A temporary political vacuum existed in the postwar South. Two groups actually pulled the strings of government:
- Scalawags — a derogatory term (originally describing worthless livestock) applied to native white Southerners who supported the federal reconstruction plan and cooperated with the blacks in order to achieve their ends. Some of the scalawags were entirely above board, having opposed the Confederacyin earlier times and later wanted a new South to emerge from the rubble. Others cooperated with or served in the Republican governments in order to avail themselves of money-making opportunities.
- Carpetbaggers—also a term of derision, but applied to Northerners who went South during Reconstruction, motivated by either profit or idealism. The name referred to the cloth bags many of them used for transporting their possessions, but today is applied to any recently arrived opportunist. Despite the negative connotation of the name, many carpetbaggers were sincerely interested in aiding the freedom and education of the former slaves.
In 1867, white Southerners generally stayed away from the elections to their constitutional conventions, preferring military rule to letting blacks vote in a democratic election. In their absence, control passed to the carpetbaggers and scalawags, who maintained control as long as the Republican party was in power in the South.Carpetbaggers used their influence during the writing of new state constitutions to incorporate some progressive concepts from their places of origin. For instance, Robert K. Scott used his dominance of the South Carolina convention to model that state's new constitution on that of his home state of Ohio. However, after being elected the Republican governor of South Carolina, he engaged n some interesting practices such as providing the legislature with its own saloon.For the most part, it was the carpetbaggers who were the dominant factor in the Deep South, where the black vote would have outnumbered the white, while the scalawags were influential in the Upper South. Both the scalawags and the carpetbaggers were resented by many Southerners and became the targets of the Ku Klux Klan.
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Scalawag, after the American Civil War, a pejorative term for a white Southerner who supported the federal plan of Reconstruction or who joined with black freedmen and the so-called carpetbaggers in support of Republican Party policies. The origin of the term is unclear, but it was known in the United States from at least the 1840s, at first denoting a worthless farm animal and then denoting a worthless person. Its association with Southern-born or Southern-bred white Reconstruction-era Republicans was popularized in Southern newspapers that supported the Democratic Party and opposed Radical Reconstruction.
Scalawags came from various segments of Southern society. They included both wartime Unionists and secessionists, former slaveholders, Confederate veterans (most notably, James Longstreet, Robert E. Lee’s second in command at the Battle of Gettysburg), professionals, and former Whigs of the planter-merchant aristocracy. Yeomen farmers constituted a particularly significant contingent. Having long resented the planter class’s control of Southern society, they saw their self-interest better represented in Reconstruction transformation than in a return to hierarchal prewar norms. Others supported the Republican Party out of a desire to modernize and bring more manufacturing to the South or to imbue Southern life with more-progressive values. There were also those white Southerners who supported the Republicans out of sheer short-term opportunism. Whatever their motivation, these white Southern Republicans joined with newly enfranchised African Americans and the Northern newcomers (carpetbaggers) to constitute an electoral majority that held sway over the Democrats who sought to obstruct Reconstruction.
The Republican Party enjoyed much more support from white Southerners than was long implied by Southern folklore. Indeed, altogether, during the Reconstruction era, scalawags constituted perhaps 20 percent of the white electorate, a sizable force in any election or constitutional convention. As a result of the crucial role played by scalawags in Reconstruction, many Southern Democrats had even greater contempt for scalawags than they had for carpetbaggers, viewing the scalawags as traitors to their race.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.
The term carpetbagger, used exclusively as a pejorative term, originated from the carpet bags (a form of cheap luggage made from carpet fabric) which many of these newcomers carried. The term came to be associated with opportunism and exploitation by outsiders. The term is now used in the United States to refer to a parachute candidate, that is, an outsider who runs for public office in an area without having lived there for more than a short time, or without having other significant community ties. [ citation needed ]
In the United Kingdom at the end of the 20th century, carpetbagger developed another meaning: in British English it refers to people who join a mutual organization, such as a building society, in order to force it to demutualize, that is, to convert into a joint stock company. Such individuals are seeking personal financial gain through such actions. 
The Republican Party in the South comprised three groups after the Civil War, and white Democratic Southerners referred to two with derogatory terms. "Scalawags" were white Southerners who supported the Republican party, "carpetbaggers" were recent arrivals in the region from the North, and freedmen were freed slaves.  Although "carpetbagger" and "scalawag" were originally terms of opprobrium, they are now commonly used in the scholarly literature to refer to these classes of people. Politically, the carpetbaggers were usually dominant they comprised the majority of Republican governors and congressmen. However, the Republican Party inside each state was increasingly torn between the more conservative scalawags on one side and the more Radical carpetbaggers with their black allies on the other. In most cases, the carpetbaggers won out, and many scalawags moved into the conservative or Democratic opposition. [ citation needed ]
Most of the 430 Republican newspapers in the South were edited by scalawags—20 percent were edited by carpetbaggers. White businessmen generally boycotted Republican papers, which survived through government patronage.  
Reforming impulse Edit
Beginning in 1862, Northern abolitionists moved to areas in the South that had fallen under Union control.  Schoolteachers and religious missionaries went to the South to teach the freedmen some were sponsored by northern churches. Some were abolitionists who sought to continue the struggle for racial equality they often became agents of the federal Freedmen's Bureau, which started operations in 1865 to assist the vast numbers of recently emancipated slaves. The bureau established schools in rural areas of the South for the purpose of educating the mostly illiterate Black and Poor White population. Other Northerners who moved to the South did so to participate in the profitable business of rebuilding railroads and various other forms of infrastructure that had been previously destroyed during the war.  
During the time most blacks were enslaved, many were prohibited from being educated and attaining literacy. Southern states had no public school systems, and upper-class white Southerners either sent their children to private schools (including in England) or hired private tutors. After the war, hundreds of Northern white women moved South, many to teach the newly freed African-American children. There they joined like-minded Southerners, most of which were employed by the Methodist and Baptist Churches, who spent much of their time teaching and preaching to slave and freedpeople congregations both before and after the Civil War.  
