halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)
1870, the year that under Ulysses S. Grant a US President first oversaw a war on terror, was a watershed year for the human race as a whole. It was in this year that Emperor Napoleon III was outthought by Otto von Bismarck and rapidly outfought by a Prussian Army that proceeded to besiege Paris as France fell into Civil War. It was the year that Christmas became a Federal holiday in the United States, which had more to do with Dickens than the traditional US version of Christianity. It was also the year that Utah became the second state in the Union (and at that point the second political entity in the world, full-stop) to authorize woman suffrage.

It was the year that the long sequence of Italian Unification Wars would come to an end, and the year that the gruesome and sanguinary War of the Triple Alliance marked the defeat of the most evil dictator in modern history. It was also the year that John D. Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Corporation, a sign of where the future led. In the USA a most momentous and truly revolutionary moment occurred when Hiram S. Revels became the first black Senator from anywhere in the USA, a Republican. In the year that the 15th Amendment guaranteed blacks the suffrage. It was this year also that Ku Klux Klan violence led to a sudden and effective Federal backlash in the states of Louisiana and South Carolina, where it had been most flamboyant and atrocious, by virtue of military power, thereby marking an extremely effective War on Terror.

By this point all of the old Confederate states were re-admitted under Republican governments. However those governments faced dilemmas in that only a few formerly Confederate states had majority-black populations, but most whites were hostile either to the high taxes of the newly strong Reconstruction governments (the less racist bunch), or alternately to blacks having equal say in politics (a great many Yeomen and Unionists), while disliking the return of the ex-Confederates, or forgiven and forgetting nothing (the ones that eventually took over). This division and the ultimate folly of white Republicans in trying to reach out to the hostile racist part of the South while depending in the main on blacks to undergird their power locally would start coming back to haunt them when the White League and the Red Shirts and their ilk brought proto-fascism to the former Confederacy.

It is that tale that marks the next seven years, of how this triumphant and revolutionary moment of the successful shutdown of the Klan with the KKK Act of 1870 and the swearing-in of blacks into the US Congress all went so horribly wrong. It should be noted that in no case did blacks mishandle government, at least no worse than contemporary whites did (if anything it should say something that the Reconstruction-era South never had one state governed by "black rule" as the Dunning School put it), and certainly the Reconstruction-era South never produced anything akin to Credit Mobilier or the Whiskey Rings.

And for a look-back, as this year marked the close of the 1860-1870 decade: in 1860 the mere democratic election of a President dedicated to keeping the West free soil, as opposed to slave soil had been sufficient to trigger seven Deep South states to try their hand at state-building. This in turn led a month after the Republican in question was inaugurated to a bloodless battle that marked the prelude to a war which devastated entirely the South, marked a decisive triumph for Union Arms, and had seen blacks change from property under the law in much of the South with free blacks in Jim Crow to the only truly democratic regimes the South would see until the late 20th Century. Yet in the 1870s this would come to a bloody, horrible end once the paramilitaries gave the first hints of what the fascio de combattimento and the Freikorps carved in blood in Europe 60 years later.......

This is the end of the Reconstruction subseries. The next subseries will be called "How it happened here" and those who will get the reference will know where I'm going to go with it....
halialkers: William T. Sherman, one of the Civil War's most ruthless and its best generals (Yohanin)
It was in the year 1869 that the Ku Klux Klan in its first form began to carve its bloody swathe across the United States, to be suppressed as will be recorded in the next year. It was also in this year that William Tecumseh Sherman became General-in-chief of the US Armed Forces and Ulysses Simpson Grant was inaugurated, his campaign based on "Let us have peace" victorious. The US at this time had part of it under military rule under the Reconstruction Acts Johnson had vetoed and then the US military putting a lid, temporarily on white Supremacist violence in the South. Under Grant and Colfax the USA entered a more early 20th Century mode.

