The South was now under Northern control, and, since most Democrats had left the Union, this left the Republican Party in charge of the South. The “Radical Republicans,” as they were called, passed legislation that treated the South as conquered territory. The South was divided into 5 districts, each ruled by a military governor whose powers included punishing and even executing people without a trial, and confiscation and redistribution of private property. All those who had fought for or sympathized with the Confederacy were stripped of their citizenship, their voting rights, and the right to participate in government or run for public office. In short, the Southern states ceased to exist as part of the Union, and were banned from reinstatement unless they ratified the 14th amendment, which gave blacks citizenship and voting rights. Troops were dispatched to the South to enforce the proper treatment of black citizens.
Although corruption and abuses were not unknown, the Northern governors were, for the most part, at least somewhat understanding and lenient toward the South. However, Southerners deeply resented having black rights rammed down their throats while, at the same time, they were being stripped of their own citizenship. They were also bitter about the Northern “foreigners” they were forced to live under. The South's government now consisted of “carpetbaggers,” (Northern Republicans who moved South for political and business opportunities), and “scalawags,” (Southerners who were perceived as traitors for their collaboration with the Republican party). Most Republican voters in the South were freed blacks, and they helped elect about 2,000 black Republicans to local and state offices, including 2 senators and 17 U.S. Representatives. Being governed by former slaves further embittered the South.