“What Is To Be Done With the Negro?”
THE ERA OF RECONSTRUCTION 1865-1877
Detail from J.L. Giles’ allegorical 1867 lithograph, Reconstruction, promoting sectional reconciliation between Northern and Southern whites, but pointedly excluding African-Americans.
Feb 2nd 1866
Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment to Freedmen’s Bureau bill authorizing the distribution of public land and confiscated land to freedmen and loyal refugees in forty acre lots. The measure was defeated in the House by a vote of 126 to 37. A Black delegation, led by Frederick Douglas called on President Johnson and urged ballots for former slaves. Meeting ended in disagreement and controversy after Johnson reiterated his opposition to Black suffrage
Appomattox marked an ending, but also a beginning. What had been resolved by the war was clear: the United States was whole again — the Union was inviolate, and slavery was dead. What remained unclear, however, were the relationship of…
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