Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name





Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Kentucky; Kentucky--History--1865-


Reconstruction began in Kentucky somewhat sooner than in the States south of the Blue Grass Commonwealth. As soon as the invading Confederate army withdrew from the State in 1862, loyal Kentuckians began to prepare for peaceful pursuits and to restore the State, as best they could, to somewhat the position it occupied before the war between the states. Of course it was impossible to remake the State as it was before the struggle, but at least the civil authority could be restored, and the State prepared for the reign of peace. The dates 1862 to 1870 have been selected as the period of Reconstruction in Kentucky, because it was in 1862 that such a process was begun, and the State was practically free of military rule by 1870, and Kentuckians of both northern and southern sympathies, had by that time forgotten the old animosities of the past and were mingling freely as if nothing had ever separated them; both were admiring the bravery and gallantry of the other. For convenience this thesis has been divided into four chapters. The first subject to claim the attention of a student of Kentucky history during the period of reconstruction is military interference within the State, which nearly supplanted the civil authority for a period of almost three years. Therefore, the first chapter is concerned with Military Authority in Kentucky. Following close after the period of excessive military rule in the State, the activities of the Freedmen’s Bureau occupy the center of the stage, and a second chapter, and the largest, has been devoted to this institution. Many Kentuckians, angered over the conduct of affairs by the federal military officers in the State, organized themselves into secret bands of “Regulators”, and it has been thought wise to devote a chapter to such activities. The last chapter, on the “Politics of Reconstruction”, is an attempt to explain the changes in political complexion of the State during the period from 1862 to 1870, showing how Kentucky emerged from the struggle with an extremely union sentiment, and gradually changed to a thoroughly Democratic policy.