The Civil War has ended and the south is in ruin. Since most of the fighting took place in the south, many southern cities have been destroyed. The spunky southern spirit that existed in so many men and women has been crumpled by northern technology and warfare, leaving southerners bitter and scared. While slaves are now free, southerners refuse to accept “Freedmen” as equals. And, of course, there is the nagging question of how the south is going to be readmitted into the Union.
President Johnson wanted the south to be readmitted into the Union quickly. He believed that white supremacy should remain intact in the South and that African Americans, while they should remain free, should have no voice in government and very few civil rights. Many northerners, on the other hand, believed just the opposite. They wanted Freedmen to have the right to vote, and they wanted to punish the south for attempting to secede from the Union. These northerners organized to fight against President Johnson and were called “Radical Republicans.”
Many Radical Republicans even moved to the south and became politicians there. Southerners resented these Radical Republicans and nicknamed them “Carpetbaggers,” after the tiny suitcases the Radical Republicans brought with them when they moved south.
Use the websites below to find out what life was like for the Radical Republican/Carpetbagger. Don’t forget that you have to use the information you uncover to develop your character’s personality and answer the 5W’s and 1H in your newspaper article about the Carpetbagger/Radical Republican.
· What is the Radical Republicans’ plan to readmit the south into the Union? How does this differ from President Johnson’s plan?
· Why did Radical Republicans want to make it difficult for southern states to be readmitted into the Union?
· What was the south like when Radical Republicans moved there to become politicians? What were conditions like for Freedmen? What did Radical Republicans do to help Freedmen?
· How and why did the Ku Klux Klan work against the Radical Republicans and terrorize Freedmen? What group of people were members of the Ku Klux Klan? How did Radical Republicans respond to this terror group?
In your newspaper article tell us– who is this person (name, character traits, personality)? What is remarkable/special/ or reprehensible about this person? What is this person’s life like? What obstacles does this person face? Why? When did this person live? Where was this person born? Where does he/she live now ? Where does this person work? Why does this person act or behave in a certain way? How does this person think the south should be readmitted into the Union?
Radical Reconstruction was created by: Mrs. Devenney, Mr. Gross, Ms. Dallon, and Mr. Greene
William Floyd School District Library Information Department ©2008
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