Information

Third Reconstruction Act [July 19, 1867] - History


An Act supplementary to an Act entitled "An Act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel States," passed . [March 2, I867] .; . , and the Act supplementary thereto, passed . [March 23, I867].

Be it enacted . ., That it is hereby declared to have been the true intent and meaning . [of the acts of March 2 and March 23, I867] . ., that the governments then existing in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas were not legal State governments; and that thereafter said governments, if continued, were to be continued subject in all respects to the military commanders of the respective districts, and to the paramount authority of Congress.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the commander of any district named in said act shall have power, subject to the disapproval of the General of the army of the United States, and to have effect till disapproved, whenever in the opinion of such commander the proper administration of said act shall require it, to suspend or remove from office, or from the performance of official duties and the exercise of official powers, any officer or person holding or exercising, or professing to hold or exercise, any civil or military office or duty in such district under any power, election, appointment or authority derived from, or granted by, or claimed under, any so-called State or the government thereof, or any municipal or other division thereof, and upon such suspension or removal such commander, subject to the disapproval of the General as aforesaid, shall have power to provide from time to time for the performance of the said duties of such officer or person so suspended or removed, by the detail of some competent officer or soldier of the army, or by the appointment of some other person, to perform the same, and to fill vacancies occasioned by death, resignation, or otherwise.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the General of the army of the United States shall be invested with all the powers
of suspension, removal, appointment, and detail granted in the preceding section to district commanders.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the acts of the officers of the army already done in removing in said districts persons exercising the functions of civil officers, and appointing others in their stead, are hereby confirmed: Provided, That any person heretofore or hereafter appointed by any district commander to exercise the functions of any civil office, may be removed either by the military officer in command of the district, or by the General of the army. And it shall be the duty of such commander to remove from office as aforesaid all persons who are disloyal to the government of the United States, or who use their official influence in any manner to hinder, delay, prevent, For obstruct the due and proper administration of this act and the acts to which it is supplementary.

SECT 5. If be at further enacted, That the boards of registration provided for in the act. [of March 23, I867] . ... shall have power, and it shall be their duty before allowing the registration of any person, to ascertain, upon such facts or information as they can obtain, whether such person is entitled to be registered under said act, and the oath required by said act shall not be conclusive on such question, and no person shall be registered unless such board shall decide that he is entitled thereto; and such board shall also have power to examine, under oath, . any one touching the qualification of any person claiming registration; but in every case of refusal by the board to register an applicant, and in every case of striking his name from the list as hereinafter provided, the board shall make a note or memorandum, which shall be returned with the registration list to the commanding general of the district, setting forth the grounds of such refusal or such striking from the list: Provided, That no person shall be disqualified as member of any board of registration by reason of race or color.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the true intent and meaning of the oath prescribed in said supplementary act is, (among other things,) that no person who has been a member of the legislature of any State, or who has held any executive or judicial office in any State, whether he has taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States or not, and whether he was holding such office at the commencement of the rebellion, or had held it before, and who has afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, is entitled to be registered or to vote; and the words "executive or judicial office in any State" in said oath mentioned shall be construed to include all civil offices created by law for the administration of any general law of a State, or for the administration of justice.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That the time for completing the original registration provided for in said act may, in the discretion of the commander of any district, be extended to . [October I, I867] ., .; and the boards of registration shall have power, and it shall be their duty, commencing fourteen days prior to any election under said act, and upon reasonable public notice of the time and place thereof, to revise, for a period of five days, the registration lists, and upon being satisfied that any person not entitled thereto has been registered, to strike the name of such person from the list, and such person shall not be allowed to vote. And such board shall also, during the same period, add to such registry the names of all persons who at that time possess the qualifications required by said act who have not been already registered; and no person shall, at any time, be entitled to be registered or to vote by reason of any executive pardon or amnesty for any act or thing which, without such pardon or amnesty, would disqualify him from registration or voting.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That section four of said last-named act shall be construed to authorize the commanding general named therein, whenever he shall deem it needful, to remove any member of a board of registration and to appoint another in his stead, and to fill any vacancy in such board.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That all members of said boards of registration and all persons hereafter elected or appointed to office in said military districts, under any so called State or municipal authority, or by detail or appointment of the district commanders, shall be required to take and to subscribe the oath of office prescribed by law for officers of the United States.

SEC. IO. And be it further enacted, That no district commander or member of the board of registration, or any of the officers or appointees acting under them, shall be bound in his action by any opinion of any civil officer of the United States

SEC. 1l. And be it further exacted, That all provisions of this act and of the acts to which this is supplementary shall be construed liberally, to the end that all the intents thereof may be fully and perfectly carried out.


H.R. 123, Third Reconstruction Act, July 8, 1867

The Third Reconstruction Act clarified the language and “true intent” of the First and Second Reconstruction Acts. These acts divided the former Confederate states into five military districts, required new state constitutions that recognized voting rights of black men, and demanded state ratification of the 14 th Amendment—which guaranteed civil rights for all citizens—before readmission to the Union.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration


Ed Talk

I am a Black man. A Harvard and Princeton educated Black man. One who has rubbed shoulders with the corporate elite for decades, pioneered as a venture capitalist for even longer and discussed the intricacies of national fiscal policy at the highest levels as a director of one of our nation’s leading Federal Reserve Banks.

And yet, in George Floyd I see myself. By the mere change of attire — a hooded sweat shirt, a pair of jeans, a baseball cap — and in the right place at the wrong time, I am transformed into JABM, Just Another Black Man. More to the point, a Black man whose life may not matter, will not be respected and cannot be saved.

I see me, and imagine my own difficulty breathing. And for a moment I imagine my death, all too soon, all too pointless, all too unjust. Although it was actually George Floyd who died, some part of me died with him. His breath denied was my own denied.

The 400-year journey of Black folks in the lands that became America has been a saga of our struggle to breathe freely. To breathe deeply the oxygen of equality, without suffering the asphyxiation of white supremacy. To breathe in the ideals upon which America was founded as if they are our own, without fear of suffocation. To breathe out with our voices the words that cut to the heart of our national hypocrisy, “We matter as much as you,” without retribution.

In America today we are in the midst of our Third Reconstruction, another pivotal point in our history where the truth of our nation is revealed to be so disturbing that it can not be ignored. A period during which we will once again decide how freely we will let Black folks breathe and who we, as a nation, actually will be for the next generation or two to come. And as powerfully disruptive as it is certain to become, our Third Reconstruction holds the promise of truth telling: it will set us free to be people we are not yet, but claim we want to be.

As with our earlier two periods of Reconstruction, the Third Reconstruction will not be driven by one issue, one face, one age, but many. For some, the driver will be righteous indignation. Others will see it as an opportunity to accelerate and tighten the bend in the arc of the moral universe. Still others will use it as an opportunity to redress past wrongs. I believe enlightened citizens of all identities will come to see it as our urgent and deeply patriotic effort to save ourselves from ourselves.

First Reconstruction

Our First Reconstruction attempted to accomplish just that. Started long before our Civil War, I have come to see it as our national response to our first pandemic: the deleterious contagion of white supremacy, the DNA embodied in the inhuman expansion of slavery. A disease spread from Europe, incubated by our founding fathers, embedded by them in our Constitution, then spread itself into our laws and norms as a nation. A disease that attacks the moral fiber of its victims and, in the worst cases, unleashes the propensity of white men specifically to not just subjugate people of color in general, but Black men in particular, preferably by taking their breath away by any means available, including lynching. A disease so powerful that it leads those most seriously afflicted to be completely blind to whatever moral compass they might otherwise have consulted, it ignited war between brothers in the interest of greed, and it spurred the brutal sacrifice over 600,000 lives to avoid arresting the advance of the disease that consumed them.

