The Reconstruction era in Florida is often misunderstood. Historians generally focus on the Civil War and the post-Reconstruction era to emphasize how the South has changed, but the Reconstruction era remains in shadow. To rectify this gap, this research provides more information about the Reconstruction era in Florida, specifically the impact of violence. To achieve this, I primarily used the testimonies gathered from the Joint Select Committee's investigation of violence during the Reconstruction era and the testimonies given to the Federal Government after the 1876 Presidential Election. The testimonies in these documents allow me to demonstrate how conservative whites used violence to reestablish white supremacy after the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. This study affirms that the violence exhibited during the Reconstruction era significantly impacted People of Color and white Republicans and changed the course of Florida history. This study is critical because it connects the lawlessness of the territorial days of Florida before the Civil War to the organized and targeted violence of the Reconstruction era, which lived on well into the 20th century. While this study builds upon what modern scholars have dubbed one of the most progressive eras in history, it also exposes the reality of day-to-day life in Reconstruction era Florida, which was rife with bloodshed and disorder for People of Color and white Republicans.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
History; Public History
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Barnes, Zachary, "White Rage, Black Agency: Violence and its Impact on Reconstruction Era Florida" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1362.