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Kentucky in the Reconstruction Era

Kentucky in the Reconstruction Era

Copyright Date: 1979
Edition: 1
Pages: 112
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  • Book Info
    Kentucky in the Reconstruction Era
    Book Description:

    Although Kentucky was not subject to reconstruction as such, the period of readjustment following the Civil War was a troubled one for the Commonwealth. Violence begun by guerillas continued for years. In addition, white "Regulators" tried to cow the new freedmen and keep them in a perpetual state of fearful submission that would assure the agricultural labor supply.

    Their attacks produced exactly the effects whites least desired: the blacks became all the more determined to leave the countryside, and the federal government imposed the Freedmen's Bureau to protect the former slaves.Kentucky in the Reconstruction Erashows how this and other forms of federal intervention angered even the most loyal white citizens, leading to Kentucky's hostility to the national administration and consequent reputation as a state dominated by ex-Confederates.

    Gradually, however, things began to change, as hopes for future prosperity outweighed past disappointments. While the old feuds were not healed during this period, many of the state's leaders shifted their attention to more productive matters, and the way was opened to eventual reconciliation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5034-5
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-11)

    THE YEARS IMMEDIATELY following the Civil War, commonly called the reconstruction era, were filled with great stress, conflicting emotions, and fundamental societal problems relating to race, equality, and democracy.

    Much of the writing about this period lacks objectivity, since the authors of any generation find it difficult to shake off the prejudices of their day. While much that has been written about the history of reconstruction is true, much of it is false, or a mixture of true and false, resulting in some very strained historical interpretations. This should come as no surprise, because the need for a defeated people...

    (pp. 12-35)

    THE WAR AT AN END, Kentucky was faced with a number of difficult problems: federal military rule must be terminated; the labor problem attendant upon the emancipation of the slaves must be resolved and the freed Negro integrated into the state’s political, economic, and legal systems; the economy must be revived in terms of trade, industry, and agriculture; and internal improvements, which had languished during the war, must be expanded and developed. In short, restoration of the state to peacetime normality was a challenge of some consequence.

    While a political tug-of-war was going on in Washington between the Radical Republicans...

    (pp. 36-61)

    LET LOOSE YOUR GRIP upon the ‘nigger.’ Grapple the plowshare in your hands…. Shalne the rash malice of those who speak of your motives, and actions, and principles, by walking in the fear of the Lord and law of the land.” These words were written by Henry Watterson for southerners in 1865. If Kentuckians had heeded “Marse” Henry’s advice, they might have been spared much of the agony of the postwar period.

    The status of the black in Kentucky when the war ended was ambiguous. Kentucky’s continued presence in the Union during the war had meant that the Emancipation Proclamation...

    (pp. 62-90)

    THE CENSUS OF 1870 indicated that the state was recovering rapidly from the economic dislocation caused by the Civil War. Kentucky’s population now totaled 1,321,011, which represented an increase of 165,327 since 1860. Of this number 1,098,692 were whites and 222,210 were blacks, the remainder being Indians and Asiatics. Significantly, the Negro population had decreased by approximately 6 percent in the decade. Of the total, 930,136 individuals were ten years of age or older, of whom 414,593 were in the work force (364,300 males and 50,293 females). Agriculture employed 261,080 persons, 84,024 were in professional occupations, 25,292 in trading activities,...

  8. Epilogue
    (pp. 91-96)

    IN RECENT YEARS the older perspectives on the era of reconstruction have been challenged and in many instances refuted. Traditional political and economic interpretations of reconstruction, the role of the black in postwar politics, the motives of Radical Republican politicians, the status of the Democratic party after the war, the rulings of the Supreme Court on constitutional and legal questions arising out of southern reconstruction, and even the political leadership of Presidents Johnson and Grant have been restudied and reevaluated.

    The historical analysis of Kentucky during the reconstruction period made by such eminent historians as E. Merton Coulter and W....

  9. Bibliographical Essay
    (pp. 97-101)