Republican Party politics were continuing on with their shift from the Civil War-era ideological movement based on what became anti-slavery and racial egalitarianism (defined as full civil and political equality for blacks but not social equality. Yes, this was a major reason Reconstruction failed as it ignored the twin problems both of racism and that the Southern blacks had been a slave population not too long prior to this.......which meant that civil and political equality would never mean anything without social equality, but what was required to make social equality work was anathema to the Victorians. It required both a stronger welfare state and the political infrastructure and cultural backbone to accept it. To get *that* to work required the war economy of World War I, the experiences of the New Deal followed by the WWII war economy and all three in sequence to get that acceptable on this side of the Atlantic, and as it was Reagan's Administration had the Nu-Redemption that gutted it and made it meaningless. The new Republican Ideology would become one defined by class, siding with the rich where Democrats sided with poor whites. Blacks outside parts of the North would end up excluded from mainstream political life altogether. The Democrats were recovering from their self-inflicted debacle with regard to the Copperheads in the Civil War, assuming a new populist ideology based on racism and opposition to capitalism with influence from worker's rights movements.

In this year also the abolitionist and woman suffrage movements, previously unified split apart, with abolitionists of the Garrisonian sort who saw issues as progressing to full equality for blacks and women becoming the minority and women's rights taking on an explicitly racist edge which helped further the schism of the two movements. I believe it was Elizabeth Cady Stanton who made the statement of not understanding why Sambo could vote and she could not. Needless to say this did not endear the likes of Frederick Douglass to the woman suffrage movement, and needless to say they did not intend the 19th Amendment to apply to Asian, Indigenous American, or black women.

In 1869, too, the Ku Klux Klan violence began to escalate to the point that in the Swansong of the Radical Republicans, their leaders like Grant and Butler began to work for passage of the Civil Rights Law of 1870/KKK Act, which would lead to the first War on Terrorism in US history. This same year the state of Wyoming passed the first law in the history of the planet granting equal suffrage to both women and men. And during this same time people in the North began to have to face up to the reality that the old Free Labor ideology was dead. A permanent working class had arisen and labor issues began to grip the North as thoroughly as they did the South, and would in eight years produce the greatest class strife in US history. Won, of course, by the plutocrats.

In the broader world, Emperor Meiji won the civil war with the Tokugawa Shogunate, beginning the history of Imperial Japan proper (yes, *that* Imperial Japan that went on to be one of the Axis).

halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)

The year 1868 saw the first attempted impeachment of a President by Congress. The problem with the Johnson impeachment is that just like the one with Clinton it was really trivial and not an actual crime under the Constitution. The bigger problem is that Johnson's very actions both inflicted it upon himself and secured that everything he touched, this included, turned to shit. Johnson had vetoed more moderate bills that even the racists of what I've referred to in other places as the Dunning School blame on him as entirely his own damned fault and the point at which Reconstruction went from "impending" disaster to "epic clusterfuck."

As I've referred to that before it's time to start bringing up the Lost Cause itself, because in this year the US restored citizenship to the ex-Confederate general James Longstreet, the only ex-Confederate to become a prominent Southern Republican. It was this, as opposed to his battlefield record, that got Longstreet undying infamy in the old Confederacy. Longstreet in the actual battles had been *the* key element in the victory at Second Bull Run, and had been a good and true friend of Lee before the war, and was the only Confederate general to realize that not only would Grant *not* fight one battle and then go north of the Rapidan but that Grant would in fact fight the South every minute of every hour of every day until the end of the war (as well, if you're going to *destroy* enemy armies you don't do that by the military versions of hugs and kisses). And in fact in the very first Lost Cause histories of the war Longstreet was considered properly Lee's greatest lieutenant.

After he embraced the Republican Party and chose to go over to Northern values, reasoning that the war had been between two rival civilizations, the South's had lost, so the victors' ways should be embraced Longstreet in New Orleans won the infamy of the Lost Causers who began to publish outright lies and distortions about his being slow (unlike Jackson and Lee he did not seek battles that meant attacking the enemy in front of him, he actually understood strategy the way only Grant and Sherman and Joe Johnston did during the war itself) while raising Jackson's reputation far beyond anything he actually did showed that this was a deserved reputation.

Johnson's impeachment this year cost him the Democratic nomination, which went instead to Horatio Seymour, a wartime Copperhead, and to Francis Blair Jr., of the Blair family which had been associated with Lincoln. This was the first sign of the slow disintegration of the wartime Republican Party and its shift to being solidly the capitalists' party. Yet in this year the Republicans nominated Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax. Grant would become the second Republican to be elected President, and the third nominee of the Republican Party.

