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Glossary

Chapter 22: The Ordeal of Reconstruction, 1865-1877

Amnesty

general pardon, especially for political offenses (presidential pardons).

black codes

laws passed by the Southern states after the Civil War to define the status of freed people as subordinate to whites.

Carpetbagger

a Northern politician who came South to exploit the unsettled conditions after the Civil War; hence, any politician who relocates for political advantage.

civil disabilities

legally imposed restrictions of a person's civil rights or liberties.

Confiscation

legal government seizure of private property without compensation.

Lease

to enter into a contract by which one party gives another use of land, buildings, or other property for a fixed time and fee.

Legalistically

in accord with the exact letter of the law, sometimes with the intention of thwarting its broad intent.

mutual aid societies

nonprofit organizations designed to provide their members with financial and social benefits, often including medical aid, life insurance, funeral costs, and disaster relief.

Peonage

a system in which debtors are held in servitude, to labor for their creditors.

pocket veto

the presidential act of blocking a Congressionally passed law not by direct veto but by simply refusing to sign it at the end of a session.

president pro tempore

in the United States Senate, the officer who presides in the absence of the vice president.

Scalawag

a white Southerner who supported Republican Reconstruction after the Civil War.

Sharecrop

an agricultural system in which a tenant receives land, tools, and seed on credit and pledges in return a share of the crop to the creditor.

Treason

the crime of betrayal of one's country, involving some overt act violating an oath of allegiance or providing illegal aid to a foreign state. In the United States, treason is the only crime specified in the Constitution.


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