tv The Civil War CSPAN April 18, 2015 7:15pm-8:16pm EDT
the cisco tenniel of the proclamation and realizing its limitations more as tactical than as philosophical. i think that has would've helped create a more of a rainbow of appreciation of the war in the north. >> there are certain things that do bring pieces of the war that have been pushed aside, or at least not focused, back into the attention. i think americans, for the most part, didn't even know there were black soldiers in the civil war because they have been sort of airbrushed out of the picture. glory did a remarkable job of bringing that back into focus. and yield the things such as the monument in washington. it really had an impact. >> it also immobilized the african-american reenactment community. as everyone knows, reenactment since they became popular in the
one 25th. in the 1980's and since, that despite the overwhelming numbers and resources, the reality was quite the opposite. it was 10 to one confederate to union actors in reenactments. the head ask soldiers from the confederate to act for the north to make it look more realistic. [laughter] the most recently seen in richmond a couple weeks ago, this was to also in a commemorative mark of troops entering richmond in 1995. in a similarly -- and a similar program was part of the one 50th and richland -- richmond a few weeks ago. union troops entering the city. it was led by african-american reenactors. that pose, almost entirely ethic, to glory. >> and the movie "lincoln" has done, aside what it has done for interest in lincoln, has done
what historians have wanted to do, which is focus on the 13th amendment. bravo to spielberg for doing what few historians have done. co-chair varon: what did you think of the spielberg movie and his handling, depiction of the politics echo chair holzer: well, i was an historical consultant who was ignored. [laughter] so, i love the parties and the premiers and meeting daniel day-lewis, but yeah, i loved it. i thought it was perfect. it is a movie, not a history
lesson. >> i thought the consulting was especially -- [laughter] -- very impressive. your name was into smaller letters i thought. [laughter] chair holzer: i thought so, too. john coski: it was interesting that it was recorded in richmond. chair holzer: government subsidies, which the confederates would have never dreamed about. [laughter] >> one of the things i really like about it was the portrayal of mary cobb i can. i think it was very impressive -- to me, sally fields is still the flying nun, so to speak. [laughter] but i felt that the depiction of her as someone wracked by greed, as opposed to just being a madwoman, was really wonderful. >> i think the great thing about the movie that it focused on politics.
of all the things you could have done with abraham lincoln and the civil war, that is also in the very capital where the confederate government was based, for those things were reenacted. but i thought it was a bold move by spielberg to say, you know, first of all, it shows that the white north is still wrestling. and some of the racist things the democrats said took your breath away, would also remind you that the war itself could resolve all the things that needed to be resolved. that still require the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to do that. i thought it was a better movie than we could have expected. chair holzer: there is actually a six-hour screen -- script owned by spielberg that --
wrote. someday, maybe a miniseries -- it is up to spielberg, but it is there. co-chair varon: another question, this from twitter, asking us to look for the postwar. in terms of taking the opportunity to extend civil rights, how radical was reconstruction? this is for anyone of us. >> if you pull back the camera to look at the global scene, it was incredibly radical. in other places slavery has not been followed by the adventures meant in extension of all rights, so i think it really was radical reconstruction. but as the movie shows, it is so radical that a lot of northerners were resisting how far it went. we look -- we rush ahead to the end of the story and saw that a lot of the gains in potential gains were sort of push back
but i don't think we want to -- as we come upon the anniversary of the reconstruction -- i think that the -- the world importance of that experiment hasn't fully been appreciated by the americans because we are so focused on how it failed. john coski: it is only eight years between when scott said a black person cannot be a citizen to the 13th amendment and beyond. it is exley mind-boggling, within the context of american history. it again shows how the concert quinces -- the consequences of wars range far beyond what anyone imagined. edward ayers: for the united states to go so far so fast to doing that, i think that is what
takeaway we can hope will come out of the anniversary is that this is of global importance. and of profound surprise. >> but also to think about what doesn't happen. >> the resistance is also enormous. the payoff from those wonderful amendment is a long time in coming. >> even among northerners, the things that are on the table why not pick up the estates and reward the lawyer with land? >> that is not on the table for very long. >> exactly. >> [crosstalk] chair holzer: i would also throw my hat in with the retreat from reconstruction. >> do you really think there was retreat?
