THREE ISSUES. - After the collapse of the Confederacy, our countrymen were called on to meet three issues arising directly from the war: -

1. The first was, What shall be done to destroy the institution of slavery? [1]

2. The second was, What shall be done with the late Confederate states? [2]

3. The third had to do with the national debt and the currency.

THE THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT. - When the war ended, slavery had been abolished in Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia, by gradual or immediate abolition acts, and in Tennessee by a special emancipation act. In order that it might be done away with everywhere Congress (in January, 1865) sent out to the states a Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, declaring slavery abolished throughout the United States. In December, 1865, three fourths of the states having ratified, it became part of the Constitution, and slavery was no more.

RECONSTRUCTION. - After the death of Lincoln, the work of reconstruction was taken up by his successor, Johnson. [3] He recognized the governments established by loyal persons in Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana. For the other states he appointed provisional governors and authorized conventions to be called. These conventions repudiated the Confederate debt, repealed the ordinances of secession, and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment.

This done, Johnson considered these states as reconstructed and entitled to send senators and representatives to Congress. But Congress thought otherwise and would not admit their senators and representatives. Johnson then denied the right of Congress to legislate for the states not represented in Congress. He vetoed many bills which chiefly affected the South, and in the summer of 1866 made speeches denouncing Congress for its action.

THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT. - One measure which President Johnson would have vetoed if he could, was a Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which Congress proposed in 1866. Ten of the former Confederate states rejected it, as did also four of the Union states. Congress, therefore, in March, 1867, passed over the veto a Reconstruction Act setting forth what the states would have to do to get back into the Union. One condition was that they must ratify the Fourteenth Amendment; when they had done so, and when the amendment had become a part of the Constitution, they were to be readmitted.

SOUTHERN STATES READMITTED. - Six states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas - submitted, and the amendment having become a part of the Constitution, they were (1868) declared again in the Union. Tennessee had been readmitted in 1866. Virginia, Mississippi and Texas were not readmitted till 1870, and Georgia not till 1871.

THE DEBT AND THE CURRENCY. - The financial question to be settled included two parts: What shall be done with the bonds (p. 381)? and What shall be done with the paper money? As to the first, it was decided to pay the bonds as fast as possible, [4] and by 1873 some $500,000,000 were paid. As to the second, it was at first decided to cancel (instead of reissuing) the greenbacks as they came into the treasury in payment of taxes and other debts to the government. But after the greenbacks in circulation had been thus reduced (from $449,000,000) to $356,000,000, Congress ordered that their cancellation should stop.

JOHNSON IMPEACHED. - The President meantime had been impeached. In March, 1867, Congress passed (over Johnson's veto) the Tenure of Office Act, depriving him of power to remove certain officials. He might suspend them till the Senate examined into the cause of suspension. If it approved, the officer was removed. If it disapproved, he was reinstated. [5]

Johnson soon disobeyed the law. In August, 1867, he asked Secretary-of-War Stanton to resign, and when Stanton refused, suspended him. The Senate disapproved and reinstated Stanton. But Johnson then removed him and appointed another man in his place. For this act, and for his speeches against Congress, the House impeached the President, and the Senate tried him, for "high crimes and misdemeanors." He was not found guilty. [6]

GRANT ELECTED PRESIDENT, 1868. - In the midst of Johnson's quarrel with Congress the time came to elect his successor. The Democratic party nominated Horatio Seymour. The Republicans chose Ulysses S. Grant and elected him.

Grant's first term is memorable because of the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment; the restoration to the Union of the last four of the former Confederate states, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas; the disorder in the South; and the character of our foreign relations.

THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT. - Encouraged by their success at the polls, the Republicans went on with the work of reconstruction, and (in February, 1869) Congress sent out the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

By the Fourteenth Amendment the states were left (as before) to settle for themselves who should and who should not vote. But if any state denied or in any way abridged the right of any portion of its male citizens over twenty-one years old to vote, Congress was to reduce the number of representatives from that state in Congress in the same proportion. But now by the Fifteenth Amendment each state was forbidden to deprive any man of the right to vote because of his "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." In March, 1870, the amendment went into force, having been ratified by a sufficient number of states.

