Democratization and political terrorism: The formation and destruction of the two-party system in the Red River Valley of Louisiana, 1865-1868
The project examines the political conflict in the Red River Valley of Louisiana between the majority-black Republican Party and the overwhelmingly white Democratic Party by studying the composition and actions of each party.
The project examines the political conflict between the majority-black Republican Party and the overwhelmingly white Democratic Party by studying the composition and actions of each party. It focuses on the Red River Valley because Republican control of Louisiana hinged upon this important predominantly black area. Having re-gained power, the Democratic Party proceeded to undermine new two-party system by suppressing the black vote. This undemocratic system endured until the 1960s.
This study examines the period of Reconstruction after the American Civil War in the Red River Valley area of Louisiana. After 1865 the Republican party, which had led the Union to victory, attempted to modernize and democratize the former Confederate states in an attempt to eradicate the vestiges of slavery and re-integrate the region into the nation. In order to build up the Republican party in the South, and to foster a vigorous two-party system, Congress enfranchised the ex-slaves and barred leading former Confederates from voting and holding political office. The black population embraced democratic politics, facilitating Republican political control of Louisiana and other southern states. The Democratic Party, however, challenged the legitimacy of Republican rule and worked to undermine it by supressing the black vote by means of violence, intimidation, and electoral fraud.