i don't think the white north was ever really committed. you can never really retreat from anything that you were embracing. i don't think that the white north caret about lack people. they will embrace emancipation because it helps defeat the rebels and renomination, but they are not willing to go beyond that very far. >> there is a retreat in a sense of trusting -- the running of their own affairs. and it -- this trust gives way because of fatigue and opposition. in which whites are premised violence creates chaos. >> african are going to be republican voters. they are going to change the balance of power, so of course that is resistance and racism in the north. >> i think we also need to differentiate between slavery and rights.
slavery had allowed the confederacy to continue for as long as it did because ending slavery was a way of punishing the south. the 13th, 14th, and even the 15th amendments, we need to stand that -- understand that for many white northerners, this was seen as punishment. they are not necessarily on board with black men wearing their white gutters anymore than what southerners were. that we need slavery and race are obviously connected, but we need to understand that as 19th-century americans did and pull them apart. edward ayers: that still means that reconstruction was radical. dr. caroline janney: absolutely. edward ayers: i heard a story and ask what time a question that the panel before us was asked, what if lincoln had not been assassinated? and he said he thinks it would've slowed the civil rights
movement because they wouldn't have been a 14th and 15th amendment because it wouldn't have had the resistance that the white north was willing to overcome that fatigue to make it radical. an interesting thought that if -- if you don't have a 14th amendment, you don't have a foundation for this overwrites movement that follows. i think she made a right point that it is not such a retreat as they are driven from the field in some ways. the white south actually wins reconstruction through military force. through the ku klux klan and riots and those kind of things i think it is -- it is -- >> and andrew johnson gave them a little notch. if they left it up to andrew
johnson, there would be no -- >> it would have taken a real military operation to force reconstruction, and there would have been no way that would have happened because it would've been widely expensive. and many northerners actually bridled the -- >> even when they engaged in the indian wars, the republic wants the army to be smaller and smaller and smaller, but still protect the borders and the frontiers. co-chair gallagher: the u.s. army 1 -- u.s. army got down to 1/10 of its size. ok, this is sort of a specific question. what was the confederate policy regarding african-american soldier. pows? what is the confederate policy?
>> once he was colored troops were in action, the policy was to basically treat them and officers who commanded them as lamenting slave rebellion. so they were basically slaves -- slaves rebelling against authority. they were more like runaway slaves, and they were soldiers to be treated as soldiers. there is a rogue document out there that circulated i think through philadelphia that a sickly davis ordered execution of all slaves. that has apparently been debunked, but the policy was to treat the officers who commanded black troops as if they were white men -- slave rebellion.
and if the soldiers had been slaves, they would be returned to their owners and not treated as prisoners of war. it is for that articulation of that policy the pow cartel broke down in andersonville and the other prison camps. there were no longer being exchanged and the already overwhelmed. dubya system became even more -- the overwhelmed pow system became even more overwhelmed. there were lots of instances -- precisely. lots of that. instances of black troops apparently -- [indiscernible] a lot of instances of execution on the spot of black prisoners or even those after they were prisoners and being routed to
the back, instead of making it to the depot to be taken to a prison camp, they were executed on the way. but there were no executions at prison caps on, no state executions. but eventually, the exchanges resumed in limited ways in late 1864. chair holzer: one of lincoln's finest moment, he says that for every african-american soldier killed, there will be a confederate prisoner killed. for everybody reinstated, there will be a confederate prisoner set to hard labor. and you can give him a little bit of credit, i think, for that disappearing for -- to some degree. john coski: and that was all window dressing for the policy that are prisoners do better service and prison camps and basically, we can win the numbers game better than the confederates can. so there is a school of thought that it was deliberate holocene,
a callous policy on the part of the government, to let their own prisoners remain in prison camps because the south could at least afford their own men to be imprisoned. the numbers game worked in favor of the united states. that the u.s. troops -- it was an excuse for following the policy. >> we will return to some of these names in the afternoon panel. we have a few seconds left. lunch is next on the agenda and we will reconvene for panel 3. everyone enjoyed. thank you for your good questions. [applause] >> american history was live
today from the university of virginia in charlottesville. >> our topic is the union cause in the war. within the framework of how americans remembered it from the wartime generation and later. everybody is awake. the first question i want to talk about is what union meant to the loyal citizenry. to begin that i would like you to discuss what loyal meant within the context of the u.s. effort. >> one of the members of the
