Map of the five Reconstruction military districts .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  First Military District   Second Military District   Third Military District   Fourth Military District   Fifth Military District
Map of the five Reconstruction military districts

Following the end of the American Civil War, five Reconstruction Military Districts of the U.S. Army were established as temporary administrative units of the U.S. War Department in the American South. The districts were stipulated by the Reconstruction Acts during the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War.[1]

Creation of the military districts

In March 1867, Radical Republicans in Congress became frustrated with President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policies, which, they believed, allowed too many former Confederate officials to hold public office in the South.[2] Politically empowered Democratic Party politicians who were former Confederates would obstruct the civil rights of newly freed African Americans. For Republicans these rights, which would allow the antebellum ideology of abolition to translate to real freedom, were critical.

In response, Congressional Republicans passed a multitude of bills furthering strict Reconstruction policies known as the Reconstruction Acts, the most important of which being "An Act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel States".[3] This act, passed on March 2, 1867, divided the former Confederate States (except for Tennessee, after it ratified the 14th Amendment)[4] into five separate military districts.[5] The Reconstruction Acts required that each former Confederate state hold a Constitutional Convention, adopt a new State Constitution, and ratify the 14th Amendment before rejoining the Union. The five districts and the states within them were:

Each of these districts fell under the command of former Union Army general officers to supervise the replacement of undesirable former Confederate officials and use military force to guarantee the safety of liberated African Americans and maintain peace. However, it soon became apparent that the appointed army commanders could only act as peacekeepers until the president unveiled a proper Reconstruction policy.[6]

References

  1. ^ Vergun, David. "150 years ago: Army takes on peacekeeping duties in post-Civil War South". U.S. Army. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  2. ^ "First Military District". www.encyclopediavirginia.org. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  3. ^ "A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875 | Statutes at Large, 39th Congress, 2nd Session". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  4. ^ "Mapping History : Reconstruction - Military Districts in the South: 1867". mappinghistory.uoregon.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  5. ^ "Landmark Legislation: The Reconstruction Act of 1867". United States Senate. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  6. ^ Bradley, Mark (2015). The Army and Reconstruction 1865-1877. pp. 13–15.