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Reconstruction, the.

At the end of the Civil War, Lincoln's policy toward the South, which was also followed by Johnson, was one of leniency. The radical Republicans, however, wanted to punish the South and forestall attempts of the Southern states to reduce former slaves to peonage by means of the Black Codes. They overcame the lenient faction and passed the Reconstruction Act (March 2, 1867), with other legislation and Constitutional amendments that protected the new rights of the former slaves and guaranteed them the ballot. To enforce these laws the Republicans sent officials to the South, whom the people there called carpetbaggers. Their misrule and corruption, together with the humiliation of having Northerners and former slaves in power, produced a reaction in the form of the <IR> KU KLUX KLAN </IR> and a new spirit of unity creating the Solid South. For more than a decade the Southern states were socially, politically, and economically ruined. Finally President Hayes ordered the troops removed

from the South in April 1877. The carpetbag governments immediately fell, and the native whites came back into power. Except for providing a Constitutional basis for future emancipation, the radical Republicans had done little more than insure that for more than two generations the South would vote solidly Democratic.

Historians and others have described the Reconstruction Era in detail. Among nonfiction works on the period are G.W. Cable, The Silent South (1885); W.A. Dunning, Reconstruction, Political and Economic (1907); Claude Bowers, The Tragic Era (1929); J.G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction (1937); W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction (1935); C.V. Woodward, Reunion and Reaction (1956); Hodding Carter, Angry Scar (1959); and Paul Buck, Road to Reunion (1937). Novels dealing with the period include A.W. Tourgee, A Royal Gentleman (1881), <IR> A FOOL'S ERRAND </IR> (1879), and <IR> BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW </IR> (1880); John W. De Forest, The Bloody Chasm (1881); Mary Noailles Murfree, Where the Battle Was Fought (1884); G.W. Cable, John March, Southerner (1894); T.N. Page, Red Rock (1898) and The Red Riders (1924); Ellen Glasgow, The Voice of the People (1900) and The Deliverance (1904); Thomas Dixon, Jr., <IR> THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS </IR> (1902), The Clansman (1905), and The Traitor (1907); Joseph Hergesheimer, The Limestone Tree (1931); Margaret Mitchell, <IR> GONE WITH THE WIND </IR> (1936); and Ben Ames Williams, The Unconquered (1953).

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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