audience came up to me and asked to make sure we are -- we had more jokes in the session. [laughter] i will try. i think at a very basic level these concepts are very tied together. union loyalty and sacrifice patriotism. loyal to your country. to the country that was founded in the revolutionary war and established by the constitution followed through by george washington. that is what northerners thought. american exceptionalism was popular back then. i think we can look at the speeches of abraham lincoln for that. the point is, it was a country
that was well aware of that history and the importance of keeping the country together. >> not just the confederacy which harkens back to the meaning full revolution that appropriates a lot of the symbols for the state. the union is looking back to that as well. that is the common heritage. i would like to suggest loyalty probably depends in many respects on your relationship to the coming war. border states, for example, the maybe loyal to the union feel that perhaps a war against slavery would not be welcome. >> it is a misnomer to say there is a war between the north and south. three southern states remain loyal to the united states. >> absolutely. we even have northerners who are
at least extraordinarily -- a few northerners at least who make statements to suggest that they are loyal to the nation. wayward sisters go in peace. so, loyalty itself although i think we are going to use it in a shorthand term was talks about this the way that jones talked about it, there are places where it is the union as it was. the union with slavery. it is complicated. >> the actual expectation, it is much lower than we might commonly think. to be a loyal citizen in the union is to support. when a friend says, if you are in favor of the war, you say
yeah. be honest. don't cheat. there are multiple ways where you can be dishonest and cheat the system. you can't do that. the last thing, the second half of the war, don't whine. a loyal citizen doesn't whine. that is articulated over and over in all sorts of ways. you don't have to do anything, but follow the rules and don't whine. gary: that would mean, don't sell shoddy goods to the government for use in the war effort. is that something you could do to break the rules? matt: it is fine to profit off the war and sell stuff. it is built upon capitalism. it is not fine to cheat by selling goods that fall apart. it is not fine to sell materials that don't match the contract. it is fine to get filthy rich off the rules.
gary: is it fine not to put on a blue uniform? [laughter] i don't want everyone to talk at once. in the first rush to the colors, there is no conscription, of course, on either side. the absolute majority of all men on both sides were true volunteers. they went in before there was conscription. the confederate states have been established. the nation is raising armies to repress the rebellion. can you be a loyal male citizen and not offer military service? joan: the answer is yes. i am still thinking about the "don't whine." that is a low bar for loyalty. i think things that john and matt brought up occurred during the war because the north was so big, had so many citizens. so many citizens, especially in ohio and indiana, and other
states with people who settled there before the war. yes. there were divided loyalties complicated loyalties. if we think about what unified the northern section of the united states after fort sumter, we have to think of the amazing level of patriotism, the recognition that this was real. all the stuff that happened in the 1850's, the debate about the union, now it was happening. i think at that moment, people did reflect on what it meant to be an american. they also thought about god and how god would favor the united states because it had so far in the country's history. i think that perhaps in 1861 more people thought every man should in list. we will see that change over the time because there simply wasn't enough room. gary: i want to build on the theme of getting right with the founders. both sides believed they were
carrying forward the tradition of the founders. the confederacy put george washington on the great seal. they would argue they were aligned with the founders, and so would people in the united states who argued for union. what particularly would unionist have said, this is important and why we cannot let secession go unchallenged? so what if south carolina secedes? john: it is constitutional. the political constitution system. it is very unlikely that many northerners come daily into contact with the federal government. almost none. maybe a trip to the post office
and there is a flag. on less you are importing or exporting, you will not have much contact. there are no taxes in the sense that we know them. they are excise taxes. your connection to the nation's political. political participation. i think of bellows, who was responding and saying, of course we are obsessed with politics. every man in the united states feels himself to be a part of the government. gary: which set them aside from every other society in the western world. joan: the last best hope on earth. if we don't preserve democracy now, it is lost. gary: europe was going the other way in the wake of the revolution of the 1840's. they did have a sense of that, a sense of economic possibility. matt: i would agree with all that. the constitution creates a government. the union constitutes the
embodiment of this government. secession has broken the nation, but it has challenged the solidarity. we get ahead of ourselves there. john: on the same sentiment of not getting ahead of ourselves this is the transgression of secession. you are no longer following the laws. you are no longer under the constitution. sherman is communicating with hood outside atlanta and that is what he is saying. if you want us to go away, return and follow the laws. that is a pervasive connection. gary: the problem with the constitution as it did not clearly say you can or cannot withdraw from the union, constitutionally. that is what they would argue. john: true. it does provide for conventions