Though the nation was nearly destroyed by our Civil War, it narrowly survived and the First Reconstruction nearly succeeded. With slavery abolished and the virus of white supremacy in remission, our convalescent nation produced an extraordinary period — however brief — during which America became the best it had ever been. The truth-telling of Frederick Douglass and countless other abolitionists, along with the critical military and political acts of the reluctant, martyred Lincoln, the political blunders of Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, and the political ascension of Radical Republicans, collectively gave rise to fundamental systemic change. In 1865, the 13 th Amendment abolished slavery, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 confirmed former slaves’ protection under the law. In 1868, the 14 th Amendment established the 4 million Blacks born in the US as citizens and gave them due process under the law. In 1870, the 15 th Amendment guaranteed the right of Blacks to vote and ushered in a period during which Black participation in our political process briefly flourished: 16 Blacks served in Congress, 600 were elected to state legislatures and hundreds more held local office. This large-scale experiment in interracial democracy worked better than in any contemporary society in the world.

Until it didn’t. As federal troops withdrew from the South, the successes of the First Reconstruction were systematically reversed to institutionalize Black folks as permanent second class citizens, subjugated and disenfranchised. White supremacy surged in the forms of the Ku Klux Klan and other avowed white terrorist groups Black Codes relegating Blacks to dehumanizing conditions little different from slavery and Jim Crow Laws legalizing racial segregation throughout the nation. The reemergent disease, left unchecked by a nation weary of its efforts to become a more perfect Union, rapidly reached pandemic proportions once again, weakening the moral sinew of our institutions, defining racism as an acceptable if not preferable norm and ushering in an era of racial terror lynching claiming the lives of over 4,000 Black men and boys. The virus of white supremacy also evolved, recasting itself as a congenital Black infirmity, rather than a virulent white plague. Thus it became invisible to the eye that had no interest in seeing it or connecting it to the systematic suffocation of Black folks. Perfected in its deadly effectiveness to deny life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by folks of color, the disease raged essentially unchecked for nearly another century.

Second Reconstruction

The Second Reconstruction began emerging in the 1950s, as another desperate intervention to save the country from itself. Just as the First Reconstruction sought to reconcile the nation to its cherished Constitution, the Second Reconstruction sought to reconcile the nation to its amended Constitution. We call it the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century, but it was much more than that. Starting off as a redress of the unraveled and heavily trampled advances of the First Reconstruction, it became a national intervention to release the grip of white supremacy on white folks and the institutions they controlled. Bitter struggles with the infected populace to end segregation commanded the headlines, but the Second Reconstruction necessarily probed advanced morbidities of the disease process in all aspects of American life, and especially Black American life. It exposed the processes by which the virus of white supremacy not only led the afflicted to believe that relegating Black folks to the back of a bus or a theater was an acceptable, lawful norm, but also connected these beliefs to others, such as the desirability of denying Black folks access to equal education, jobs, housing, and capital. It documented in every available medium the worst afflicted patients’ febrile fascination with keeping a knee on the necks of Black folks. The Second Reconstruction revealed the extent to which the nation continued to be consumed by a uniquely American form of Apartheid antithetical to its beloved Constitution, and offered a cure.

The treatment took the form of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and prohibiting unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment and public accommodations, such as retail stores, restaurants and hotels. In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil rights Act of 1968 was also passed into law to further strengthen past laws. Included in it, the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing. To understand these laws in the scale of human lifetimes, my adult children are members of the first generation to be legally equal from birth.

The cure came at a profound cost in mental anguish, broken Black and white bodies and deaths known and unknown. Unfortunately, before the Second Reconstruction could address the deepest lesions from white supremacy, treatment was abandoned. Once again the nation grew weary of perfecting itself, decided it had done enough, and the Second Reconstruction fell short of its aspirations. Laws were passed, but the virulent infection of white supremacy remained to keep Black and brown citizens economically strangled, thereby constraining their power and resolve to pursue change, and maintaining an economic system so inequitable that individual successes in this realm were genuinely viewed, outside of communities of color, as unintended and unexpected aberrations.

So once again a cure was kicked down the road for another day, another century.

Third Reconstruction

A collective national gasp of horror at a 21 st century lynching has finally precipitated the Third Reconstruction that has been brewing for years. Suddenly we feel its power, galvanized by three convergent antagonists: 1) an unrestrained president mustering the power of a compliant federal government to divide us rather than unite us 2) the emergence of COVID-19 that inequitably kills Black folks unprotected by our healthcare system, many of whom are already dying of poverty both of which are exacerbated by 3) late stage white supremacy in institutions desperate to preserve the racist hierarchy of our forefathers. Who would have predicted that these forces would come together in such a compressed span of weeks to inspire another national intervention. Yet here we are, bound together as a nation in crisis, freshly horrified at our illness and wondering whether it is too much to hope for healing.

As I embrace the truth of our nation’s history, and I imagine the America in which I want my children and their children to thrive, the answer to me is clear. Not only do we desperately need to finish America’s rehabilitation that stuttered through our First and Second Reconstructions, but we have all the diagnostic and treatment tools at our disposal to do so.

We can finally eradicate the affliction of white supremacy in our institutions and public life, and we can at long last live up to our Constitutional commitment to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” for all Americans, Black folks included.

Today, we can join together to treat the disease that threatens the welfare of our nation. In undertaking the Third Reconstruction we will need to enact new laws, strengthen existing laws, and make other advancements, but we cannot stop there. We must not stop until we can measure our successes by how fully we close the economic chasm between Black folks and white folks, the extent to which we enable Black Americans to be economically self-sufficient and build generational wealth, and the degree to which we empower Black Americans to build the economic well-being of our nation once again, not by the scars on their backs, but by the ingenuity of their minds.

If our generation can at last see this Third Reconstruction through to completion, we will be rejuvenated as a nation that is economically and socially vital because it finally, truly believes that all of its people are created equal and all are entitled to breathe freely without fear.

I’ve chosen to take an active role in the Third Reconstruction. Drawing on the instruments of finance at my disposal, I’ve chosen to work with others to address the disease where it impedes the flow of capital to Black businesses and the economic benefit of Black people. I have launched Reinventure Capital, a venture capital fund specifically investing in companies positioned to be the economic engines of the Third Reconstruction. Hundreds of other finance processionals are leading similarly vivifying investment practices, or channeling capital through beneficial procurement, partnership, or crowd platforms.

Join us. Together we can heal. We can breathe. We can thrive.

The information contained in this blog does not constitute, and should not be used or construed as, an offer to sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy, securities of any issuer, fund or other investment product in any jurisdiction. No such offer or solicitation may be made prior to the delivery of definitive offering documentation. The information in this blog is not intended and should not be construed as investment, tax, legal, financial or other advice.


The Main Features of the Reconstruction Act were : To divide the seceded states into five military districts. Each state had to draft a new state constitution, which would have to be approved by Congress. That each state had to ratify the 14th Amendment prior to readmission to the Union.

The party, known for its harsh policies toward the secessionist South, passed progressive legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the First and Second Reconstruction Acts , the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.


A Dying Mule Always Kicks the Hardest

BY Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II | November 17, 2016

Because we knew that the opposition would fall back on so-called political realism (“You may not like it, but this is simply how it is”), we also knew it was important for the people to hear expert testimony that another way is possible. So, following the testimony of directly affected people each week, we created space in our liturgy for economists, public policy experts and lawyers to lay out our agenda and explain how it would work. College graduates who came to Moral Mondays said they learned more about government and civil society in those short talks than they had in whole semesters of mandatory civics classes. As the great American pragmatist John Dewey taught us, “learning by doing” is key to internalizing the principles we hold dear as a people. Moral Mondays became a space where a new North Carolina could practice democracy together. We were learning the principles of our state constitution by putting them into practice.

