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The Radical Republican Party Of The Reconstruction Era

1457 words - 6 pages

During the Reconstruction Era of the Civil War, a two new political groups began to form. The Radical Republican Party gained some of its greatest members, two groups of people from opposite sides of the country (Hodges 1). The carpetbaggers and scalawags joined forces to reconstruct the South, but they were met with controversy and criticism because of their radical worldview (Hodges 1). The carpetbaggers and scalawags’ goals were met with controversy then, but the group can be attributed with one of the first Civil Rights attempts within the South among other great achievements (Coleman “Affect on Reconstruction” 1).
The Radical Republican Party encompassed both the carpetbaggers and the scalawags (Hodges 1). The carpetbaggers were newly joined members of the Republican Party that moved from the North to the South to make money from the South’s poverty and in turn help begin the Reconstruction in the South (Hodges 1; Muhammad 1). The “carpetbagger” label could encompass any well educated member of the middle class (“Carpetbaggers and Scalawags” 2). During the Reconstruction Era, large numbers of people were traveling from the North to the South (Muhammad 1). Since there was such a large number of people traveling during that time, a cheap way to carry luggage was in high demand (Muhammad 1). So “carpetbags”, which where made from old carpets, were manufactured (Muhammad 1). This bag held the owner’s only possessions, specifically for the carpetbaggers as they headed south (Muhammad 1).
On the other hand, scalawags were Southerners who disliked secession or had fought for the Union Army (Hodges 1). The “scalawag” label encompassed wealthy southern landowners, displaced carpetbaggers, black freedman, former Whigs, poor Southern whites, and Southern farmers (Richards 1). Southern Democrats especially held the scalawags to the lowest esteem (Richards 1). The term “scalawag” was an extremely derogatory term like “carpetbagger” (“Carpetbaggers and Scalawags - The Reconstructed South” 3). For example, the definition of scalawag is someone equivalent to a swine or pig (Richards 1). Scalawags were generally viewed at a lower esteem than the carpetbaggers because the Southerners considered them traitors to their own people. As a whole, though, the carpetbaggers and scalawags had mostly fought for the Union Army instead of the Confederate Army during the war (“Carpetbaggers and Scalawags” 2). At a first glance, the carpetbaggers and scalawags seem like nobodies, but through hard work and lots of dedication they are able to leave their mark on the world.
During the time of the Reconstruction, the group had many goals they hoped to accomplish, for better or for worse. Even so, the carpetbaggers and scalawags shared some core goals, and then some specifically for each group. The carpetbaggers, in particular, wanted to gain political power within the Confederacy, and they wanted to gain income from expanding business within the South (Coleman...

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