to appointments. Among the members of Lincoln's cabinet who were still in office was Edwin M. Stanton. Johnson removed him, and this brought on the crisis. The House impeached the President. The Senate, presided over by Chief Justice Chase, heard the impeachment. The Constitution requires the votes of two-thirds of the Senators to convict. Seven Republicans voted with the Democrats against conviction, and the President was acquitted by one vote.

Napoleon's plans.
Action of the United States.
Withdrawal of the French, 1868.

444. The French in Mexico.--Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, seized the occasion of the Civil War to set the Monroe Doctrine at defiance and to refound a French colonial empire in America. At one time, indeed, he seemed to be on the point of interfering, to compel the Union government to withdraw its armies from the Confederate states. Then Napoleon had an idea that perhaps Texas might secede from the Confederacy and set up for itself under French protection. This failing, he began the establishment of an empire in Mexico with the Austrian prince, Maximilian, as Emperor. The ending of the Civil War made it possible for the United States to interfere. Grant and Sheridan would gladly have marched troops into Mexico and turned out the French, but Seward said that the French would have to leave before long anyway. He hastened their going by telling the French government that the sooner they left the better. They were withdrawn in 1868. Maximilian insisted on staying. He was captured by the Mexicans and shot. The Mexican Republic was reestablished.

Purchase of Alaska, 1867.
The fur seals.
Boundary controversy.

445. The Purchase of Alaska, 1867.--In 1867 President Johnson sent to the Senate, for ratification, a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Russia's American possessions. These were called Alaska, and included an immense tract of land in the extreme Northwest. The price to be paid was seven million dollars. The history of this purchase is still little known. The Senate was completely taken by surprise, but it ratified the treaty. Until recent years the only important product of Alaska has been the skins of the fur seals. To preserve the seal herds from extinction, the United States made rules limiting the number of seals to be killed in any one year. The Canadians were not bound by these rules, and the herds have been nearly destroyed. In recent years large deposits of gold have been found in Alaska and in neighboring portions of Canada. But the Canadian deposits are hard to reach without first going through Alaska. This fact has made it more difficult to agree with Great Britain as to the boundary between Alaska and Canada.

Grant nominated for the presidency.
The Democrats.
Grant elected, 1868.

446. Grant elected President, 1868.--The excitement over reconstruction and the bitter contest between the Republicans in Congress and the President had brought about great confusion in politics. The Democrats nominated General F. P. Blair, a gallant soldier, for Vice-President. For President they nominated Horatio Seymour of New York. He was a Peace Democrat. As governor of New York during the war he had refused to support the national government. The Republicans nominated General Grant.

He received three hundred thousand more votes than Seymour. Of the two hundred and ninety-four electoral votes, Grant received two hundred and fifteen.



The Fifteenth Amendment, 1870.

447. The Fifteenth Amendment.--In February, 1869, just before Grant's inauguration, Congress proposed still another amendment, providing that neither the United States nor any state could abridge the rights of citizens of the United States on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The state legislatures hastened to accept this amendment, and it was declared in force in March, 1870.

Progress of reconstruction.
Reunion, 1870.

448. End of Reconstruction.--Three states only were still unreconstructed. These were Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi. In 1869 Congress added to the conditions on which they could be readmitted to the Union the acceptance of the Fifteenth Amendment. Early in 1870 they all complied with the conditions and were readmitted. The Union was now again complete. Since 1860 four states had been added to the Union. These were Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada, and Nebraska. There were now thirty-seven states in all.

The carpetbaggers. McMaster, 439-414.
The Ku-Klux-Klan.
The Force Acts.

449. The Southerners and the Negroes.--The first result of the Congressional plan of reconstruction was to give the control of the Southern states to the freedmen and their white allies. Some of these white friends of the freedmen were men of character and ability, but most of them were adventurers who came from the North to make their fortunes. They were called the "carpetbaggers," because they usually carried their luggage in their hands. The few Southern whites who befriended the negroes were called "scalawags" by their white neighbors. Secret societies sprang into being. The most famous was the Ku-Klux-Klan. The object of these societies was to terrorize the freedmen and their white friends and to prevent their voting. This led to the passage of the Force Acts. These laws provided severe penalties for crimes of intimidation. They also provided that these cases should be tried in United States courts. Federal soldiers, stationed in the South, could be used to compel obedience to the law.

Relations with Great Britain.
Treaty of Washington, 1871. Source-Book, 355-358.
The Geneva Award.

