After the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the Union, or Reconstruction, was to reestablish the state governments and then readmit the states’ delegates to Congress. A government dominated by ex-Confederates was set up in South Carolina, which repealed the 1861 ordinance of secession and recognized the abolition of slavery. This government was short-lived, however, because it maintained white supremacy. It failed to give blacks the right to vote and, in common with most other rebel states, enacted a Black Code that severely restricted the liberties of all blacks, both the newly freed and those who had not been slaves. For example, blacks were required to pay a yearly tax of $10 to $100 if they wished to follow any occupation other than farmer or servant. Partly because of these acts by the Southern states, the Radical wing of the Republican Party in Congress wrested control of Reconstruction from President Johnson and imposed the harsher regime called Radical Reconstruction.
In March 1867, Congress put ten of the ex-Confederate states under military rule. Readmission to the Union was made conditional on their adoption of new constitutions acceptable to Congress. They were required to extend the vote and basic civil rights to all men, regardless of race. The next year a convention, composed mainly of former slaves, free blacks, whites who had moved from the North (called carpetbaggers by their enemies), and Southern whites sympathetic to the North (called scalawags) drew up a new state constitution. This constitution allowed all adult men to vote and did not impose property or educational requirements; it also provided for a system of public schools. The most powerful ex-Confederates were disfranchised (denied the right to vote). On June 25, 1868, South Carolina was readmitted to the Union.
From 1868 to 1876 the Republican Party governed the state. This “rule of the robbers,” as the ex-Confederates called it, evoked violent white opposition. The Ku Klux Klan, a secret society organized in Tennessee, extended its activities to the state to subvert Republican rule by terrorist means. In 1871 so many lynchings and beatings took place that nine counties in the Piedmont were placed under martial law by the federal government. Hundreds of people were arrested, and the Klan ceased to exist in the state.
In 1876 the Red Shirts, a militant white political organization, supported Wade Hampton, a former Confederate general and the Democratic Party candidate for governor, against the Republican
incumbent, Daniel H. Chamberlain of Massachusetts. Bribes and intimidation occurred on both sides. The Red Shirts engineered an apparent victory for Hampton, but the election results were contested, with both sides crying fraud. As it happened, the presidential election that year was also in doubt because of contested electoral votes in four states, three of which—South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana—were in the South. The Republican presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, needed those votes to barely defeat his Democratic opponent, Samuel J. Tilden. He got them. Whether a deal was struck, or whether the Republicans merely gave assurances to cease interfering in the South, Tilden did not challenge the national result, and the Republicans did not challenge Hampton’s claim to the governorship. Hayes withdrew the remaining federal troops from the state when he took office in March 1877.
The Democrats had returned to power in South Carolina, and it was to be essentially a one-party state for almost a hundred years thereafter. In subsequent decades the Democrats strengthened their control of state politics by disfranchising the state’s black population. "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
Photos of European countries to visit
Photos of Asian countries to visit
Photos of America