How did many southern whites react to the changes that took place during Reconstruction? 

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Many white southerners were unhappy with the changes brought about by the plans for Reconstruction. When President Johnson put forth his plan, the Southerners elected many of the same people who were in Congress before the Civil War began. The Republicans in Congress were concerned by this and wouldn’t seat these representatives.

White southerners weren’t in favor of the Radical Republican Reconstruction plan, and they resented the changes that came with this plan. During Reconstruction, many white southerners refused to take part in the writing of the new state constitutions. They also refused to take part in elections for state offices. The white southerners referred to southerners who supported Reconstruction as scalawags. They referred to northerners who came to the South as carpetbaggers. Both names carried negative connotations.

Once Reconstruction ended, many white southerners worked to undo the gains African-Americans made during Reconstruction. The literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were ways to deny African-Americans voting rights. Jim Crow laws were passed that allowed segregation to exist. The Ku Klux Klan formed to terrorize the African-Americans and other groups. Many white southerners were opposed to the changes brought about by Reconstruction.

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