Prior to the election of 1868, white Democrats and some white Republicans argued that the Georgia Constitution did not guarantee the right for African Americans to hold positions in office. A clause that guaranteed the right was defeated. Some African American voters even voted against the clause because had been assured by white leadership of the Republican Party that blacks were eligible to hold office and that a special provision was unnecessary.2 In the April 1868 election, 25 African Americans were elected to the House and three more to the Senate. After Georgia was readmitted to the Union in June 1868, white Democrats wanted to exclude African Americans and replace them with their losing opponents. By September 1868, Democrats secured enough Republican support to pass a resolution that excluded African Americans from the House and the Senate. It was done on the grounds that African Americans were ineligible to serve under the Constitution.
After African Americans were removed from office, Democrats gained control of the House. Republicans kept control of the Senate but sided with Democrats on issues surrounding race. In November 1868, Democrats run on a platform of white supremacy, which increased violence around Georgia. The Democrats used terror and intimidation, as well as the Ku Klux Klan. Georgia, in response, was placed under military supervision, and Congress did not seat Georgian representatives. African American legislators continued to lobby the federal government to reseat the legislators. The federal government ordered the Georgian government to restore the African American legislators' seats. It was not until 1870 that the seats were restored. Twenty-two Democrats who held public office before the war and were military officers under the Confederacy were disqualified. This meant that control of the House returned to Republicans.
Thanks to federal intervention and the presence of the U.S. Army during this phase of Reconstruction, the legally-elected African American representatives eventually had their seats restored. It is worth noting that a significant number of African Americans also won local elections throughout the South from the late 1860s to the early 1870s until white supremacists once again secured political control during the final years of Reconstruction.