Building America's Democratic Federalist Republic Sources Turning Points in American History Summary and Presidential Courage Summary by W. Antoniotti  Please Share 
> 3. INCREASINE we of "We the People"
Who Protects Unalienable 1866 Rights of Whom?
The 1870's Take Away Unalienable Rights
TR took on 1904 Corporate RR Trusts.
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1930's Safety Net Deficits, Like War Deficits, Prove Attractive
1973 Finally Brings Faster Track Civil Rights
See Apocalypse: To Civil War and Reconstruction.
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Editor's Note: summaries do little justice to the fascinating lectures available through Turning Points in American History audio course of Professor E. T. O'Donnell and PRESIDENTIAL COURAGE1 Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 which emphasis the politics of events.  By Michael Beschloss  Summaries by W. Antoniotti

Who Protects the Unalienable 1866 Rights of Whom? Equal rights for all was limited to very few at the time of our founding fathers. Women, slaves, Indians and poor men need not apply. Radicals of the early 1830's associated with abolition wanted much more than freeing slaves. Everyone deserved civil rights. The Civil War had freed the slaves but what would be their status. Would freedman have civil, social, political and economic rights or would they have a serf-like status. Many citizens at that time did not have these rights. Also, what would happen to the southern states and their leaders. In the beginning of reconstruction southern President Johnson wanted the states back in the U.S. quickly so he let them back in 1865 when Congress was not in session. He also wanted no civil rights for freedman. Radical Republicans were not happy with what they observed after the war. Why? The leaders of the South had quickly regained political power, much violence was perpetrated against former slaves and Black Codes laws limiting rights were passed. Congress returned and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was the first

civil rights laws defining for first time a citizen and their rights. It negating the Dred Scott vs. Sandford decision by the Supreme Court that stated blacks were not and cold not be citizens. President Johnson vetoed it but Congresses overrode his veto.  After the Memphis race riot of 1866 which killed 46 blacks many felt the law was not enough. More was needed. Local government did nothing. This riot convinced many an amendment to the constitution was required to make change permanent and enforceable. The 14th amendment passed Congress in June 1866. It declared all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. were citizens. It also declared all citizens were entitled to equal protection under the law, states that denied voting rights to any adult male would have their congressional representation reduced and finally to run for office a former confederate office holders needed to be pardoned by an act of Congress. It expanded "We the people..." and charged Congress with enforcement. President Johnson went on a speaking tour to try and stop ratification failed.

Anti-black activities by organizations like the Ku Klux Klan soon began in southern states. New president Grant enforced the new amendment. By 1871 the federal government had subdued much of the violence. Blacks participated in and to some degree were integrated into society. Click on picture of Freedmen voting in 1867 New Orleans. But a counter revolution had started. Redeemer governments took over the South and went on a publicity campaign to convince northerners that blacks were being treated fairly. Eventually federal enforcement waned and after 1873 few people were involved in enforcing civil rights. Then the Supreme Court started taking a very narrow interpretation of the Constitution in relation to civil rights. The court negated that equal rights applied to race. Then they determined it did not apply to interstate commerce segregation, private organizations like hotels, clubs, rail road cars ... and that separate but equal was legal. In 1886 the rights of citizens were applied to corporations. They were collection of people and while this interpretation simplified the legal system; it also made it impossible to regulate corporation. Thus the 14th Amendment  was an asset to big business but not to minorities. R= segregation required, Y no law, B optional/limited and G illegal,

The 1870's Takes Away Unalienable Rights Northern political support for freedman began to wane in the early 1870's because scandals hit the Grant administration and the financial Panic of 1773 gave politicians other concerns. Also some northern Republicans though enough had been done and it was time for southern self-government plus a successful southern publicity campaign convinced many northerners that the south was living under a reign of black terror. Freeman they argued were not capable of intelligent leadership. Slowly over time southern resistance to northern efforts began to rise and eventually the south would go its own way. It began with a disputed Louisiana governor's election went to an election board which split so both Republican and Democrat acted as winners. A judge ruled a Republican winner and Republican President Grant sent troops to enforce his party's victory. Then  the Democratic set up their own New Orleans government. They also  set up  a paramilitary organization called the White League to do their bidding. They had frequent clashes with the state militia. Click on this interesting interpretation of events. See Carpetbagger Then a disputed election for sheriff and judge again went to Republicans so the Democrats took control of the Colfax Courthouse.

