Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Minuteman, Apr 15, 2018.
How harsh could reconstruction go?
Do you mean how harsh could it possibly get, or how harsh would the North actually be willing to go?
Both would be good.
Not much harsher. Honestly why would the north want to be harsh to the south? It's not like they actually cared about the negro. Frankly the war was as much to stop slavery as it was to stop the south from continuing to make itself a problem.
The southern states are dissolved and permanently administered by the federal government as territories, with governors appointed from Washington, and no representation in Congress. Every Confederate official and soldier, and any official in the seceding states, are permanently stripped of their citizenship.
Have the Booth plot to kill Lincoln be successful (and by that, I mean that VP Johnson and SoS Seward are also killed).
I think that's ASB and wouldn't pass any constitutional test even in the wake of a much worse Civil War. If the federal government tried that it's very likely the Union states would object. It would also be a stupid idea since it would basically prove true everything the Confederacy had claimed about Federal oppression before the war started.
permanent is a bit too much I think, but you could see the delay for readmission to the union lasting for decades
Some guy on this board wrote a topic or a post in other topic about how he would deal with the confederate sympatizers, both "ancient" and modern, and there were propositions like stripping citizenship for displaying the confederate flag and other brutal methods. But that's ASB.
I think that noone in the union leadership would want to be very harsh, they didn't want to have more problems, and some "Vietnam" in Dixie which would involve hunders thousands of the union troops for many years.
Maybe reducing the number of EVs of the Southern States to a point the same as the number of EVs of New York.
"It would also be a stupid idea since it would basically prove true everything the Confederacy had claimed about Federal oppression before the war started."
And the POD would be exactly that. Everything the Confederates said about federal oppression was in fact correct.
Who would become president if that happened? Under modern rules it would be Schuyler Colfax, but I don't know if those applied back in 1865.
Senator Charles Sumner proposed that the states had essentially committed suicide, and should be reincorporated as territories and the process of making them into states be started anew, quite possibly with completely different boundaries. That might not be harsher on the people, but is certainly harsher on the institution of government. Amendments to the Constitution, the presidency, and many other issues are determined by the STATES...
Wartime events could also lead to even harsher feelings. Suppose that, soon after the mass murder/massacre at Fort Pillow, some of the perpetrators had been captured in a later battle, tried by court martial, and hanged, including some officers, or even General Forrest. Rebel reprisals against Union officers could follow, and things go down hill from there.
It would be Senator Lafayette Foster of Connecticut, the Senate's Pres Pro-Tem.
From what I can gather he was at the conservative end of the Republican Party, but quite popular with his fellow Senators, and at all events in his position he would have been more in touch with Congressional opinion, so probably wouldn't clash with Congress as violently as Johnson did.
Foster would have served as Acting POTUS for less than a year, as there would have been an election of POTUS and VP in November 1865, and he would have handed over (almost certainly to Grant) in March 1866.
Indeed, and paradoxically, a harder Reconstruction might have resulted in Blacks doing worse.
Under a tougher postwar regime, the Southern states might not have dared to reject the 14th Amendment. If they ratify it, they could well get readmitted without giving Freedmen the vote.
I have often thought that white politics would have been very different if the South (theoretically), the Midwest and the West (theoretically again until in some cases later than in the South, especially re Native Americans in the Southwest) had not have to extend the vote to non-whites. If the South (and West) had not had to give the vote in theory to non-white populations, they might have been less obsessed with controlling them because their landowning and mining interests would have not had to fear their political power. In the Plains and Southwest, large mineowners were able to exclude Native Americans – whose interests in land control were irreconcilable with their own – from voting by law even after the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. In fact, in Arizona almost no Native Americans voted in any elections before 1972. The effect of this was that those white voters nearest to large Native concentrations were able to simply acquiesce to the demands of the mining capitalists and vote on issues other than Native American political and civil rights, to an extent which Black Belt whites never could do.
Under a scenario where the Confederate States were readmitted (and Western states continued to be admitted) without giving non-whites the right to vote, the persistent fear of black political power might have been absent and the sectional politics of the “System of 1896” with its massive downturns in white political participation (not to neglect larger declines in black voting even in loyal states), might have been avoided.
The only problem is how would the United States have presented a system that forbids non-whites from voting (except perhaps in the Northeast) to the rest of the world as its power grew?
Or what would the response of non-whites have been if their economic fortunes declined or poor whites found that policies intended to help (and actually helping) them also inadvertently helped non-whites and wanted to stop them for this reason?? I can imagine much more violent Civil Rights struggles, unless blacks could be more tightly united by churches.
The things that a\re needed for a Radical reconstruction are 1) giving land and thus economic security to former slaves and 2) Acting in the Spring and Summer of 1865.
In otl reconstruction followed a period where the old regime had been allowed to take power.
Basically exil and expropriate the planter class. Promote the idea that the war was started by that group
What is the point of getting rid of the planters? Many of them were former Whigs and actually more ready to co-operate with the Republicans than the poorer ones who gained political power OTL after the planters lost it.
As for the old chestnut of giving land to the Freedmen, how can that possibly work except in a few solidly black areas? Anywhere else, any poor fool who accepts confiscated land will just be found on some country lane with bullet holes in his back.
Break up planter lands and distribute to local poor whites?
To what purpose?
It would be no easier to reconcile poor whites to the Union than rich ones. Indeed, many ex-Whig planters had supported Bell against Breckinridge, and opposed secession. What advantage does the Union gain by dispossessing them?
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