It would be in the Grant Administration that Reconstruction turned from clusterfuck to shameless betrayal of blacks and Southern Republicans by the Northern whites, whose willingness to accept the more interventionist state left by the war and Reconstruction, especially WRT the rights of blacks, was much shallower than it looked. 1867 was the high tide of Radical Republicanism in the North, and the last time before the 1960s that civil rights for blacks ever had much of any political pool among a sizeable number of US whites. 1868, with the election of Grant, marked the moment that the tide began to recede and the abyss of segregation and race-violence by armed ex-Confederates against those whites foolish enough to think that with the defeat on the battlefield that the traitors had yielded anything socially and of course against blacks.

It also, on a final note, marked the victory of Red Cloud against the United States Army. Alone among opponents of the US in the 19th Century Red Cloud won a war against the US, and got it to dictate a peace on his terms. I will note that this was three years after the US Civil War, and that in two years Red Cloud with Sioux warrior-caste members did what four years of bloody warfare and even the first instance of modern trench warfare had failed to do for Jeff Davis......which IMHO shows that Red Cloud was much the superior General to Robert E. Lee or Joe Johnston as he, after all, did what they did not: defeated the US Army. It would be a distinction not matched until the North Vietnamese outright defeated the US military in the Vietnam War.

halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)
With maximum Added Alliterative Appeal.

So.....the year 1867. Red Cloud's fighting his war against the United States, it's been two years since the surrender of the Confederate armies and it turns out that (despite every reason to have suspected things would become thus) that the South not only did not see itself as defeated on the battlefield but it began and accelerated a widespread terror campaign against blacks, especially black Civil War vets. Both for having beaten the Confederate armies and most crucially being living reminders of the social upheaval thus caused. In this year without the United States the first and key step on the road to World War I was taken with the signing of the Ausgleich that turned Osterreich into Osterreich-Ungarn, from which all else follows as that series will show. Too, the French Empire's abortive attempt to create a Mexican puppet state backfired with the execution of Maximilian von Habsburg, and the rise of Benito Juarez to be the first Indigenous American leader of any state in the Western hemisphere since the conquest of the Tawantinsuyu by the Spanish Empire was complete.

In Reconstruction in the South this marked the emergence of the Radical Reconstruction, something contemporaries themselves had been entirely inflicted on the South by its own damn intransgience. This while in the North the Republican Party's radical/abolitionist connection reached its apogee, enshrining the stronger state most certainly in the South at present, but also in the North. This very shift, however, was concurrent with the GOP starting to shift entirely to the party of capital against that of labor. The shift was not then as yet completed and had only but begun, yet the Party became less and less that of Thaddeus Stevens and much more that of James Garfield, Roscoe Conkling, Chester Arthur, and William McKinley. Yet this year Johnson's attempts to defeat the rise of the Radicals led him to pass the vetoes that led to his impeachment the following year, where the transition from Stevens and Sumner to Conkling and Cannon became more evident.
halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)
The year 1866 in many ways marked a pivotal point in the history of the Reconstruction. Southern whites, sensing that Johnson was only so much a radical and hardly inclined to disrupt white supremacy to secure black rights continued to pass immediately the string of harsh Black Codes. The Codes in the main were designed to make freedom a legal designation while in practice ensuring free black labor in all truth was no freer now than it had been before the war. The issue of what happened with both black requests for equality under the Law and the political future of ex-Confederates was a major one so far as the political world of the time was concerned.

In this same year two ongoing wars marked the revival of the US military's primary purpose, to wage war against Indigenous peoples who tried vainly to defeat the rising industrial power that was the newly united USA. In this timeframe the USA "won" a war against the Paiute and Shoshone tribes, reducing them to reservations, the US Reconcentrados/Concentration camps where Indians were to have land "reserved" and thus be concentrated there. "Opening" the Great American Desert to "white settlement and use." Of course what the USA didn't realize was that the *other* war against Chief Red Cloud, who fought "Galvanized Yankees" (Rebel POWs who'd chosen to join the Union army and were sent to this part of the West) that began this year was to be the only real defeat the US suffered on the battlefield in the 19th Century bar the Second Seminole War.