Economic motives Edit
Initiatives such as the Southern Homestead Act, Sherman's field orders, and Reconstruction-era legislation by Radical Republicans aimed to strip the land, assets, and voting rights of Southerners believed to have supported the Confederates during the war. Although the stated purpose of these initiatives was to empower freedmen politically and economically, many carpetbaggers were businessmen who purchased or leased plantations. They became wealthy landowners, hiring freedmen and white Southerners to do the labor through the development of sharecropping. [ citation needed ]
Carpetbaggers also established banks and retail businesses. Most were former Union soldiers eager to invest their savings and energy in this promising new frontier, and civilians lured south by press reports of "the fabulous sums of money to be made in the South in raising cotton." Foner notes that "joined with the quest for profit, however, was a reforming spirit, a vision of themselves as agents of sectional reconciliation and the South's "economic regeneration." Accustomed to viewing Southerners—black and white—as devoid of economic initiative, the "Puritan work ethic", and self-discipline, they believed that only "Northern capital and energy" could bring "the blessings of a free labor system to the region." 
Carpetbaggers tended to be well educated and middle class in origin. Some had been lawyers, businessmen, and newspaper editors. The majority (including 52 of the 60 who served in Congress during Reconstruction) were veterans of the Union Army. 
Leading "black carpetbaggers" believed the interests of capital and labor were identical, and that the freedmen were entitled to little more than an "honest chance in the race of life." 
Many Northern and Southern Republicans shared a modernizing vision of upgrading the Southern economy and society, one that would replace the inefficient Southern plantation regime with railroads, factories, and more efficient farming. They actively promoted public schooling and created numerous colleges and universities. The Northerners were especially successful in taking control of Southern railroads, aided by state legislatures. In 1870, Northerners controlled 21% of the South's railroads (by mileage) 19% of the directors were from the North. By 1890, they controlled 88% of the mileage 47% of the directors were from the North. 
Union General Adelbert Ames, a native of Maine, was appointed military governor and later was elected as Republican governor of Mississippi during the Reconstruction era. Ames tried unsuccessfully to ensure equal rights for black Mississippians. His political battles with the Southerners and African Americans ripped apart his party. 
The "Black and Tan" (biracial) constitutional convention in Mississippi in 1868 included 30 white Southerners, 17 Southern freedmen and 24 non-southerners, nearly all of whom were veterans of the Union Army. They included four men who had lived in the South before the war, two of whom had served in the Confederate States Army. Among the more prominent were Gen. Beroth B. Eggleston, a native of New York Col. A. T. Morgan, of the Second Wisconsin Volunteers Gen. W. S. Barry, former commander of a Colored regiment raised in Kentucky an Illinois general and lawyer who graduated from Knox College Maj. W. H. Gibbs, of the Fifteenth Illinois infantry Judge W. B. Cunningham, of Pennsylvania and Cap. E. J. Castello, of the Seventh Missouri infantry. They were among the founders of the Republican party in Mississippi. [ citation needed ]
They were prominent in the politics of the state until 1875, but nearly all left Mississippi in 1875 to 1876 under pressure from the Red Shirts and White Liners. These white paramilitary organizations, described as "the military arm of the Democratic Party", worked openly to violently overthrow Republican rule, using intimidation and assassination to turn Republicans out of office and suppress freedmen's voting.    Mississippi Representative Wiley P. Harris, a Democrat, stated in 1875:
If any two hundred Southern men backed by a Federal administration should go to Indianapolis, turn out the Indiana people, take possession of all the seats of power, honor, and profit, denounce the people at large as assassins and barbarians, introduce corruption in all the branches of the public administration, make government a curse instead of a blessing, league with the most ignorant class of society to make war on the enlightened, intelligent, and virtuous, what kind of social relations would such a state of things beget. 
Albert T. Morgan, the Republican sheriff of Yazoo, Mississippi, received a brief flurry of national attention when insurgent white Democrats took over the county government and forced him to flee. He later wrote Yazoo Or, on the Picket Line of Freedom in the South (1884). [ citation needed ]
On November 6, 1875, Hiram Revels, a Mississippi Republican and the first African-American U.S. Senator, wrote a letter to U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant that was widely reprinted. Revels denounced Ames and Northerners for manipulating the Black vote for personal benefit, and for keeping alive wartime hatreds:
Since reconstruction, the masses of my people have been, as it were, enslaved in mind by unprincipled adventurers, who, caring nothing for country, were willing to stoop to anything no matter how infamous, to secure power to themselves, and perpetuate it. . My people have been told by these schemers, when men have been placed on the ticket who were notoriously corrupt and dishonest, that they must vote for them that the salvation of the party depended upon it that the man who scratched a ticket was not a Republican. This is only one of the many means these unprincipled demagogues have devised to perpetuate the intellectual bondage of my people. . The bitterness and hate created by the late civil strife has, in my opinion, been obliterated in this state, except perhaps in some localities, and would have long since been entirely obliterated, were it not for some unprincipled men who would keep alive the bitterness of the past, and inculcate a hatred between the races, in order that they may aggrandize themselves by office, and its emoluments, to control my people, the effect of which is to degrade them. 
Elza Jeffords, a lawyer from Portsmouth, Ohio who fought with the Army of the Tennessee, remained in Mississippi after the conclusion of the Civil War. He was the last Republican to represent that state in the U.S. House of Representatives, having served from 1883 to 1885. He died in Vicksburg sixteen days after he left Congress. The next Republican congressman from the state was not elected until eighty years later in 1964: Prentiss Walker of Mize in Smith County, who served a single term from 1965 to 1967. [ citation needed ]
North Carolina Edit
Corruption was a charge made by Democrats in North Carolina against the Republicans, notes the historian Paul Escott, "because its truth was apparent."  The historians Eric Foner and W. E. B. Du Bois have noted that Democrats as well as Republicans received bribes and participated in decisions about the railroads.  General Milton S. Littlefield was dubbed the "Prince of Carpetbaggers", and bought votes in the legislature "to support grandiose and fraudulent railroad schemes". Escott concludes that some Democrats were involved, but Republicans "bore the main responsibility for the issue of $28 million in state bonds for railroads and the accompanying corruption. This sum, enormous for the time, aroused great concern." Foner says Littlefield disbursed $200,000 (bribes) to win support in the legislature for state money for his railroads, and Democrats as well as Republicans were guilty of taking the bribes and making the decisions on the railroad.  North Carolina Democrats condemned the legislature's "depraved villains, who take bribes every day" one local Republican officeholder complained, "I deeply regret the course of some of our friends in the Legislature as well as out of it in regard to financial matters, it is very embarrassing indeed." 