450. The Alabama Claims.--During the Civil War vessels built in British shipyards, or refitted and supplied with coal at British ports, had preyed upon American commerce. The most famous of these vessels was the Alabama. The claims for losses caused by these vessels which the United States presented to Great Britain were therefore called the "Alabama Claims." There also were disputes with Great Britain over the fisheries and over the western end of the Oregon boundary. In 1871 the United States and Great Britain made an arrangement called the Treaty of Washington. By this treaty all these points of dispute were referred to arbitration. The Oregon boundary was decided in favor of the United States, but the fishery dispute was decided in favor of Great Britain. The "Alabama Claims" were settled by five arbitrators who sat at Geneva in Switzerland. They decided that Great Britain had not used "due diligence" to prevent the abuse of her ports by the Confederates. They condemned her to pay fifteen and one-half million dollars damages to the United States.

The Chicago fire, 1871.

451. The Chicago Fire, 1871.--Early one morning in October, 1871, a Chicago woman went to the barn to milk her cow. She carried a lighted kerosene lamp, for it was still dark. The cow kicked over the lamp. The barn was soon ablaze. A furious gale carried the burning sparks from one house to another. And so the fire went on spreading all that day and night and the next day. Nearly two hundred million dollars' worth of property was destroyed. The homes of nearly one hundred thousand persons were burned down. In a surprisingly short time the burnt district was rebuilt, and Chicago grew more rapidly than ever before.

Rings. Source-Book, 352-355.

452. Corruption in Politics.--New York City had no two hundred million dollar fire. But a "ring" of city officers stole more than one hundred and fifty million dollars of the city's money. In other cities also there was great corruption. Nor were the state governments free from bribery and thieving. Many officers in the national government were believed to be mixed up in schemes to defraud the people. The truth of the matter was that the Civil War had left behind it the habit of spending money freely. A desire to grow suddenly rich possessed the people. Men did not look closely to see where their money came from.

[Illustration: CHICAGO IN 1832.]

Objections to Grant.
Liberal Republicans.
Horace Greeley.
Grant reëlected, 1872.

453. Election of 1872.--In fact, this condition of the public service made many persons doubtful of the wisdom of reëlecting President Grant. There was not the slightest doubt as to Grant's personal honesty. There were grave doubts as to his judgment in making appointments. Reconstruction, too, did not seem to be restoring peace and prosperity to the South. For these reasons many voters left the Republican party. They called themselves Liberal Republicans and nominated Horace Greeley for President. He had been one of the most outspoken opponents of slavery. The Democrats could find no better candidate, so they, too, nominated Greeley. But many Democrats could not bring themselves to vote for him. They left their party for the moment and nominated a third candidate. The result of all this confusion was the reëlection of Grant. But the Democrats elected a majority of the House of Representatives.


Rebellion in Cuba, 1867.
Spanish cruelty.
The Virginius affair.
Spanish promises end rebellion, 1877.

454. The Cuban Rebellion, 1867-77.--When the other Spanish-American colonies won their independence (p. 223), Cuba remained true to Spain. But by 1867 the Cubans could no longer bear the hardships of Spanish rule. They rebelled and for ten years fought for freedom. The Spaniards burned whole villages because they thought the inhabitants favored the rebels. They even threatened to kill all Cuban men found away from their homes. This cruelty aroused the sympathy of the Americans. Expeditions sailed from the United States to help the Cubans, although the government did everything it could to prevent their departure. One of these vessels carrying aid to the Cubans was named the Virginius. The Spaniards captured her, carried her to Santiago, and killed forty-six of her crew. There came near being a war with Spain over this affair. But the Spaniards apologized and saluted the American flag. In 1877 President Grant made up his mind that the war had lasted long enough. He adopted a severe tone toward Spain. The Spanish government made terms with the rebels, and the rebellion came to an end.

The Credit Mobilier.
The Whiskey Ring.

455. Scandals in Political Life.--In 1872 the House of Representatives made a searching inquiry into the charges of bribery in connection with the building of the Pacific railroads. Oakes Ames of Massachusetts was the head of a company called the "Credit Mobilier." This company had been formed to build the Union Pacific Railway. Fearing that Congress would pass laws that might hurt the enterprise, Ames gave stock in the company to members of Congress. But nothing definite could be proved against any members, and the matter dropped. Soon after the beginning of Grant's second term, many evil things came to light. One of these was the Whiskey Ring, which defrauded the government of large sums of money with the aid of the government officials. Grant wished to have a thorough investigation, and said, "Let no guilty man escape." The worst case of all, perhaps, was that of W. W. Belknap, Secretary of War. But he escaped punishment by resigning.


Failure of reconstruction. Source-Book, 349-351.

