Talk:Radical Republican

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"Carpetbaggers" and "Scalawags"[edit]

Shouldn't the words "Carpetbaggers" and "Scalawags" be in quotations, since these are not neutral words but pejorative terms used by some ex-confederates to describe northerners and pro-Union southerners, respectively? Bds yahoo 03:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

The article says that they "were viewed as outrageous in their own time", but it seems that they did manage to actually get elected in enough numbers to control Congress, so is that actually true? --Delirium 08:17, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

How "outrageous" they seemed during their day is a valid concern. Perhaps compare this with how any contemporary Congressional majorities might be similarly viewed by most people. --Anonymous (grea) 14:00, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Carpetbaggers and scalawags are the terms historians today all use, without quote marks. Rjensen 03:24, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

One might argue that the use of the term "Radical Republican" is in itself POV, since the supposed radicalism consisted of insisting on equal rights under the law for black people as well as fair treatment under said law. A historian would explain the terms "carpetbagger" and "scalawag" in context -- that they were attempts to delegitimize those who actually tried to further the "radical" goal of the majority of the people. "Radical Republican" is another pejorative employed by Southerners and taints the record by implying that they were vicious predators intent on torturing the poor, beleaguered South. Bspeakmon 01:07, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

US Grant the leading radical?[edit]

Huh? Grant was no radical at all in fact he was oppossed by the liberals in 1872. Who wrote this article? It's POV! YankeeRoman( 18:20, 7 December 2006 (UTC))

Grant was a radical republican--see the biographies. It's famous how Sumner broke with the other radicals in 1872 and opposed Grant. Rjensen 21:50, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

No, Grant was not a radical republican. I did see the biographies. Grant ran against the liberals and Greely (who was a radical). What does Sumner have to do with it? YankeeRoman( 23:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC))

The Liberals of 1872 OPPOSED the Radicals. Rjensen 23:32, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

No, they OPPOSED the Conservatives. The Radicals were IN the liberal camp. YankeeRoman( 23:55, 7 December 2006 (UTC))

please note that the DEMOCRATS endorsed Greeley and the Liberal ticket and bitterly fought Grant's reelection. Were the Democrats radicals too??? Rjensen 00:02, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

OK, the democrats had former radicals and liberals in there as well as the Redeemers. Ben Butler was a democrat who was extremly radical. YankeeRoman( 13:14, 8 December 2006 (UTC))

Grant was no radical. It's that simple.

I agree; the article is misleading and POV. It's ironic that it accuses Reconstruction governments for "governing without the consent of the governed", since the Redeemers disfranchised African Americans, but counted on their population in apportionment and of course expected them to pay taxes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Parkwells (talkcontribs) 19:50, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Grant was not Radical Republican. Moderates "aligned with Grant as a way of weakening Radical influence within state parties." The Radical Republicans wanted him to run on an "outspoken radical platform", but that didn't happen. The platform was "far more conservative than expected". Foner, Reconstruction, pp.337-338. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Parkwells (talkcontribs) 18:21, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
 Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

The Diary of Gideon Wells

 Vol. II and especially volume III,
 highlights that Grant had no particular
 political affiliation and had little or
 no knowledge of how government worked. 
 Grant was a member of the 'Gilded Generation;'
 See: Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

Strauss and Howe's -Generational Theory,

 for a perfect description of Ulysses S. Grant.
 He was whatever he needed to be at the moment,
 given the circumstances.
 Gideon Walton (talk) 09:36, 9 July 2014 (UTC)Gideon Walton.

Radical's approach[edit]

I agree with the radical republican's approach at reconstruction. They were more diciplining toward some people (like the leaders of secession), but more forgiving. Plus, they wanted freedom and equal rights for the African Americans! Loveable-Book-Worm 22:56, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

To the Loveable-Book-Worm[edit]

I agree with you! BTW, (that's a cute name!)


i am 14 years old, doing a paper on the reconstruction plans, and which one wwould've woked the best. the 10% plan (Lincoln's plan), the radical republican's plan, or the restortion (president johnson's plan) im almost done.

Princess-of-Endor 03:14, 20 May 2007 (UTC)


Here is my paper! it's done;

