The Army in Texas during Reconstruction, 1865-1870

The Army in Texas during Reconstruction, 1865-1870

The Army in Texas during Reconstruction, 1865-1870

The Army in Texas during Reconstruction, 1865-1870

Synopsis

William L. Richter, a researcher and writer whose work focuses on civil-military relations during the Civil War and Reconstruction, lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Excerpt

In any volume dealing with a past era, certain terms may confuse the reader. in this book, such terms include the complicated and bewildering series of political labels used in Texas during Reconstruction. During and after the Civil War, two broad groups dominated the state's political climate. One of these factions was known as the Secessionists and included a majority of the state's white population. the Secessionists had favored Texas' adherence to the Confederate cause and had little desire to recant their principles during Reconstruction. the Secessionists were opposed by an active minority faction labeled the Unionists, or Loyalists. This antisecession group comprised Texans who had actively or passively resisted Confederate authority during the war. These two factions were joined after the war by a third group generally called Conservatives. Although opposed to Reconstruction, the Conservatives wished Texas to rejoin the Union as quickly as possible. They included some Loyalists who desired to forget the war's hatreds and a large group of former Secessionists who were willing to make some concessions to the victorious North and who tended to comply with President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policies.

By 1867, these groups had shifted their positions somewhat and had assumed new labels. Conservatives now were those who opposed the new Military Reconstruction measures. Within the Conservative party a few die-hard Secessionists preferred to be known as Democrats. But most Texans, believing that the specter of a revitalized Democratic party would be disturbing to the Republican majority in Congress, eschewed the name "Democratic." Opposed to the Conservatives, who counted most white voters in their ranks, was the infant state Republican party. the Republicans included former Unionists and converted Secessionists, who were collectively and derisively referred to as scalawags; a few newly arrived Northern immigrants, called carpetbaggers; and the recently enfranchised black population.

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