Redemption by Nicholas Lemann: Importance of Reconstruction to American History Part 2/2

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Redemption by Nicholas Lemann: Reconstruction in American History
Redemption by Nicholas Lemann. This book is about the civil strife during American Reconstruction, and it tells a different history about Post-Civil War than what many would think. Part 1.

Redemption in Post Civil War Politics
Redemption in Post Civil War Politics

Questions to Ponder

As you read the history of Post Reconstruction, feel free to think about the following questions and include your responses in the comment section:

  1. Did you know that these things and events were happening immediately after the Civil War?
  2. Do you think the Civil War really ended? Why or why not?
  3. What else could have been done to strengthen liberty of all people in the States?
  4. How does this make you feel about the power of government laws?
  5. What do you think the major theme of Reconstruction?

Enjoy!

Chapter 3 - The Peace Conference

Adelbert was a carpetbagger, but he had no interest in getting money from whites or anything from blacks. Therefore he was generally liked. Albert T. Morgan, Sheriff of Yazzoo County, moved to Mississippi and built a Negrow School. He had to literally force his way in as sheriff with guns to get the old sheriff out. The previous guy died from a gunshot wound that resulted from a gun battle between the two sheriffs. Morgan was considered an “idol of the Yazoo Negroes”. He wanted to create new schooling for the Negroes, and his encouragement of the colored people led whites to think that blacks were heavily armed.

In the mean time, the White House Enforcement acts and the Civil Rights Act was killed by Congressman Lamar, who strongly opposed full equality. The Democrats had a focussed party platform based on tax reduction, honest government, and government withdrawal from domestic affairs.

They were not open to Negroe inclusion. Lamar was an influential Democrat and was very open about his dislike of the Negroes. Ames did not want to win the Senatorship. However, Ames still fought for what was just. The battle started to be less about his personal interests and more about protecting the blacks.

Lamar fought for what he thought was just as well, but it also happened to be a part of his personal interests.

Meanwhile, in Yazoo county, the black sheriff Albert Morgan exercised free speech so much as to cause the Democrats to shoot at him (and other blacks too) while at a public meeting.

Whites hunted him down, and Morgan wrote to Adelbert asking to send troops to help, and it scared the whites. It was intense, but it ultimately ended up with Morgan running away from Yazoo county. He never returned, for fear that his life would be taken from him.

Unfortunately the same thing happened at the Republican Party meeting. Democrats attended and brought guns with them. Gunfire ensued and 11 people died: 3 whites and 8 blacks. As per usual southern custom, the blacks were blamed for the entire violence.

Montgomery, a previous Confederate Colonel, withdrew from leading Democratic men because of the above event. White annihilated the Negro population basically, killing Republican leaders too. By this point, whites were traveling throughout the cities killing several innocent negroes.

The only Negroe safe haven was in Jackson, Mississippi. Unfortunately there was not much that could be done about the innocent slaughtering of blacks and Republicans. The army could potentially put a stop to it, but president Grant was hesitant to sent troops.

However, 500 army soldiers were stationed in Jackson, Mississippi. They were in Jackson for the purpose of silencing the White Liners. This small army of 500 was led by Brigadier General C.C. Auger, and Auger was a man who would not listen to any orders unless given approval by the president himself.

The Clinton riot is what caused much of this chaos. It is the technical name for the Democratic and Republican riots that were started during the political meetings.

Pierrepont put troops at Ames disposal, and Pierrepont was very good at getting what he wanted. Ames had no choice but to take back Yazoo County and the city of Clinton from the rioters.

A Negroe militia formed under Charles Caldwell, and the successfully transported munitions to the cities. George Chase was known as the “Peacemaker”, and he made the election during this time go well.

Most of this chaos was because it was approaching the next election. Eventually, the negro militia was disbanded, and Mr. Chase’s plans of peace worked between the two parties.

Chapter 4 - Revolution!

Congressman Lynch was a Democrat who got President Grant to exchange the Postmaster (position in government) for one that Lynch liked. President Grant did not send end up sending more troops to Mississippi because he wanted to protect Ohio.

Chase organized the Peace Conference, but it ended up being a sham! On October 4th, both parties had rallies scheduled. At Friars Point, whites once again attacked the blacks. Blacks begged to get armed; they just wanted people to give them weapons so they could just protect themselves.

On October 28th, which was a week before the election, the President was finally ready to use force to ensure a free election. This was too late though. Black voter intimidation continued, and not only that, it got progressively worse.