Those Northerners not going West to fight these wars were now going South, to be dubbed "Carpetbaggers." Those Southerners, mainly Unionists with James Longstreet the only high officer of the old Confederacy to switcheroo to the GOP during this time, who turned Republican were thereafter dubbed "scalawags." The main crime of these two groups was to take literally certain preconditions of the free labor/free soil ideology that at the time still dominated the GOP, represented by men like Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner. The problem was that Free Soil/Free Labor was not very able to be transplated wholesale in the South, the ideology would in the end as it proved to do favor the former plantation owners and Freedmen were screwed even more than was already happening.

In this year also the Ku Klux Klan was formed by General Nathan Bedford Forrest, perhaps the ablest general officer on the Confederate side. He was also the one responsible for the Fort Pillow Massacre. At this point it was a Confederate veterans' social club. Yet before the official rise of the first Klan Confederate veterans were already (still wearing the butternut uniforms they'd worn during the war, no less) trying to terrorize black people into reverting back to the mass unfree labor that they had been before. Essentially the goal was to make freedom a term that meant only they were not slaves, in every other aspect these Confederate veterans wished things to stay unchanged.

Of course this was not a prospect that made Northern whites and free blacks very happy, nor was it one that amused Southern yeomen, who while still very much as racist as most Southern whites of the time were, were not at all gleeful about the planters retaining control of the Southern economy. Before this point, the passage of the 13th Amendment and the unwillingness of most Northern whites to either seriously proscript ex-Confederates in favor even of black Civil War veterans and to back black suffrage (they wished for a limited type of civil equality, but they weren't even in favor of economic equality for Northern whites *or* blacks) had put Radical Republicanism into a tizzy.

In 1866 to meet these goals the Republicans in Congress had proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Due to a combination of his inflexible and overly rigid views of what was and wasn't constitutional, despite that the actual situation facing US political leaders at the time had never been seriously considered, much less debated about, and due to his being the most blatantly racist POTUS to occupy the White House until Wilson, Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act. This in turn provoked the proposal of the revolutionary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution which became essentially the platform of a much more radicalized Republican leadership in the Congress.

The truly interesting thing is that even the blatantly and disgustingly racist Dunning School considers vetoing this to have been Johnson's biggest fuck-up. With modern historians who have at long last come to consider equal rights (usually in theory as historians are as subject to privilege!fail as anyone else is) to apply regardless of color or economic status this has only been seen moreso. The veto led to the proposal of this Amendment, and the tremendous backlash by the white ex-Confederates in turn provoked the rise of the Radical Republicans and the strengthening of Northern white liberal sentiment in favor of the freedmen, increasingly. Though it was as usual rather shallow and proved to be not long-lasting.

The Congressional elections of 1866 brought Radical Republicanism to its high tide of influence, and saw the second case where a Presidential incumbent/candidate for office embarked on a national speaking tour, known as the "Swing Around the Circle." As with Stephen Douglas's first such tour this due to http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ValuesDissonance made Johnson seem a vulgar and craven man. Not so much what he said, but how he went about it.

The Radicals thus won an overwhelming victory and upon securing passage of the 14th Amendment also vowed to call the next Congress into special session earlier in 1867. Thus in the span of a short year the North had shifted from accepting a far too lenient view of what should have been done to the Confederate leaders (on any decent "to hang" list would have been Seddon, Forrest, Cooper, and Lee (he was just as racist as every other Confederate general officer was, but he had the influence, I suppose is the best word for it, to limit the violence Confederate politicians wanted for USCT. Instead he tolerated things like the Crater Massacre and ended the POW-exchange system rather than treat black POWs as POWs) to backing both black suffrage and proscripting the Confederacy's leadership. This all due to Johnson's weaknesses coming into effect at the wrong time entirely for the North while Southern white intransgience only increased the reservoir of good will from Northern whites blacks had at the time.

But of course we know how these events really ended 11 years later which gives this either hilarity (to some) or harshness (to others like myself) in hindsight........

halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)
One of the most ironic consequences of the end of the Civil War was that it simultaneously ended up elevating both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln to the point that both achieved popularity when out of power vastly greater than either had had when in it. In Lincoln's case this was due to his assassination two days after he'd had a conference of major importance with the Union generals Grant and Sherman related to the end of the war and the peace that followed. The assassination of Lincoln at Ford's Theater was while he was watching the play http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_American_Cousin. It is with this event that the irony ball starts rolling downhill getting bigger all the while. First, the play itself and Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, were major cultural phenomena of their day. In fact, one of the characters in the play was the 1860s version of a Memetic Mutation.