CARPETBAG RULE. - President Grant began his administration in troubled times. The Reconstruction Act had secured the negro the right to vote. Many Southern states were thereby given over to negro rule. Seeing this, a swarm of Northern politicians called "carpetbaggers" went south, made themselves political leaders of the ignorant freedmen, and plundered and misgoverned the states. In this they were aided by a few Southerners who supported the negro cause and were called "scalawags." But most of the Southern whites were determined to stop the misgovernment; and, banded together in secret societies, called by such names as Knights of the White Camelia, and the Ku-Klux-Klan, they terrorized the negroes and kept them from voting. [7]

FORCE ACT. - Such intimidation was in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment. Congress therefore enacted the "Ku-Klux Act," or Force Act (1871), which prescribed fine and imprisonment for any one convicted of hindering or attempting to hinder a negro from voting, or his vote when cast from being counted.

RISE OF THE LIBERAL REPUBLICANS. - The troubles which followed the enforcement of this act led many to think that the government had gone too far, and a more liberal treatment of the South was demanded. Many complained that the civil service of the government was used to reward party workers, and that fitness for office was not duly considered. There was opposition to the high tariff. These and other causes now split the Republican party in the West and led to the formation of the Liberal Republican party.

, me and these other gents 'ave come to nurse you a bit." [8]]

FOREIGN RELATIONS. - Our foreign relations since the close of the Civil War present many matters of importance. In 1867 Alaska [9] was purchased from Russia for $7,200,000. At the opening of the war France sent troops to Mexico, overthrew the government, and set up an empire with Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, as emperor. This was a violation of the Monroe Doctrine (p. 282). When the war was over, therefore, troops were sent to the Rio Grande, and a demand was made on France to recall her troops. The French army was withdrawn, and Maximilian was captured by the Mexicans and shot. These things happened while Johnson was President.

SANTO DOMINGO. - In 1869 Grant negotiated a treaty for the annexation of the negro republic of Santo Domingo, and urged the Senate to ratify it. When the Senate failed to do so, he made a second appeal, with a like result.

ALABAMA CLAIMS. - In 1871 the treaty of Washington was signed, by which several outstanding subjects of dispute with Great Britain were submitted to arbitration. (1) Chief of these were the Alabama claims for damage to the property of our citizens by the Confederate cruisers built or purchased in Great Britain. [10] The five [11] arbitrators met at Geneva in 1872 and awarded us $15,500,000 in gold as indemnity. (2) A dispute over the northeastern fisheries [12] was referred to a commission which met at Halifax and awarded Great Britain $5,500,000. (3) The same treaty provided that a dispute over a part of the northwest boundary should be submitted to the emperor of Germany as arbitrator. He decided in favor of our claim, thus confirming our possession of the small San Juan group of islands, in the channel between Vancouver and the mainland.

CUBA. - In 1868 the people of Cuba rebelled against Spain, proclaimed a republic, and began a war which lasted nearly ten years. American ships were seized, our citizens arrested; American property in Cuba was destroyed or confiscated; and our ports were used to fit out filibusters to aid the Cubans. Because of these things and the sympathy felt in our country for the Cubans, Grant made offers of mediation, which Spain declined. As the war continued, the question of giving the Cubans rights of belligerents, and recognizing their independence, was urged on Congress.

While these issues were undecided, a vessel called the Virginius, flying our flag, was seized by Spain as a filibuster, and fifty-three of her passengers and crew were put to death (1873). War seemed likely to follow; but Spain released the ship and survivors, and later paid $80,000 to the families of the murdered men.


1. The end of the Civil War brought up several issues for settlement.

2. Out of the negro problem came the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution.

3. Out of the issue of readmitting the Confederate states into the Union grew a serious quarrel with President Johnson.

4. Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over Johnson's veto (1867), and by 1868 seven states were back in the Union.

5. Johnson's intemperate speeches and his violation of an act of Congress led to his impeachment and trial. He was not convicted.

6. Johnson was succeeded by Grant, in whose administration the remaining Southern states were readmitted to the Union; but the condition of the South, under carpetbag government, became worse than ever, and led to the passage of the Force Act.

7. Our foreign relations after the end of the war are memorable for the purchase of Alaska, the withdrawal of the French from Mexico, the treaty with Great Britain for the settlement of several old issues, the attempt of Grant to purchase Santo Domingo, and the Virginius affair with Spain.


[1] A closely related question was, What shall be done for the negroes set free by the Emancipation Proclamation? During the war, as the Union armies occupied more and more of Confederate territory, the number of freedmen within the lines grew to hundreds of thousands. Many were enlisted as soldiers, others were settled on abandoned or confiscated lands, and societies were organized to aid them. In 1865, however, Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau to care for them. Tracts of confiscated land were set apart to be granted in forty-acre plots, and the bureau was to find the negroes work, establish schools for them, and protect them from injustice.

