The aftermath of the Civil war was defined by political, social, and economic challenges in Texas (Moneyhon 1). Texas had joined the Confederate states during the war, but after the Confederacy was defeated, the U.S army came to restore order. The federal troops had the mandate of ensuring that the state was loyal to the government and that slaves were freed. The year 1865 marked the beginning of a new era of change referred to as the 'Reconstruction' (Moneyhon 2). This paper describes the political changes that took place during the Reconstruction in Texas.
The presidential vision for the Reconstruction entailed the restoration of the former seceded southern states to the union. Andrew J. Hamilton was appointed by President Johnson as the Texas provisional governor to ensure that the State's constitutional relations to the United States were restored (Ramsdell 277). However, Hamilton was not able to sufficiently prevent the Democrats from resurfacing, as they demanded political power which they shared with the unionists.
The Congress, on the other hand, sought to conduct a constitutional convention through the Reconstruction Act of 1867. This was focused on restoring the State after a series of tension and confusion (Moneyhon 72). This led to the organization of political parties in 1867. Unionists formed the Republican Party and accommodated black voters.
The Republican Party was composed of native whites who didn't support the Confederates and African American. The party was radical and fought for the elimination of racial discrimination and economic empowerment of former slaves (Foner 1868). The Democratic Party, however, was manipulative and scheming. When it failed to win the 1867 election, the party started befriending the blacks to join them, failure to which violence erupted (Moneyhon 94). The end of the Reconstruction brought no relief to the Texans, especially the black community. Despite the numerous political changes and constitutional amendments, the status of the blacks had not been improved as promised by the Republican government (Moneyhon 238).
In conclusion, the Reconstruction was aimed at restoring the State which was facing numerous challenges caused by the Civil war. There were contrasting visions between the presidential and the congressional groups. Also, the Reconstruction led to the organization of the Republican and Democratic political parties. However, despite these changes, the lives of the Texans, especially the blacks had not improved.
Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New American Nation Series. Vol. 9. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.
Moneyhon, Carl H. Texas After the Civil War: The Struggle of Reconstruction. No. 14. Texas A&M University Press, 2004.
Ramsdell, Charles W. "Presidential Reconstruction in Texas." The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 11.4 (1908): 277-317.
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