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tv   Lectures in History  CSPAN  August 2, 2015 12:02am-1:21am EDT

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not far off when space missions made possible by this first joint efforts will be more or less commonplace. in signing off, here is to a soft landing. >> thank you, mr. president. >> each week american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of america's college professor -- professors. north carolina state university professor susanna lee talks about the changing perception of who qualify for citizenship in post-civil war america. she describes the legislation passed during that era in the debate about whether citizenship and voting privileges should be tied to loyalty to the union race and gender. her classes about an hour and 15 minutes. dr. lee: good afternoon. how are you all doing?
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as you know, i am susanna lee. we are here today in my civil war reconstruction class and today we are talking about reconstruction. in particular, citizenship during reconstruction. the remaking of citizenship during congressional reconstruction. let's review. what were some of the main points that we talked about in last -- in the last class? yes, robin? >> we talked about the way states were provided with the proper representation -- which was new compared to the 10% plan. it was -- they were unionists throughout the war, unlike the other plan where they are suddenly a part of that side. dr. lee: we talked about wartime
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reconstruction and lincoln's 10% plan, which some disagreed with because it allowed too many former confederates into power. robin mentioned the way that this was a radical reaction to the 10% plan. it was understood as a way to ensure that government would be in the hands of loyal men. what other points did we cover? chase? >> [indiscernible] dr. lee: we talked about presidential reconstruction under johnson and it seemed in many respects lenient.
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it returned to power former confederates. there were a few limitations on voting or holding office. as we talked about, andrew johnson, pardoning former confederates in 1868. >> the meanings of freedom and how the african-americans and the whites had different meanings at the end of the war and what they wanted to get out of it. we discussed the main meanings of what freedom meant to them. dr. lee: absolutely. we were talking about freedom and to what extent freedom was in existence in 1865. we talked about the way freedom was precarious and it was worked out in interactions with former slaves and former slave owners. that was an important point. >> we also talked about the black code adopted by the southern government.
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some people could not own land. if some blacks were seen in public without whites, they could be arrested and put on like, i guess forced to work on the public project. dr. lee: this is important. the black code. as passed by southern legislature, under presidential reconstruction these are some of . the first acts that these restored governments do. although many northern states were very discriminatory toward african-americans, what was different was these southern black codes were geared to keep african americans, newly freed black men and women, it in positions of economic dependence. this is significant because many white northerners, republicans viewed these black codes as an
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attempt to resurrect the institution of slavery. we talked about racial violence in the aftermath of the civil war. the memphis riots and in new orleans riots. those were attacks on black men and women, white republicans men who had been loyal to the union cause during the civil war. this was another signal to republican congressman it did not seem like former confederates were going to peacefully recognize they had lost the war. that freedom was he reality. -- that freedom was a reality. we talked about the benefits of reconciliation, bringing former confederates back into the union. but, what if former confederates, once brought back into the union, did not abide by
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freedom? did not recognize the freedom of their former slaves? congressional reconstruction was an attempt to reconstruct southern society so white southerners, former confederates and slaveholders, recognized the freedom of their formerly enslaved property. what we are going to talk about today is congressional reconstruction and in particular, how notions of citizenship change. i have two cartoons i want you to look at first. what is the story being told here in these cartoons? what is going on? joseph. >> it appears that the first
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cartoon is meant to be a portrayal of america as a woman, maybe accepting after granting them their rights, she is explaining to a wounded soldier he is going to have to leave. dr. lee: it is a question. here you have a call to reestablish the union. let the former confederate states and citizens back into the union. we talked about this last class. the question is, shall i let in these former confederates? who acted against the united states. what about these men? these men who did not commit treason? these men sacrificed for the union cause. that is why to significant the character in the second cartoon
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is a union soldier. not just any union soldier. how does it indicate that sacrifice? how is the sacrifice indicated? >> it looks like he was wounded in battle so he served for his country. dr. lee: he is missing a leg absolutely. what you have during reconstruction. here, i am talking about the white northern perspective. the unionist perspective. you have a situation in which the supporters of the union are reconceptualizing the nature of citizenship. what happens is in the antebellum era, access to the right and privileges of citizenship was restricted by race and gender. what happened during the civil war is those who were considered to be the best citizens, the best able to act as good
