American Civil War for Kids - Reconstruction, Scalawags and Carpetbaggers
Two new nicknames that came out of the Reconstruction period were Carpetbaggers and Scalawags.
Carpetbaggers was the name given by Southerners to white Northern politicians and businessmen who flooded the South in search of riches. They were called carpetbaggers because they brought with them their clothes and personal belongings in a carpetbag or suitcase. Many were ruthless and unscrupulous, looting and stealing from the South and putting this wealthy into their own pockets.
Scalawags were white Southern politicians who joined the Republican party after the war. Many scalawags were sincere in their belief that obeying the Reconstruction Act issued by Congress was the quickest way to recovery. But some scalawags were not sincere. Some joined the ruthless and unscrupulous Northern carpetbaggers, stealing and looting. Any scalawag who supported military rule to enforce African American suffrage and equality could become the target of the newly formed Ku Klux Klan.