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Which Statement Best Describes Southern Military Districts During Reconstruction?

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

which statement best describes southern military districts during reconstruction

After the Civil War, efforts were made to reintegrate former Confederate states into the new Union.

Part of these efforts involved the passing of the Military Reconstruction Act in 1867, which outlined what the former Confederacy must do to become states again and regain their rights.

The Reconstruction Act put the South under military leadership, which is why you might come across this question on history tests: Which statement best describes Southern military districts during Reconstruction? The given answers often are:

A. Each state becomes a separate military district.

B. The South was divided into five different military districts.

C. Each district was governed by a member of Congress.

D. The districts all rejoined the Union at the same time.

In this case, the correct choice is “B.”

Another statement may appear in its place, however,which is: “A major general commanded each district.” This option is also a correct answer.

The Reconstruction Era in The South

The Reconstruction Era is a period in US history from 1865 to 1877. It is marked by the reintegration of former Confederate states, the abolishment of slavery, and the establishment of male suffrage regardless of race.

Among the notable government policies of this era is the Reconstruction Act, which was signed into law after multiple southern states used “black codes” to continue enslaving African Americans.

To be specific, these states took advantage of the fact that under President Johnson’s rule in 1865 and 1866, the only requirement for slavery abolition was to uphold the 13th Amendment.

However, the 13th Amendment allowed for slavery and servitude as a punishment for crime.

Using this loophole, Confederate states criminalized joblessness for black people and made it possible to exploit their labor despite the official end of slavery during the Civil War.

As a response, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act in 1867, which mandated the following:

  • The organizing of southern states into five military districts
    • District 1 – Virginia
    • District 2 – North and South Carolina
    • District 3 – Florida, Georgia, and Alabama
    • District 4 – Arkansas and Mississippi
    • District 5 – Texas and Louisiana
  • Each district would be commanded by a Union General and must pass the 13th and 14th Amendments (the 14th Amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection for formerly enslaved Americans).
  • All districts must hold elections whose voters were Congress-approved. These voters were largely formerly enslaved people and Republican northerners who moved to the South.
  • Only by satisfying the above requirements would the Southern states be eligible for readmission into the Union.

Thanks to the ordinance’s passage, by 1870, all Confederate states had rejoined the Union, and the Radical Reconstruction period ended in 1877 after laying the framework for a more equal society.


Now, you know which statement best describes Southern military districts during Reconstruction.

The Reconstruction era was a significant time in US history, as it empowered black voters and gave them a voice in Southern state legislatures and Congress.

Reconstruction led to the passing of the 15th Amendment, which outlawed voting discrimination based on race, color, or previous conditions of servitude, and is a milestone in the rebuild of a post-Civil War society.

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