October 25, 2018


1) Puzzle of Reconstruction

2) Veterans

3) Data/Design

4) Results

5) Mechanisms?

The Puzzle of Radical Reconstruction

America's "Second Revolution"

Radical Reconstruction

  • Military occupation and martial law
  • Freedmen's Bureau: education, labor contracts
  • Civil Rights Amendments
  • Civil Rights Enforcement Acts
    • investigations, prosecutions, martial law, habeas corpus


(while it lasted)

Army occupation

increased access to voting, election of black politicians, reduced racial violence (Chacon and Jensen)

Freedman's Bureau

increased literacy, earnings, voting (Stewart and Kitchens; Rogowski)

Election of Black Politicians

increased local tax collection, literacy, and earnings (Logan; Suryanarayan and White)

To enforce new Civil and Political Rights

Massive increase in federal power

Why did this happen?

One obvious answer

Republicans and Electoral competition

  • An all-white southern electorate a major problem

Expand the electorate to include new, supportive voters

  • (e.g. Teele 2018, Ansell and Samuels 2015, etc.)

Republicans are explicit about this (Vallely 2004)

  • Is there a risk of alienating the existing electorate?

Nevertheless, surprising

Republicans were not eager to expand voting rights

Party leaders on suffrage expansion:

"political suicide"

Nevertheless, surprising

Racially Conservative Electorate

  • abolitionism politically weak antebellum
  • power of "white republicanism"
  • erosion of African American rights in the North
  • Democrats use racist appeals

Radical agenda key issue of 1866 and 1868 elections

During 1868 election campaign in Iowa

Reluctant Republicans

Attorney General Edward Bates:

"That the great principle of the Republicans [was] negro equality [is] a down-right falsehood"

Abolitionist critics:

Republican party was a party for "white men, not for all men"

How did Republicans get the votes?

Given a racially conservative electorate…

and a revolutionary agenda…



are politically active

(Blattman 2009, Parker 2009)

have new organizational skills

(Jha and Wilkinson 2012)

acquire new political commitments

(Koenig 2016; Grossman, Manekin and Miodownik 2015)

Union Veterans

2.1 million servicemen

~24 percent of 1870 electorate

Young men

new, intense experience with large consequences (e.g. Costa and Kahn)

Known mobilization around pensions

(Skocpol 1993)

Why would veterans vote Republican?


Contact (Allport 1954, Mo and Conn 2017)

Interaction \(\xrightarrow{}\) reduced prejudice; "earned" citizenship


Exposure to slavery \(\xrightarrow{}\) moral, strategic need for abolition (Manning 2007).


Combat and loss experience \(\xrightarrow{}\) commitment to cause (Union and Liberty); antipathy toward enemy (Grossman, Manekin and Miodownik 2015, Koenig:2016)


Patronage? (Skocpol 1993)

Undoubtedly true by the 1880s; unlikely in 1860s


Absent individual-level data…

Places with more veterans should have

  • increased votes for Republicans
  • increased votes for Black Suffrage

Effects should be larger when veterans

  • served alongside African Americans (contact)
  • served in slave-holding areas (anti-slavery)
  • experienced more combat (sacrifice)



Civil War Database

relational database of soldiers, units, combat

  • Residence county for CT, IA, IL, IN, ME, MA, VT, WI
  • (with census) fraction of military-age males enlisted

Dyer's Compendium

geographic location of regiments over time


  • County-level Republican voteshare in federal elections
  • County-level votes on black suffrage in referenda in IA and WI

Design: GOP Votes


\[\begin{aligned} GOPVoteshare_{ie} & = \alpha_{i} + \alpha_{e} + \\ & \beta Enlistment_i * CivilWar_e + \epsilon_i + \epsilon_t \end{aligned}\]

To inspect parallel trends \[\begin{aligned} GOPVoteshare_{ie} & = \alpha_{i} + \alpha_{e} + \\ & \sum_{y = 1854}^{1920} \beta_y Enlistment_i * Year_y + \epsilon_i + \epsilon_t \end{aligned}\]

Design: Suffrage Referenda


\[\Delta Suffrage_{i} = \alpha_{state} + \beta Enlistment_i + \epsilon_i\]

Lagged Dependent Variables

\[PostSuffrage_{i} = \alpha_{state} + \gamma PreSuffrage_{i} + \beta Enlistment_i + \epsilon_i\]


Enlistment and Republican Voteshare

Relaxing Parallel Trends