The era of Radical Reconstruction, which began after the end of the Civil War, was largely aimed at correcting the mistakes of the past. In particular, President Grant of the Republican Party introduced important legislative reforms that protected the rights of African Americans. Remarkably, the terrorist groups “Red Shirts” became more active at the end of Grant’s presidency and practically destroyed all his efforts (Blight 44). This paper aims to advise President Grant how he should have dealt with the terrorism during the Radical Reconstruction.
Since 1876, the “Red Shirts” factions grew in strength by carrying out aggressive actions. These included evicting former slaves from their homes, beating and killing at least 150 people – numerical evidence that may be a significant understatement (Byman 53). By the end of the 19th century, these terrorists had reduced the number of black voters in South Carolina from 90,000 to 3,000 (Byman 54). Given the above, as an adviser to the President, I would recommend that he try to pass laws that would impose severe penalties and prosecutions for terrorist activities, without focusing solely on Ku Klux Klan.
Equally important, the President should have paid more attention to the events and sentiments of the Southern States. He could launch a campaign in celebration of the victory in the Civil War and enlist the support of Congressmen by positioning the importance of protecting the rights of African Americans as creating a more loyal voter pool and increasing the political influence. Grant should have been less concerned about the sympathies of neutral voters and bet on more radical politics.
Thus, the essay presented an advice for President Grant regarding the ways of dealing with terrorism during the Radical Reconstruction. Despite many achievements in protecting the rights of African Americans, President Grant should have pursued more radical policies that would ensure an end to violence against former slaves. Although the rise of the most famous “Red Shirts” group coincided with the end of Grant’s reign, he was aware of the problem and should have charted a policy for his followers to resolve the issue.
Blight, David W. “The Reconstruction of America: Justice, Power, and Civil War’s Unfinished Business.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 100, 2021, pp. 44-51.
Byman, Daniel. “White Supremacy, Terrorism, and the Failure of Reconstruction in the United States.” International Security, vol. 46, no. 1, 2021, pp. 53-103.