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Chapter 15 Key terms

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (18)

These were the violent events that occurred from May 1 to 3 in Memphis, Tennessee. The racial violence was ignited by political, social and racial tensions following the American Civil War, in the early stages of Reconstruction. After a shooting altercation between white policemen and black soldiers recently mustered out of the Union Army, mobs of white civilians and policemen rampaged through black neighborhoods and the houses of freedmen, attacking and killing men, women and children. Federal troops were sent to quell the violence and peace was restored on the third day. A subsequent report by a joint Congressional Committee detailed the carnage, with blacks suffering most of the injuries and deaths: 46 blacks and 2 whites were killed, 75 blacks injured, over 100 black persons robbed, 5 black women raped, and 91 homes, 4 churches and 8 schools burned in the black community. Modern estimates place property losses at over $100,000, also suffered mostly by blacks. Many blacks fled the city permanently; by 1870, their population had fallen by one quarter compared to 1865. Public attention following the riots and reports of the atrocities, together with the New Orleans riot in July, strengthened the case made by Radical Republicans in U.S. Congress. The events influenced passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to grant full citizenship to freedmen, as well as passage of the Reconstruction Act to establish military districts and oversight in certain states
The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party from about 1854 (before the American Civil War) until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. They called themselves "Radicals" and were opposed during the war by the Moderate Republicans (led by Abraham Lincoln), by the Conservative Republicans, and by the pro-slavery Democratic Party. After the war, the Radicals were opposed by self-styled "conservatives" (in the South) and "liberals" (in the North). Radicals strongly opposed slavery during the war and after the war distrusted ex-Confederates, demanding harsh policies for the former rebels, and emphasizing civil rights and voting rights for freedmen (recently freed slaves). During the war, Radical Republicans often opposed Lincoln in terms of selection of generals (especially his choice of Democrat George B. McClellan for top command) and his efforts to bring states back into the Union. The Radicals passed their own reconstruction plan through Congress in 1864, but Lincoln vetoed it and was putting his own policies in effect when he was assassinated in 1865.Radicals pushed for the uncompensated abolition of slavery, while Lincoln wanted to pay slave owners who were loyal to the union. After the war, the Radicals demanded civil rights for freedmen, such as measures ensuring suffrage. They initiated the Reconstruction Acts, and limited political and voting rights for ex-Confederates. They bitterly fought President Andrew Johnson; they weakened his powers and attempted to remove him from office through impeachment (they were one vote short). The Radicals were vigorously opposed by the Democratic Party and often by moderate and Liberal Republicans as well.
The Reconstruction Amendments are the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, adopted between 1865 and 1870, the five years immediately following the Civil War. The amendments were important in implementing the Reconstruction of the American South after the war. Their proponents saw them as transforming the United States from a country that was (in Abraham Lincoln's words) "half slave and half free" to one in which the constitutionally guaranteed "blessings of liberty" would be extended to the entire populace, including the former slaves and their descendants. The Thirteenth Amendment (proposed and ratified in 1865) abolished slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment (proposed in 1866 and ratified in 1868) included the privileges and immunities clause, applicable to all citizens, and the due process and equal protection clauses applicable to all persons. The Fifteenth Amendment, (proposed in 1869 and ratified in 1870) prohibits discrimination in voting rights of citizens on the basis of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." This amendment did not include a specific prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex; it took another amendment—the Nineteenth, ratified in 1920—to prohibit such discrimination explicitly. Men and women of all races, regardless of prior slavery, could vote in some states of the early United States, such as New Jersey, provided that they could meet other requirements, such as property ownership. These amendments were intended to guarantee freedom to former slaves and to establish and prevent discrimination in civil rights to former slaves and all citizens of the United States. The promise of these amendments was eroded by state laws and federal court decisions over the course of the 19th century.