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citizens, white men in the south, what did they do? they were traitors. they tore the union apart. and then you have black men, who by virtue of being african-american or enslaved they were thought of as the antithesis of citizens, but they fought for the union cause. you have a situation in which the notion of citizenship seems to be backwards. during the civil war and reconstruction, you have a reconceptualization of citizenship. particularly in the union, white northerners and westerners come to question their previous standards of citizenship. you see importance given to loyalty. not necessarily race. increasingly loyalty. this causes a
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reconceptualization of citizenship. you can also see, african men -- african-american men making claims on citizenship on the basis of their loyalty. it could also potentially upset the gender hierarchy as well as women potentially could build upon their loyalty and stake a claim for full rights of citizenship or what they understood as full rights in the union. today, i am going to talk about shifts in understandings of citizenship in the context of several major components of reconstruction as envisioned by congressional republican architects. we are going to be talking about the civil rights act, the 14th amendment, reconstruction acts the 15th amendment, and the documents assigned for today. i'm going to focus on the majority opinion. republicans, primarily the
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republican consensus as much as there was one. i'm going to show how congressional republicans in response to the intransigence of former confederates we talked about last class experimented with loyalty as a replacement for race in their understandings of citizenship and the ways in which they restricted access to the right and privileges of citizenship during congressional reconstruction. first, the friedman's bureau. as they shifted to accept emancipation, republicans were fearful these slaves, soon-to-be former slaves, would not have the capacity to act as free citizens. as we have talked about, very clearly we understand most white southerners did not understand people of african descent could act as free citizens. we also talked about how many white northerners and westerners
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shared those views. during reconstruction, as the union shifts to embrace emancipation, there was a fear. what happens after the war? the federal government has a commission that seeks to explore that question. what is the capacity of these african americans for freedom and citizenship? one of the recommendations is to create a bureau. that is the idea underlying the freedmen's bureau. it was understood as an institution that was overseeing the process from slavery to freedom but it was also a relief agency for both black and white southerners in the aftermath of the civil war. we talk about it as the freedmen's bureau but it also assisted white southerners.
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the federal government created it in 1865 to potentially prepare the former slaves for freedom and citizenship. republicans argued free people after years of being enslaved, they did not have the necessary self-reliance to act as free people. the bureau was understood as temporary, they wanted it to be temporary, a temporary means by which the federal government could assist in the process of transitioning from slavery to freedom. as one proponent argued, we have 4 million people in poverty. because our laws have denied them the right to acquire property and ignorant because our laws have made it a felony to instruct them. because war has broken the
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shackles that found of them and release them from the plantations. we are to organize them in society and guide them as the guardian guides his ward until they can acquire habits and become capable of self control. we are to watch over them. we have evidence they will more than repay our labor. if we do not, we will doom them to vagrancy and populism. -- pauperism. why did this congressmen deem the freedmen's bureau as necessary? what do you think? >> i believe he did not think they were able or capable of doing it themselves. dr. lee: capable of transitioning to freedom on their own. there were some republicans who
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are critical of the paternalism that without the assistance of whites, african-americans could not learn how to act as free citizens. he says here, they do not presently have habits of self-control. that is presuming they are lacking in that regard. the federal government needs to come in and assist them. did you want to add something? >> i feel like it is very much spoken from a similar perspective of the slave owners. a paternalistic mentality that has not disintegrated even though the war is over. they are still viewed in the perspective of being enslaved. the war as being the only reason they were bound from their shackles. dr. lee: she makes a good point, showing the similarity and racist assumptions underlying the freedmen's bureau.
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what is different here, and the white republican thought, though that is a point we forget. what i want to point out is what republicans believe in, many former slave owners do not, the idea of free labor. what you see moving forward, delving deeply, the resistance to free labor. >> it sounds like it is more the federal government's obligation to integrate them into society. dr. lee: that is an important point.
