When did white Southerners become loyal to the US after the ACW?

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,185
Republika Srpska
#1
So, white Southerners were quite disloyal to the United States in the period of 1860-65. Of course, the Confederacy was defeated and the Union was saved. But, I would assume that in 1865 most white Southerners hated the US because Union armies marched and conquered the South while causing quite a bit of damage. Oh, and they ended slavery, the cornerstone of pre-war South. The attempts of Republicans to give more rights to black people was also widely unpopular among white Southerners and seen as an oppressive act forced on the South by the North. Some white Southerners resorted to violence and formed groups like the KKK, the White League etc. So, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, you could say that white Southerners generally hated the US.

When did this change? When did white Southerners accept the United States? While searching this topic, I came across various dates. Some claim that it happened in 1876-77 when the Reconstuction ended, others claim it happened during the Spanish-American War. However, most sources I have read say that it happened in 1884 when Grover Cleveland was elected as President. Cleveland was the first Democrat President since before the war, and the South at the time was quite clearly pro-Democrat (though I have found that this so-called Solid South was not so solid, especially in the time period of 1880-84 which is just before Cleveland's election). There were many celebrations throughout the South celebrating Cleveland's election. One white Democrat said this about Cleveland's victory: "escape from captivity and humiliation".

I think it is rather interesting and quite amusing that today the Southerners are considered very patriotic, while their ancestors were part of a group (the CSA) that came closest to destroying the US.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,386
Dispargum
#3
It was a gradual process with millions of Southerners each making up their mind individually. One Reconstruction policy was to deny the right to vote to any man who had borne arms against the US until that man took a loyalty oath. Some took this oath relatively quickly, before 1870, while other Confederate veterans waited into the 1870s or even the 1880s before doing so. Some may have refused to take the oath and went to their graves without ever voting again. Robert E. Lee applied to take the loyalty oath as early as 1865. Apparently the government lost his application and took no action. Lee seems to have never followed up. Perhaps he assumed his application was rejected because of his high rank and status in the Confederacy. Lee's application was only found in the 1970s.

I'm going to guess that before 1880 most Confederate veterans had taken the loyalty oath and had their rights restored. You can see this in the number of African Americans holding political office. As more whites regained their voting rights, the number of African-Americans holding political office declined. During Reconstruction Mississippi elected three African Americans to state-wide office, two to the US Senate and one as secretary of state, but the last was elected in 1874. This probably means that shortly after 1874 white voters once more outnumbered black voters.
 
Nov 2010
6,210
Indiana
#4
So, white Southerners were quite disloyal to the United States in the period of 1860-65. Of course, the Confederacy was defeated and the Union was saved. But, I would assume that in 1865 most white Southerners hated the US because Union armies marched and conquered the South while causing quite a bit of damage. Oh, and they ended slavery, the cornerstone of pre-war South. The attempts of Republicans to give more rights to black people was also widely unpopular among white Southerners and seen as an oppressive act forced on the South by the North. Some white Southerners resorted to violence and formed groups like the KKK, the White League etc. So, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, you could say that white Southerners generally hated the US.

When did this change? When did white Southerners accept the United States? While searching this topic, I came across various dates. Some claim that it happened in 1876-77 when the Reconstuction ended, others claim it happened during the Spanish-American War. However, most sources I have read say that it happened in 1884 when Grover Cleveland was elected as President. Cleveland was the first Democrat President since before the war, and the South at the time was quite clearly pro-Democrat (though I have found that this so-called Solid South was not so solid, especially in the time period of 1880-84 which is just before Cleveland's election). There were many celebrations throughout the South celebrating Cleveland's election. One white Democrat said this about Cleveland's victory: "escape from captivity and humiliation".

I think it is rather interesting and quite amusing that today the Southerners are considered very patriotic, while their ancestors were part of a group (the CSA) that came closest to destroying the US.
Did they. Look at the voter suppression in the South. Although ironically, it is the Republicans that are now suppressing the Black vote.
 

