Reconstruction DBQ

Reconstruction DBQ
North or South:
Who Killed Reconstruction?
“Is This a Republican
Form of Government?
Is This Protecting Life,
Liberty, or Property?”
Harper’s Weekly
September 1, 1868
Overview: The twelve years after the Civil War proved to be a difficult time for America. Called Reconstruction
by historians, this era saw an increase of freedom for former slaves. However, there was also great resistance to
change. In 1877 attempts to reconstruct the South officially ended, leaving white-only governments in power.
This DBQ asks you to decide who, North or South, was most responsible for the end of Reconstruction
Reconstruction DBQ
Document 1
Source: “Black Codes” of Opelousas, Louisiana
In the years following the Civil War - throughout the South -state, city, and town governments passed laws to restrict
the rights of free African-American men and women. These laws were often called “Black Codes.” The example below
of “Black Codes” comes from laws passed in Opelousas, Louisiana immediately after the Civil War.
1. "No negro or freedmen shall be allowed to come within the limits of the town of Opelousas without
special permission from his employers. Whoever breaks this law will go to jail and work for two days on
the public streets, or pay a fine of five dollars.”
2. “No negro or freedman shall be permitted to rent or keep a house in town under any circumstances. No
negro or freedman shall live within the town who does not work for some white person or former owner.”
3. “No public meetings of negroes or freedmen shall be allowed within the town.”
4. “No freedman shall be allowed to carry firearms, or any kind of weapons. No freedman shall sell or
exchange any article of merchandise within the limits of Opelousas without permission in writing from his
5. “Every negro is to be in the service of (work for) some white person, or former owner.”
Document 2
(This is not actually a primary
source – it is a SECONDARY
source, since it was not created
at the time of Reconstruction.)
Reconstruction DBQ
Document 3
Source: Albion Tourgee, Letter on Ku Klux Klan Activities. New York Tribune, May 1870.
Note: Tourgee was a white, Northern soldier who settled in North Carolina after the War. He served as a judge during
Reconstruction and wrote this letter to the North Carolina Republican Senator, Joseph Carter Abbott.
It is my mournful duty to inform you that our friend John W. Stephens, State Senator from Caswell, is
dead. He was foully murdered by the Ku-Klux in the Grand Jury room of the Court House on Saturday… He
was stabbed five or six times, and then hanged on a hook in the Grand Jury room… Another brave, honest
Republican citizen has met his fate at the hands of these fiends…
I have very little doubt that I shall be one of the next victims. My steps have been dogged for months,
and only a good opportunity has been wanting to secure to me the fate which Stephens has just met… I say to
you plainly that any member of Congress who, especially if from the South, does not support, advocate, and
urge immediate, active, and thorough measures to put an end to these outrages…is a coward, a traitor, or a fool.
Document 4
Source: Independent Monitor,
September 1, 1868.
Document 5
Reconstruction DBQ
Source: Abram Colby, testimony to a joint House and Senate Committee in 1872.
Note: Colby was a former slave who was elected to the Georgia State legislature during Reconstruction.
Colby: On the 29th of October 1869, [the Klansmen] broke my door open, took me out of bed, took me to
the woods and whipped me three hours or more and left me for dead. They said to me, "Do you think you
will ever vote another damned Radical ticket?" I said, "If there was an election tomorrow, I would vote the
Radical ticket." They set in and whipped me a thousand licks more, with sticks and straps that had buckles
on the ends of them.
Question: What is the character of those men who were engaged in whipping you?
Colby: Some are first-class men in our town. One is a lawyer, one a doctor, and some are farmers… They
said I had voted for Grant and had carried the Negroes against them. About two days before they whipped
me they offered me $5,000 to go with them and said they would pay me $2,500 in cash if I would let
another man go to the legislature in my place. I told them that I would not do it if they would give me all the
county was worth… No man can make a free speech in my county. I do not believe it can be done anywhere
in Georgia.
Document 6
Source: Harper’s Weekly, October
21, 1876.
Caption: “Of Course he wants to
vote the Democratic ticket.”
Reconstruction DBQ
Document 7
Northern artist’s portrayal
of the South Carolina State
Legislature during
Source: The Cover of Harper’s
Weekly, March 14, 1874
Reconstruction DBQ
Document 8
Document 9
Document 10
Reconstruction DBQ
Document 11
Source: New York Times, September 22, 1873
In this passage from a longer article, a reporter from the New York Times summarizes the first day of the
Panic of 1873.
Document 12
Reconstruction DBQ
Document 13