Booth, of course, had won great fame on the stage. But the connection to this, the first successful assassination (one guy tried to shoot Jackson twice. In a defining moment of Epic Phail he used two pistols that both misfired right after the other, and had literally to be saved from Jackson trying to cane him to death) came to overshadow his earlier career. The Lincoln Assassination is the only known assassination to be part of a broader conspiracy organized at the boarding house of one Mary Suratt. This would have been one of multiple assassinations that would have at one stroke decapitated most of the North's leadership. General Grant, the General-in-chief of the Union armies was one target. Yet given the number of usually-fatal incidents Grant survived during the war......

Anyway, the only successful murder was that of Lincoln, though the experienced (and conservative) statesman Seward was temporarily removed from a position of power and influence. At the same time, Andrew Johnson was now propelled to the Presidency. Johnson, in fairness, must be said by Southern white standards of the time to have been somewhere to the left of Mao (key words here are "Southern white standards of the time"). By the standard of blacks in the South and Northern whites he was damned conservative overall.

Johnson, however, needed a bit of time to corral the same strongwilled men who'd repeatedly tried and failed to usurp control from Lincoln. This is why Sherman's magnanimous extension of articles of surrender to Joe Johnston became one of many, many bitter feuds following the end of major combat. Sherman had followed a (rather overgenerous misinterpretation of) version of Lincoln's ideas toward the peace. Johnson, OTOH, was paranoid (for good reason) following the assassination.

He ordered the arrest of the ex-Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and oversaw the parade of the Grand Army of the Republic, victorious in its war over the treacherous Separatists. That army rapidly de-mobilized, with the main combat arms moving as before to start ending the Indian Wars. At this time, too, the 13th Amendment became the first of many key points in Reconstruction. Blacks quite naturally interpreted the end of the war and the overwhelming victories of Union arms to mean the end of slavery and its coercion of black labor by brute force. To this extent black people also exploited freedom of travel to start trying to unify the families so often severed in slavery and to seek to have proper marriages legally recognized by the state. The execution of the Booth conspirators, including the first woman in US history to receive capital punishment, Mary Suratt, left the South in fear and trembling that Johnson would be as radical as POTUS as he had been as military governor.

But in reality Johnson's radicalism only extended so far, and was typical of Yeomen in assuming that planters and freedmen alike had been collaborating to drag down Southern poor whites (which of course was absurd given that during and after the war men like Frederick Douglass had tried to form a bi-racial economic bloc). Yet instead Johnson required mainly the Ironclad Oath, which he gerrymandered to ensure the leaders of the Confederacy could not assume full control over. The emergence of the Freedman's Bureau also created an extreme controversy. Nobody wanted it to stay permanent, so in 1865 it had to draw all personnel and funding from the army.

This was, well.......it varied with the inclination of the generals. Some, like Saxton and Hunter, carried their prewar liberalism into the postwar setting. In the main the Army and the Freedman's Bureau of 1865, however, supported the emerging http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Codes_%28United_States%29. Even the hardcore ex-Confederate diehards were willing to acknowledge slavery was never coming back. The combination of black assertion of autonomy and independence (which triggered massive paranoia decades in consolidating itself, worsened by the very skill USCT had shown on the battlefield), Johnson's very limited liberalism where black rights were concerned, and the Southern unwillingness to concede anything to blacks, mixed with Northern overestimation of the power to immediately transplant 19th Century capitalism into the South (which to be blunt both planters and freedmen knew was never going to happen) created a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fear in the South of a massed race war.

In reality black people were more interested in keeping the lands confiscated from Southern whites and in seeking to establish economic autonomy on lands they rightfully felt they had as good as or better than claim to than the whites did. However this quest for autonomy put them at odds equally with the Northerners who went to the Wild Wild South in pursuit of striking it big. By the close of 1865, however, the massed violence against freedmen in places like Memphis, New Orleans, and the indication that Southern leaders evidently didn't believe that defeat on the battlefield meant yielding a thing morally speaking revived the Radical Republicans.