But perhaps the most distinctive mark of Moral Mondays — the focal point of our liturgy that gave the movement its name — was our insistence that, at its heart, our movement have a moral framework. Like the old revival services, each week concluded with a sermon and an altar call, when those who wished to make a new spiritual commitment were invited to come forward publicly. As a Christian preacher from a revivalist tradition, I knew this pattern well. But I was careful to acknowledge that my Holy Bible was not the only holy book. When I or another minister stood to preach, we never stood alone. We stood with Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics surrounding us, offering the people a visible sign of the message we were trying to proclaim. Each of us had a tradition we held dear and a message we shared with our flocks on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. We weren’t giving any of that up. But on Monday we were learning to stand together and proclaim the deepest shared values of our faith traditions. We were learning how those values are embedded in our state constitution. And we were experiencing a revival like we’d never seen before — one where the Spirit lifts us all from where we were to higher ground.

I started to share a bit of insight I’d learned from my son, who studied environmental science in college. He told me, “Daddy, if you ever get lost in mountainous terrain, it’s important to know that there’s something called a snake line. Below the snake line, you might run into a copperhead or a rattlesnake sunning on the rocks of our Blue Ridge Mountains. But if you can get above the snake line, you’re safe, because those venomous creatures can’t live up there.” Moral Mondays were exposing the extremism of venomous politics in our state and helping folk see what dangerous terrain we had gotten ourselves into. But I kept telling them that there was a snake line somewhere on the mountain. If we could just move together toward higher ground, we’d be all right. The important thing was not to give up. The important thing was to keep on climbing. Every week I cried out against the nightmare we were witnessing to hold out the hope of higher ground.

This public proclamation was essential to our liturgy, but it was not the end. Every week when I was finished preaching, I invited people to come forward and make a public profession of their faith in a new North Carolina by exercising their constitutional right to petition their legislators in the General Assembly. They knew, of course, that they were risking arrest. Each person who had decided to make this public witness wore an armband to signify that they’d spent the afternoon doing nonviolence training at a local church. But it was an awe-inspiring sight, week after week, to watch the crowd part and make way for these nonviolent foot soldiers who were ready to sacrifice their own freedom to put our proposed future into practice. A Presbyterian minister from Charlotte, attending his first Moral Monday, said, “Never in my life have I seen the proclaimed Word put on flesh and move into such a direct action.” Some of us who’d been doing liturgy all of our lives began to realize its power in the public square.

After the General Assembly adjourned and went home, stubbornly refusing to hear our cries, we scheduled one final Moral Monday in Raleigh, moving our stage from behind the statehouse to Fayetteville Street, Raleigh’s Champs-Élysées, on the opposite side of the old state capitol. Nearly a thousand people had gone to jail in a dozen weeks of civil disobedience, marking the largest state-focused direct action campaign in US history. Their commitment had gained the attention of the nation, bringing reporters from national newspapers and cable news networks. The biggest political story in the country wasn’t what was happening inside any legislative chambers, but what was happening at these weekly people’s assemblies.

Before that rally, where some 20,000 people gathered to conclude our long summer of discontent in Raleigh, the question the media kept asking was “What difference has all of this protest made?” Their imagination was often so captive to the story they had been telling that they couldn’t understand the words we were saying when we told them Moral Mondays weren’t a new movement. These protests had not erupted spontaneously as some sort of natural reflex against extremism. They were the fruit of long-term organizing and hard-fought coalition building. We tried over and again to explain how North Carolina’s extremism was itself a strategic attack against the fusion coalition that had produced Moral Mondays. But the point was a difficult fit with the 24-hour news cycle. Every time we opened the floor for questions, they wanted to know what difference we were making.

I’d been at this long enough to know that the doubts that are spoken in public are the ones that weigh on the minds of the people — especially of those who had only recently joined our ranks. So I chose as my text for that 13 th Moral Monday Psalm 118, a beautiful song of ancient Israel that had taught us how the poor and rejected were to be the capstone of our movement. I highlighted what that psalm goes on to say: “This is the lord’s doing it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Yes, we had seen an avalanche of extremism. Yes, we had a long way to go to undo the cynical attacks of the governing elites. But we could not press on without taking time to celebrate how far we had come. I told those twenty thousand people gathered on Fayetteville Street to take a moment to look around at one another. We were the multiracial democracy that scared the hell out of Southern politicians. Despite the best efforts of their Southern Strategy to divide and conquer us, we had come together.

For every face in that beautiful sea of God’s children, there was a story. I recognized members of the teachers union who had, in the early days of our coalition building, thought the HKonJ agenda too broad for all of their members to accept. But our struggle had taught us how the enemy of voting rights is the enemy of education. Now here we were, standing together. I noted the pink shirts of Planned Parenthood members and recalled my early conversations with their president, Janet Colm. I’d told her that with our broad coalition we could not endorse abortion, so she asked, “Can you support women’s rights and access to health care?’ Absolutely, I told her, but I also needed something from her. Could she give us white women to speak up for a black woman’s right to vote? She said she’d do it herself. We went on a national talk show together. When the host asked Janet about Planned Parenthood, she said, “I’m actually here today to talk about voting rights.” When she turned to me as a representative of the NAACP and asked about voting, I said, “I’m actually here today to talk about women’s rights and access to health care.” This fusion coalition had brought us together, confusing old dividing lines and making more than one interviewer stutter as they tried to figure out new categories to name what was happening. “This is the lord’s doing,” I told the crowd that day. “And it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Without a doubt, we still had some steep hills to climb before we crossed the snake line and brought a majority of our legislators with us to the higher ground of fusion politics, but I knew by the end of 2013 that we’d passed a tipping point. Our state-based movement had necessarily focused on state government through local grass roots organizing. From the beginning, we’d taken the long view, knowing we could not measure our success by any one election or struggle, but must measure it by our capacity to stay together and build strength. Now, through Moral Mondays, we had an opportunity to take this moral movement to the nation. Just as the Montgomery bus boycott had been about much more than public transportation in one Southern city, our struggle in North Carolina was about more than winning seats in the legislature. It was about exposing the conspiracy of the governing elite to maintain absolute power through divide-and-conquer strategies. And it was about overcoming the fears they’d played upon for decades to become what, at our best, we all hope and pray to be.

On that 13 th Moral Monday — the last Monday in July — we announced that we would commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice by holding 13 simultaneous Take the Dream Home rallies across North Carolina. What we had done in Raleigh we would go back and do in every congressional district in the state. We would do it to make clear to our elected representatives that they could not run away from our movement by adjourning and going home. But we would also do it as a statement to the nation: we cannot fulfill Dr. King’s dream by building monuments and holding commemorations in Washington, DC. No, we must heed what he said and go home. Because the battle for the soul of America is being fought at the state level, and nothing short of a moral movement converging in every state capital will make possible the reconstruction we need to fulfill our nation’s promise.


Excerpted from The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics and Division of Fear by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Beacon Press, 2016). Reprinted with permission from Beacon Press.


The History of Reconstruction’s Third Phase

Allen Carl Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil war Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is currently serving as the Wm. L. Garwood Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. His latest book, Reconstruction: A Concise History, will be published by Oxford University Press in April.

Freedmen voting in New Orleans, 1867

There is no Society for Historians of Reconstruction. That should tell you something. There are also no Reconstruction re-enactments, and no museums teeming with artifacts of Reconstruction. Because what, after all, would there be for us to re-enact? The Memphis race massacre of May 1-3, 1866? And what artifacts would we be proud to display? Original Ku Klux Klan outfits (much more garish than the bland white-sheet versions of the 1920s)? Serial-number-identified police revolvers from the New Orleans’ Mechanics Institute killings of July 30, 1866? Looked at coldly, the dozen years that we conventionally designate as “Reconstruction” constitute the bleakest failure in American history, and they are all the more bleak for squatting, head-in-hands, between the towering drama of the Civil War and the savage conflicts of the Gilded Age. As a nation, we delivered four million African American slaves from bondage, at the hideous cost of a generation of American youth and the murder of our greatest president -- and then allowed the freedpeople to slip back into the leering control of the same Southern white ruling class which had caused the war in the first place. If slavery was the birth defect of the American founding, Reconstruction was its principal malpractice case.