Escott notes that extravagance and corruption increased taxes and the costs of government in a state that had always favored low expenditure. The context was that a planter elite kept taxes low because it benefited them. They used their money toward private ends rather than public investment. None of the states had established public school systems before the Reconstruction state legislatures created them, and they had systematically underinvested in infrastructure such as roads and railroads. Planters whose properties occupied prime riverfront locations relied on river transportation, but smaller farmers in the backcountry suffered. 
Escott claimed, "Some money went to very worthy causes—the 1869 legislature, for example, passed a school law that began the rebuilding and expansion of the state's public schools. But far too much was wrongly or unwisely spent" to aid the Republican Party leadership. A Republican county commissioner in Alamance eloquently denounced the situation: "Men are placed in power who instead of carrying out their duties . form a kind of school for to graduate Rascals. Yes if you will give them a few Dollars they will liern you for an accomplished Rascal. This is in reference to the taxes that are rung from the labouring class of people. Without a speedy reformation I will have to resign my post." 
Albion W. Tourgée, formerly of Ohio and a friend of President James A. Garfield, moved to North Carolina, where he practiced as a lawyer and was appointed a judge. He once opined that "Jesus Christ was a carpetbagger."  Tourgée later wrote A Fool's Errand, a largely autobiographical novel about an idealistic carpetbagger persecuted by the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina. 
South Carolina Edit
A politician in South Carolina who was called a carpetbagger was Daniel Henry Chamberlain, a New Englander who had served as an officer of a predominantly black regiment of the United States Colored Troops. He was appointed South Carolina's attorney general from 1868 to 1872 and was elected Republican governor from 1874 to 1877. As a result of the national Compromise of 1877, Chamberlain lost his office. He was narrowly re-elected in a campaign marked by egregious voter fraud and violence against freedmen by Democratic Red Shirts, who succeeded in suppressing the black vote in some majority-black counties.  While serving in South Carolina, Chamberlain was a strong supporter of Negro rights. [ citation needed ]
Some historians of the early 1930s, who belonged to the Dunning School that believed that the Reconstruction era was fatally flawed, claimed that Chamberlain was later influenced by Social Darwinism to become a white supremacist. They also wrote that he supported states' rights and laissez-faire in the economy. They portrayed "liberty" in 1896 as the right to rise above the rising tide of equality. Chamberlain was said to justify white supremacy by arguing that, in evolutionary terms, the Negro obviously belonged to an inferior social order. 
Charles Woodward Stearns, also from Massachusetts, wrote an account of his experience in South Carolina: The Black Man of the South, and the Rebels: Or, the Characteristics of the Former and the Recent Outrages of the Latter (1873). [ citation needed ]
Francis Lewis Cardozo, a black minister from New Haven, Connecticut, served as a delegate to South Carolina's 1868 Constitutional Convention. He made eloquent speeches advocating that the plantations be broken up and distributed among the freedmen. They wanted their own land to farm and believed they had already paid for land by their years of uncompensated labor and the trials of slavery. 
Henry C. Warmoth was the Republican governor of Louisiana from 1868 to 1874. As governor, Warmoth was plagued by accusations of corruption, which continued to be a matter of controversy long after his death. He was accused of using his position as governor to trade in state bonds for his personal benefit. In addition, the newspaper company which he owned received a contract from the state government. Warmoth supported the franchise for freedmen. 
Warmoth struggled to lead the state during the years when the White League, a white Democratic terrorist organization, conducted an open campaign of violence and intimidation against Republicans, including freedmen, with the goals of regaining Democratic power and white supremacy. They pushed Republicans from political positions, were responsible for the Coushatta Massacre, disrupted Republican organizing, and preceded elections with such intimidation and violence that black voting was sharply reduced. Warmoth stayed in Louisiana after Reconstruction, as white Democrats regained political control of the state. He died in 1931 at age 89. 
Algernon Sidney Badger, a Boston, Massachusetts native, held various appointed federal positions in New Orleans only under Republican national administrations during and after Reconstruction. He first came to New Orleans with the Union Army in 1863 and never left the area. He is interred there at Metairie Cemetery. 
George Luke Smith, a New Hampshire native, served briefly in the U.S. House from Louisiana's 4th congressional district but was unseated in 1874 by the Democrat William M. Levy. He then left Shreveport for Hot Springs, Arkansas. 
George E. Spencer was a prominent Republican U.S. Senator. His 1872 reelection campaign in Alabama opened him to allegations of "political betrayal of colleagues manipulation of Federal patronage embezzlement of public funds purchase of votes and intimidation of voters by the presence of Federal troops." He was a major speculator in a distressed financial paper. 
Tunis Campbell, a black New York businessman, was hired in 1863 by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to help former slaves in Port Royal, South Carolina. When the Civil War ended, Campbell was assigned to the Sea Islands of Georgia, where he engaged in an apparently successful land reform program for the benefit of the freedmen. He eventually became vice-chair of the Georgia Republican Party, a state senator and the head of an African-American militia which he hoped to use against the Ku Klux Klan. 
The "Brooks–Baxter War" was a factional dispute, 1872–74 that culminated in an armed confrontation in 1874 between factions of the Arkansas Republican Party over the disputed 1872 election for governor. The victor in the end was the "Minstrel" faction led by carpetbagger Elisha Baxter over the "Brindle Tail" faction led by Joseph Brooks, which included most of the scalawags. The dispute weakened both factions and the entire Republican Party, enabling the sweeping Democratic victory in the 1874 state elections. 
William Furbush Edit
William Hines Furbush, born a mixed-race slave in Carroll County, Kentucky in 1839 received part of his education in Ohio. He migrated to Helena, Arkansas in 1862. After returning to Ohio in February 1865, he joined the Forty-second Colored Infantry.
