Anti-Reconstruction

By Hayley Wilson

Carpetbaggers

South viewed carpetbaggers as opportunists looking to exploit and profit from the region’s misfortune. These

northerners headed to the southern states, driven by hopes of economic gain, a desire to work on behalf of the newly emancipated slaves or a combination of both. In general, the term “carpetbagger” refers to a traveler who arrives in a new region with only a satchel (or carpetbag) of possessions, and who attempts to profit from or gain control over his new surroundings, often against the will or consent of the original inhabitants. After 1865, a number of northerners moved to the South to purchase land, lease plantations or partner with down-and-out planters in the hopes of making money from cotton. At first they were welcomed, as southerners saw the need for northern capital and investment to get the devastated region back on its feet. They later became an object of much scorn, as many southerners saw them as low-class and opportunistic newcomers seeking to get rich on their misfortune.

Redeemers

The Redeemers wanted to remove all traces of the Radical Republicans. This meant changing the state constitution that had been adopted in 1869. In September 1875, 90 delegates were elected to a new constitutional convention. In reaction to Davis’s administration, they stripped the governor and legislature of as much power as possible. They allowed the legislature to meet only every other year. The constitution also set aside land grants for education and to provide for homestead grants and railroad grants. This constitution was adopted on February 15, 1876. The Constitution of 1876 still serves as Texas’s constitution. The constitution severely limits the ability of the legislature to make changes in government services and powers except by an amendment. As a result, it has been amended more times than most state constitutions. To date, the Constitution of Texas has been amended about 400 times.