Claiborne County was the best Negroe county at this time for voting, and Monroe was the best White Liner county for voting. In other words, the best chances for Negroe votes to count was in Claiborne County.

However, despite the fact that blacks were freed from the Civil War and the fact that they were “allowed” to vote, not a single Republican vote was cast. During the 1875 election, votes were very much down from the 1873 election.

After a while, no more killings occurred, but more parties of armed whites traveled throughout the countryside. Issaquena County was another place where blacks were seriously mistreated. The Caldwell brothers were brutally murdered here, and their bodies were barely identifiable after they were found in a river nearby the county.

Adelbert Ames was in despair about the state of Mississippi. His in-laws and beautiful Mrs. Blanch kept him going, but the fact still remained that Adelbert was at risk of assassination. He still wrote letters back and forth to his wife Mrs. Blanch, but his tone about the state was depressing at best.

The Democrats in February produced a 13 count impeachment bill. Around the same time, the U.S. v Cruikshank Supreme Court Case had concluded. One major part of it said that the past Civil War Amendments should be left to state, as opposed to federal, governments.

Adelbert Ames spoke of Lamar as two-faced, and he dismissed the Democrats arguments about excessive taxation and government corruption. On August 7th, 1876, Mr. Lamar became a US Senator.

As a conclusion to this chapter, the Jesse-James Coke Younger gang traveled to Minnesota and Iowa where Adelbert was stationed in order to steal from a bank that Adelbert deposited in. They failed.

Adelbert Ames: Battle Attire during the Civil War
Adelbert Ames: Battle Attire during the Civil War

More Changes in History

Chapter 5 - The Mississippi Plan

The Mississippi Plan was an attempt to get a Republican victory. Rutherford B Hayes was the presidential nominee, and in the 1875 election, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana were all Southern states.

Around this time, Rifle clubs started forming all over the south. Essentially, they were groups of white people (mostly White Liners) that were killing Negroes. President Grant dispersed them in an attempt to kill the idea.

All over the South, blacks were intimidated. Very few Republican votes were cast. Whenever someone did cast a Republican vote, they ran the extremely plausible risk of being tortured or even murdered.

However, when Republicans cheated, they did not do it through terrorism like the Democrats did. They used the traditional ways instead. They instead took control of the “returning boards”, otherwise known as the counsel that counted votes.

The next election was very close. President Hayes was inaugurated and Lamar was seated in Congress. Lamar made Senator, and Bruce made the postmaster. Bruce was a very good friend of Lamar.

Although this was approaching the late 1870s, the late 1880s was the time when the Jim Crow Laws were enacted and put into law.

Something that Adelbert said himself in a letter to his wife was this, “Need I tell you the state has gone beyond Redemption.” This was 2 days after the Mississippi election. Redemption was “just the word white Southerners used to denote the bloody events of the mid 1870s.” Northerners said “Reconstruction”, and Southerners said “Redemption”.

As Reconstruction ended, modern industrial American began. Thomas Dixon made the Redemption story a staple in American history; he also wrote The Leopard Spots. It comes with 2 definitions. In addition, Dixon’s movie “The Birth of a Nation” was a huge impact to American culture.

Universities emerged after Reconstruction. A leading historian after Reconstruction was William Dunning; he had grad students write dissertations on subtopics of Reconstruction.

Reconstruction was more vividly in American history than the Civil War. It was believed to be a horrible failure, and opponents of Reconstruction said that political corruption was the main thing wrong with it.

As for Butler and Adelbert, Butler died in 1893, and Mr. Ames moved to Lowell with his 6 kids to operate his multiple businesses. These two men came to be two of the most hated men in America at the time.

Andrews, who was a famed historian, wrote to Adelbert saying that Reconstruction was a failure and he explained that the Mississippi government was very corrupt. The debt was upwards of 20 million dollars as well.

Ames wrote a letter back fervently disagreeing, including the fact that the state debt was closer to 500 thousand dollars. Many people called Adelbert corrupt; he ended up being the last surviving Civil War General.

President Kennedy (later, 1940s-50s), a senator at the time, condemned Ames, until Ames the 4th wrote to Kennedy explaining Adelbert’s actions and ended up changing Kennedy’s mind.

As a result, Kennedy did the exactly what Ames had wanted Grant to do when Kennedy became president. He sent troops to ensure Civil Rights. And although it was a struggle, thanks to Kennedy’s persistence, as well as a host of many other factors, we have equality in the United States.

Last but not Least!

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