After the war, Furbush migrated to Liberia through the American Colonization Society, where he continued to work as a photographer. He returned to Ohio after 18 months and moved back to Arkansas by 1870. Furbush was elected to two terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives, 1873–74 (from an African-American majority district in the Arkansas Delta, made up of Phillips and Monroe counties.) He served in 1879–80 from the newly established Lee County.   
In 1873 the state passed a civil rights law. Furbush and three other black leaders, including the bill's primary sponsor, state senator Richard A. Dawson, sued a Little Rock barkeeper for refusing to serve their group. The suit resulted in the only successful Reconstruction prosecution under the state's civil rights law. In the legislature Furbush worked to create a new county, Lee, from portions of Phillips, Crittenden, Monroe and St. Francis counties in eastern Arkansas, which had a black-majority population. [ citation needed ]
Following the end of his 1873 legislative term, Furbush was appointed as county sheriff by Republican Governor Elisha Baxter. Furbush twice won reelection as sheriff, serving from 1873 to 1878. During his term, he adopted a policy of "fusion", a post-Reconstruction power-sharing compromise between Populist Democrats and Republicans. Furbush was originally elected as a Republican, but he switched to the Democratic Party at the end of his time as sheriff. Democrats held most of the economic power and cooperating with them could make his future. 
In 1878, Furbush was elected again to the Arkansas House. His election is notable because he was elected as a black Democrat during a campaign season notorious for white intimidation of black and Republican voters in black-majority eastern Arkansas. He was the first-known black Democrat elected to the Arkansas General Assembly. 
In March 1879 Furbush left Arkansas for Colorado.  He returned to Arkansas in 1888, setting up practice as a lawyer. In 1889, he co-founded the African American newspaper National Democrat. He left the state in the 1890s after it disenfranchised black voters. Furbush died in Indiana in 1902 at a veterans' home. 
Carpetbaggers were least numerous in Texas. Republicans controlled the state government from 1867 to January 1874. Only one state official and one justice of the state supreme court were Northerners. About 13% to 21% of district court judges were Northerners, along with about 10% of the delegates who wrote the Reconstruction constitution of 1869. Of the 142 men who served in the 12th Legislature, some 12 to 29 were from the North. At the county level, Northerners made up about 10% of the commissioners, county judges and sheriffs. 
George Thompson Ruby, an African American from New York City who grew up in Portland, Maine, worked as a teacher in New Orleans from 1864 until 1866 when he migrated to Texas. There he was assigned to Galveston as an agent and teacher for the Freedmen's Bureau. Active in the Republican Party and elected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1868–1869, Ruby was later elected as a Texas state senator and had wide influence. He supported construction of railroads to support Galveston business. He was instrumental in organizing African-American dockworkers into the Labor Union of Colored Men, to gain them jobs at the docks after 1870. When Democrats regained control of the state government in 1874, Ruby returned to New Orleans, working in journalism. He also became a leader of the Exoduster movement. Blacks from the Deep South migrated to homestead in Kansas in order to escape white supremacist violence and the oppression of segregation. 
The Dunning school of American historians (1900–1950) espoused White supremacy and viewed "carpetbaggers" unfavorably, arguing that they degraded the political and business culture. The revisionist school in the 1930s called them stooges of Northern business interests. After 1960 the neoabolitionist school emphasized their moral courage. 
United Kingdom Edit
Building societies Edit
Carpetbagging was used as a term in Great Britain in the late 1990s during the wave of demutualizations of building societies. It indicated members of the public who joined mutual societies with the hope of making a quick profit from the conversion.  Contemporarily speaking, the term carpetbagger refers to roving financial opportunists, often of modest means, who spot investment opportunities and aim to benefit from a set of circumstances to which they are not ordinarily entitled. In recent years the best opportunities for carpetbaggers have come from opening membership accounts at building societies for as little as £100, to qualify for windfalls running into thousands of pounds from the process of conversion and takeover. The influx of such transitory 'token' members as carpetbaggers, took advantage of these nugatory deposit criteria, often to instigate or accelerate the trend towards wholesale demutualization.
Investors in these mutuals would receive shares in the new public companies, usually distributed at a flat rate, thus equally benefiting small and large investors, and providing a broad incentive for members to vote for conversion-advocating leadership candidates. The word was first used in this context in early 1997 by the chief executive of the Woolwich Building Society, who announced the society's conversion with rules removing the most recent new savers' entitlement to potential windfalls and stated in a media interview, "I have no qualms about disenfranchising carpetbaggers." [ citation needed ]
Between 1997 and 2002, a group of pro-demutualization supporters "Members for Conversion" operated a website, carpetbagger.com, which highlighted the best ways of opening share accounts with UK building societies, and organized demutualization resolutions.   [ full citation needed ] This led many building societies to implement anti-carpetbagging policies, such as not accepting new deposits from customers who lived outside the normal operating area of the society.
The term continues to be used within the co-operative movement to, for example, refer to the demutualization of housing co-ops. 
The term carpetbagger has also been applied to those who join the Labour Party but lack roots in the working class that the party was formed to represent. 
World War II Edit
During World War II, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services surreptitiously supplied necessary tools and material to anti-Nazi resistance groups in Europe. The OSS called this effort Operation Carpetbagger. The modified B-24 aircraft used for the night-time missions were referred to as "carpetbaggers". (Among other special features, they were painted a non-glossy black to make them less visible to searchlights.) Between January and September 1944, Operation Carpetbagger operated 1,860 sorties between RAF Harrington, England, and various points in occupied Europe.  British Agents used this "noise" as cover for their use of Carpetbagger for the nominated Agent who was carrying monies [authentic and counterfeit] to the Underground/Resistance. [ citation needed ]
In Australia, the term "carpetbagger" refers to unscrupulous dealers and business managers in indigenous Australian art.    
The term "carpetbagger" was also used by John Fahey, a former Premier of New South Wales and federal Liberal finance minister, in the context of shoddy "tradespeople" who travelled to Queensland to take advantage of victims following the 2010–2011 Queensland floods.  
United States Edit
In the United States, the common usage, usually derogatory, refers to politicians who move to different states, districts or areas to run for office despite their lack of local ties or familiarity. 