of states to occasionally unamended correct the constitution. that was not the avenue chosen the option chosen, by the confederacy. joan: an election that was held legally and resulted in the election of a republican president, largely due because of the split of the democratic party, is no reason to secede, northern people would argue. gary: can we agree that initially in the war, it is a war to restore -- there is no question there are issues related to slavery that brought on secession and by extension trigger the war, but in terms of motivation of citizenry, is it a war for the union to begin? joan: i agree. matt: when we analyze historic accuracy, we need to keep in mind that they frequently misconstrue that which they are seeing. i think most of these rank and file northerners in favor of the union don't see the seceding
states as acting in this way. they see them as being led astray by a fairly small number of crazy slave-ocracy types. therefore, the enemy is not a bunch of southern states, but rather a much smaller body of anti-democratic types. gary: if it begins as a war for the union, does it turn into something else? does the conception of union turn into something else? two parts. a could take us off in any direction. matt: the obvious answer, with the emancipation proclamation, some aspect of the global aims changed. the army of emancipation. i think that trumps the prior and ongoing commitment to union. that is the add-on. it is less significant to the rank and file northerners. joan: the unintended consequences of great wars that you alluded to in the earlier
panel addresses this issue directly. as the war proceeded, in 1861, slaves were coming behind union army lines. the first occurred in virginia. benjamin butler eventually declared them contraband. it was already unraveling. it brought the united states into a situation where they had to figure out a way to legalize this movement.
that didn't necessarily change the aim of the war to preserve the union. at that point, it meant to the means were going to be a little bit different and unanticipated. until 1862, i would say the majority of northern people expected the union to be restored as it was. john: i would agree with that. 1862 becomes a pivotal year almost by default. the secession and the removal of political opposition in congress. a lot of the law was having to do with the abolition of slavery in the district of columbia, the territories, the employment of black men for military services. there is actual legislation written. the window of opportunity has presented itself.
republicans and some democrats jump in in that opportunity. lincoln also seize that opportunity. gary: he did not wanted to degenerate into a remorseless, revolutionary struggle. he changes his mind in the early summer of 1862. why? what changes in the early summer? joan: george b. mcclellan. [laughter] you know what i am saying? gary: i do know what you are saying. yes. joan: his failure to take richmond. the seven days in the summer of 1862. it played a big role in hastening the process by which lincoln decided that we need to think about emancipation.
gary: the united states was absolutely winning the war to that point. you are smiling, john. it is a symphony of catastrophe in the west. john: winning the war, coming hot on the heels of mcclellan. gary: you need mcclellan, but you also need joseph johnston for that to work. we don't like counterfactuals but if he had not been wounded i can't imagine -- joan: if only -- we would have won the war. john: if johnston is not wounded and mcclellan is -- johnstone woke up every day and said, what a great day to retreat. gary: the seven-day signals that it will be a longer war. you will have to do things you did not do before. joan: the chronology is important. i've been researching for donaldson, which occurred in february of 1862. the follow for donaldson, the first big union victory engineered by u.s. grant. what the aftermath to that also showed was how difficult this war was going to be to bring to
government with a topic they had to deal with. john: having derived the system of thinking about fugitive slaves as contraband, property using the laws of property against the confederacy in the context of war, combined with mcclellan, allows lincoln to think about the emancipation proclamation being an act of war rather than an act of social or racial policy. gary: talk about the democratic party a little bit and how you have this one-dimensional view of the party in many ways. can you complicate that view of the piece of the electorate that made up 45% of the voting public in the united states? matt: in the first two years the federal government talks about legislation. much of that is barely tied to the war effort. it is tied to antebellum republican platforms. it seems pretty clear that the rank-and-file democrats that you could be in favor of the union
and winning the war. in terms of complication, one of the biggest errors we make broadly speaking, is thinking of the democrats as being copperhead. i think there is a substantial body of people who are pretty nominally pro-war. their thought is, don't whine. there is a substantial body of people who are democrats by tradition, by family, and by ideology who still think the war ought to be won, but you can still object to an awful lot of things, even the name of the war, including emancipation and
conscription. yeah. i think democrats are going to be in many ways a loyal opposition and not -- john: this takes us back to the original question about loyalty. we have never as a nation had a well-defined policy about what is permissible in terms of defense, especially in times of war and when we think national security is at risk. a lot of the democrats we think of as copperheads or edging toward some kind of disruptive national behavior actually, most of what he is saying is something most of which some republicans are saying. there are some moments where he transgresses that line. for the most part, what he is talking about is not action.