Reconstruction’s historiography has not been much more cheerful. Despite its deformations, Reconstruction was actually one of the first subjects to become the focus of an entire school of professional historical practice, in this case the “school” created by William Archibald Dunning at Columbia University before the First World War and the students (and dissertations) he guided into explorations of Reconstruction in the former Confederate States.

It was quite a “school”: Walter Lynwood Fleming on Alabama (1905), J.G.D. Hamilton on North Carolina (1906), Charles Ramsdell on Texas (1910), William Watson Davis on Florida (1913), C. Mildred Thompson on Georgia (1915). And these were all models of patient and meticulous research (even David Donald admitted that the Dunning dissertations were “triumphs of the application of the scientific method to historiography”). 1 But they also sang, with some isolated exceptions, what amounted to Act II of the Lost Cause Opera – that from 1865 until 1877, the trampled-down and misunderstood white South was disfranchised, oppressed, and humiliated by a bizarre alliance of vengeful Northern “carpetbaggers,” sell-out Southern “scalawags,” and incompetent black stooges, fresh from picking cotton. Together, the Dunningites painted this misalliance as carnival of misrule, in which corruption and self-enrichment were screened behind Yankee bayonets and an attitude of hypocritical moral superiority, until the Northern public came to its senses, and the defeated Southern whites gained their second wind and threw the rascals out.

But the Dunning School’s over-reach generated an equal but opposite re-action, starting with W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in 1930, and climaxing over the next generation in Kenneth M. Stampp’s The Era of Reconstruction (1967) and one of the single greatest pieces of American historical writing, Eric Foner’s massive Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution (1988). Composed in the shadow of the Civil Rights Movement and the “Second Reconstruction” of the 1950s and ‘60s, the New Reconstruction historiography turned the tables on the Dunning School. Far from being an exercise in corruption and debased democracy, argued New Reconstructionists, the Reconstruction years of 1865 to 1877 had been a valiant effort to make good on the promises of equality made by the American founding and sanctified in the blood of the Civil War. The carpetbaggers and scalawags were not opportunists, feeding like kites on Southern defenselessness, but crusaders in pursuit of an egalitarian democracy, and the freed slaves were the banner-carriers of a new birth of labor freedom. That they failed was a tragedy to be mourned, and the blame lay equally with Northern Republicans who lacked the stamina to sustain the idealism of the war years and revanchist white supremacists in the South who shamelessly terrorized blacks and their white allies into submission.

Like the Dunningites, however, the New Reconstructionists had their own problems with over-reach. Du Bois, Stampp and Foner all operated in differing degrees from Marxist premises, and great was their temptation to see Reconstruction, not as a political event, but as an economic and social one in which the real issue was a struggle of classes, with race sometimes acting as a surrogate for class, and sometimes as a barrier. Just as European Marxists re-wrote the Paris Commune into a fable of failed social revolution, Reconstruction became, in the hands of the New Reconstructionists, the great missed-opportunity of the American 19th century to tear America away from the strangling hands of industrial capitalism. 2 Still, as Foner insisted in his subtitle, Reconstruction was, as a revolution, also more unfinished than failed, thus opening the suggestion that the brave new world envisioned by those dozen years might yet become a part of the American future.

But Reconstruction has proven to be a more balky and diffuse era than either the Dunningites or the New Reconstructionists supposed. The crusaders, black and white, who hoped to build a new South out of the ashes of the old plantation order had no plans for a proletarian paradise. Quite to the contrary, they were plain and eager in their demand for a thorough-going capitalist effacement of the kingdom of the thousand-bale planters. Northern republicans had, after all, waged their war on behalf of free labor (an ideology whose greatest expositor has always been no one other than Eric Foner), and what they expected to create in the defeated Confederacy was a mirror image of small-producer manufacturing and independent family farms. The Union “represents the principles of free labor,” declared a New York pamphlet, and only when “the victory of the Northern society of free labor over the landed monopoly of the Southern aristocracy” was complete could the Civil War be declared over. “Reconstruction,” added Frederick Douglass, will “cause Northern industry, Northern capital, and Northern civilization to flow into the South, and make a man from New England as much at home in Carolina as elsewhere in the Republic.” 3

No one offered a more vigorous second to that motion than the freedpeople, who wanted nothing so much as to become self-interested bourgeois owners of property. “The colored man is not content when given simple emancipation,” lectured John Mercer Langston, “he demands . . . to acquire, hold, and transmit property.” 4 Reconstruction, on this point, was a bourgeois revolution, not a proletarian one. That it was overthrown by 1877 was due largely to Reconstruction’s failure to dislodge the anti-capitalist feudalism of the slaveocracy. The Constitution’s ban on bills of attainder (along with Andrew Johnson’s indifference to the property-owning aspirations of black people) prevented the wholesale confiscation of the lands of the rebel leadership and their redistribution to the slaves who had worked them for decades. (This, in defiance of the Lockean dictum that mixing one’s labor with land produces property.) As a result, in western Alabama’s “black belt,” the landowners who possessed at least $10,000 in real estate in 1860 were, by 1870, still pretty much in charge socially and economically, the Civil War notwithstanding. 5 Likewise, the patterns of slave-holding translated almost exactly into the patterns of sharecropper exploitation: in 1860, 75% of Southern slaveholders owned under ten slaves in 1900, 75% of landlords employed two sharecropper families – again, approximately ten people. 6 Dispossessed blacks simply exchanged slavery for what Georgia planter William Hodgson called a “state of serfage or ascription to the soil.” 7 It was the 19th century’s most stupendous example of a successful repulse of Enlightenment liberalism by Romantic reaction. The Ku Klux Klan’s robes did not mimic Ivanhoe by mistake.

Understanding Reconstruction as a bourgeois revolution – in fact, according to Barrington Moore, the last bourgeois revolution – creates an opportunity for a third re-visioning of Reconstruction, and without the Eurocentric necessity to make it conform to the New Reconstructionists’ Marxism or the Progressive racism that fueled the Dunningites. 8 We are already beginning to see a galaxy of new questions about Reconstruction take shape, and to find in work like Mark Wahlgren Summers’s The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction (2014) an understanding of what Reconstruction actually did accomplish, in Gregory P. Downs’s After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War (2015) the chronic unwillingness of Americans to fund post-conflict regime changes, and through Forrest A. Nabors’s From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction (2017) an appreciation of the hitherto-ignored role played by Northern Democrats in league with their quondam Southern allies in paralyzing Reconstruction efforts.

These new movements may not be enough to get us a Museum of Reconstruction, and I have to confess a certain shrinkage at the prospect of what a Reconstruction re-enactment might look like (that will depend on who writes the script). But why not a Society for Historians of Reconstruction? It is time to bring Reconstruction home to us all, not as a Southern event or even the shadow of a European one, but as a uniquely American one, on an American landscape.

1 John David Smith, “Introduction,” in The Dunning School: Historians, Race, and the Meaning of Reconstruction, eds. J.D. Smith & J. Vincent Lowery (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2013), 9.

2 Robert O. Paxton, “The Bloodiest Urban Revolution,” New York Review of Books (February 19, 2015).

3 The Preservation of the Union a National Economic Necessity (New York: W.C. Bryant, 1863), 6 W.W. Broom, Great and Grave Question for American Politicians, with a Topic for America’s Statesmen (New York: C.S. Westcott, 1865), 65 Douglass, “Reconstruction,” Atlantic Monthly 18 (December 1866), 764

4 Langston, “Citizenship and the Ballot” (October, 1865), in Freedom and Citizenship: Selected Lectures and Addresses (Washington, 1883), 99-100.