The awards season blog of The New York Times is titled "The Carpetbagger".  [ better source needed ]
A carpetbag steak or carpetbagger steak is an end cut of steak that is pocketed and stuffed with oysters, among other ingredients, such as mushrooms, blue cheese, and garlic. The steak is sutured with toothpicks or thread, and is sometimes wrapped in bacon.  The combination of beef and oysters is traditional. The earliest specific reference is in a United States newspaper in 1891. The earliest specific Australian reference is a printed recipe from between 1899 and 1907. 
Scalawags and Carpetbaggers - History
Posted on 12/04/2009 11:25:06 AM PST by pinochet
I have always been fascinated by America's Civil War history, and its aftermath. Some terms such as "Scalawag" and "Carpetbagger" can can be confusing. How exactly do you define those two terms?
From the perspective of American history, should "Scalawags" and "Carpetbaggers" be considered heroes or villains? Should the White Southerners who fought for the Union during the Civil War be seen as heroes, who deserve monuments built to them in the South?
I’m sure the Clinton’s would be on that list, somewhere.
Scalawags did not carry carpet bags.
First of all, it wasn’t a “civil war.” The Confederate States did not want to take over the government of the USA. They wanted out. This should be called “The War for Southern Independence.” They had as much right to want their independence as the original 13 colonies did when they fought the British. The difference was that they lost, and the winners write the history books.
Ditto to post #3. I’m just a little more worried about the “carpetbaggers” in Washington TODAY.
A Scalawag is a President who comes into office and does just the opposite of what he said he would and a Carpetbagger is a President who comes from a different country and runs for President in this country. Hope this helps.
In Gone With The Wind - Scarlett called Rhett Butler a Scalawag.
But, then again, it was a public school circa 1973
A Scalawag was a turncoat southerner.
All carpetbagger's were scalawags but no scalawag was a carpetbagger.
A Scalawag was a turncoat southerner.
All carpetbagger's were scalawags but no scalawag was a carpetbagger.
I know what a carptebagger was. I’ve never heard the term Scalawag. Could that by scalleywags? I thought that’s what Pirates called each other, like ahoy there ya’ scallywag!!
Ummmm. a good place to start is always with dictionaries. LOL.
- (n) scalawag, scallywag (a white Southerner who supported Reconstruction policies after the American Civil War (usually for self-interest))
- (n) rogue, knave, rascal, rapscallion, scalawag, scallywag, varlet (a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel)
- (n) imp, scamp, monkey, rascal, rapscallion, scalawag, scallywag (one who is playfully mischievous)
- (n) carpetbagger (an outsider who seeks power or success presumptuously) "after the Civil War the carpetbaggers from the north tried to take over the south"
“Scalawags” were Southerners who co-operated with the occupation for their own benefit. “Carpetbaggers” were damnyankees who came down South, carrying all their possesioons in a ‘carpetbag’, hoping to exploit the situation to their own benefit.
Neither term could be considered complimentary.
The "War of the Southern Rebellion" is actually more accurate.
They had as much right to want their independence as the original 13 colonies did when they fought the British.
They may have had as much right, but obviously not as much desire since they lost and the Founding Father's won.
The difference was that they lost, and the winners write the history books.
Carpetbaggers & Scalawags: History Behind The Names
Carpetbaggers and Scalawags. They were creatively unkind names used in the South for certain men in society and politics during the Reconstruction Era. I’d heard the historical terms and was familiar with their general definition, but I decided to delve into the connotation and history of these names and see if these men where really the villains, heroes in disguise, suspicious characters, or something else entirely.
This has been quite a research project today (yep, I didn’t pre-write this blog post – hence the late posting time). Earlier in the week, I planned to write about the effects of Reconstruction on the Civil War’s Border States however, as I dug into the history of the topic – requested by a blog reader – I realized that to do it full justice, I needed some more research time and a particular resource that isn’t readily available. So – being flexible – I changed topics in the middle of the process, and decided to explore the details of these names so closely associated with the Reconstruction Era.
Hopefully, you’ll find some interesting historical details and maybe a new perspective on Northerners going south and Southerners turning Republican.
Please note: the terms “Carpetbagger” and “Scalawag” are used to explain and define since these terms are typically used in history books. In this blog post, they are not meant in the disrespectful, insensitive way I decided to keep the historical terms to avoid confusion and since these labels are often used in general discussion of this period of history.
Harper’s Weekly cartoon of a Carpetbagger ( published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.)
A general term – usually derogatory in the historical setting – used to describe Northerners who came to the South after the Civil War and took an active role in politics, supporting a Republican Reconstruction agenda. The name came from the traditional, white Southerners perspective that these men were the lowest classes of Northern society, carrying all their goods in a carpetbag and eager to take advantage of the region’s misfortunes. As the product’s name suggests, carpetbags were large, carry-all bags typically used for traveling.
In reality, Carpetbaggers tended to be well-educated, middle-class men who were pillars in Northern communities. Many had served in the Union army during the war others were teachers or Freedmen’s Bureau agents, specifically desiring to help the freedmen in the political scene.
Why did Northerners get involved in Southern politics during the Reconstruction Era? Ultimately, they were part of a movement believing Southern Republicanism (political party based) needed white support. Many arrived in the section prior to 1867, which was before African American votes were guaranteed by the Constitutional Amendment. Additionally the 14 th Amendment prohibited some of the former Confederates from government position, creating a power vacuum.
Registering black voters and encouraging them to vote a certain way was part of the Carpetbagger goal to create a Pro-Republican and socially progressive South.
Individually, Carpetbaggers’ motivations varied. Some looked for quick political influence, position, and profit. Others had tried and failed at cotton planting, needed money, and thought politics would be the golden ticket. Some were idealists. Others selfishly sought personal gain or believed they were entrusted with the task of reforming the “un-progressive” South.
Many Carpetbaggers actively worked in Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana. Though in every former Confederate state the actually Carpetbagger population was only 2% of the entire population, they were accused of “taking over the government.”
Unfortunately, though some Carpetbaggers had sincerely good intentions, many took advantage of voter illiteracy, favored segregation, and were accused of purposely supporting measures to create problems between Southern blacks and whites. By the end of the Reconstruction Era, the majority of Carpetbaggers packed their belongings and returned North, many still looking for financial and political success.
