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Missouri in the 1860s


Missouri national park
Missouri national park

The major issues facing Missourians at the close of the Civil War related to Reconstruction and the rebuilding of the war-torn state. The provisional government of 1861 continued to function, but as early as 1863 it split into factions. A wing of the Republicans, called Radicals, who favored harsh measures gained control of the state government in 1864 and called a constitutional convention. The resulting constitution of 1865 abolished slavery, freeing the 115,000 remaining slaves, promoted public education, and prohibited further commitment of state funds to promotional ventures such as railroads. It also required a test oath to bar former Confederate sympathizers from holding public office, voting, teaching, practicing law, and preaching.

The unpopularity of this extremism led to the swift downfall of Radical rule. In 1866 the U.S. Supreme Court declared portions of the test oath unconstitutional, and in the 1869 and 1870 elections a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats made Carl Schurz U.S. Senator and Benjamin Gratz Brown governor. In 1872 the Radicals were ousted, and the Democrats gained in strength as the moderate Republicans declined. In 1875 the state approved its third constitution, the second in ten years. It eliminated all hints of reprisals against former Confederates, stipulated that at least 25 percent of the general revenue be used for public education, created commissions to regulate the railroads, placed tax restrictions on local communities, and lengthened the governor’s term to four years. "Missouri" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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