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because of our laws, the sanctions, we are complicit in what he considers to be there inferior position. that is a very smart point. what he is establishing is the obligation of the federal government to help raise them up. the government had been complicit. now it should also assist in the transition from slavery to freedom. the restrictions built into the black codes and the violence towards former slaves we talked about earlier this week convinced many republican congressman as we talked about that white southerners refused to recognize abolition and they refused to treat black southerners as free laborers. free citizens. republican congressmen believed it was necessary to guarantee to former slaves their civil rights so they could be allowed, so that they have the tools to protect themselves from their
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former masters and mistresses. congress took steps to safeguard black civil rights in the civil rights act of 1866. this slide presents -- i think i missed it -- this slide presents an excerpt from the act. the bill declared that anyone born in the united states except indians or citizens with laterally protected rights including the right to make contracts, the right to own and rent a property and the right to access courts and parties as witnesses. this act was really revolutionary in that it for the first time in the nation's existence defined citizenship in national terms. it had always been previously defined in state terms. this was a national expression
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of citizenship, regardless of race. proponents saw the act as an expression of the federal government's responsibility to protect the fundamental rights of american citizenship. the republican consensus supported the freedmen's bureau. and also supported equal civil rights for african americans. nonetheless, president andrew johnson who had previously in a democrat, which explains smooth -- which explains some of the ways he was at odds with his nominal party, he vetoed an extension of the freedmen's bureau act. congress had to continually renew it so he vetoed that. he vetoed the civil rights act. he argued these congressional measures were unconstitutional
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because they represented augmentations of federal power. the federal government presumed to take on powers of authority reserved for the states. he also argued, what these measures did was to give special handouts and protections and privileges to the blacks at the expense of whites. johnson specifically opposed the extension of the bureau on the grounds congress had never before provided such privileges to our people, as he called them. what does that mean? who was he referring to? >> the confederates? dr. lee: who else? who else was andrew johnson referring to by our people? what do you think?
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>> whites? dr. lee: more generally, the former confederates but also whites. he said, the federal government has never before offered these kinds of actions. -- protections. the bureau did provide for white southerners as well as black southerners. i think his perspective is significant because it shows how what is going on here during congressional reconstruction was a profound shift. a shift in the notion of who constitutes our people. you see congressional republicans trying to include african-americans into our people. you see this resistance to it by people like andrew johnson and also democrats who say, this is a white man's government.
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>> i am not quite familiar with this process on how did johnson become part of this? dr. lee: this is a little-known fact which many people are not necessarily aware of but during the civil war, we talked about the election of 1864, abraham lincoln, the candidate, did not run under the banner of the republican party. he renamed the party the national union party. it was renamed in an attempt to create a coalition. the republican party had come into existence in the late antebellum era. lincoln is trying to broaden his coalition. andrew johnson was brought in as a vice presidential candidate because he was a democrat. appealed to democrats potentially, but also he had been loyal to the union. it was thought, he was brought
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in on the ticket even though he had not converted to the republicans as a means to broaden the coalition. does that make sense? ok. johnson, i talked about this attempt to restructure what "our people" meant. he did not see the bureau as an attempt for inclusion, he saw it as favoritism. here you have the federal government favoring african-americans at the expense of whites. you see these arguments in a democratic broadside from 1866. the idea that what the bureau
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did was allow black southerners to be lazy -- it was giving them rations, food, encouraging them to loaf about. therefore, why would a former slave work if the federal government was going to give them handouts? johnson opposed the civil rights bill because, as he contended, the distinction of race and color is made to operate in favor of the colored and against the white race. he believed blacks were incapable of acting as good citizens. can it be reasonably supposed, he asked, that former slaves have the requisite qualifications to be citizens? he did not really expect an answer. he thought it was self evident. of course they could not. congressional republicans ultimately passed the extension
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of the freedmen's bureau and civil rights act over johnson's vetoes and moved to take control of the process of reconstruction. republican congressman feared a hostile judiciary and may be a future democratic majority in congress would eventually subvert the civil rights act. they intended the 14th amendment, passed in 1866 and ratified in 1868, as a means to place black civil rights and citizenship on a firm constitutional footing. as you see from this next slide, the 14th amendment granted both states and a national citizenship to all black people born in the u.s. this is the concept of birthright citizenship.