5 Jonathan Weiner, “Planter Persistence and Social Change: Alabama, 1850-1870,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 7 (Autumn 1976), 237-38, 241, 257.

6 James Oakes, “The Present Becomes the Past: The Planter Class in the Postbellum South,” in New Perspectives on Race and Slavery in America: Essays in Honor of Kenneth M. Stampp, eds. Robert Abzug & Stephen Maizlish (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1986), 151.

7 Clarence L. Mohr, On the Threshold of Freedom: Masters and Slaves in Civil War Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986), 292.

8 Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 1967), 112.


You are running out of time to have your gift doubled by the Matching Gift Opportunity. Please make a gift today to help reduce childhood hunger. This opportunity ends July 1. Thank you!

By Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith

Her children rise up and bless her …. Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. Proverbs 31:28 and Isaiah 60:3

In their 2016 book, The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear, Rev. Dr. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove argue that the first reconstruction period was in the late 19th century and the second one was the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. They write that we are in the “embryonic Third Reconstruction in America, where there is a profoundly moral awakening of justice-loving people united in a fusion coalition powerful enough to reclaim the possibility of democracy.” Similarly, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi argues in Time magazine that we are now living during a “Black Renaissance.”

A key factor in discerning the merits of these claims is the visible rise of Pan African women, nationally and globally. While Pan African women have always risen to leadership, the dominant narrative has often overlooked or marginalized this truth. Consider the earliest Queens in Egypt and Ethiopia, African women who led dynasties. They are identified in the Bible and by historians—and yet, the Church and Christian history has not had equitable regard for these “her-stories.”

This disregard remains stubbornly entrenched globally and in the United States, even after the reconstruction periods of the 19th century and the 20th century—and despite the significant contributions of women like Rev. Jarena Lee and Ms. Fannie Lou Hammer, who were advocates for food equity and Black gender equity. Women like Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Mabel Dove-Danquah had important roles in Black liberation movements in Africa, but they are also often overlooked.

But these narratives of Pan African women are becoming more visible, in great part because of the demands and victories of women today. I am thinking of the accomplishments of people like Stacy Abrams and the women who fired up the Black Lives Matter movement, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrice Cullors. All four of these great women have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Their leadership demonstrates the power of this transformative moment. They have helped usher in a third reconstruction moment and a Black Renaissance. Women like these, along with other emerging leaders of all ages, have raised the consciousness of their nation and have contributed to the election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The global scene mirrors this moment with the appointment of people like Dr. Nig Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who serves as the first woman and first African president of the World Trade Organization.

People in positions like these can help move the many women who are smallholder farmers in the global South to a stronger position of economic strength—to help them feed their families and their nations. Bread for the World has helped to lead on policies like Feed the Future, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), which are important for empowering women.

Today, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is vital for women’s empowerment, nationally and globally. During this International Women’s Month, won’t you advocate with Bread for the World to advance this mission?

Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World.


The United States Needs a Third Reconstruction

Whatever its shape, the era ahead must rekindle the aspiration of a nation molded in the ideal of perfect equality.

About the author: Wilfred Codrington III is an assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Along the unbroken chain of racism that links America’s past to its present, there have been two points when the federal government—otherwise complicit or complacent—saw the mistreatment of African Americans as intolerable. During these periods, the country had a response: Reconstruction. The Reconstruction efforts were not without their flaws but, without them, the U.S. would not have made what racial progress it has. Today, another Reconstruction is needed to avoid wasting the promise of its predecessors.

The first Reconstruction came in the Civil War’s aftermath. But the concept of reconstruction—that is, what a postwar, reunified America would look like—was being discussed even before the opening shots were fired at Fort Sumter. “If another Union is formed,” one newspaper wrote in 1861, “the slave States can have no part in it except on the principles of entire and perfect equality.”

Not surprisingly, the emphasis of that first Reconstruction was on the South. Ratified shortly after the war, the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, thereby ridding the South of its “slave bonus” in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. Then, in fairly quick succession, the Fourteenth Amendment bestowed citizenship on the newly freed and Congress forced the South to enfranchise African American men, before the Fifteenth Amendment extended the franchise to men nationwide. The scale of progress ushered in over a decade was so consequential that historians have termed the era “America’s second founding.”

And yet, Reconstruction was an abysmal failure, subverted by policy makers whose acts and omissions made clear that America was giving up on Black people. First off, financial investment in the project was grossly inadequate, all but guaranteeing that formerly enslaved people would remain at the mercy of erstwhile petty tyrants. The Compromise of 1877, moreover, led the federal government to withdraw troops from the South prematurely, which emboldened regional actors to perpetrate campaigns of violence, intimidation, and political domination against African Americans. And the Supreme Court, hellbent on eviscerating the Reconstruction Amendments in the name of states’ rights and constitutional color blindness, issued a series of opinions that failed to vindicate Black liberty. Any aspirations of “entire and perfect equality” were relegated to a footnote in history, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, dead letters. W. E. B. Du Bois may have put it best: “The slave went free stood a brief moment in the sun,” but then “a new slavery arose.” Jim Crow had taken a sledgehammer to the edifice of a multiracial society and, for decades, the nation stood idle to the destruction—and even wallowed in the detritus.

The sorely needed Second Reconstruction came in the middle of the next century, though its timing is less neatly bounded. Some historians trace its origins to 1948, when President Harry Truman issued the executive order desegregating the military. Others suggest that it began when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Most place its start between those two events, at the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. But all agree that the Second Reconstruction was erected on the foundation of the first. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were lifted from abeyance, and soon became the basis for much of the federal government’s equality agenda.

The successes of the Second Reconstruction proved that lawmakers had learned some lessons from the failures of the first. To start, the vote was expanded dramatically—even nationally. Federal measures, most notably the 1965 Voting Rights Act, put the U.S. on a path toward becoming a true democracy. “What occurred in the course of a decade was not only the reenfranchisement of African Americans but the abolition of nearly all remaining limits on the right to vote,” the Harvard historian Alexander Keyssar wrote. “Poll taxes, literacy tests, understanding clauses, pauper exclusions, and good character provisions had been swept away,” increasing the size of the electorate by more than 20 million.

Another distinction between the post–Civil War Reconstruction and that of the mid-20th century is that the latter’s civil-rights agenda was coupled with an economic agenda. To be sure, the Johnson-era domestic policies, known as the Great Society, were not uniquely targeted to Black Americans. But unlike many programs of its forerunner, FDR’s New Deal, the Great Society’s health-care, education, housing, and economic-development initiatives envisioned Black participation. And with committed federal funding, the programs designed to benefit the commonweal began to lift many out of poverty and helped expand the Black middle class.

Finally, in this Second Reconstruction, unlike in the first, the Supreme Court moved alongside advocates for progress—and sometimes ahead. The Warren Court did its share to sustain the momentum of the Second Reconstruction by ruling on the side of equality and upholding federal measures designed to further it. The Court took the lead by outlawing discrimination in schools and transportation hubs, as well as political machinations aimed at submerging Black votes. When pressed by the civil-rights movement, the executive branch racked up some crucial wins in Congress, most notably the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. And the Court affirmed them. With the federal government and civil society working in tandem, the gains of the Second Reconstruction could be more durable than those of the first.

