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Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags

The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction

Richard L. Hume

Publication Year: 2008

After the Civil War, Congress required ten former Confederate states to rewrite their constitutions before they could be readmitted to the Union. An electorate composed of newly enfranchised former slaves, native southern whites (minus significant numbers of disenfranchised former Confederate officials), and a small contingent of "carpetbaggers," or outside whites, sent delegates to ten constitutional conventions. Derogatorily labeled "black and tan" by their detractors, these assemblies wrote constitutions and submitted them to Congress and to the voters in their respective states for approval. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags offers a quantitative study of these decisive but little-understood assemblies—the first elected bodies in the United States to include a significant number of blacks.

Richard L. Hume and Jerry B. Gough scoured manuscript census returns to determine the age, occupation, property holdings, literacy, and slaveholdings of 839 of the conventions' 1,018 delegates. Carefully analyzing convention voting records on certain issues—including race, suffrage, and government structure—they correlate delegates' voting patterns with their racial and socioeconomic status. The authors then assign a "Republican support score" to each delegate who voted often enough to count, establishing the degree to which each delegate adhered to the Republican leaders' program at his convention. Using these scores, they divide the delegates into three groups—radicals, swing voters, and conservatives—and incorporate their quantitative findings into the narrative histories of each convention, providing, for the first time, a detailed analysis of these long-overlooked assemblies.

Hume and Gough's comprehensive study offers an objective look at the accomplishments and shortcomings of the conventions and humanizes the delegates who have until now been understood largely as stereotypes. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags provides an essential reference guide for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Reconstruction era.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents, Illustrations

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pp. vii-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Our book would not have been possible without generous assistance from numerous archivists and librarians. Those at the National Archives and the Library of Congress guided us to key record groups and correspondence relating to the military occupation Congress established in the postwar South. Professionals at a multitude...

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1. A Tremendous and Searching Social Revolution

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pp. 1-10

Today’s United States is in large part the product of three epochs of revolutionary change: the era of the American Revolution (1763–89), the Civil War and Reconstruction (1861–77), and the Great Depression (1929–41). The Revolutionary War and subsequent efforts at nation building stimulated Americans during...

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2. Delegates and Leaders

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pp. 11-23

This chapter, a survey of all 1,018 Black and Tan delegates, provides a foundation for what is to be developed in the five to follow, each of which compares and contrasts a pair of conventions. But to begin with the basics, we here first offer the most accurate and complete headcount of delegates to date...

Data Tables on Delegates and Leaders

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pp. 24-34

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3. Virginia and Arkansas: Victory from the Jaws of Defeat and Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

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pp. 35-56

Virginia’s representatives gathered in the great hall of the House of Delegates in Richmond for their initial meeting on December 3, 1867. Their proceedings, largely because they took place in the former Confederate capital, received extensive press attention nationally for some four and a half...

Data Tables for the Virginia and Arkansas Conventions

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pp. 57-65

Selected Roll- Call Votes of the Virginia and Arkansas Conventions

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pp. 66-73

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4. Alabama and Mississippi: Imposed Victory

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pp. 74-96

The members of the Alabama convention, the first Black and Tan delegates to assemble, convened for their initial meeting on November 5, 1867, at the state capitol in Montgomery, ironically the very building that had been witness to the birth to the Confederate States of America early in...

Data Tables for the Alabama and Mississippi Conventions

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pp. 97-105

Selected Roll- Call Votes of the Alabama and Mississippi Conventions

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pp. 106-113

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5. Georgia and North Carolina: Governors Brown and Holden, Eminences Grises Right and Left

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pp. 114-139

Throughout most of the antebellum era, Unionist sentiment had remained strong in Georgia, the wealthiest and most populous state of the lower South. Georgians had been steadfast for Union and compromise in 1850, helping to thwart secessionists during the early years of that decade. Southern Democrat...

Data Tables for the Georgia and North Carolina Conventions

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pp. 140-148

Selected Roll- Call Votes of the Georgia and North Carolina Conventions

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pp. 149-157

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6. Louisiana and South Carolina: Anomalous Stereotypes

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pp. 158-184

The 1870 census reported black majorities in three states of the former Confederacy— Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. From 1840 through 1870, blacks comprised, on average, some 53% of Mississippi residents. The proportion of blacks in Louisiana’s population from 1810 through...

Data Tables for the Louisiana and South Carolina Conventions

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pp. 185-193

Selected Roll- Call Votes of the Louisiana and South Carolina Conventions

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pp. 194-199

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7. Florida and Texas: Foreshadowing Failure

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pp. 200-228

Florida and Texas, the last two of the soon- to- be Confederate states to be admitted to the Union— on March 3 and December 29 of 1845, respectively— were also the last to assemble their Black and Tan conventions. Carved from Spanish and Mexican territories, both states remained in frontier stages of development...

Data Tables for the Florida and Texas Conventions

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pp. 229-238

Selected Roll-Call Votes of the Florida and Texas Conventions

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pp. 239-247

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8. Summary and Conclusions

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pp. 248-270

Don E. Fehrenbacher’s overview of constitutional development in the fifteen slaveholding states is especially valuable in placing the constitutions framed by the 1,018 Black and Tan delegates in historical context. In covering a time span from 1776 to 1861, Fehrenbacher first reminds us that it was at the state...

Data Tables for Summary and Conclusions

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pp. 271-275

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Appendix A: Methodological Procedures: Delegate Information and Selection and Analysis of Votes

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pp. 277-281

We obtained the names of the 1,018 delegates who sat in the ten Black and Tan conventions from a mix of sources, the most important of which were House Executive Document 342, 40th Cong., 2d sess. (General Orders— Reconstruction) and the convention journals themselves. We then systematically...

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Appendix B: Delegate Republican Support Scores by State

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pp. 282-307

Delegate Republican support scores (RSSs) for each issue area and overall are listed below in rank order from highest to lowest overall RSS by state. Counties represented are given parenthetically as needed for clarity in the left column for delegates at a convention sharing the same...

Appendix C: Delegate Biographical Data

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pp. 308-405

Notes

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pp. 407-455

Bibliography

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pp. 457-508

Index

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pp. 509-528


E-ISBN-13: 9780807134702
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807133248

Page Count: 552
Publication Year: 2008