How did the South lose the Civil War but manage to win the peace? Use examples.Use examples!

2 Answers

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The previous post gives excellent examples concerning the black man's plight following the end of the Civil War. However, I have never heard it put that the South "won the peace" following the Civil War. The South was devastated economically and socially. Many of its towns and cities had been destroyed, particularly during General William T. Sherman's march through the South in his systematic operation of total war. Afterward, Southerners were denied the same equal rights enjoyed by other citizens of the Union until after the seceded states were officially reunited. Scalawags and carpetbaggers took advantage of Southerners economically and politically. Although the invading Northern armies no longer presented a threat to the citizens of the South, it was hardly a time of peace for the defeated Confederate veterans and for the grieving families who were left penniless and bereft of the quarter of a million soldiers who never came home. 

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Although the South lost the Civil War militarily,attempts by the North to reconstruct the South into a model of the North and completely rehabilitate former slaves was a failure. At the end of Reconstruction, blacks in the South were little better off than they had been during slavery days with the exception that they were now free.

The federal government attempted to rehabilitate former slaves by means of the freedman's bureau which provided teachers, medical care, etc. However, the government did not consider the intense resentment and determination of southern whites, and as a result the accomplishments of the Bureau were quite limited.

The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed slaves the rights of citizens of the U.S., which they were; however their rights were severely limited not only by intimidation from the Ku Klux Klan but also from so-called "Jim Crow Laws" which limited Black access to public facilities, education, etc. In 1896, these limitations were sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson which stated that "separate but equal" facilities were constitutional

Similarly, the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed Blacks the right to vote, but Southern states managed to evade it by means of poll taxes, literacy requirements, residency requirements, etc. These limitations remained in effect until well into the twentieth century.

Ultimately, the federal government abandoned attempts to reconstruct the South in the Compromise of 1877 when federal troops were withdrawn from the South in exchange for the election of Rutherford B. Hayes to the Presidency. At the end of reconstruction, although they were free, southern Blacks had gained little or nothing.