In the year 1866, the conflicts over the Black Codes as will be related in the entry on this year only strengthened this bitterness, and Radical Republicanism became more the basis of mainstream Republican ideals, while the heroic struggle of black people still retained a large degree of Northern sympathy. As a Southern white man I'm also convinced that the Southern white men of that era brought Congressional Reconstruction on themselves. They had a chance to forge a new order and even to ally with blacks genuinely (as opposed to the blatant self-promotion that came to characterize 1866-7 against the Northern men and women going South) to create a truly Southern body politic. Instead they were too convinced by their own racism and misjudgments of blacks and Northerners alike to do this, blew it, and things got worse.

I'm also convinced the only factions in this era to behave remotely sensibly were the planters and the freedmen, both of which were extremely realistic about the problems faced. Unfortunately the planters had all the cards rigged in their favor and the freedmen had the very uncertain sympathy of the North.......

halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)
It should be noted that by 1864 the Union armies had begun to occupy increasingly wide swathes of the South. The war in this phase among whites, as shown by the Sacking of Lawrence and the Burned-out District was reaching much more brutal levels. The war for blacks was reaching moments of significance that were literally without parallel in the history of blacks in the USA. It must also be noted that as the experimental Reconstructions during the war showed, there were multiple distinct agendas at work in that phase and later on. Northern whites wanted to have Southern blacks' freedom defined as working for wages on their masters' former plantations. Southern whites had a mixture of condescending "they aren't ready for liberty" with "ZOMG Race-war" mentalities as regarded blacks, and "Damnyankee carpetbaggers" as regarded Northern whites. Blacks, of course, had on one level more in common economically as far as their interests were concerned with Southern whites than Northern (the racism of the time prevented all but a few from ever realizing this, and those few never made effective action on it) but their quest for autonomy was incompatible with the ends of either Northern or Southern whites.

Northern whites, however, had come as conquerers and victors, having liberated the entire South for a time from the older Planter Aristocracy. It must be noted, however, that in the event blacks alone came to see the Civil War as entirely a positive thing by the end of it, whites North and South alike became increasingly divided. In the North divisions were due to the increasing power of capitalists vis-a-vis the entire political-cultural system, whereby the capital-labor division became the permanent face of the North. In the South divisions were due to the http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/RealLife/WeAREStrugglingTogether phenomenon among Southern Unionists and the tendency among Confederate whites to attribute their victory to anything but Northern superiority under arms. Enshrining emancipation as a war aim provoked bitter divisions among Southern Unionists, to the point that the man who proposed the founding of West Virginia turned against his own creation rather than accept that.

In the earlier Reconstructions in Port Royal and the Hampton part of the Tidewater, this phenomenon led to black quests for autonomy being mercilessly quashed by the Army, which proved the more typical of militaries conservative force as opposed to a revolutionary one. Blacks were in the main required to sign yearly contracts with their former masters while in the Port Royal case a precious few got land to themselves. Not much land, and not very good land at that.

In the case of the later war, too, with the bloody contests of the Overland and Atlanta Campaigns followed by Sherman's and Sheridan's Valley Campaigns blacks hailed the Northern armies as liberators. There was another certain irony that followed. Sherman was one of the most racist and conservative general officers in the Northern army, but he was not a callous individual like Jefferson C. Davis who marooned blacks on another side of a river to be massacred by Wheeler's Confederate soldiers. Seeking to rid himself of what he considered a black nuisance, in consultation with Secretary of War Stanton he issued General Orders No. 15, setting out a wide swathe of the richest part of Georgia for black ownership, with forty-acre plots, and if necessary mules to be donated by the army from the many confiscated during the March to the Sea. Thus in one of the biggest ironies of the war the North's most famous racist general officer happened to be the one responsible for the 40 Acres and a Mule phrase that recurred postwar.

As the war progressed and became a harder war, in all the border states and the District of Columbia (which, BTW, referred to the older female mascot of the USA that preceded Uncle Sam) the pressures of war began to fatally undermine slavery. The District of Columbia was outright emancipated by act of Congress by 1863. In the border states, where slavery was less significant than it was down South, the rise of emancipation as a war issue created deep fissures among the Union faction there. In Missouri and Maryland this was lessened by powerful local Union leaders connected to St. Louis and Baltimore, respectively. However their new slavery-abolishing constitutions ended slavery but made no further steps for the rights of black men and women after abolition.