Baltis

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,003
Texas
#5
Did they. Look at the voter suppression in the South. Although ironically, it is the Republicans that are now suppressing the Black vote.
Its the conservative white folk who switched parties. Really the same people. They changed sides after being forced to allow African Americans into the Democratic Party. The disappearance of the so-called Conservative Democrats from the south. (from whence came the Dixiecrats of Strom Thurmond).
 
Likes: dukeofjive

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,386
Dispargum
#7
The OP is about loyalty, not voting rights. I only brought up voting as proof that Southern whites were always willing to participate in the political process, therefore they always felt that participation was to their advantage. Participation = loyalty.

Prior to the New Deal, the federal government had only a minimal impact on the daily lives of people. Most people only dealt with the federal government when the post office delivered their mail. Even with the rise of the federal income tax, most people were too poor to have to pay it until the New Deal lowered tax rates to the point where most people were now taxed. Most people were more loyal to their states than to the federal government. The Civil War didn't change that. It was only the rise on modern communications - radio, TV, interstate highways, airports, etc that really weakened states' rights and started people thinking nationally instead of locally. For instance, when the US Army expanded to fight the Spanish American War in 1898 you could still find regiments with names like "1st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment." In WW1, even National Guard regiments were designated as ## US Infantry Regiment.

There was a lot of resentment among white Southerners after the Civil War that did not fade anytime soon. If these white Southerners were loyal, it was only because they had acknowledged the futility of disloyalty proved by the Civil War. There was still lingering resentment over the Civil War and Reconstruction well into the 20th century. Some white Southerners insist on flying the Confederate flag even today. I don't know how useful it is to think of white Southerners as disloyal. If people pay taxes, vote, and obey the laws, they are loyal. Outside of the Civil War itself, there is little evidence of disloyalty.
 
Dec 2018
48
Chicago
#8
So, white Southerners were quite disloyal to the United States in the period of 1860-65. Of course, the Confederacy was defeated and the Union was saved. But, I would assume that in 1865 most white Southerners hated the US because Union armies marched and conquered the South while causing quite a bit of damage. Oh, and they ended slavery, the cornerstone of pre-war South. The attempts of Republicans to give more rights to black people was also widely unpopular among white Southerners and seen as an oppressive act forced on the South by the North. Some white Southerners resorted to violence and formed groups like the KKK, the White League etc. So, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, you could say that white Southerners generally hated the US.

When did this change? When did white Southerners accept the United States? While searching this topic, I came across various dates. Some claim that it happened in 1876-77 when the Reconstuction ended, others claim it happened during the Spanish-American War. However, most sources I have read say that it happened in 1884 when Grover Cleveland was elected as President. Cleveland was the first Democrat President since before the war, and the South at the time was quite clearly pro-Democrat (though I have found that this so-called Solid South was not so solid, especially in the time period of 1880-84 which is just before Cleveland's election). There were many celebrations throughout the South celebrating Cleveland's election. One white Democrat said this about Cleveland's victory: "escape from captivity and humiliation".

I think it is rather interesting and quite amusing that today the Southerners are considered very patriotic, while their ancestors were part of a group (the CSA) that came closest to destroying the US.
Basically the Republicans threw African Americans under the bus and allowed the former Confederates to retake political power in the south and recreate as much of the “good old days” as possible. They still hated the US and celebrated the treasonous regime of the Confederacy; they just appreciated being allowed to continue brutally oppressing African Americans.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,953
Spain
#9
Well, I know at least one White Southerner never recognized the defeat and never recognized US. When I was a teen in my school it was a Spanish girl with surname Grimball and her family came from South Carolina... according what she told me... his great great great grandfather didn´t accept Yankees victory and he emigrated to Cuba.... and from Cuba the family stablished in Spain.... decades later.

So I guess some Southerner never recognized Yankee victory and they stablished in Mexico, or in the Spanish, British, Danish, Dutch, French West Indies etc etc.
 
Likes: Futurist