Even so, the Second Reconstruction soon came to an end. Whereas the Compromise of 1877 marked the swift and dramatic demise of the First Reconstruction, the Second faded away slowly and quietly. Johnson’s War on Poverty morphed into Nixon’s War on Drugs. Federal programs were defunded and disbanded as cities deindustrialized. And color blindness came back with a vengeance, with claims of “reverse discrimination” in the fields of education and employment. In the 1978 Bakke case, for example, the Supreme Court called “‘societal discrimination,’ an amorphous concept of injury”—as if it were ignorant of racism’s origins, existence, and effects. By dismantling the successes of the civil-rights revolution and the Great Society, conservatives issued a sardonic reply to the civil-rights leader Bayard Rustin, who had asked: “What is the value of winning access to public accommodations for those who lack money to use them?”

Dog-whistle politics also came to prominence. Because a certain word was not longer acceptable to utter, the mastermind of the “southern strategy” instructed conservatives to code switch. “So you say stuff like, uh, ‘forced busing,’ ‘states’ rights,’” Lee Atwater, a top Reagan and George H. W. Bush adviser, later admitted. “Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a by-product of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” This approach had its intended effect: Because racism stopped rearing its ugliest faces—the George Wallaces and Bull Connors, and even police dogs—white Americans could psychologically and legally detach themselves from the nation’s racist underpinnings. With no Klan-initiated lynchings to point to, Black people could be hung out to dry.

As the rightward shift in policy continued to clip the wings of the Second Reconstruction, racial inequality soared. Circumstances in the 1990s and the 2000s began to make this painfully clear: The “tough on crime” era has left untold hundreds of thousands of Black Americans wasting away in prisons the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, which flattened a predominantly Black major American city, had an impact that extends far beyond the nearly 2,000 people it left dead the Great Recession made an already ballooning racial-wealth gap—one that matches 1968 levels—even more persistent. The need for Reconstruction pressed upon the country once again.

Then came a herald: President Barack Obama. Obama’s election was both problematic and promising. It was problematic because it allowed the country to applaud itself for being “post-racial”—that is, Obama’s election reinforced the fiction that America is a color-blind society. But it also showed promise—promise that the multiracial political coalition that Bayard Rustin wrote about was possible. Indeed, the Obama presidency could have marked the beginning of a Third Reconstruction. While it did not meet its full potential substantively, it was big history that delivered rhetorically, and positioned his successor to lead the country to the apex of the mountain and toward the promised land. Of course, that opportunity was squandered with the election of Donald Trump, who governs as though we’re in the nadir of a Second Redemption.

This long legacy of racism has salience during the current COVID-19 pandemic: Black Americans have unequal access to health care and housing, while being overrepresented in low-paid, “essential” employment—factors that contribute to their suffering from the virus disproportionately. America’s sharp racial fault lines have proved an all-too-convenient path for the disease to follow. Even after the pandemic subsides, that trail will be littered with signs of the coronavirus’s wreckage. And yet, these dismal times, as the virus rages and historic protests continue in the wake of George Floyd’s slaying, can be the springboard for a Third Reconstruction.

So what is needed for a successful Third Reconstruction? Perhaps it begins with sweeping criminal-justice and voting reforms that could transform the United States from the world’s leading carceral state into a truly multiracial democracy. It might also entail direct investments in Black communities to guarantee stable housing, universal health care, and high-quality education, necessities for achieving a more inclusive economy and greater wealth parity. But whatever its shape, a Third Reconstruction must rekindle the aspiration of a nation molded in the ideal of perfect equality, understanding that thinking big—and going big, too—is the surest way toward “a more perfect Union.” Success also demands that national leaders heed some lessons.

The next period of Reconstruction must contend with the effects of the prior era’s deconstruction. America’s undoing of interim progress has only added to the weight of history and increased the burden for future generations. The unmitigated injury of slavery and racism did not end with abolition or the civil-rights era instead, like interest on debt, its impact has compounded. The upshot of this is that continued inaction and delay amount to opportunities lost, and will make racial justice ever more difficult to achieve.

In addition, a Third Reconstruction will require many things, three of them vital: truth, reconciliation, and recompense. At no point in American history has there been a major national effort toward achieving any of these things separately, much less collectively. But we have no shortage of models for doing so. Many governments and universities have inquired into their ties to mass atrocities. The United States, too, should establish formal means to unearth and understand the enormity of state-sanctioned repression, dispossession, exploitation, and violence toward Black Americans, as well as the extent to which the remnants of those ills persists in our economic, political, and legal systems today. Only then will the nation be primed to engage in the long-overdue discussion about how to restore the human dignity stolen and to repair itself. (On this, too, there is no scarcity of ideas.) The task will be made much more difficult because we suffer from a collective amnesia, and now operate in a post-truth world. But without accurate accounting of and penance for the original sin and its progeny, we’ll get nowhere.

History has revealed a recursive white weariness from trying to solve “the Negro Question.” The work of reconstruction will be less exhausting—and the results far more stable—if everyone participates in crafting the solution. It’s not enough for elites to design a project and dictate its terms and conditions. Instead, achieving meaningful progress will require us to join together “in the work of remaking this nation … block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”

And, finally, on color blindness: Acknowledging race is necessary. Identifying its impact is necessary. Drawing on it to fashion solutions—solutions to problems caused not by Black inferiority, but systems infected with virulent, mutating strains of white supremacy—is necessary. The Supreme Court may have dismantled Plessy v. Ferguson, but through its insistence on the charade that is constitutional color blindness, it has warped a 19th-century conception of progress and has left 21st-century America leaning on a faulty pillar. Healing racial wounds may demand race-sensitive ointments, and a successful Third Reconstruction requires us to pursue that possibility.


Reconstructing the Union

After the Civil War, Radical Republicans in Congress and President Andrew Johnson disagreed over the terms and conditions for readmitting the seceded states to the Union. President Johnson viewed Reconstruction as an executive responsibility and blocked congressional initiatives. Congress sought to curb the power of the presidency, which had expanded in wartime, and took a less conciliatory stance toward the former Confederate states on issues of loyalty, governance, and the rights of black citizens. In 1867 and 1868 Congress passed four Reconstruction Acts over Johnson’s vetoes.


39th Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 153, 14 Stat. 428

An act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel States

Whereas no legal State governments or adequate protection for life or property now exists in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Arkansas and whereas it is necessary that peace and good order should be enforced in said States until loyal and republican State governments can be legally established. Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That said rebel States shall be divided into military districts and made subject to the military authority of the United States as hereinafter prescribed, and for that purpose Virginia shall constitute the first district North Carolina and South Carolina the second district Georgia, Alabama and Florida the third district Mississippi and Arkansas the fourth district and Louisiana and Texas the fifth district.

Sec. 2 Edit

And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the President to assign to the command of each of the said districts an officer of the army, not below the rank of brigadier-general, and to detail a sufficient military force to enable such officer to perform his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which he is assigned.

Sec. 3 Edit

And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each officer assigned as aforesaid, to protect all persons in their rights of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence, and to punish, or cause to be punished, all disturbers of the public peace and criminals and to this end he may allow local civil tribunals to take jurisdiction of and to try offenders, or, when in his judgment it may be necessary for the trial of offenders, he shall have power to organize military commissions or tribunals for that purpose, and all interference under color of State authority with the exercise of military authority under this act, shall be null and void.

Sec. 4 Edit

And be it further enacted, That all persons put under military arrest by virtue of this act shall be tried without unnecessary delay, and no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted, and no sentence of any military commission or tribunal hereby authorized, affecting the life or liberty of any person, shall be executed until it is approved by the officer in command of the district, and the laws and regulations for the government of the army shall not be affected by this act, except insofar as they conflict with its provisions Provided, That no sentence of death under the provisions of this act shall be carried into effect without the approval of the President.

