The Redeemers were a radical group of southern Democrats who rallied in opposition to radical Republicans during the Congressional Reconstruction. Their main goal was to take back control of Congress, and they were willing to do so by any means necessary. Their name came from the way they saw themselves as redeeming the South from the strict control of the Northerners1. Redeemers are also known as Bourbon Democrats as a reference to the Bourbon family of Spain. .
The Bourbon family was known for forgetting nothing and learning nothing, so the Redeemers were labeled as Bourbons for their attempts to bring Mississippi back to the way it was before the Civil War2. In Mississippi the Redeemers were specifically known for their extensive use of violence and intimidation on citizens to control voting results and to influence decisions made by Congress and even the President. The Redeemers were the leading cause of the end to Reconstruction, and, in Mississippi, they were remembered for their use of the most violent tactics and most extreme techniques to achieve their main political and social ambitions as a group: the end of Radical Republican and black rule.
In order to understand the significance of the Redeemers in Mississippi, it must be made clear as to what caused them to form. From 1866 to 1875, the south went through Congressional Reconstruction's period of harsh Radical Republican rule that was designed to punish white southerners for the consequences of the Civil War. The Radicals controlled Mississippi's legislature and enforced laws that advanced civil rights in favor of blacks3. Congressional Reconstruction in Mississippi was a time that saw an attempt to end white supremacy and also held many opportunities of racial equality for blacks, even to the point of black supremacy. .
After the war, carpetbaggers flooded in from the north and assumed authoritative positions in Mississippi's government that were left open by the removal of Confederates from office.