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it has been in the news recently in the discussion of anchor babies. the 14th amendment prohibited states from enforcing any law which would abridge the privileges of citizenship. they prohibit a person of life liberty, or property without to process of law. prohibited states from depriving any person that equal protection of the law. this next clause, stipulated -- counting the whole number of persons in each state excluding indians not taxed.
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the basis of representation will be reduced in proportion. what does that all mean? >> each state will have representatives that are representative of the population? dr. lee: are representative of the population of -- you are getting at it here. >> isn't there a discrepancy of who is a whole number? dr. lee: it has to do with the 3/5 federal compromise. did you want to add something?
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>> they counted but they don't have the right to vote. it is just white men even though the black man counted? dr. lee: that is a factor. do you want to add anything, joseph? >> it felt like what they were getting at was [indiscernible] the portion of the population you are preventing from voting you also lose in regards to your representatives. dr. lee: exactly. what is the problem? these former confederate states, they will have more political power than they did before because african-americans will be counted as full people. their representation in congress would be increased accordingly. at the same time, these former confederate states did not allow those men to vote.
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what this provision did was say, ok, you are going to disenfranchise black men then you are not going to get congressional representation for them. the means which republican congressmen were attempting to reduce the potential political power of the former confederacy without an outright in franchise -- in franchise meant -- infranc hisement of black voters. republicans, many of them were opposed to black suffrage. rather than forcing black suffrage upon the former confederate states, they chose to create this mechanism by which former confederate states would have their representation docked. ok? did you want to add something? finally, this slide. it presents what is called the
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disabling clause. the 14th amendment denied the privilege of holding office. but not voting. to a significant segment of the southern political leadership. republican congressman intended this was a means to ensure office holding was in the hands of loyal southern men. the 14th amendment stopped short of the radicalism some republicans envisioned. radical republicans preferred mechanisms that placed government in the hands of loyal southerners. they objected to the 14th amendment because it did not enfranchise black men and disenfranchise former confederate. republicans did not establish black male suffrage in the 14th amendment because they knew it would be unpopular, not just among the opposition but also within the republican party.
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republican opponents cautioned black men were not yet ready to vote. maybe they wouldn't ever be ready to vote. democratic opponents argued african-americans were lazy and stupid and incapable of acting as citizens. they therefore called for a white man's government. confederate disenfranchisement faced considerable opposition from republicans and democrats. what were some of the arguments? against confederate disenfranchisement. why might congressman be opposed? what were some of the arguments? what you think? >> would it be maybe that in order to keep, possibly keep
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african-americans out of the system so much, if you will -- dr. lee: you are raising an important issue. >> they are still white men. that holds precedence. they are still white men, you are going to face opposition by many. dr. lee: especially democrats are going to be opposed to disenfranchising white men. particularly if you're thinking about franchising black men. this is the idea this is a white men's government. we should restore them to their rights and privileges. why else?
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why else might congressmen oppose disenfranchisement, prohibiting former confederates from voting? what do you think? >> you would be alienating them when you are try to get the country back together. a bunch of people whose rights you have taken away and they might try to start up another rebellion or something like that while you are trying to put the country back together. dr. lee: there is the white democratic opposition. also those disenfranchised. think about it. as we talked about, during the civil war, there was a white unionist population but it was a minority of the white southern population. if you disenfranchise former confederates, essentially what you are creating is a government of the minority. one of the foundational
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principles of the american experiment and republicanism is rooted in the consent of the governed. if you are disenfranchising them, they are not allowed to participate. not just democratic opponents but republican opponents complained it was essentially an -- un-republican. it was not legitimate. they were very wary of disenfranchising a significant portion of the population. democrats also, in addition to the arguments we have mentioned, democrats also contended former confederates had sworn oaths of loyalty. they had sworn they would support the union in the future.
