Students will know how to use social studies terminology correctly. Vocabulary includes terms, key people, and events of the Reconstructon period.
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When the Civil War ended, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed slavery in Texas. Yet three far-reaching questions still had to be answered, and the struggles over these questions would define Texas during the period of Reconstruction (1865-1876).
First, what would become of the newly freed 230,000 African Americans in Texas? They were no longer enslaved, but were they to become citizens or perhaps something else? Second, what was to become of the ex-Confederates in Texas who had waged war against the United States? Were they to regain their citizenship or perhaps take on a different status? Third, how would the United States restore states like Texas to the American Union? Was Texas to regain its full political representation immediately after the war, or would there be punishment for having rebelled against the United States?
During the first part of Reconstruction, commonly called “Presidential Reconstruction,” President Andrew Johnson attempted to answer these questions. Johnson promised that states like Texas could rejoin the Union simply by ratifying the 13th Amendment, he offered a pardon to nearly all ex-Confederates so they could regain their citizenship, and he left the status of African Americans to be decided by their former masters. Anglo-Texans, as a result, quickly passed laws that denied citizenship rights to the former slaves and elected ex-Confederate political leaders to represent Texas in the U.S. Congress.
All of this angered Northerners and led Republicans in the U.S. Congress to forcibly take over Reconstruction policy, which began a new phase commonly known as “Congressional Reconstruction.” After putting Texas and the other ex-Confederate states under military rule, the Congress stated that Texas could not be represented by ex-Confederates and could not rejoin the Union until it ratified the 14th Amendment, which gave African Americans citizenship rights under the Constitution. The Congress also passed the 15th Amendment that defined voting rights. In so doing, the U.S. Congress attempted to ensure citizenship rights for African Americans while reducing the political power of ex-Confederates in states like Texas.
Anglo-Texans reacted with outrage. Some ex-Confederates joined groups like the Ku Klux Klan and used violence to try to intimidate African Americans and their white Republican allies in Texas. These Anglo-Texans also organized themselves politically and, by the mid-1870s, began to regain political power within the state. In 1876, ex-Confederates passed a new Texas constitution that stripped power out of the state government in an effort to undo much of what the Republican Party had brought to Texas during Reconstruction.
Unit Level Downloads (English)
We've assembled the following list of lessons that are applicable to this unit. Most lessons contain downloadable and printable documents, activities, and other resources to aid in classroom instruction.
We've assembled the following list of maps that are applicable to the Reconstruction.
"Map of the United States that shows railroads, military outposts, Pony Express and postal routes, and historical routes of exploration and commerce."
"Map shows counties, major roads and cities, areas of Native American habitation, and notable geographical features; only four counties shown for west Texas and Panhandle: Bexar, El Paso, Presidio, and unnamed 4th county."
"Map shows mid-nineteenth century Texas counties, roads, cities and towns, railroads, and areas of Native American habitation."
"Map shows late nineteenth century Jefferson, Texas street names, buildings, and riverboats. Includes key to numbered buildings."
"Map shows geography, roads, and buildings in Fort Richardson located in northern Texas during the late nineteenth century."
"Hand drawn color-shaded map showing counties, cities, rivers, creeks, railroads, roads, and topographical features of Texas as of 1872."
"Map shows late nineteenth century cities, railroads, military outposts, areas of Native American habitation, and geographic features in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and a portion of New Mexico and "Indian Territory" [Oklahoma]."
"Map of Texas and Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), showing the Red River, the Brazos River, Fort Phantom Hill, Fort Chadbourne, and Fort Concho."
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Civil War reconstruction in Texas, covering: (1) Three Major Questions, (3) Presidential Reconstruction, (3) Constitution of 1866, (4) Congress Takes Over Reconstruction.
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