It’s my personal belief that a detailed history of the carpetbag-scalawag dichotomy in every state undergoing “Reconstruction” during this period and some that, technically speaking, were not (Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and even Maryland) would make a compelling study in tandem with the struggle between the so-called conservative and regular (the euphemistic term the Radicals used to describe themselves) Republicans at the national level. The issues would be somewhat skewed depending on region, of course, just as the interests between the political parties had been skewed in the decades leading up to the war.
The Republican Party was a regional party—a Northern Party, the demon child of Northern Whigs spawned from the disintegration of the Whig party artfully (or not so artfully) orchestrated by the Democrats’ Stephen Douglas (Illinois) with his tactfully masterminding the nullification of the Missouri Compromise fracturing the already strained union of Northern and Southern Whigs over the expansion of slavery. The Whig party had strong enclaves in the South. In Mississippi, her legislature was never more than a third Whig, but North Carolina’s assembly was roughly split 50-50 between Whigs and Democrats in the years leading up to the war, and Georgia was a predominantly Whig state. Perhaps that helps explain the number of “Southern-minded” Republicans that ended up in Georgia’s Republican Party. Certainly the platform for those men would have been more palatable to that of the hated Democratic Party, but as in days of old, when the Whig Party ruled the roost, interests took on a decidedly pro-Southern flavor, Northerners neither desired nor in many instances even required. When allied with the Democrats, the conservative Republicans were in a position to neutralize the “superior Northerner” who had come south to teach Southerners how states should be governed and ensure their proper place vis-a-vis the national authority. The Republican conservatives could also ally with those same Carpetbag “colleagues” should the conservative stance veer greatly from the Democrats. No matter what, they weren’t under Radical control and that was problematic.
and perhaps that was what the Georgia Democrats/conservatives were banking their argument on.]