[2] When the eleven Southern states passed their ordinances of secession, they claimed to be out of the Union. As to this there were in the North three different views. (1) Lincoln held that no state could secede; that the people of the seceding states were insurgents or persons engaged in rebellion; that when the rebellion was crushed in any state, loyal persons could again elect senators and representatives, and thus resume their old relations to the Union. (2) Others held that these states had ceased to exist; that nothing but their territory remained, and that Congress could do what it pleased with this territory. (3) Between these extremes were most of the Republican leaders, who held that these states had lost their rights under the Constitution, and that only Congress could restore them to the Union.

[3] Andrew Johnson was born in North Carolina in 1808. He never went to school, and when ten years old was apprenticed to a tailor. When eighteen, he went to Tennessee, where he married and was taught to read and write by his wife. He was a man of ability, was three years alderman and three years mayor of Greenville, was three times elected a member of the legislature, six times a member of Congress, and twice governor of Tennessee. When the war opened, he was a Democratic senator from Tennessee, and stoutly opposed secession. In 1862 Lincoln made him military governor of Tennessee. In 1875 he was again elected United States senator, but died the same year.

[4] Some of these bonds (issued after March, 1863) contained the provision that they should be paid "in coin." But others (issued in 1862) merely provided that the interest should be paid in coin. Now, greenbacks were legal tender for all debts except duties on imports and interest on the bonds. A demand was therefore made that the early bonds should be paid in greenbacks; also that all government bonds (which had been exempted from taxation) should be taxed like other property. This idea was so popular in Ohio that it was called the "Ohio idea," and its supporters were nicknamed "Greenbackers." To put an end to this question Congress (1869) provided that all bonds should be paid in coin.

[5] This Tenure of Office Act was afterward repealed (partly in 1869, and partly in 1887).

[6] There have been eight cases of impeachment of officers of the United States. The House begins by sending a committee to the Senate to impeach, or accuse, the officer in question. The Senate then organizes itself as a court with the Vice President as the presiding officer, and fixes the time for trial. The House presents articles of impeachment, or specific charges of misconduct, and appoints a committee to take charge of its side of the case. The accused is represented by lawyers, witnesses are examined, arguments made, and the decision rendered by vote of the senators. When a President is impeached, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides in place of the Vice President.

[7] Read A Fool's Errand, by A. W. Tourgée, and Red Rock, by Thomas Nelson Page - two interesting novels describing life in the South during this period.

[8] When France first interfered in Mexican affairs, it was in conjunction with Great Britain and Spain, on the pretext of aiding Mexico to provide for her debts to these powers. But when France proceeded to overthrow the Mexican government, Great Britain and Spain withdrew.

[9] Soon after the purchase a few small Alaskan islands were leased to a fur company for twenty years, and during that time nearly $7,000,000 was paid into the United States treasury as rental and royalty. Besides seals and fish, much gold has been obtained in Alaska.

[10] The cruisers were the Alabama, Sumter, Shenandoah, Florida, and others (p. 378). We claimed that Great Britain had not done her duty as a neutral; that she ought to have prevented their building, arming, or equipping in her ports and sailing to destroy the commerce of a friendly nation, and that, not having done so, she was responsible for the damage they did. We claimed damages for (1) private losses by destruction of ships and cargoes; (2) high rates of insurance paid by citizens; (3) cost of pursuing the cruisers; (4) transfer of American merchant ships to the British flag; (5) prolongation of the war because of recognition of the Confederate States as belligerents, and the resulting cost to us. Great Britain denied that 2, 3, 4, and 5 were subject to arbitration, and it looked for a while as if the arbitration would come to naught. The tribunal decided against 2, 4, and 5 on principles of international law, and made no award for 3.

[11] One was appointed by the President, one by Great Britain, one by the King of Italy, one by the President of the Swiss Confederation, and one by the Emperor of Brazil. In 1794-1904 there were fifty-seven cases submitted to arbitration, of which twenty were with Great Britain.

[12] The question was, whether the privilege granted citizens of the United States to catch fish in the harbors, bays, creeks, and shores of the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island was more valuable than the privilege granted British subjects to catch fish in harbors, bays, creeks, and off the coast of the United States north of 39°. The commission decided that it was.