01 November 2015

Smoot on the Constitution of 1865

The Civil War was over. The Union had won. After 4 long years of war, what would the peace look like?

Historian David W. Blight asked three huge questions about the Reconstruction period in a recent Atlantic article:
1    1)  Who would rule the defeated South?
2    2)  Would Congress or the President rule in Washington?
3    3)   What were the dimensions and definitions of black freedom and equality – under the law and in human hearts?

Broadly then, “Would Reconstruction be a preservation of the old, or a remaking of the new?” 

Answers to these questions were contentious throughout all the former Confederate state conventions as they prepared to re-join the United States. What was South Carolina's position?

“SC'S CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1865” with Dave Smoot | Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 6:00pm | Beaufort District Collection, 2nd floor, 311 Scott Street, Beaufort

All the eyes of the nation were on South Carolina - which in the eyes of the victors had started the whole fracas. How was South Carolina going to fashion a new state Constitution in September 1865? The Convention was lively to say the least. Half the delegates said that "The war is over. Let us move on." The other half said, "No way!" 

What did the representatives of Beaufort District say? Come learn about the state Constitution in force from September 1865 to mid-April 1868 with Dave Smoot.

Smoot has been doing history for most of his life. Currently he is employed by Parris Island Museum. He enjoys portraying a Civil War Surgeon in living history programs and is a former director of a Virginia living history museum.

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