The only pre-war Southern states to experience Reconstruction by the Army were Tennessee and Louisiana. In the case of the former, pursuit of the Anaconda Plan and limitations of military logistics meant for much of the war the most pro-Confederate sections of the state were under the military governance of Andrew Johnson, Unionist Tennessean and the only Southern Congressman to stay in Congress when the rest left to form the so-called Confederate Congress. Johnson proved much harsher in wartime than he did in peacetime, and the bizarre twists of war meant that postwar, Unionist Tennesseans from Appalachia would provide the stronghold of the Unionist government despite having spent most of the war under Confederate occupation.

In Louisiana, things were even more volatile. Ben Butler ran the most efficient government in New Orleans in the 19th Century, which IMHO says more about 19th Century N'Awlins than it does about Butler. However much of the state was occupied not by the 10-Percenter government (in fact Louisiana's re-admission was what prompted the 10 Percent plan itself) but by Richard Taylor's Confederate government. The result was intermittent clashes of Union and Confederate regulars and guerrilla warfare by groups like the Calcasieu Jayhawkers against the Confederate army. Yet the first attempts at reform of the political system in 1864 failed due to requiring abolition and the pressure to protect black suffrage, motivated in its turn by the free black community of New Orleans. People here realized quite well that slavery was dead, they were not, however, willing to tolerate black voting rights or equality under the law.

And given Louisiana's slavery with sugarcane plantations had a more stereotypically Latin American imbalance in favor of young men v. young women, that was a potentially *very* explosive situation so in that sense the recruiting of so many Louisiana blacks into USCT was a timegap that put off the issue, but not permanently nor effectively.

Yet following the surrenders of most Confederate armies and units the flexibility that undergirded the wartime situation was coming to an end. Then came the malignant event that worsened immeasurably Reconstruction's problems, and the subject of the next topical study, Lincoln's assassination and the inauguration of Andrew Johnson.

halialkers: (Default)
The reason that I divide wartime policy into April 1861-January 1863 is twofold. First, in terms of the purely military sense there is a huge gulf between the war as it was before the Emancipation Proclamation, during the year 1863, and when Ulysses S. Grant provided a single, coherent, co-ordinated Union leadership in lieu of 17 departments each pursuing their own separate goals. In the first period of the war, as has been related the Union pursued a soft war policy under the direction of generals-in-chief Scott, McClellan, and Halleck. The armies marched forth but Lee won a string of Pyrrhic victories in the east and established himself as the most formidable Confederate enemy (fortunately for the Confederacy he did this against people who were shitty at leading armies).

Instead of a "That was quick, let's all go home in a hurry war" the battles began to follow one after the other and the death tolls mounted. The result of this was to strengthen Union desire to play off Southerner against Southerner, in particular WRT Southern Unionists. It is in this light that the Contraband Acts should be seen. Northern public opinion at that time was very unlikely to approve of outright emancipation, it was, however, rather more likely to approve of something or some things that would shorten what was already a bloody war.

Too, as was related at the time the very tendency of slaves themselves to flee to the Union lines, which grew dramatically moreso following Grant's victories at Henry, Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Iuka, and Corinth. Along with this, Lincoln attempted both support of and giving backing to Southern white Unionists. That was how white Virginia Unionists formed the state of West Virginia out of the Ohio River counties of what pre-war had been the upper northwest of Virginia. Yet to make the state politically and economically viable drew in majority-secessionist counties, creating a lengthy and bitter guerrilla conflict that did not end just because Confederate regular armies surrendered.

In East Tennessee for several reasons Union military power did not arrive until later in the war, certainly not during this phase. However it was during this earlier, softer phase of the war following the completion of the first part of the Anaconda strategy proposed by General Winfield Scott (who justly should receive credit for the idea that won the Union the war, and BTW, he was a loyal Virginian) that the 10 Percent Plan emerged as had been previously related as a temporary war measure to further increase Unionist pockets in the South at the expense of Secessionist.

