Furling the Confederate Flag Is Just the Start

The planter class of the South lost the Civil War but won the peace. The attempt by the federal government to impose civil rights during Reconstruction (1865-1877) failed for several reasons. 
To begin with, as I noted in my book Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Modern Day, Presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses Grant never sent enough troops to truly transform a region of 9.4 million people (5.5 million of them white). There were 87,000 federal troops garrisoned in the South in 1866, and that figure dropped to just 6,000 in 1876. The federal government’s inability to enforce the law allowed terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Red Shirts to flourish. Their goal was to deny equal rights to newly freed slaves, and that in turn necessitated inflicting terror not only on African-Americans who tried to assert their rights but also on Republican officeholders — many of them newly arrived from the North — who wanted to help them.

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Furling the Confederate Flag Is Just the Start

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