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they had returned to their loyalties in good faith. the argument among democrats was, they are loyal citizens. they have sworn to be loyal in the future. they should not be discriminated against. as one democrat put it, the people of the south, once rebels, are rebels no longer. republican congressmen hesitated to impose on an arena that had traditionally been the province of states. voter qualifications. especially to impose what would be unpopular policies. still, the 14th amendment was a powerful expression of a quality -- of equality written into the constitution. during the antebellum era, the chief justice of the supreme court had declared blacks were so inferior and unfit to associate with the white race, they could just fully and
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-- just fully lawfully be reduced to slavery for their own benefit. they had no rights a white man was bound to respect. they had not been able to vote or sue or testify against whites. they had not been able to receive justice for assault, rape, murder. the 14th amendment was revolutionary because it declared these former slaves were citizens of the united states. republican congressmen established them as citizens. had provided citizen to black civil rights. provided incentives for black male suffrage if not black male suffrage itself. most congressmen would have been willing to end reconstruction
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there. however, white southerners refused to ratify the 14th amendment. at the same time, violence towards black men and women and also toward white unionist continues. throughout the south. the new orleans race riot occurred soon after congress passed the 14th amendment. these actions convinced many moderate republicans to shift to embrace more radical measures. as one republican complained they would not cooperate in rebuilding what they destroyed so we must remove the rubbish and rebuild from the bottom. we must compel obedience to the union and the demand detection -- protection for its humblest citizens. republican congressmen proceeded
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to impose further conditions on the former confederacy in the form of the reconstruction act of 1867 and 1868. these acts placed the former confederate states, with the exception of tennessee which had passed the 14th amendment, under military occupation. it created five military districts overseen by generals in the army. it also provided for, and then also, with the military reconstruction act did was to divide the former confederacy into these military districts under the command of the army. it also declared all that the governments created under presidential be construction -- presidential reconstruction, johnson, the ones that passed the black code, it declared them provisional only. what the reconstruction act of 1867-1868 did was provide a
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process to create new state governments to overturn those that had recently been created under presidential reconstruction. to re-create them on a loyal basis. it did this in a couple of ways. you see on the slide, the last two items. a process for creating state governments in the former confederacy. this process was different. it was different than what had happened before under presidential reconstruction. under the reconstruction act loyal men would be involved and would vote. loyal men would vote for delegates to constitutional conventions.
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former confederates, not all former confederates but high-ranking former confederates, those disabled by the 14th amendment, those former confederates were prevented from participating in the process of creating the new state governments. they were not allowed to participate. you have the participation of loyal men, regardless of race. white men could participate. also black men. this is blackmail enfranchisement overnight. >> it seems extreme. i feel like a big pillar in the united states is the right to choose, and voting for what you believe in. it seems they are taking away everyone who disagrees or does not claim loyalty.
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it seems very extreme. it does not seem right. dr. lee: it seemed very extreme to some opponents as well. what did you want to add? >> it was even more extreme for the confederates to remove themselves from the u.s. they were trying to step outside of it. and go to war over it. dr. lee: may be some congressional republicans saw this extreme measure, which everyone recognized as being extreme, they saw this measure as justified in an attempt deal with the calamities of the civil war. it seems antithetical to our foundational principles as i talked about earlier, the consent of the governed. what does that mean for african-americans? they are governed, too. under presidential reconstruction, they were not
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allowed to participate. what congressional republicans were attempting to do, and they thought of it as temporary, they wanted these governments to be loyal. they wanted them to have a loyal basis and be created by loyal men. the reconstruction act did not require these new state governments to disenfranchise confederates forever. they just did not want them in the process of creating these new governments. they wanted to do that because they wanted to, even though it seems contradictory, they wanted to create this form of government in which white men and black men could participate. does that shed a little bit of light? ok.
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a republican commitment to the significance of wartime loyalty contributed to the black male suffrage that culminated in the 15th amendment. some republicans favored citizenship and its rights and privileges for black men as of a -- as a fulfillment of their political obligation to the union. particularly through their military service as union soldiers. one republican praised the brave colored men who heroically bled in defense of their country, a country from which they have received injuries rather than blessings. the actions of white southerners during the civil war and under presidential reconstruction convinced most republican congressman black patriots made better citizens than white traitors.