456. Anarchy in the South.--Meantime reconstruction was not working well in the South. This was especially true of Louisiana, Arkansas, and South Carolina. In Louisiana, and in Arkansas also, there were two sets of governors and legislatures, and civil war on a small scale was going on. In South Carolina the carpetbaggers and the negroes had gained control. They stole right and left. In other Southern states there were continued outrages on the negroes. President Grant was greatly troubled. "Let us have peace," was his heartfelt wish. But he felt it necessary to keep Federal soldiers in the South, although he knew that public opinion in the North was turning against their employment. It was under these circumstances that the election of 1876 was held.

Election of 1876. Higginson, 331-334.
The electoral commission.
Hayes inaugurated, 1877.

457. Election of 1876.--The Republican candidate was Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio. He was a gallant soldier of the Civil War, and was a man of the highest personal character. His Democratic opponent was Samuel J. Tilden of New York--a shrewd lawyer who had won distinction as governor of the Empire State. When the electoral returns were brought in, there appeared two sets of returns from each of three Southern states, and the vote of Oregon was doubtful. The Senate was Republican, and the House was Democratic. As the two houses could not agree as to how these returns should be counted, they referred the whole matter to an electoral commission. This commission was made up of five Senators, five Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court. Eight of them were Republicans and seven were Democrats. They decided by eight seven that Hayes was elected, and he was inaugurated President on March 4, 1877.

Southern politics Higginson, 334-335.
Troops withdrawn.

458. Withdrawal of the Soldiers from the South.--The People of the North were weary of the ceaseless political agitation in the South. The old Southern leaders had regained control of nearly all the Southern states. They could not be turned out except by a new civil war, and the Northern people were not willing to go to war again. The only other thing that could be done was to withdraw the Federal soldiers and let the Southern people work out their own salvation as well as they could. President Hayes recalled the troops, and all the Southern states at once passed into the control of the Democrats.


Panic and hard times.
The Pittsburgh riots, 1877.

459. Strikes and Riots, 1877.--The extravagance and speculation of the Civil War, and the years following its close, ended in a great panic in 1873. After the panic came the "hard times." Production fell off. The demand for labor diminished. Wages were everywhere reduced. Strikes became frequent, and riots followed the strikes. At Pittsburg, in western Pennsylvania, the rioters seized the railroad. They burned hundreds of railroad cars and locomotives. They destroyed the railroad buildings. At last the riot came to an end, but not until millions of dollars' worth of property had been destroyed.

The Stalwart Republicans.
Garfield elected President, 1880.

460. Election of 1880.--At the beginning of his administration Hayes had declared that he would not be a candidate for reëlection. Who should be the Republican standard bearer? Grant's friends proposed to nominate him for a third term. The politicians who advocated a third term for Grant were opposed to the candidacy of James G. Blaine. They were called the Stalwart Republicans. In the convention they voted steadily and solidly for Grant. Finally their opponents, with the cry of "Anything to beat Grant," suddenly turned to an entirely new man, whose name had been little mentioned. This was James A. Garfield of Ohio. He had won distinction in the Civil War and had served with credit in Congress. For Vice-President the Republicans nominated Chester A. Arthur, a New York banker. The Democrats, on their part, nominated one of the most brilliant and popular soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, General Winfield Scott Hancock. The campaign was very hotly contested. In the end Garfield won.

Garfield murdered, 1881.
President Arthur.
Civil Service Reform. Source-Book, 363-365.

461. Garfield murdered; Civil Service Reform.--President Garfield took the oath of office on March 4, 1881. On July 2 he was shot in the back by a disappointed office-seeker. Week after week he endured terrible agony. At length, on September 19, the martyred President died. Now at last the evils of the "Spoils System" were brought to the attention of the American people. Vice-President Arthur became President and entered heartily into projects of reform. A beginning was soon made. But it was found to be a very difficult thing to bring about any lasting reform. The Constitution gives the President the appointment of officers, subject to the confirmation of the Senate. No act of Congress can diminish the constitutional powers of the President except so far as he consents, and one President cannot bind succeeding Presidents. Any scheme of reform also costs money, which must be voted annually by Congress. It follows, therefore, that the consent of every President and of both Houses of every Congress is necessary to make the reform of the civil service permanent. Nevertheless the reform has made steady progress until now by far the greater part of the civil service is organized on the merit system.

J.G. Blaine.
The Mugwumps.
Grover Cleveland.
Cleveland elected President, 1884.
Tariff reform.

462. Election of 1884.--In 1884 the Republicans nominated James G. Blaine of Maine for President. He was a man of magnetic address and had made many friends, but he also had made many enemies. Especially many Republican voters distrusted him. They felt that he had used his position for private gain, although nothing was proved against him. These Republicans were called "Mugwumps." They "bolted" the nomination and supported the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland. As mayor of Buffalo, Cleveland had done very well. He had then been elected governor of New York by a very large majority. The campaign of 1884 was conducted on lines of personal abuse that recall the campaigns of 1800 and of 1828. Cleveland carried four large Northern states and the "solid South" and was elected.

