Political Elections--Mississippi



This subject tag includes references to various and unidentified state and local elections held within Mississippi. During the Civil War, most Mississippians supported secession and the Confederacy and therefore voted in favor of policies and for candidates dedicated to those causes. After the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865, President Andrew Johnson instituted a lenient Reconstruction policy that offered amnesty to individuals who took an oath of loyalty to the United States (with exceptions for certain upper-class southerners). This policy allowed many former Confederates to run for office shortly after the end of the war and pass legislation designed to limit the rights of freed African Americans, known as the Black Codes. Restrictions against black political rights led Republicans in the U.S. Congress to take a firmer hand in Mississippi’s Reconstruction and protect Black rights. Between 1867 and 1876, Republicans backed by federal soldiers struggled to ensure Black Mississippians had equal voting rights and could run for office.

Many white southern conservatives, however, used threats and violence to prevent Black Mississippians and white Republicans from voting, or influence the results of elections. These efforts reached a peak in 1874 under the “Mississippi Plan,” which began with a systematic effort to disenfranchise Black voters in Mississippi and evict African American and Republican office holders. As many as three hundred Black people were killed in Vicksburg in the racial violence. President Ulysses S. Grant sent federal troops to Vicksburg to enforce the law, but soldiers were unable to change the political climate within the state. White Democrats organized under the Mississippi Plan suppressed Black and Republican voters enough to dominate state elections in 1875 by 30,000 votes. Reconstruction ended in 1877 with white conservatives still in command of Mississippi’s state and local politics. (Wikipedia; Jason Phillips, "Reconstruction in Mississippi: 1865–1876," Mississippi History Now)

See also: https://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/issue/reconstruction-in-mississippi-1865-1876

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