A historical derogatory term used to identify Southerners who supported the Republican Party and peaceful reunion of the nation. “Traditional” Southerners often viewed Scalawags as “traitors” to the South, despite their backgrounds which often included Confederate service.
An 1866 map of the South ( published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.)
They had a variety of motives, intentions, and past histories. Many had served in the Confederate military, but weren’t barred from political service during the Reconstruction Era. Others had been pro-Union men in the South. Others simply sought a way to heal the region or “progress” the section into a better economic base and more liberal society.
With many Scalawags having former political experience, they tended to be powerful and somewhat influential for a time in Southern politics. Their individual motivations varied, but they were consistently anti-Democrat (political party) and were or leaned Pro-Republican on Reconstruction policies and protection of rights for freedmen. There were far more Scalawags than Carpetbaggers, partly because Scalawags didn’t have to “move South.”
They often worked to “harness a revolution”, working to keep the freedmen’s new rights and keep Southern whites in government. Though not often believing in racial social equality, they valued freedmen’s new role in government and society to a much larger extent than other Southerners.
Powerful for a few years, the Scalawags were eventually forced out of Southern government as white supremacy organized as the Klu Klux Klan and other midnight rider terrorist groups.
Carpetbaggers and Scalawags – with all their self-seeking faults or sincere motives – managed to institute a pro-Republican base of voters among the freedmen and often the poorer whites who were anxious and pleased to see a change in Southern government. Though their political motives usually fit into the larger Congressional plan for Reconstruction, they managed protect and sometimes expand the rights of freedmen in the South.
A crude drawing threatening Klu Klux Klan hangings for Scalawags and Carpetbaggers. (1869)
Unfortunately, scandal, factionism, and out-right corruption plagued these state and local governments. Attacked in their infrastructure, beaten, intimidated, and lynched, they lost control as voters feared and leadership was threatened by violent organizations.
Ultimately, despite all their political maneuvers, promises, and efforts, the so-called Carpetbaggers and Scalawags failed to create a lasting Republican party presence in the South that lasted beyond the 1870’s, leaving the region with increasing racist and segregation troubles that would last for decades.
In my opinion the Scalawags probably had the best chance for success since they were from the Southern region and had a better understanding of the intricacies of the politics. However, that very reason created their problem. Other Southerners – many embittered over the outcome of the way and against the freedmen’s right – saw them as regional and political traitors. There are a lot issues in this history – many beyond the scope of this one post.
The Carpetbaggers. I think some of them had good intentions while others just tried to take advantage of a situation. They added to the already-high political tension since they were seen as “outsiders.” Should they have gone South at all? Well, it matched the Congressional steps for Reconstruction and was definitely designed with political and voter registration intentions. Would anyone else have stood up for freedmen’s rights? (The Scalawags actually were.) Did the Carpetbaggers do more harm than good? Could the Scalawags have managed without them? The question remains unanswered in my mind at this point.
Conflicts of interest and corruption plagued the pro-Republican state and local governments and the shaky situation unfortunately created a lack of power and exploitable problems as racism unfortunately regained hold of Southern politics at the beginning of the 1870’s.
Neither Carpetbaggars Nor Scalawags
2016-03-19T12:33:45-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/63b/20160319124035002_hd.jpg Richard Bailey talked about his book, Neither Carpetbaggers Nor Scalawags: Black Officeholders during the Reconstruction of Alabama, 1867-1878, about post-Civil War Alabama&rsquos political process during Reconstruction.
C-SPAN&rsquos Local Content Vehicles (LCVs) made a stop in their &ldquo2016 LCV Cities Tour&rdquo in Montgomery, Alabama, from March 19-20 to feature the history and literary life of the community. Working with the Charter cable local affiliate, they visited literary and historic sites where local historians, authors, and civic leaders were interviewed. The history segments air on American History TV (AHTV) on C-SPAN3 and the literary events/non-fiction author segments air on Book TV on C-SPAN2.
Richard Bailey talked about his book, Neither Carpetbaggers Nor Scalawags: Black Officeholders during the Reconstruction of Alabama, 1867-1878, about post-Civil… read more
Richard Bailey talked about his book, Neither Carpetbaggers Nor Scalawags: Black Officeholders during the Reconstruction of Alabama, 1867-1878, about post-Civil War Alabama&rsquos political process during Reconstruction.
C-SPAN&rsquos Local Content Vehicles (LCVs) made a stop in their &ldquo2016 LCV Cities Tour&rdquo in Montgomery, Alabama, from March 19-20 to feature the history and literary life of the community. Working with the Charter cable local affiliate, they visited literary and historic sites where local historians, authors, and civic leaders were interviewed. The history segments air on American History TV (AHTV) on C-SPAN3 and the literary events/non-fiction author segments air on Book TV on C-SPAN2. close
Summary and Definition of Scalawags
Summary and Definition: The Scalawags were native to the Southern states and sought to gain financial and or political power following the Civil War during the Reconstruction Era. Scalawags had previously resented the wealth, social standing and the power of the planter elite. Many Scalawags had been raised in poverty and were not slave owners. They gained power as Southern Republicans which they shared with the Carpetbaggers who all originated in the North.
Scalawags for kids
Andrew Johnson was the 17th American President who served in office from April 15, 1865 to March 4, 1869. This article provides facts and information about the Scalawags during the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War.
Why were Scalawags called Scalawags?
How did the Scalawags get their name? The name is a derivation of the old English word 'rapscallion' , a low, common, deceitful, good-for-nothing creature, also related to the word 'Scallywag' meaning rogue or scoundrel. The name of Scalawags completely encompassed the view of these people from the perspective of loyal Confederates of the 'old school'. The Scalawags were loathed as being treacherous and evil without honor or virtue - ready to pillage, plunder and completely destroy the South.
Who were the Scalawags? The goal was obtain Money or Power
The end of the Civil War was a time for great political change and for many it was a time for exploitation. Unscrupulous, Southern born people were looking to exploit opportunities for financial gain and personal political power as Southern Republicans - these were the men and women referred to as the 'Scalawags'. In general, the Scalawags came from a lower social class to the planter elite and had come from a much less wealthy background, did not own slaves and always resented the power, and were hostile to, the old Confederacy.