Sec. 5 Edit

And be it further enacted, That when the people of any one of said rebel States shall have formed a constitution of government in conformity with the Constitution of the United States in all respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said State, twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in said State for one year previous to the day of such election, except such as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion or for felony at common law, and when such constitution shall provide that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all such persons as have the qualifications herein stated for electors of delegates, and when such constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons voting on the question of ratification who are qualified as electors for delegates, and when such constitution shall have been submitted to Congress for examination and approval, and Congress shall have approved the same, and when said State, by a vote of its legislature elected under said constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to the Constitution of the United States, proposed by the Thirty-ninth Congress, and known as article fourteen, and when such article shall have become a part of the Constitution of the United States, said State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress, and senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their taking the oath prescribed by law, and then and thereafter the preceding sections of this act shall be inoperative in said State Provided, That no person excluded from the privilege of holding office by said proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, shall be eligible to election as a member of the convention to frame a constitution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such person vote for members of such convention.

Sec. 6 Edit

And be it further enacted, That, until the people of said rebel States shall be by law admitted to representation in the Congress of the United States, any civil governments which may exist therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same and in all elections to any office under such provisional governments all persons shall be entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote under the provisions of the fifth section of this act and no person shall be eligible to any office under any provisional governments who would be disqualified from holding office under the provisions of the third article of said constitutional amendment.

40th Congress, Session 1, chapter 5, 15 Stat. 2

An Act supplementary to an Act entitled "An Act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel States," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate Restoration

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That before the first day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the commanding general in each district defined by an act entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a registration to be made of the male citizens of the United States, twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in each county or parish in the State or States included in his district, which registration shall include only those persons who are qualified to vote for delegates by the act aforesaid, and who shall have taken and subscribed the following oath or affirmation "I, __me___, do solemnly swear (or affirm), in the presence of Almighty God, that I am a citizen of the State of _____ that I have resided in said State for _____ months next preceding this day, and now reside in the county of _____ or the parish of _____, in said State (as the case may be) that I am twenty-one years old that I have not be disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any State or of the United States that I have never been a member of any State legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any State and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof that I will faithfully support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, encourage others so to do, so help me God"' which oath or affirmation may be administered by any registering officer.

Sec. 2 Edit

And be it further enacted, That after the completion of the registration hereby provided for in any State, at such time and places therein as the commanding general shall appoint and direct, of which at least thirty days' public notice shall be given, an election shall be held of delegates to a convention for the purpose of establishing a constitution and civil government for such State loyal to the Union, said convention in each State, except Virginia, to consist of the same number of members as the most numerous branch of the State legislature of such State in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned among the several districts, counties, or parishes of such State by the commanding general, giving to each representation in the ratio of voters registered as aforesaid as nearly as may be. The convention in Virginia shall consist of the same number of members as represented the territory now constituting Virginia in the most numerous branch of the legislature of said State in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned as aforesaid.

Sec. 3 Edit

And be it further enacted, That at said election the registered voters of each State shall vote for or against a convention to form a constitution therefor under this act. Those voting in favor of such a convention shall have written or printed on the ballots by which they vote for delegates, as aforesaid, the words "For a convention," and those voting against such a convention shall have written or printed on such ballots the words "Against a convention." The persons appointed to superintend said election, and to make return of the votes given thereat, as herein provided, shall count and make return of the votes given for and against a convention and the commanding general to whom the same shall have been returned shall ascertain and declare the total vote in each State for and against a convention. If a majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a convention, then such convention shall be held as hereinafter provided but if a majority of said votes shall be against a convention, then no such convention shall be held under this act Provided, That such convention shall not be held unless a majority of all such registered voters shall have voted on the question of holding such convention.

Sec. 4 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the commanding general of each district shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be necessary, consisting of three loyal officers or persons, to make and complete the registration, superintend the election, and make return to him of the votes, list of voters, and of the persons elected as delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election and upon receiving said returns he shall open the same, ascertain the persons elected as delegates,according to the returns of the officers who conducted said election, make proclamation thereof and if a majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a convention, the commanding general, within sixty days from the date of election, shall notify the delegates to assemble in convention, at a time and place to be mentioned in the notification, and said convention, when organized, shall proceed to frame a constitution and civil government according to the provisions of this act, and the act to which it is supplementary and when the same shall have been so framed, said constitution shall be submitted by the convention for ratification to the persons registered under the provisions of this act at an election to be conducted by the officers or persons appointed or to be appointed by the commanding general, as hereinbefore provided, and to be held after the expiration of thirty days from the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention and the returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of the district.

Sec. 5 Edit

And be it further enacted, That if, according to said returns, the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the votes of the registered electors qualified as herein specified, cast at said election, at least one half of all the registered voters voting upon the question of such ratification, the president of the convention shall transmit a copy of the same, duly certified, to the President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same to Congress, if then in session, and if not in session, then immediately upon its next assembling and if it shall moreover appear to Congress that the election was one at which all the registered and qualified electors in the State had an opportunity to vote freely and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud, and if the Congress shall be satisfied that such constitution meets the approval of a majority of all the qualified electors in the State, and if the said constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity with the provisions of the act to which this is supplementary, and the other provisions of said act shall have been complied with, and the said constitution shall be approved by Congress, the State shall be declared entitled to representation, and senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided.

Sec. 6 Edit

And be it further enacted, That all elections in the States mentioned in said "Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," shall, during the operation of said act, be by ballot and all officers making the said registration of voters and conducting said elections shall, before entering upon the discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by the act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office" Provided, That if any person shall knowingly and falsely take and subscribe any oath in this act prescribed, such person so offending and being thereof duly convicted shall be subject to the pains, penalties, and disabilities which by law are provided for the punishment of the crime of willful and corrupt perjury.

Sec. 7 Edit

And be it further enacted, That all expenses incurred by the several commanding generals or by virtue of any orders issued, or appointments made, by them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

Sec. 8 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the convention for each State shall prescribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all delegates and other officers and agents herein authorized or necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act not herein otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and collection of such taxes on the property in such State as may be necessary to pay the same.

Sec. 9 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the word "article," in the sixth section of the act to which this is supplementary, shall be construed to mean "section."

40th Congress, Session 1, Chapter 30, 15 Stat. 14

An Act supplementary to an Act entitled "An Act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel States," passed on the second day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and the Act supplementary thereto, passed on the twenty-third day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That it is hereby declared to have been the true intent and meaning of the act of the second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," and of the act supplementary thereto, passed on the twenty-third day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, that the governments then existing in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas were not legal State governments and that thereafter said governments, if continued, were to be continued subject in all respects to the military commanders of the respective districts, and to the paramount authority of Congress.

Sec. 2 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the commander of any district named in said act shall have power, subject to the disapproval of the General of the army of the United States, and to have effect till disapproved, whenever in the opinion of such commander the proper administration of said act shall require it, to suspend or remove from office, or from the performance of official duties and the exercise of official powers, any officer or person holding or exercising, or professing to hold or exercise, any civil or military office or duty in such district under any power, election, appointment or authority derived from, or granted by, or claimed under, any so-called State or the government thereof, or any municipal or other division thereof, and upon such suspension or removal such commander, subject to the disapproval of the General as aforesaid, shall have power to provide from time to time for the performance of the said duties of such officer or person so suspended or removed, by the detail of some competent officer or soldier of the army, or by the appointment of some other person, to perform the same, and to fill vacancies occasioned by death, resignation, or otherwise.

Sec. 3 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the General of the army of the United States shall be invested with all the powers of suspension, removal, appointment, and detail granted in the preceding section to district commanders.

Sec. 4 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the acts of the officers of the army already done in removing in said districts persons exercising the functions of civil officers, and appointing others in their stead, are hereby confirmed Provided, That any person heretofore or hereafter appointed by any district commander to exercise the functions of any civil office, may be removed either by the military officer in command of the district, or by the General of the army. And it shall be the duty of such commander to remove from office as aforesaid all persons who are disloyal to the government of the United States, or who use their official influence in any manner to hinder, delay, prevent, or obstruct the due and proper administration of this act and the acts to which it is supplementary.