~Social Studies Unit 6 Lesson 10~


I find the plan of the radical republicans best for America’s reconstruction. They believe in freedom rights for African Americans, amnesty for the south and a better future for the country. The radical republicans’ view on African Americans was of sympathy and a desire to help. They ratified the 14th amendment (which grants civil rights to the African Americans) and the 15th amendment (which prohibits denial of rights to vote based on race). Another thing they saw to was the passing of the civil rights act of 1866. This act gave freedom and citizenship to African Americans. Plus, it gave the federal government the power to protect the African Americans and their rights. As well as supporters of colored people, they were supporters of reuniting the north and south halves of America. They were ready and willing to forgive and pardon the south, and 50% of the southern voters had to swear an oath of loyalty to the union. During the civil war, the southerners were starving. There was no food being imported from the north. To be back in the union, would mean a bigger, stronger country. In the near future, they would be the strongest, most flourishing nation in the world. The future of the nation as one union has come to be what the radical republicans had hoped. The problems with the other plans had a great deal to do with freedom of African Americans. The 10% plan (Lincoln’s plan) read that once 10% of the southern voters took an oath of loyalty, they would be offered amnesty and the state could adopt a new government and constitution that banned slavery. Although he offered forgiveness to the south and rights to African Americans, he wasn’t going to force the south to give freedom and rights to slaves held by white men. The restoration (President Johnson’s plan), would give most southern voters (including the ex-confederates) who swore an oath of loyalty a pardon and it refused rights and freedom to African Americans. He believed that that the south should be ‘led by white men’. The radical republicans’ plan proved to me to be the most forgiving, sympathetic, and sensible. The whole world has different opinions. Only when we come together are the right choices picked. Like the civil rights act of 1866. It took years of fighting before the people all came together, and discussed the issues. Even afterward it took years for the people of the north and south, or the white and black to finally see eye to eye. We can only hope that we see an improving nation by coming together as they did in our American history. Princess-of-Endor 03:42, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

I would like to be able to read specific and direct information about the theories and beliefs of the Radical Republicans, not only examples of their stances. I suggest a category be made for this.

 From Gideon Walton.  I have lots of Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

newspaper sources, plus direct testimony

 from Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

The Great Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson, plus, Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). Howard Beal's work

 and much, much more, which gives a different slant on the motives, purposes  and intents of the leading radicals. Let me know   
 if you are interested.  Gideon Walton (talk) 09:39, 9 July 2014 (UTC)Gideon Walton.

Lede is self-contradictory[edit]

Lede says:

The Radical Republicans were the remaining faction of American politicians within the Republican party during the American Civil War and Reconstruction following an 1864 exodus of pro-Lincoln Republicans into the creation of the National Union Party. John C. Frémont was briefly the U.S. presidential candidate of the Radical Republicans.

If they did not exist until after 1864, they could not run a candidate in 1856. Radical Republican is an umbrella term (often used pejoratively) for at least 3 stages in life of the early Republican party. 1st> for those who wanted to move fastest towards abolition, 2> for those who wanted to move fastest towards voting rights for blacks, and 3rd> for those who wanted to deal harshly with ex-CSA states during Reconstruction. THe term may have been applied derogatorily to ALL Republicans at first, even the ones who wanted only a gradual elimination of slavery. Contemporaneous usage of the term will need to be cited for each of the 3 stages of its usage --JimWae 06:26, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Lincoln was not part of any 1864 exodus from the Republican party either. I see now there were some Republicans who formed a convention in 1864 & nominated Fremont. Frémont abandoned his political campaign in September 1864, after he brokered a political deal in which Lincoln removed U.S. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair from office - and Fremont got no votes according to election of 1864 article--JimWae 08:53, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

OK, there was briefly a political party by this name - but even the article applies the term to people before the 1864 election. Also, if there was any exodus, it would seem to be by the RRs --JimWae 09:06, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, it appears the name of the political party was actually not Radical Republican.

  • Several hundred radical Republicans held their own convention in Cleveland, Ohio. They formed a new political party called the Radical Democracy. They nominated explorer John Fremont as their candidate for the national election. Fremont had been the Republican presidential candidate eight years earlier. Most of the radical Republicans in Congress did not take part in the convention in Cleveland. They refused to support Fremont. They felt he had no chance to win the election.
  • May 31, 1864 A small convention in Cleveland of Republican abolitionists unhappy with Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and other things, nominates John C. Fremont for president.
  • June 7, 1864 The Republican (National Union) Convention opens in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • June 8, 1864 The Republican National Convention nominates Abraham Lincoln to run for President and Andrew Johnson to run for Vice-President Maryland. President Lincoln, nominated for a second term, calls for an amendment abolishing slavery
  • August 31, 1864 Democrats nominate George B. McClellan for President and George H. Pendleton for Vice-president. Although the party platform called for an immediate end to the war McClellan advocated continuing the conflict.
  • more at

--JimWae 09:19, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Bibliography - Inaccurate Link[edit]

Under the Bibliography there is a purported link to the online edition of Hans Trefousse's biography of Thaddeus Stevens, however, the link jumps to Trefousse's bio of Andrew Johnson. The original poster/author of the entry may have the original, and correct, link. If it is not corrected then this link should be removed. LAWinans (talk) 23:55, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Did the Radical Republicans really lead the Reconstruction of the South?[edit]

Definitely no, according to the works by basically all the important historians since 1960. The influence of moderate Republicans like Trumbull or Fessenden especially in the Years 1867 and 1868 is stressed e.g. by McKitrick (1960). According to him they were responsible for the formulation of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill and the Civil Rights Bill 1866 and for the overriding of Johnsons Veto. BTW the passage "When they discovered his ambivalence on key issues by his veto of Civil Rights Act of 1866, they overrode his veto." is utter nonsense apart from that it does not say what the ambivalence was. The Radicals would have voted against the veto no matter how the veto message of Johnson looked like but it was the votes of the Moderates that helped the Republicans to override the veto of the president in that case (unlike in the case of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill a few weeks earlier when the votes of the Radicals were not enough to override Johnson's veto). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Flohru (talkcontribs) 13:58, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Confusion between "Radical Republicans" and "Republicans"[edit]

During the Civil War and Reconstruction, Radicals were only a faction of the Republican party, as this article points out early on. But the text itself never distinguishes clearly between Radicals and the Republican party as a whole. This confusion makes it very misleading in several instances: Grant was not a Radical, nor the Radicals' choice for the Presidency; he was however supported by them when he won the nomination. Radicals were an important force in the Republican party, but they never controlled it. Nor were they ever able to pass legislation without the vote of the Moderates in the party. See M. L. Benedict's works on that. See also E. Foner's Reconstruction.