By the time of the victories at Antietam and Perryville, the Union government released the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, an ultimatum that was intended to force the South into surrendering *before* the war became a revolution to suppress a rebellion. Instead the bloodbaths of Fredericksburg and Stone's River followed while Grant won two local defensive victories at Iuka and Corinth. 1 January 1863, all slaves in regions yet to be conquered by the Union army were now forever free, yet in one of the forgotten provisions blacks were now to be recruited along with whites to serve in the ranks of the Blue.

To use one statistic, in Kentucky 60% of slaves there won their freedom by volunteering for the army, gutting slavery whether or not the Union won or lost by that point. Too, the mere prospect of armed slaves marked a fundamental break with previous policy, as it meant that after January victorious Union armies would be forces of liberation and unification.  The year 1863 saw this consolidated at Battery Wagner, Miliken's Bend, and in the string of Union battlefield victories such as at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Gettysburg.

The war had begun for two warring types of conservative impulses, but by 1864 with the appointment of Grant as Commander-in-chief and Halleck as the precursor of the Joint Chiefs of Staff there is a very different feel to wartime Reconstruction policies, as will be detailed in that entry, both in the North and in the South.
halialkers: General Grant, left-profile view. black and white. Man with beard, mustache, thin hair (Kanari-2)
To start with the Reconstruction series I feel that it's important to establish certain definitions. I noted already that the fundamental paradox of the Civil War was that it began as a war between two racist armies of whites, and as emphasized over and over again in the series itself blacks took advantage of the war of the slaveholders to end slavery. The war had begun as an extremely organized rebellion, seven states seceding to form a Confederacy, followed by a first skirmish, then 11 states. Blacks of course knew that Southern whites who were pro-Confederate weren't pushovers, but knew before whites did that a war begun as a rebellion of slaveholders was to end in freedom for the slave.

The momentum of war, however, proved sufficient to strengthen abolitionism in the North, and indeed the very sanguinary natures of the battles themselves pushed abolitionism (and not in the sense that some people mean it by, that is to say limiting the spread of slavery, I mean full-fledged "Slavery exists no more" abolitionism) to mainstream Republican ideas. What is often ignored is that the same process in a more limited sense *did* occur in the South. Black Confederates never served in the army, certainly never in a combat position. There are reports of individual blacks who did so but it was never official policy. The reason, of course, was that the pre-war South had a deep, abiding, and fully justified fear that slaves could produce another Nat Turner, stoked by John Brown before the war. This co-existed with the idea of slaves as infantile and grateful to their masters for "civilizing" them (and that may be the best argument for barbarism imaginable, if slavery civilizes anyone).

The proposals began with General Cleburne and in truth the day before USCT of the Army of the James entered Richmond the Confederate Congress began emancipation legislation. So in North and South the ruthless momentum of the war went further toward ending the idea that blacks were and of right ought to be slaves than it's given credit for. Moderns, however, mistake that for the idea that a great deal of people were willing to tolerate equality, which was never the case. On the other hand, to be fair, the legacy of the war itself *did* strengthen immeasurably the abolitionist ideology, which in turn shifted to the idea that all men must be free, and freedom must mean more than "no longer a slave."

It must also be said that black men, for the first time, were now like white men legally free and human beings. There had been free blacks in the North and in the South before the war, and they were now part of a new, emerging society where all blacks were free. The legacy of slavery, however, had given Southern whites easy channels of mobilization for mass violence. Blacks, for obvious reasons, never got anything of the sort. They were denied education, they were denied independent livelihoods as the cotton kingdom grew (there were certain types of slavery where slaves hired their time to buy their freedom, but after the 1830s that shriveled up and was dead, so to speak, by the 1860s).

Slavery was dead, the war had consolidated that. A measure of this is that in the context of the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision the right wing in the USA before the war had proposed a 13th Amendment to legalize slavery across the entire USA, essentially eliminating the concept of a free state. Instead, by 1866  the 13th Amendment as we know it was passed, the end of slavery. The problem was that while everybody at that point knew slavery was dead, the question of what rights blacks would have became even more important after the war than they were before it. The next entry in these topical studies will deal with wartime Reconstruction and show the fallacy of why extrapolating from that to what would have been the case postwar is not entirely the best move people could have made......


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