it is not disruptive, let's associate for the purposes of destroying. he's talking about trying to bring the union back in the sense of its own values. those are the moments of transgression, without necessarily being in favor of the war. that is the one dissent i would have from you. you said loyalty could be determined by your support of the war. i think loyalty to the nation might actually include, if you feel the transgression is great enough, lack of support for the war. joan: i think the democratic party has a hard time placing itself in opposition, especially in the early years of the war, because they did not want to be
considered disloyal. this can be compared to a similar process in the confederacy, where the other side of loyalty issue had to be secured as well. there is a positive way of attaching the citizenry to feelings of nationalism and support for the government and the war, but there is also, what do you do with the people who are not loyal or seem not to be loyal? the democrats had to -- most of them supported the war, or not all of them, but most of them, supported the war in the early years, but were bothered by the lincoln administration's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. the opposition found more resonance. this was especially true with emancipation. that was, and we can go into the draft later, but that gave the democrats -- it sounds odd to say it, a winning issue against the republicans. some legitimacy among the electorate, who at this point maybe did not want to stop the work, but didn't like the direction it was going. gary: conscription and
emancipation came together in a toxic way from lincoln's point of view, gave the democrats two big issues. the armies are losing at the same time. all of those things together. lincoln cannot win the war with only republicans supporting the war and only republicans in the army. if we track his statements through the whole war, would we see a consistency in how he uses the union to try to garner the widest possible political support for the war? that got no comments. joan: yes. you have studied his messages to congress. go ahead, john. john: no, i wasn't -- i was agreeing with you. gary: this is not where i wanted it to go, but i think he does have a consistent -- my point i was hoping you are
going to make me agree with -- [laughter] was going to be that he always uses the union because he knows that well, that is the best chance, even as he grows disenchanted with the border states. as late as december of 1864, he says, in a great war, there has to be one thing that basically everyone agrees about. in this war, it is union, but one of the means to achieve union at that point was the 13th amendment because the 13th amendment and killing slavery would help defeat the rebels and help save the union. joan: that was one of lincoln's great characteristics during the war, as a politician. he thought of himself as president of the whole country. he wanted to appeal to as many
different groups as possible in this diverse united states of america. just the contentiousness and the very nature of the large area made it a difficult task. in the civil war, strive for unity wherever you can. that is what he did. in his messages, he did. as the war went on, we are seeing a mystical union, a transcendent unionism that we remember today so well from his speeches. matt: in lincoln's writings, he articulates his vision of what a good citizen is. when he does, it is very rare. a good citizen is somebody who is engaged in the political discourse. they pay attention. they read the news. they have an opinion. they vote. he writes this wonderful letter
to a minister in new england who walks two miles to vote be lincoln writes a letter to him saying, thank you so much for being a good citizen and voting. he never suggests that citizenship requires sacrifice for the war, other than being not outright treasonous. gary: talk about the special problems that unionists in border states posed. how does your war unfold? you decided to stay loyal to the united states and the war unfolds. what are the conditions? john: in kentucky, one of the big issues as slaveholders slaveholders who want to be loyal and stay in the union but at the same time, hold the property. that is problematic. the further you go into the war, lincoln has already tried several times to say, let's work out a gradual emancipation system and compensate you for
the ownership of slavery. time after time, they fall act on their border state identity and the border state need to keep slaves. their economy is built around that. not to plug for -- hi, amy. i have a grad student writing a great dissertation. she has a chapter on george, an important figure, a painter, who becomes involved in the military service for a short time. can you be a loyal citizen without putting on a uniform? he did put on a uniform, so that does not work. he went on to be state treasurer. loyal, can it be an enthusiastic republican during the war?
