Under the stewardship of Johnson, southern whites held constitutional conventions throughout 1865, drafting new constitutions that outlawed slavery but changed little else. When the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress reassembled late in 1865, they put a stop to the leniency and inaugurated Radical (or Congressional) Reconstruction, a process that resulted in the immediate passage of the Civil Rights bill and the Fourteenth Amendment, and the eventual passage of four Reconstruction Acts
The passage of the first Reconstruction Act by Congressional Republicans radically altered the direction of Reconstruction. The Act invalidated the reconstituted Southern legislatures, establishing five military districts in the South and insisting upon black suffrage as a condition to readmission. The eventful year 1868 saw the impeachment of one president (Andrew Johnson) and the election of another (Ulysses S. Grant).
The Turning point in the Civil War was the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Although the concerted efforts of northern Peace Democrats and a palpable war weariness among the electorate made Lincolns victory uncertain, timely Union victories in Atlanta and Mobile in September of 1864 secured Lincolns re-election in November. This lecture concludes Professor Blights section on the war, following Lee and Grant to Appomattox Courthouse, and describing the surrender of Confederate forces.
Professor Blight offers a number of approaches to the question of southern distinctiveness. The lecture offers a survey of that manner in which commentators--American, foreign, northern, and southern--have sought to make sense of the nature of southern society and southern history. The lecture analyzes the society and culture of the Old South, with special emphasis on the aspects of southern life that made the region distinct from the antebellum North.
Professor Blight lectures on southern slavery. He makes a case for viewing the U.S. South as one of the five true slave societies in world history. He discusses the internal slave trade that moved thousands of slaves from the eastern seaboard to the cotton states of the Southwest between 1820 and 1860. Professor Blight then sketches the contents of the pro-slavery argument, including its biblical, historical, economic, cynical, and utopian aspects.