[Illustration: GROVER CLEVELAND.]

463. Cleveland's Administration, 1885-89.--The great contest of Cleveland's first term was a fierce struggle over the tariff. The government's need of money during the Civil War had compelled Congress to raise large sums by means of internal revenue taxes. These taxes in turn had brought about a great increase in the tariff rates on goods imported from foreign countries. The internal revenue taxes had been almost entirely removed, but the war tariff substantially remained in force. In 1887 Cleveland laid the whole question before Congress. For a time it seemed probable that something would be done. But the opposition in Congress was very active and very strong. It fell out, therefore, that nothing important was done. The real significance of Cleveland's first administration lay in the fact that the Southerners were once again admitted to a share in the government of the nation. It marked, therefore, the reunion of the American people.



§§437, 438.--a. Explain carefully Lincoln's plan for reconstruction. How was it affected by his death?

b. What was Johnson's attitude toward reconstruction? Precisely what is meant by "reconstruction"?

§§439-441.--a. What was the force of the Emancipation Proclamation? How was the institution of slavery abolished?

b. Explain the reasons for the establishment of the freedmen's bureau. What do you think of the provision relating to the use of the army?

c. How was Congress able to pass a bill over the President's veto?

d. Explain carefully the Fourteenth Amendment. What do you think of the provision as to debts?

§§442, 443.--a. Why were the elections of 1866 important?

b. What was the force of the Tenure of Office Act, and why was it passed?

c. Describe the actual process of reconstruction.

d. Why was Johnson impeached? Why did the impeachment fail?

§§444, 445.--a. How did this act of Napoleon's set the Monroe Doctrine at defiance?

b. What action did the government take? With what result?

c. What advantage has Alaska been to the United States?

§446.--a. What were the issues in the campaign of 1868?

b. What had Blair done for the Union?

c. What did the election of Grant show?


§§447-449.--a. What were the provisions of the Fifteenth Amendment?

b. Under what conditions were the remaining seceded states readmitted?

c. What was the Force Act? Why was it passed?

§450.--a. How was the injury to our shipping during the Civil War connected with Great Britain?

b. What is meant by "arbitration"? Is it better to settle disputes by arbitration or by war?

§§451-452.--a. Describe the Chicago fire and its results.

b. Why was there so much bribery and corruption at this time?

c. Should city governments be conducted as business enterprises?

§453.--a. Why was there so much opposition to Grant's reëlection?

b. Why did the Democrats nominate Greeley? What was the result of the election?

§454.--a. What trouble broke out in Cuba? Why?

b. Describe the Virginius affair. How did the Cuban rebellion come to an end?

§§455, 456.--a. What scandal arose in connection with the Union Pacific Railway?

b. What was the "Whiskey Ring"? What was Grant's wish?

c. What troubles arose in the South? Could they have been avoided?

§§457, 458.--a. Why was there a dispute about the election of 1876? How was it settled?

b. Was it wise to let the Southerners work out their questions for themselves or not? Why?

§§459, 460.--a. Compare the panic of 1873 with that of 1877 explaining the likenesses and differences.

b. Why was opposition to the nomination of Grant so strong?

c. Who were nominated? Who was elected?

§§461.--a. What was the cause of Garfield's murder?

b. Why is Civil Service Reform so difficult?

c. What is meant by the "Merit System"? Do you consider such a system better or worse than the Spoils System? Why?

§§462, 463.--a. Why was Blaine so strongly opposed? Who were the "Mugwumps"? How did their action influence the election?

b. What is the difference between internal revenue taxes and customs duties?

c. What was the real significance of Cleveland's first election?


a. Give all the treaties with Great Britain, with dates, reason for the treaty, and results.

b. Why were there no executions for treason at the close of the Civil War?

c. What two methods does the Constitution provide for its amendment? Which method has always been followed?

d. What were the chief difficulties in the way of reconstruction?

e. What are the important duties of citizens? Why do you select these?


a. Impeachment of Johnson.

b. The Chicago fire.

c. Civil Service Reform.

d. Industrial activity in the South.


The importance of the topics treated in Part XIV can hardly be overestimated. The opportunities to impress the pupils with their public duties are many and important. Reconstruction should be broadly treated and not discussed in a partisan spirit. It is better to dwell on our duties to the negroes than to seek out Northern blunders and Southern mistakes. In connection with the amendments the whole question of the suffrage can be discussed in the responsibility devolving upon the voter fully set forth. Questions of municipal organizations also arise and can be illustrated by local experience.

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