Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New American Nation Series)

Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New American Nation Series)

Eric Foner

Language: English

Pages: 736

ISBN: 0060158514

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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Bureau hospitals and schools. It is difficult to say which proved more threatening to local whites—the large number of impoverished rural freedmen who thronged the streets in search of employment, or the considerable group that managed to achieve modest economic success (many of the black victims were robbed of cash, watches, tools, and furniture). Racial altercations were frequent, and the city’s press constantly abused black residents. “Would to God they were back in Africa, or some other

black sailors and failed to pay their wages. One overseer considered himself “powerless” to enforce work rules, for in the event of a labor dispute, “I should only get myself into trouble, and have the negro sheriff sent over by Campbell to arrest me.” Local whites viewed Campbell as a “constant annoyance"; the freedmen saw him as “the champion of their rights and the bearer of their burden.”22 Among black local officials were many whose prominence predated emancipation—like South Carolina

end of Reconstruction an area dominated before the war by self-sufficient yeomen was well on the way to becoming a commercial economy peopled by merchants, tenants, farm laborers, and commercially oriented yeomen—groups of far lesser importance before the war.93 Towns and cities also exerted a growing influence on black life, although migration from the countryside slowed considerably after 1870. In urban centers were concentrated the schools, churches, newspapers, and fraternal societies that

Watson, Jr., August 6, 1867, Watson Papers. 5. Henry W. Bellows, Historical Sketch of the Union League Club of New York (New York, 1879); Edmund L. Drago, Black Politicians and Reconstruction in Georgia (Baton Rouge, 1982), 76–77; Rutherford Star, September 17, 1870; J. M. Hare and A. H. Merrill to Robert M. Patton, May 29, 1867, Alabama Governor’s Papers, ASDAH; Henry W. Warren, Reminiscences of a Mississippi Carpetbagger (Holden, Mass., 1914), 44; Susie L. Owens, “The Union League of America:

in the North. These developments brought new political issues to the fore and undermined the free labor ideology that had inspired efforts to remake Southern society. That the Reconstruction of the North receives less attention than its Southern counterpart reflects, in part, the absence of a detailed historical literature on either the region’s social and political structure in these years, or the relationship between changes there and events in the South. It also recognizes that events in the

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