In my opinion, then, an article about Radical Republicans should be limited to that specific group. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I think this is misleading, too, as the comments above, show. There is a similar broad brushing of Republicans as all Radical Republicans in the Reconstruction article, which at one point tried to claim Grant as a Radical Republican. This should be an article that addresses only them, and from comments, Fremont can't be considered one in 1854!--Parkwells (talk) 20:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Grant was ambiguous in 1868, but as soon as he became president he became the most important Radical--although of course not in Congress. The Radicals have to be contrasted with their opponents (the Radical and moderate GOP wings sometimes cooperated and sometimes disagreed. The Democrats always fought the Radicals) Many--probnably most--ex-radicals joined the "Stalwart" cause and supported Grant for president in 1880.Rjensen (talk) 09:12, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Consent and amnesty[edit]

"Consent of the governed" (from Declaration of Independence) meant that the people could vote. That was a central idea for Sumner and most abolitionists (who applied it to freedmen). The 1872 amnesty primarily restored the right to vote (and to hold office) to ex-Confederates. Rjensen (talk) 08:25, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Amnesty is not usually about voting - the sentence should include mention of voting --JimWae (talk) 08:31, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
    • "Amnesty" in 1872 meant restoring the right to vote and hold office to ex-confederates. See Robert W. Burg, "Amnesty, Civil Rights, And The Meaning Of Liberal Republicanism, 1862-1872". American Nineteenth Century History 2003 4(3): 29-60. A key Radical goal was to oust the ex-Confederates from power (otherwise maybe they would restore the Confederacy).Rjensen (talk) 08:57, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Where does the article state that - general reader should not be expected to know this --JimWae (talk) 09:13, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
    • OK I'll add the points. Rjensen (talk) 09:35, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

General writing issues[edit]

Just from scanning the first couple of paragraphs, a couple of things jump out at me: 1. Johnson couldn't have EVER been a Radical Republican because he was a Democrat. OK, only one issue. (talk) 21:05, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Johnson was elected VP on the Union Party ticket and he opposed the Democrats in 1864; in early 1865 the radical thought (falsely) he was one of them. Rjensen (talk) 07:32, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Is This Written Mistakenly?[edit]

This sentence is from introductory part of the article: "The Radicals were not vigorously opposed by the Democratic Party and usually by moderate and Liberal Republicans as well."

I'm wondering if the 'not' there is meant to be there or is a mistake? -- And Rew 05:04, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

a sharp eye! a vandal inserted that---'ll fix it now. Rjensen (talk) 05:24, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

== Reversion of material added by ==--Gideon Walton (talk) 08:38, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

In this edit, I've just reverted a number of edits by which sought to add material in the Leading Radical Republicans section. The material was unsupported, and was added in a format which garbled the article. Feel free to revert my change and fix the problems. I haven't tried to do that myself because I am not familiar with the topic. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 07:08, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi. This is Gideon WaltonGideon Walton (talk) 08:38, 9 July 2014 (UTC) I made all those edits to "leading radical republicans." I'll try it again. I wasn't sure how to insert citationsGideon Walton (talk) 08:38, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Hi from Gideon Walton. Just learning. Not a vandal. Lots of citations to support all the edits you reversed. Shall I try again or is this a closed group? Just checking. — Preceding

unsigned comment added by Gideon Walton (talkcontribs) 08:42, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

we're open to all. three rules: 1. do not start a line with a space. 2) to enter a footnote use this format: some text.<ref> add the footnote here</ref> 3. SHOW PREVIEW your edit before saving it to spot format errors. :) Rjensen (talk) 08:51, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
   Thanks, from Gideon Walton.  I'll try again!

Whose end?[edit]

The second paragraph in the second main section ("The Radical coalition") ends with these three sentences: "Finally in 1872, the Liberal Republicans, most of them ex-radicals, ran a presidential campaign, and won the support of the Democratic Party for their ticket. They argued that Grant and the Radicals were corrupt, and had imposed Reconstruction far too long on the South. They were overwhelmingly defeated and collapsed as a movement."

I can't tell who "they" is in the final sentence--the Radical Republicans or the Liberal Republicans? DSatz (talk) 16:29, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

the 2nd & third sentences begin: "They argued...." And "they were overwhelmingly defeated". Same "they". Rjensen (talk) 14:40, 13 November 2014 (UTC)