On March 25 Republicans took back control. Armed blacks supported Republicans and surrounded the court house. Democrats soon mustered a large force of armed whites. A few shots were fired on April 3 but the serious Colfax Massacre occurred on April 13, 1983 . Freedman's women and children were allowed to leave. Then most men were slaughtered.  About fifty freedman escaped but they to were captured and slaughtered. In all 150 blacks died. Some of the Republicans were eventually convicted but soon the Supreme Court that ruled in U.S. V Cruikshank that the 14th Amendment only applied to state government and not individuals. Those convicted were set free. Groups like the Klan could not be stopped. The Enforcement Act of 1870 did not apply to those to whom it was directed and soon southern Democrats were using the Mississippi Plan for political control. Soon violence and murder especially close to elections soon spread throughout the south. A Republican governor's request to the Grant Administration for help was rejected. The Democratic party run by Redeemers took control of the South. In the 1880's and 1890's the Jim Crow south developed. First, a share cropping system forced blacks into poverty by forcing them to cultivate crops and pay owners so much that poverty was pretty much guaranteed. Secondly, segregation forced blacks into a second class status as private industry excluded or separated blacks. Governments soon followed.
Blacks sued but a 1896 a conservative court ruled in
Plessy vs. Ferguson that separate but equal was legal. In reality facilities were very unequal. Lastly, the 15th Amendment voting rights were negated with voting requirements that were extremely difficult for blacks. First people whose grandfather voted  before 1867 were exempted. Whites were thus excluded while almost blacks needed to complete the requirements.  A poll tax had to be paid and few poor could afford the tax. Then a literacy test whose difficulty was the based on race excluded many blacks. The result was a 66% drop in black voting and in some states it was almost eliminated. In Louisiana black voting dropped from 130,000 in 1896 to 1,300 in 1904. The south managed to negate the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments but they did no disappear and would be reinvigorated in the 1950's and 1960' some fifty plus years later. Click on  A segregation sign on a 1938 Lancaster, Ohio restaurant. See 42  1973 Finally Brings Fast Track Civil Right  Editors Note: In 2015 22 states threatened new voting restrictions.
TR Took on 1904 RR Trusts to protect small towns, farmers and consumers from high prices. In March of 1904 the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that finance company Northern Securities must be dissolved. Of Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes who voted in the negative, Roosevelt said, he could carve ' "a judge with more backbone than that" from a "banana." '  Roosevelt felt he had amended capitalism to save it .   Secretary of State John Hay gave a ring belonging to Lincoln to the new President as an inauguration gift. It was said to contain one of Lincoln's hairs and TR said it would remind him ' " to put human rights above property rights." ' Editor's Note: The Supreme Court pt contract rights at the top. See Business Regulation Battle The Politics: To dampen Roosevelt's radicalism the his delegates chose McKinley Conservative Senator Charles Fairbanks of Indiana as the 1904 V.P. running mate. Roosevelt wasn't happy but fear of Roosevelt diminished and rich Republicans like Morgan and Harriman  gave $150,000 and $250,000 respectively to T.R.'s campaign. ..."T.R. lauded the "man in the arena," who if he failed, at least did so "by daring greatly." '  One of FDR's sons told the author of this book that ' "My father spent his whole adult life competing with T.R.." ' Click to enlarge.

1930's Safety Net Deficits, Like War Deficits, Prove Attractive From 1929 to 1933 GDP dropped from $104 billion to $56 billion and unemployment increased from 3.2% to 24.9% topping 40% in Detroit. Spending on food dropped from the $20 billion to $ 12 billions because 43% of the bank had closed taking their deposits down with them. Hoovervilles  developed as places where the homeless lived. Farmers burned food as that was cheaper than sending food to market. Were Capitalism and Democracy dead? FDR immediately called Congress back and also ordered an immediate four day bank holiday which worked so well  that when banks reopened deposits went up!  We borrow for war and few complain, what about people? Click to enlarge.

There were many important programs. During his now famous first 100 days FDR implemented Keynesian Economics. It advocated deficit government spending to put people back to work. This would expand the economy which would increase tax collections and eventually eliminate expected  deficits. There would be little long-term debt buildup if the government ran a surplus during good times. Sample of programs: Relief like Home Owners' Loan Corporation refinanced existing mortgages decreasing foreclosures. Recovery TVA employed people to build dams, controlled floods, improved irrigation and eventually generate electricity. Reform Social Security Act: Old-Age pensions, unemployment and disability Insurance

1973 Finally Begins Faster Track Civil Rights
African Americans improvements after the Civil War didn't last long and by the 1870's Jim Crow laws meant segregation in education, housing, and every-day life remained unchanged. It was a difficult time when eighty-six percent of Mississippi African Americans lived in poverty. Other areas in the south and most cities were similar. Then in 1954 a  9-0 Supreme Court ruling overturned " separate but equal" with Brown vs. Board of Education. Then forty-three-year-old seamstress Rosa Parks would not sit at the back of the bus. This resulted in a 1956 Supreme Court order ending Montgomery, Alabama bus segregation. Then 1957 Arkansas need Federal Troops for President Eisenhower to enforce school integration for the Little Rock Nine.  For more see the Race Relations section of Don't Know Much About History.

The civil rights movement was nationalized by Martin Luther King's 1963 decision to defy a court order with protest marches in Alabama. Many were arrested.  King wrote his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. When getting out of jail was made difficult it looked like King's Birmingham efforts would fail. Then a decision to have the school children march led to very positive publicity.  About 1,000 school children were arrested. "...the notorious public safety chief Eugene 'Bull' Connor held back his police force so that  Ku Klux Klansmen could brutalize the outsiders without interference". Protesters were arrested. Civil rights leaders had their crisis.  Seen on TV the national pressure on Birmingham was immense. People following King's movement would continue being peaceful but now they would be more aggressive. Reform followed. In Washington JFK saw the a photo of a police dog biting a student protester and he realized his go slow civil rights attitude to maintain political viability in the South was over. He  asked a hostile congress for a new civil rights bill . The law would give the Attorney Genera the expanded powers needed to enforce other provisions of the bill. President Kennedy hoped his proposal would ease King's new aggressiveness but instead a major march on Washington was planned to put pressure on Congress. King made his most famous speech but it didn't work as southern opposition kept the proposed bill from coming to a vote.  Then while in Dallas to shore up his southern strategy President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. See the JFK section of Presidential Courage. LBJ would complete JFK's initiative and then some.

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