In 1865, with the end of the Civil War, the Democratic Party had lost its power and influence in Washington, and Abraham Lincoln put underway a Reconstruction effort to help the black community get acclimated into their new role of freedom, as well as assist the states run by the Democrat Confederates rebuild. However, Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865 and the Reconstruction fell to his vice president, Andrew Johnson, a Democrat. Under his guidance or lack thereof, the Reconstruction requirements in trying to ensure the Democrats upheld the conditions of surrender and rebuild their democratic political ideology, was poorly controlled if at all.
That same year after the assassination of President Lincoln, Democratic-run states began efforts to put freed black Americans back into slavery by enacting laws that would restrict their ability to work and to vote, and one of the first such laws enacted was in Mississippi. This state was run by Democratic governor Benjamin G. Humphreys, a Confederate general who fought to keep the blacks as slaves. Now he would help shape the laws of the state of Mississippi. Also, newly sworn-in President Andrew Johnson appointed Democratic Benjamin Franklin Perry to be the governor of South Carolina, regardless of the fact that Perry was quoted as saying, “the African has been in all ages, a savage or a slave.” (Lewis, 2007) These men enacted what became known as the Black Codes, and these laws, varying as they were, became the many methods by which the Democratic Party attempted to gain back what they had lost, the black slave work ethic and the restriction of the black vote for no one but a Democrat.
Along with the Black Codes, there were the Jim Crow laws, both of which were able to go into full effect after the Union troops were pulled out of the South. The troops had been there to aid in the Reconstruction, and this allowed the Democratic party to run Republican organizers out of states where blacks were trying to establish their communities to exercise their voting and other rights, thus permitting Democrats to practice massive voter fraud, and regain full control of the local legislation in the numerous cities and states in the South.
These Black Code and Jim Crow laws were all over the Democratic-run south, the states that had fought against the freedom of the black race enacted these in an effort to control the activities of the black race.
Because many newly freed black slaves did not have a formal education, trying to keep tabs on the, do’s and don’ts of these ever-changing laws caused many problems. Blacks were beaten, imprisoned, or killed for failure to comply. This terrorism weighed heavily on the black community and made the transition from slave to free nearly sociologically as well as mentally difficult. Newly obtained freedom for black Americans, was like carrying the weight of the world.
Most frightening about this time in history was a method used by the Democrats to ensure these laws and activities were enforced. They created a paramilitary terrorist organization, Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to enforce them. The KKK was a ruthless organization that often acted freely in their brutal treatment of black Americans or Republican sympathizers. The birth of the KKK in 1865 was the immediate action of the Democratic Party to create a paramilitary arm of the ideology that would enforce the idea that the black race was a slave now and for always, and this organization was going to enforce that concept, by any means necessary.
This terrorist madness against black Americans and Republican sympathizers went on for decades, beginning in 1865, when Republican organizers went into the black communities to help them begin organizing their communities and altering their lives from slaves to freemen. The organizers taught them how to organize their communities to begin voting as well as create their own representatives to go to Washington. The success of this is seen with the first election of black representatives and senators in 1868, 1869 and 1870. However, the Democrats and the KKK with their racist laws and terrorist activities were working overtime to curtail this progress and they did this all the way through the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and ultimately it had its intended effect. Thousands were murdered, hundreds of thousands were terrorized. It caused a massive breakup of the black communities in the South and forced many blacks to leave the South and move north in their attempts to get away from the brutal activities of the KKK and the Democratic policies and laws designed to destroy the black kinship of freedom.
Lewis, J. (2007). Benjamin Franklin Perry. Retrieved from Carolina Before 1729: http://www.carolana.com/SC/Governors/bfperry.html
Excerpt From: Historical Relevance of The Black Vote