Carpetbagger facts for kids
White southerners feared they would loot the defeated South. Sixty carpetbaggers were elected to Congress. Among them were most Republican governors in the South during reconstruction. A historian said:
Carpetbaggers generally supported measures aimed at democratizing and modernizing the South – civil rights legislation, aid to economic development, the establishment of public school systems.
"Carpetbagger" referred to the cheap carpet bags (a form of luggage) which many of the newcomers carried. The term came to be associated with opportunism and exploitation by outsiders. It is used today for a "parachute candidate": an outsider who runs for public office in an area where they have not lived, and are not personally known.
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