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as one republican put it, loyal men of whatever color have more right to the ballot than disloyal men. even republicans doubtful of the merits of black suffrage expressed this opinion. for example, one republican said, i am not sure. i am not sure black men are ready for the vote. but i know, i am positive, white men are not ready for the vote. this kind of goes against your point. they did not believe former confederates would recognize the freedom of these african-american men and women. they thought they therefore temporarily needed to be disfranchised. otherwise, they would be put back in a position of subordination. they saw that with the black codes. as well as with the violence
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towards african americans. as they are seeking to make something meaningful of their freedom, they are facing resistance from white southerners. this congressman put it, if i am asked which i would sooner trust, i would answer i prefer to trust the meanest black man with a loyal heart who wore the chains of slavery to the most intelligent traitor who has waged war against my country. republican congressmen, they were shifting away from racial capabilities toward the loyalty as the qualification for exercising the full rights and privileges of citizenship. continued white southern intransigence convinced many republicans that former confederates could not be trusted to act as good citizens. republican congressman feared that when the rebels were
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allowed to participate in the creation of the new governments they would hold all the power. it would not bring black men in. also, they would oppress white unionists. as well as black southerners. as one republican urged, do not admit those who have slaughtered half a million of our countrymen until their clothes are dried and they are re-clothed. i do not wish to sit side-by-side with men whose garments smell of the blood of my kindred. there was a notion they had proved themselves to be bad citizens. they needed to be kept out of the union until they were ready to act as good citizens and recognize the freedom of african-american men, women, and children.
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the reconstruction act provided a process to replace state governments with new state governments that would be in the hands of loyal southerners, both white and black. the reconstruction act insured these new governments in the former confederate states would enfranchise black men but still, there was a fear among congressional republicans that black male suffrage was precarious. the feared future democratic majorities would disfranchised black men. they were also concerned about white southern intimidation of black voters throughout the south. that is a topic we are going to talk about next week. republican congressmen sought to provide a constitutional guarantee of suffrage in the 15th amendment. as the slide shows, it
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established a racially impartial if not universal suffrage. states could reject voters on any factor other than race color, or previous condition of servitude. this left open the possibility for states to disenfranchise on the basis of literacy, for example. this is going to be significant. for many republicans, black southerners, wartime loyalty open up space. to consider their fitness for citizenship and its rights and privileges. it did not convince congressional republicans entirely, but opened up the possibility. it alerted them to the possibility black men could act as good citizens. it was pragmatic considerations that cinched their claims.
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as we talked about earlier ironically, with the evolution -- abolition of the institution of slavery, former confederate states had greater political power. black male enfranchisement was a way to counterbalance former confederate votes. if you are not going to disfranchise former confederates permanently, they want to counter balance their influence with the black votes which they were fairly certain black men would vote for the republican party. many republicans thought this black suffrage would end reconstruction because it would invest black men with the power to protect their own rights. if they could vote, they could
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protect their rights and the federal government would not have to intervene in southern affairs. the republican party was a sort of coalition. you had a variety of different people with different political positions. many republicans were very hesitant to continue to require federal intervention. you had many republicans shying away from permanent federal power and intervention in the south. democratic opponents of black male voting -- some insisted the black contribution had been insignificant. one congressman insisted, they did not win their freedom. it came to them as one of the
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results of a great civil war in which white men contended for power and colored men played a subordinate part. why did this democratic congressman think that the fact that in his opinion they had little role in emancipation, why did he consider that important? he thinks they do not play any role in emancipation. it was just something given to them. why is that significant from his perspective? what do you think, matthew? >> his overall argument seemed a lot more white soldiers died during the civil war. i don't think black soldiers were enrolled until later in the war. he seems to be arguing a lot of white soldiers bought their freedom for them.