Sec. 5 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the boards of registration provided for in the act entitled "An act supplementary to an act entitled 'An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,' passed March two, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate restoration," passed March twenty-three, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall have power, and it shall be their duty before allowing the registration of any person, to ascertain, upon such facts or information as they can obtain, whether such person is entitled to be registered under said act, and the oath required by said act shall not be conclusive on such question, and no person shall be registered unless such board shall decide that he is entitled thereto and such board shall also have power to examine, under oath, (to be administered by any member of such board,) any one touching the qualification of any person claiming registration but in every case of refusal by the board to register an applicant, and in every case of striking his name from the list as hereinafter provided, the board shall make a note or memorandum, which shall be returned with the registration list to the commanding general of the district, setting forth the grounds of such refusal or such striking from the list Provided, That no person shall be disqualified as member of any board of registration by reason of race or color.

Sec. 6 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the true intent and meaning of the oath prescribed in said supplementary act is, (among other things,) that no person who has been a member of the legislature of any State, or who has held any executive or judicial office in any State, whether he has taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United Sates or not, and whether he was holding such office at the commencement of the rebellion, or had held it before, and who has afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, is entitled to be registered or to vote and the words "executive or judicial office in any State" in said oath mentioned shall be construed to include all civil offices created by law for the administration of any general law of a State, or for the administration of justice.

Sec. 7 Edit

And be it further enacted, That the time for completing the original registration provided for in said act may, in the discretion of the commander of any district be extended to the first day of October, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven and the boards of registration shall have power, and it shall be their duty, commencing fourteen days prior to any election under said act, and upon reasonable public notice of the time and place thereof, to revise, for a period of five days, the registration lists, and upon being satisfied that any person not entitled thereto has been registered, to strike the name of such person from the list, and such person shall not be allowed to vote. And such board shall also, during the same period, add to such registry the names of all persons who at that time possess the qualifications required by said act who have not been already registered and no person shall, at any time, be entitled to be registered or to vote by reason of any executive pardon or amnesty for any act or thing which, without such pardon or amnesty, would disqualify him from registration or voting.

Sec. 8 Edit

And be it further enacted, That section four of said last-named act shall be construed to authorize the commanding general named therein, whenever he shall deem it needful, to remove any member of a board of registration and to appoint another in his stead, and to fill any vacancy in such board.

Sec. 9 Edit

And be it further enacted, That all members of said boards of registration and all persons hereafter elected or appointed to office in said military districts, under any so-called State or municipal authority, or by detail or appointment of the district commanders, shall be required to take and to subscribe the oath of office prescribed by law for officers of the United States.

Sec. 10 Edit

And be it further enacted, That no district commander or member of the board of registration, or any of the officers or appointees acting under them shall be bound in his action by any opinion of any civil officer of the United States.

Sec. 11 Edit

And be it further enacted, That all the provisions of this act and of the acts to which this is supplementary shall be construed liberally, to the end that all intents thereof may be fully and perfectly carried out.

An Act supplementary to an act entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel states," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate restoration.

That before the first day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the commanding general in each district defined by an act entitled "An Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a registration to be made of the male citizens of the United States, twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in each county or parish in the State or States included in his district, which registration shall include only those persons who are qualified to vote for delegates by the act aforesaid, and who shall have taken and subscribed the following oath or affirmation "I, _____, do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) in the presence of Almighty God, that I am a citizen of the State of _____ that I have resided in said State for _____ months next preceding this day, and now reside in the county of _____, or the parish of _____, in said State, (as the case may be) that I am twenty-one years old that I have not been disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any State or of the United States that I have never been a member of any State legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any State and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof that I will faithfully support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, encourage others so to do, so help me God" which oath or affirmation may be administered by any registering officer.

Sec. 2 Edit

That after the completion of the registration hereby provided for in any State, at such time and places therein as the commanding general shall appoint and direct, of which at least thirty days' public notice shall be given, an election shall be held of delegates to a convention for the purpose of establishing a constitution and civil government for such state loyal to the Union, said convention in each State, except Virginia, to consist of the same number of members as the most numerous branch of the State legislature of such State in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned among the several districts, counties, or parishes of such State by the commanding general, giving to each representation in the ratio of voters registered as aforesaid, as nearly as may be. The convention in Virginia shall consist of the same number of members as represented the territory now constituting Virginia in the most numerous branch of the legislature of said State in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned as aforesaid.

Sec. 3 Edit

That at said election the registered voters of each State shall vote for or against a convention to form a constitution therefor under this act. Those voting in favor of such a convention shall have written or printed on the ballots by which they vote for delegates, as aforesaid, the words "For a convention," and those voting against such a convention shall have written or printed on such ballots the words "Against a convention." The person appointed to superintend said election, and to make return of the votes given thereat, as herein provided, shall count and make return of the votes given for and against a convention and the commanding general to whom the same shall have been returned shall ascertain and declare the total vote in each State for and against a convention. If a majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a convention, then such convention shall be held as hereinafter provided but if a majority of said votes shall be against a convention, then no such convention shall be held under this act Provided, That such convention shall not be held unless a majority of all such registered voters shall have voted on the question of holding such convention.

Sec. 4 Edit

That the commanding general of each district shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be necessary, consisting of three loyal officers or persons, to make and complete the registration, superintend the election, and make return to him of the votes, lists of voters, and of the persons elected as delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election and upon receiving said returns he shall open the same, ascertain the persons elected as delegates according to the returns of the officers who conducted said election, and make proclamation thereof and if a majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a convention, the commanding general, within sixty days from the date of election, shall notify the delegates to assemble in convention, at a time and place to be mentioned in the notification, and said convention, when organized, shall proceed to frame a constitution and civil government according to the provisions of this act and the act to which is it supplementary and when the same shall have been so framed, said constitution shall be submitted by the convention for ratification to the persons registered under the provisions of this act at an election to be conducted by the officers or persons appointed or to be appointed by the commanding general, as hereinbefore provided, and to be held after the expiration of thirty days from the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention and the returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of the district.

Sec. 5 Edit

That if, according to said returns, the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the votes of the registered electors qualified as herein specified, cast at said election, (at least one half of all the registered voters voting upon the question of such ratification,) the president of the convention shall transmit a copy of the same, duly certified, to the President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same to Congress, if then in session, and if not in session, then immediately upon its next assembling and if it shall, moreover, appear to Congress that the election was one at which all the registered and qualified electors in the State had an opportunity to vote freely and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud, and if the Congress shall be satisfied that such constitution meets the approval of a majority of all the qualified electors in the State, and if the said constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity with the provisions of the act to which this is supplementary, and the other provisions of said act shall have been complied with, and the said constitution shall be approved by Congress, the State shall be declared entitled to representation, and Senators and Representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided.

Sec. 6 Edit

That all elections in the States mentioned in the said "Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," shall, during the operation of said act, be by ballot and all officers making the said registration of voters and conducting said elections shall, before entering upon the discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by the act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office" Provided, That if any person shall knowingly and falsely take and subscribe any oath in this act prescribed, such person so offending and being thereof duly convicted, shall be subject to the pains, penalties, and disabilities which by law are provided for the punishment of the crime of wilful and corrupt perjury.

Sec. 7 Edit

That all expenses incurred by the several commanding generals, or by virtue of any orders issued, or appointments made, by them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

Sec. 8 Edit

That the convention for each State shall prescribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all delegates and other officers and agents herein authorized or necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act not herein otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and collection of such taxes on the property in such State as may be necessary to pay the same.

Sec. 9 Edit

That the word article, in the sixth section of the act to which this is supplementary, shall be construed to mean section.


Watch the video: Ελένη Τζώρτζη για Φιλιππίδη (January 2022).