it came to blows almost with thomas ewing. the idea that there are moments that the military, for what it believes and advertises as military necessity, takes on an excess of power, exercises the excess of power, that turned being him against the war effort in missouri. today, we think of him as a pro-southerner person, which he never was. matt: a simple addition, for the northern states, you go through four years without ever being in fear of -- in the border states, not only are you likely to encounter guys with guns, you might well encounter people with guns on either side. if you are living in maine, you are not worried about guys with guns all that much. joan: that is an excellent point. i also have a graduate student
writing about missouri during the civil war. we should talk about a different point of view. as she is looking at the counties that comprised little dixie. she is examining the nightmarish situation that so many civilians found, women in the older men who stayed at home, which does make it very different than the border state of maryland, which felt the extremely heavy hand of the federal government from the beginning. in these civilian communities, it could be that the u.s. soldiers would come by, breeze
by, occupy, then they would and because the confederates ran them out, the citizens were caught in between and in between. some of them were slaveholders some were for the united states. you wouldn't have that problem in st. louis. but certainly in the countryside. john: in western maryland, he's going to recruit men out of western maryland. no one shows up. the rifles go back to the south, -- gary: bragg took been to kentucky. -- took them to kentucky. john: kentucky becomes more confederate after the war.
in missouri, despite all of the absolute horror that many of the citizens face, once clayborn is chased out of the state and the confederate government is formed in texas, missouri remains loyal. gary: we've talked about how individuals fit into the different themes. i would like to talk about how important to figure u.s. grant was in terms of a union formulation of the war. what is he represent -- what does he represent people of -- two people of the united states? >> i can take that question. gary: take it. [laughter] john: i have tracked his career throughout the war.
what is remarkable to me -- u.s. grant, the top union general of the war, the most successful general of the war by far for lincoln. the one who ended up in the east directing all the u.s. army's, however, when he seemed to symbolize -- one of the things if you want to talk about the architects of the union cause, and look at the military, grant to me and the people back then represented the citizen soldier fighting for democracy. fighting to save the republic. he was immensely important in consolidating support. he didn't have the union army camp was compared to the confederate army or the army of northern virginia. under lee, as far as the passion had for the confederates -- the confederates had for him. you cannot discount the union army. i think grant became a symbol of the union army and the symbol of the country staying together.
gary: he appealed across political lines for most of the war. john: democrats -- joan: both democrats and republicans wanted him to run in 1864. he declined. john: in addition to the political structures, you are right. when the war begins, the military becomes a third part of that. we talked in the lost cause being rooted and admiration for the confederate soldier and his officers. think during the war, how the war goes, how the military is successful or unsuccessful is directly related, as seen by the loyal north as an indicator of their cause as well. matt: if we have been able whole loyal citizens -- gary: if we had been able to pull loyal citizens, what would be major elements of the response speed? -- responses have been?
>> family feud? matt: the top answer is going to be restore the union. those people would go on to say ended slavery and punish the people who started this thing. killing slavery does punish the people that started this thing. matt: -- john: is the destruction of the institution. joan: i agree. it securing the union, however by 1865, i do believe that a sizable number of white northerners had come to very much support emancipation as a part of that goal. i think increasing numbers after the war, they would be proud of their role in securing emancipation. although their support did not
extend to equal rights, securing equal rights. john: the trick is with those two things, what is obvious, the destruction of slavery is obvious. 4 million people aren't out of jobs and new jobs. -- are out of jobs. and need jobs. a lot of people on land in the cell through don't have workers. you can see the result almost immediately. how do you see a union? how do you measure it. -- how do you measure it? they are not shooting at us anymore. that seems like a low threshold for unionism. that is really one of the conundrums that plagues the united states. for the next several decades. gary: most loyal citizens said there was unfinished business before johnson goes off track in the summer of 1865. matt: right after the war? gary: in the immediate aftermath
of the war. matt: no, except to the extent that some portion of them say more people need to be hung. gary: retribution? matt: yes. i do not think at the end of the war people were saying if we had six more months, we could get the thing done. joan: chronology is everything. if you asked them on april 10, 1865, he would be exhilaration of the country can be seen healing. if you asked them after lincoln's assassination, that would be different. if you asked them during the summer of 1865 and through 1866, living through andrew johnson's reconstruction, where it seemed
that the ex-confederates were emboldened to such an extent that they ignored -- it seems that they not only ignored but disrespected the results of the war, i think a lot of northerners would be upset. and in fact, they were. we know the results of the vote that was cast that gave the vetoproof congress for andrew johnson to deal with for the rest of his administration. however, i'm going to follow this to the bitter end. in 1868, when it seemed that once again, the country was on the right track and u.s. grant was president, the vote for him by the northern -- the united states people in the north and african-americans -- it's over. we secure the union, we stabilized the south, and now we can go back to our lives.
