The term scalawag itself was a term used by southern farmers to denote small worthless animals. After the Northern victory in the Civil War, it came to mean a Republican sympathizer in the South (generally white), and was a term of derision.
Some Confederate sympathizers view General James Longstreet as a scalawag, and he was the only major Confederate officer to join the post-war Republican party. Many southerners never forgave him for siding with the Republicans (i.e., the northern power structure) after the war.
This article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by fixing it.