Reconstruction Period Research Forum
CARPETBAGGERS. Carpetbagger was the pejorative term applied to Northerners who moved to the South after the Civil War, specifically those who joined state Republican parties formed in 1867 and who were elected as Republicans to public office. Southern Democrats alleged that the newcomers were corrupt and dishonest adventurers, whose property consisted only of what they could carry in their carpetbags (suitcases made of carpeting), who seized political power and plundered the helpless people of the South. This assessment of the carpetbagger became standard in late-nineteenth-century histories and retained its currency among some historians as late as the 1990s. ¹
¹ Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "CARPETBAGGERS," Encyclopedia of Texas history online, sponsored by The Texas State Historical Association with the General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin (June 30, 2005).