john: if we go back to 18 65 middle of 1866, northerners are aghast at the behaviors they seem politically by white southern democrats. are they surprised by that? if you skip ahead a year, i think the northern voters were thinking, man, i didn't see that coming, to the extent to which they did it. gary: they were surprised by the behavior of southerners. matt: maybe for a couple of different reasons. sherman marching to the south, the idea that they seem to be completely without weapons weren't optional recourse. john: the military defeat seemed to be overwhelming to northerners. the second is not just oh, you do have the wherewithal to try to put the society back together fairly quickly, the other is disrespecting of the victory. that was talked about earlier panels, the repudiation of
appomattox. when mississippi becomes the first state to jump out in front of the black codes problem and try to reestablish a racially hierarchical society without slavery, i do think a lot of the war aims, even those who perhaps relate getting on the bandwagon for emancipation are suddenly believing that southern obstinacy connection to derail some of this. gary: to what degree do you see the 14th and 15th amendments as a follow-through, more about punishing or dealing with the white south they would have a different formulation for them than we would have looking backward towards them? how much of that is to continue the process of making certain former confederates not go too far in the wake of defeat? john: i think it's essential. the passage of those moments are -- both of those amendments are
driven by the idea that we have to get the constitution changed, with the understanding that a sufficient majority of states to overturn an amendment would have been almost impossible. it's a race. the stronger the south seems to get, the more and more by the time you get to 69, 70, 71 states are being remitted into the union and beyond the realm of congressional reconstruction. there is an absolute panic to get that amendment, and in order to do what can be done within the limited scope, what they're thinking of the limited scope of construction. joan: the radical republicans that backed the 14th and 15th amendment, and the republican majorities in the states in the north ensured that these amendments would pass. they didn't put it to a vote
because it probably would've lost, if they put it to a vote in the northern states. the radical republicans, their agenda predominated from 1866 to 1868. they envisioned the south, made in the north's image, and with the help of black men voting the republican party would have a chance to establish itself. a real two-party system. they got it, the republican party is in the south now. [laughter] matt: maybe not exactly the way they envisioned it. [laughter] matt: one could argue that the 14th and 15th amendments are an active punishment, but they are -- an act of punishment, but they are also a useful route rather than pursuing treason and other forms of retribution. we can in a sense, punish them
this way rather than with a bunch of court cases and show trials. all of which would be difficult in multiple ways. the 14th and 15th amendments conserve multiple purposes that are comparable. joan: i agree with you, and bill blair. i agree with everybody. but the fact that, to perhaps the taking away temporarily the vote of the southern white males and preventing certain categories of ex-confederates from holding office was considered a great punishment, greater than perhaps, treason trial. the problem from the perspective of the radical republicans is based saw their program unravel and ultimately end in some failure. they didn't do it long enough. because that would transgress
one of the goals of the war, which is reunion. john: since we had a panel that dealt with assassination surrenders, i have a question. if the retribution in terms of trials, treason trials was plan a comment that was shut down largely by andrew jackson's -- andrew johnson's proclamations which created a program for amnesty, the 14th 15th amendment then plan b? and that doesn't go very well so what his plan c? is there one? gary: there is not a plan c. joan: what about plan z? i don't know. john: since we don't have the retribution, is it reasonable to then think about the lack of a
more militaristic retribution, punishment? is that a plan b that doesn't work? gary: it's absolutely essential to understand there was not going to be a major military presence in the former confederacy. even republicans in congress were not going to vote the money for that, the people weren't interested in it. the government budget went from $60 million in 1862 to $1.3 billion in 1865, and that wasn't going to happen. part of the question is what can you do with the u.s. army that only has 50,000 soldiers in it? and a huge proportion of them are deployed to the west? i think the amendments are a way to do a great deal when you know you are not going to do -- certain options really aren't options. in a true occupation, i think is really not an option. we use that word lightly when i think we talk about a postwar occupation.
they are united states soldiers there, african american soldiers, white soldiers, but there were one million u.s. soldiers deployed in may of 1865, they didn't occupy all of the south area. joan: they were deployed on an ad hoc basis. john: if you think of the rank-and-file white northern voters, at the beginning of the war, we can picture them favoring union. matt: we can picture them favoring emancipation as well as union. in 1868, reconstruction is we can of it as foreign policy. do we really want to be spending our money on alabama? especially free blacks in alabama. it's no longer a union question it's a very different kind of ideological question for these