Who were the Scalawags? Reconstruction
The end of the American Civil War led to the Reconstruction Era which lasted from 1865-1877. New state governments and economies were established during this period and the infrastructure of the South had to be rebuilt. Life in the South was turned upside down. The Power in Southern politics changed from the Democrats and was controlled by Republicans. Freedmen (ex-slaves) also held political offices.
What is the Difference between Scalawags and Carpetbaggers?
The Scalawags were people born and bred in the South. The Carpetbaggers came from the North after the defeat of the South in the Civil War and the fall of the Confederate States of America . The Carpetbaggers were so-called because they arrived in the South carrying a carpetbag, a common type of travelers bag, made out of scraps of carpet. Both the renegade Scalawags and the alien Carpetbaggers had the same objectives during the Reconstruction era - to get rich by exploiting the South and its people or gaining power through political advancement.
What did the Scalawags do?
The Scalawags turned on their own kind and were deemed as traitors to the South, cooperating with the Republicans for the same reasons as the Carpetbaggers . Their purpose was to seek personal financial gain or power through political advancement. The Scalawags were looking for money or power.
How were the Scalawags able to exploit the South? The Southern Economy after the Civil War
The American Civil War had taken its toll on the people of the South. The Union Blockade had prevented the plantations and farms in the South from selling their produce - cotton exports (the mainstay of the economy), fell to 2% of their pre-war volume. T he Confederacy had been forced to raise money by borrowing from its citizens in exchange for Confederate bonds. The Confederate government issued over $150 million in Confederacy bonds, none of which was ever repaid. The CSA also printed about $1 billion dollars which was not backed by gold which led to high inflation - Confederate dollars were only worth about $.05 in gold. Many Southerners were ruined, once rich were now poor. The Southerners had no money to pay the new property taxes. The Southern states was economically devastated and ready for the Scalawags to step in.
How were the Scalawags able to exploit the South? The Money Makers
What did the Scalawags do? Perfect examples of the exploitation practiced by the Scalawags were given in the famous Margaret Mitchell novel, subsequently made into a movie "Gone with the Wind". One of the characters, Rhett Butler, had made vast amounts of money as a blockade runner . Another character, the Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara was portrayed as unscrupulous throughout the story. She married a loyal Confederate man who had made money from a store and had a lumber yard as a sideline. The Scalawag, Scarlett O'Hara, insisted on calling all debts from old Confederate friends and extended the lumber yard - at the time of Reconstruction there was massive re-building projects. Cheap labor had been made available by the Vagrancy Laws and Convict Leasing and Scarlett O'Hara exploited the convicts and the need for lumber.
How did Scalawags change government in the South? The Power Hungry Scalawags
What did the Scalawags do? The Scalawags were looking to gain political power in the new Southern state governments as Southern Republicans. Southerners had attempted to restore self-rule but failed. The Black Codes had been over turned by Congress. Former Confederate leaders and military personnel were temporarily banned from both voting and holding political office in the South. The ex-slaves were given the right to vote, run for public office and participate in the new state governments. The black vote provided the means for the Southern Republican Scalawags to acquire political power. The Freedmen became the political allies of the Scalawags and the Carpetbaggers. White Southerners with Republican sympathies joined forces with Northerners to run the South. Once elected to office the Scalawags had the power to pass new laws and to grant lucrative contracts for the re-building of the South. Corrupt Scalawags made a fortune from accepting bribes and making the most of money making opportunities.
How did Scalawags affect Reconstruction?
The Scalawags had a significant impact and effect during the Reconstruction era:
● White Southerners, ex-confederate officers and the social elite were denied political power and replaced by the Scalawags
● The Scalawags sought allies with Carpetbaggers and Freedmen to form the Republican Party in the South
● Republican Scalawags obtained power and influenced Reconstruction in the Southern states by serving as constitutional convention delegates, representatives, judges, sheriffs and as other local and state government officials
● Unscrupulous Scalawags passed high property taxes and misappropriated funds
● The bad management of many Scalawags were responsible for increasing levels of debt in the South
Black History for kids: Important People and Events
For visitors interested in African American History refer to Black History - People and Events. A useful resource for teachers, kids, schools and colleges undertaking projects for the Black History Month.
Scalawags for kids - President Andrew Johnson Video
The article on the Scalawags provides an overview of the emergence of the Scalawags during his presidential term in office. The following Andrew Johnson video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 17th American President whose presidency spanned from April 15, 1865 to March 4, 1869.
Scalawags - US History - Facts - Important Event - Scalawags - Definition - American - US - USA History - Scalawag - America - Dates - United States History - US History for Kids - Children - Schools - Homework - Important - Facts - History - United States History - Important - Events - History - Interesting - Scalawag - Info - Information - American History - Facts - Historical - Important Events - Scalawags
How did scalawags affect reconstruction?
In United States history, scalawags (sometimes spelled scallawags or scallywags) were white Southerners who supported Reconstruction after the American Civil War. Like the similar term carpetbagger, the word has a long history of use as a slur in Southern partisan debates.
Subsequently, question is, what were the positive and negative effects of reconstruction? Positive: No more slavery! Negative: Republican party couldn't stay in power. The former slaves weren't given economic resources to enable them to succeed.
Secondly, how did reconstruction affect the South?
The Reconstruction implemented by Congress, which lasted from 1866 to 1877, was aimed at reorganizing the Southern states after the Civil War, providing the means for readmitting them into the Union, and defining the means by which whites and blacks could live together in a nonslave society.
How did carpetbaggers affect reconstruction?
Carpetbaggers helped improve the Southern economy through helping blacks that were just freed from slavery succeed in life. After slaves were freed from their plantations, many of them didn't know where to go. The carpetbaggers noticed the struggle the former slaves were going through, so they decided to help them out.
Southwest Missouri Thinker
Sitting down with my daughter for her freshman-year homework nightly has been a treat. The most flavorful treat yet has been her history homework. We started by working through the Civil War and the era of Reconstruction.
