Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of by C. Vann Woodward

By C. Vann Woodward

Among the period of America's landmark antebellum compromises and that of the Compromise of 1877, a conflict had intervened, destroying the integrity of the Southern process yet failing to figure out the recent South's relation to the Union. whereas it didn't fix the previous order within the South, or restoration the South to parity with the Union, it did lay down the political foundations for reunion, carry Reconstruction to an finish, and form the way forward for 4 million freedmen. initially released in 1951, this vintage paintings through one in all America's leading specialists on Southern background offers a massive new interpretation of the Compromise, forcing historians to revise earlier attitudes in the direction of the Reconstruction interval, the background of the Republican social gathering, and the realignment of forces that fought the Civil battle. simply because a lot of the negotiating happened in secrecy, historians have identified much less approximately this Compromise than others ahead of it. Now reissued with a brand new advent by means of Woodward, Reunion and response offers us the opposite 1/2 the tale.

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Electorates based largely on ante-bellum qualifications, and therefore excluding the Negroes, chose delegates who revised the old state constitutions, and voters elected new legislatures, state officials, and congressmen. " The announcement was premature. Johnson had evaded the question of Negro suffrage and civil rights, avoided revolutionary social changes, and tolerated the election of old leaders to office. The program of moderation proved vulnerable to attack by radicals who sought deeper changes in Southern society.

The bargain with Hayes," he writes, "was one of the most important events in American history. "13 An event of anything like the importance attributed to this deserves a much more searching analysis than it has ever had. In the first place the Compromise of 1877 was not arrived at in two days of last-minute haggling. Instead, the negotiations stretched over a period of several months. They were not confined to a settlement of the domestic affairs of two states. For in the expanse of territory and the variety of interests embraced, the Compromise of 1877 is readily comparable with the classical compromises that preceded it.

The scheme rested upon Republican control of 15 In spite of unfairness to those who did not deserve the derogatory implications of the term "Carpetbagger," the use of the word seems unavoidable — so much so that the Carpetbaggers used it themselves. l8 REUNION AND REACTION the three state returning boards. If these partisan boards could "canvass" the returns and convert every one of the nineteen electoral votes of the three states into a Hayes vote, the Republican candidate would have exactly 185 votes, a majority of one.

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