SAT Subject US History Practice Question 943: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 943

24. All of the following are considered factors in the collapse of Reconstruction in the 1870s EXCEPT

A. many Northerners simply lost interest in the issues and problems of the South.
B. a compromise following the disputed election of 1876 committed the Republican Party to withdrawing the last troops from the South.
C. the South had largely complied with the goals of Reconstruction, and the Radical Republicans felt satisfied that fairness and equality would exist in the South.
D. the Democrats in the South grew increasingly aggressive in asserting their right to run the governments of the Southern states.
E. many of the leading Radical Republicans, who had guided Congressional Reconstruction, had died by the 1870s.

Correct Answer: C


By 1877, the year the U.S. government officially ended Reconstruction, the South was not in any way complying with the goals of the Republican Party. The so-called "redeemers," the coalition of Southern white elites that took power after Reconstruction, immediately set out to deny African Americans the vote-first by intimidation and fraud and then by legal maneuvers. This marked the beginning of a system of white supremacy that lasted well into the 20th century. The disputed election of 1876 (B) marked the end of Reconstruction. In a compromise arrived at just before the inauguration in 1877, the Democrats agreed to drop their challenge of the election and accept the Republican Rutherford B. Hays as president, if the Republicans agreed to withdraw the last federal troops from the South. But signs of Reconstruction's eventual demise had been evident for several years. Republican politicians perceived that Northern voters were tired of the "Southern question" (A). Aggressive Democrats (D) had already asserted their power in several Southern states well before the compromise of 1877. By 1875, Thaddeus Stevens, Salmon Chase, and Charles Sumner had all died (E).

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