It was a wonderful refresher in how “reconstructed” our minds have become. Between what we are taught and a reality that exists, there is a great moat that nobody dares to cross because doing so would include the admission that one doesn’t care to protect their own emotional, psychological, and political well being. Those who cross will be called names and derided until they submit.
For as long as I can remember, the racially driven politicians, educators, and voters of this nation have associated the minority vote with Democrats. “The Democrat Party looks out for the little guy they want to make sure no minority is left behind.”
But the difference between political posturing and historic reality is stark. I want to spend this time looking back on history and what we as Americans have apparently lost sight of. That is the fact that though the iconic Democrat Hillary Clinton can pose as a plantation worker at the podium, she and her party have a dark secret: their party is not, nor has it ever been, the party of Civil Rights.
As I was reviewing the unit on the Civil War and Reconstruction with my daughter, we came across Hirum Revels, a Mississippi Senator during the mid-1850s. From the US Senate website we learn “on February 25, 1870, visitors in the Senate galleries burst into applause as senator-elect Hiram Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, entered the chamber to take his oath of office.” Why the applause? No, no – calm down! It wasn’t because he was merely a Republican. It was because he was the first Black American to serve in Congress. That’s right! This glass ceiling for Black Americans in politics was broken by a Republican. What do Senator Revels, Blanche K. Bruce, and Edward W. Brooke, III, all have in common? Yes they were all US Senators – but also they were the first three Black US Senators and also all three were Republicans. As a matter of fact, the first Black American to serve in the Senate as a Democrat was Carol M. Braun, who took office in 1993. It’s amazing how the “Party of Progress” was only 123 years behind the curve of electing this minority to the two-seat per state Senate.
But then what do we expect?
Let’s take a look at the history of the Democratic Leadership of the past. I like quotes, so let’s start with those:
“I am a former Kleagle [recruiter] of the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh County . . . The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the union.” -Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat
“I did not lie awake at night worrying about the problems of the negroes.” -US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Democrat
Going beyond quotes alone, let’s not forget President Woodrow Wilson – Democrat. While in office he thought it was a good idea to have a showing of “Birth of a Nation”. This movie was adopted from the book, The Clansman, which – among other racially sickening views, saw the Ku Klux Klan as an organization to be hailed.
A great set of further quotes from Democrats and platform statements of their party can be found consolidated in the Wall Street Journal extra, Whitewash.
Another necessary consideration is the overall Civil Rights Movement in the United States. This includes the 1960s movement, but also political battles that included Jim Crow Laws, the Black Codes, and the abolishment of slavery. Whether it was Thaddeus Stevens being a “Radical Republican” (I suppose old terms never die), the common accusation that Martin Luther King, Jr. sided with Republicans, or George Bush’s appointment of more blacks to high-level positions than any other President, there is no shortage of history to show the true Civil Rights Reformers of History have not been those who posture themselves as if they do, that being the Democrat Party. It has, throughout history, been that of the Republicans who have walked the walk.
The point it this: we have an election coming up in November. We can count on issues such as Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer or other racially-driven issues concocted by the left being a part of the election. That being the case, we need to arm ourselves with the facts that help debunk the myths that so many are taught to accept as common knowledge in society. Learn understand share.
PS – Thanks, Sis, for asking me to help with homework.
35d. Rebuilding the Old Order
1872, P.B.S. Pinchback of Louisiana became the first black governor in America
Many Southerners, whether white or black, rich or poor, barely recognized the world in which they now lived. Wealthy whites, long-accustomed to plush plantation life and the perks of political power, now found themselves barred from voting and holding office. Their estates were in shambles. African-Americans were loathe to return to work for them. Poor white farmers now found blacks competing with them for jobs and land.
For the freed slave, Reconstruction offered a miraculous window of hope. Those born into slavery could now vote and own land. In parts of the South, blacks could ride with whites on trains and eat with them in restaurants. Schools, orphanages, and public relief projects aimed at improving the lives of blacks were emerging all over the South. Perhaps most stunning of all, African-Americans were holding political office. Blacks were becoming sheriffs and judges. They were elected to school boards and city councils. Sixteen blacks sat in Congress from 1867-77. Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first African-American Senator in 1870. In December 1872 P.B.S. Pinchback of Louisiana became the first African-American Governor. All in all, about 600 blacks served as legislators on the local level. But as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
While some African Americans gained affluence in the Reconstructionist South, many toiled in conditions similar to the ones they endured during slavery.
Economically, African-Americans were disadvantaged. Most had skills best suited to the plantation. By the early 1870s sharecropping became the dominant way for the poor to earn a living. Wealthy whites allowed poor whites and blacks to work land in exchange for a share of the harvest. The landlord would sometimes provide food, seed, tools, and shelter. Sharecroppers often found themselves in debt, for they had to borrow on bad terms and had to pay excessively for basic supplies. When the harvest came, if the debt exceeded harvest revenues, the sharecropper remained bound to the owner. In many ways, this system resembled slavery.
Many whites resented and rejected the changes taking place all about them. Taxes were high. The economy was stagnant. Corruption ran rampant. Carpetbaggers and scalawags made matters worse. Carpetbaggers were Northerners who saw the shattered South as a chance to get rich quickly by seizing political office now barred from the old order. After the war these Yankees hastily packed old-fashioned traveling bags, called carpetbags, and rushed south. " Scalawags " were southern whites, who allied themselves with the Carpetbaggers, and also took advantage of the political openings.
After the Civil War, some African American troops stayed in the Army. The most famous of these men were known as the Buffalo Soldiers, who moved West and fought in the Indian Wars.
Out of a marriage of hatred and fear, the Ku Klux Klan , the Knights of the White Camelia , and the White Brotherhood were born. They are all supremacy groups who aimed at controlling African-Americans through violence and intimidation. Massacres, lynching, rape, pillaging and terror were common. In essence, these groups were paramilitary forces serving all those who wanted white supremacy. And it was not only ex-Confederate soldiers and poor whites. Ministers, merchants, military officers and other professionals donned hoods, burned crosses, and murdered those who interfered with their vision.
Emancipated blacks began finding the new world looking much like the old world. Pressure to return to plantations increased. Poll taxes, violence at the ballot box, and literacy tests kept African-Americans from voting &mdash sidestepping the 15th Amendment.