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United State History

  • Date Submitted: 11/03/2010 07:32 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 40.6 
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The Supreme Court of the 1870s and 1880s discarded other Reconstruction policies. In 1876 and 1883, the Court upset two out of three of the enforcement acts. The Court also ruled in 1883 that Congress could not impose a national ban on discrimination in public accommodations, thus overturning the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The Court’s decisions reinforced Republican willingness to shed the obligations of Reconstruction, which many now considered a political liability.
|E |   |“Redemption”             |

In the 1870s Republican rule in the South faltered. After 1872, membership in the Republican Party fell, as terrorist groups used violence and intimidation to diminish black votes and curb Republican support. Mobilizing white votes, Democrats sought to regain control of state governments. Redemption, the Democrats’ term for their return to power, followed swiftly, as the Republican coalition collapsed.
Once in office, Democrats dismantled the changes that Republicans had imposed. They rewrote state constitutions, cut state budgets and social programs, and lowered taxes. They also imposed laws to curb the rights of sharecroppers and tenants and to ensure a powerless black labor force. One such law forced debtors to work the land until their debts were paid.
By the fall of 1876, Democrats had returned to power in all Southern states except South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. The presidential election that year ended in a dispute over the electoral votes of these three states. Each party claimed victory. A special electoral commission gave the contest to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. But the commission’s decision had to be ratified by Congress. To secure the election of their candidate, Republican Party leaders struck a bargain with Southern Democrats. Republicans vowed, among other promises, to remove federal troops from Southern states. Democrats promised to accept Hayes and treat blacks fairly. Under the Compromise of 1877, Hayes became president, the last...

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