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with their lives. dr. lee: white soldiers sacrificed. blacks did not. what did you want to add? >> we gave you your freedom, so why should we give you more? dr. lee: we gave you your freedom. you did not ask for it. you had all these white men fighting for their beliefs their country. he is saying black men did not participate. implicit in that is the idea that may be they did not even want their freedom, they did not know what to do with it. this is one of the reasons why it our conversation over who freed the slaves is significant. this congressman is saying, the idea of slaves freeing themselves would never have occurred to them.
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he is saying they had no role in emancipation. implicit in that it is they cannot act as citizens. black men were just given their freedom. the idea that black men did not participate in their own emancipation for this democratic congressman was a powerful justification for their continued disenfranchisement. the continuation of policies that prevented them from voting and holding office. women did not benefit from the shift to wartime loyalty. in the expansion of suffrage. women's rights activists hoped they could capitalize on this emphasis for loyalty to push for female suffrage. one supporter said, they did not go to the battlefield with muskets and bayonets, but they did render services at home equally as valuable as fighting. they use that as an argument to say, we are loyal citizens, we deceive the vote.
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-- we deserve the right to vote. >> the questions they asked women, one was not -- dr. lee: we are going to get there. republican congressmen were not convinced the contributions had been sufficient to overcome presumptions of their natural domesticity. as one opponent put it, women cannot bear their share of the public burden. men represent them in the army and the navy. therefore, men represent them and vote for them in the government. republican congressmen argued blacks needed the protection of the vote, whereas women did not need that protection. they were protected by their husbands and fathers who voted for them. loyalty mattered for black men but did not matter for white women or black women for that matter.
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loyalty assumed greater importance during the civil war and reconstruction. how do you define loyalty? as we have discussed so far, some politicians define loyal men as men who swore an oath of loyalty to the union. that included former confederates. there are others who define it that stipulated they would be loyal in the future and had been loyal in the past. that included unionists and excluded confederates. there is a difference of opinion about what constitutes loyalty. loyalty was not defined solely by politicians. that is why i have the documents assigned to you today. so we can look at southerners themselves defining loyalty.
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these sources allow us to examine the different definitions of loyalty. we are looking at records from the southern claims commission. who can summarize what the southern claims commission did? what was it established to do? this is a question i know you all know. >> the commission awarded monetary compensation to southerners who could prove he -- who could prove that they had been loyal to the u.s. dr. lee: it was recognizing their rights to property, only the loyal citizens. if you proved the union army took your property and you were loyal, you could get monetary compensation. >> weren't there specially appointed people who went around and interviewed citizens? to do that with such a task back then. to try to decipher who is truthful and just trying to get money. dr. lee: it is a big task. i'm glad you pointed out the
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appointment of these people throughout the south. they are representatives of the federal government. former confederates were opposed to them. within their communities they would have these special commissioners who were representing the interests of the commission. they were personifying the federal government , they were rewarding loyal southerners. if you were a former confederate, you are a disloyal southerner. let's look at some of these claims. let's talk about ruben garland. what was the deal with him? what was his story? what did he claim? what did the commissioners think about him? >> is this the first guy? i think this is the one where he was aiding his uncle monetarily.
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he said he did not do much but he admitted to helping his uncle. as part of the confederate military. dr. lee: he was in the confederate military. >> he was honest. at the end, it was like, sorry it is not granted. dr. lee: he had assisted the confederate cause. the commissioner said, you were not loyal. why did he think he had a claim? why did he think he qualified as loyal? >> what he claimed was he did not do anything to directly support the confederacy. he claimed he had bonds he received in trade but did not receive directly himself. he had travel passes but did not swear an oath of allegiance.
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he claims not to have operated his company to benefit the confederacy. dr. lee: he did not see himself as a devoted confederate. why else? >> he voted against secession. dr. lee: he had initially been opposed to secession. yes he did later in some way offer support, but he had initially been opposed to secession. this distinguished him from those who are original secessionists. those who had supported it from the outset. these were distinctions being made in the south. he did not consider himself a
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confederate like his neighbors who had been advocating for secession in the secession crisis with the election of abraham lincoln.
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