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Reconstruction Of The Confederacy

Reconstruction Of The Confederacy

When the Civil War ended the country had a lot of work to do. Being the victors of the war the North had to deal with most of the problems. The South was left in chaos, all of the former slaveholders were now poor and without workers, and all of the former slaves had no homes, or work. The South was in bad shape and the North wanted to get all of the Confederate states to rejoin the Union. There were many ways to try to get them to come back; each group of people had their own ideas. Some of these ideas clashed and made it hard to make progress, there were a lot of complications, but in the end it all worked out.

The first plan of action was established by the President of that time, Mr. Abraham Lincoln. He had many thoughts and ideas to make the country better. Even though he was from Tennessee he was against slavery and looked forward to see it be abolished. Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction of the country was to ultimately restore the Union. His first action was to offer amnesty to all Southerners that would pledge their loyalty to the country, but the only way the state would be able to be reinstated was if ten percent of their voters took this oath during the presidential election of 1860. His second step was to help the newly freed African Americans, to do this he encouraged all that could read and write or that served in the army to vote.

Lincoln’s plan could have started an excellent change in behavior for the South, but of course there would be conflict, which was aroused by the Radical Republicans. The Radicals wanted a stricter way of handling the south. They created the Wade-Davis Bill of 1864, this bill would put the South under military rule and a majority of the states government officials would have to take an oath of loyalty to the country. Lincoln didn’t like this bill and he pocket vetoed it. When states started agreeing to Lincoln’s plan Congress wouldn’t let them rejoin the Union so Lincoln had to start negotiating with Congress. Then Lincoln was assassinated and his successor, Andrew Johnson had to take over.

President Johnson didn’t start his presidency off too well. He had a bad reputation; he was a former Democrat, and a former slaveholder. In his third annual message, he didn’t really please the North too much. His opinions toward black suffrage didn’t seem like he had the same views as anyone in the North. In a passage talking about how the government would be handle according to African Americans he said:

“It is not proposed merely that they shall govern themselves, but that they shall rule the white race, make and administer State Laws, elect President and members of Congress, and shape to a greater or less extent the future destiny of the whole country. Would such a trust and power be safe in such hands?”

After saying such statements would you be to keen as having this man in charge of reconstruction dealing with giving all people equal civil rights? His first action to start this reconstruction was to abolish slavery- surprisingly, each state had to revoke its regulation of secession, and each state would have to pay back their war debts. When all of the states, except for Texas agreed to these requirements, Congress worried that they were too lenient. To take charge, Congress decided not to seat any of the southern congressmen. After a bunch of black codes offended the North the joint commission stepped in and wanted to give financial aid to African Americans and protect their civil rights. Every bill that came into the President’s office from this commission was vetoed immediately. In 1866, finally, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Bill, which gave citizenship to all African Americans. Then, in 1866, the fourteenth amendment was passed, this changed a lot. The Radicals finally beat the President in the House and the Senate. This victory meant that they could override any Presidential veto.

Now that the power was back in the hands of the Radicals they could work on their plan. The radicals wanted the South to have to work hard to get back into the Union. The radicals put military powers in the South and hoped that the African Americans would vote for them. Soon states started being reinstated into the Union. Before they could really take action they had to limit he President’s power, they did this by instating the Army Appropriation Act in 1867, and the Tenure of Office Act. President Johnson tried to overrule the Radicals but it didn’t work, and in 1868 he was impeached.

Now that Johnson was out of power the Republicans had a chance to put someone that would help them into office. The Radicals choose General Ulysses S. Grant, a big portion of the carpetbag government supported him who helped but in the most part he won by a landslide. Now that the Radical’s won the election didn’t mean that they were in complete power, the Compromise of 1877 ended the Radical Reconstruction.

The Reconstruction of the Union was a very hard process; it took a lot of work to complete. There were many great ideas and strategies. I think the best plan was the Radical’s, they did the best they could and they treated the South how they needed to be treated. They worked with force and were very aggressive, without that the South would probably be still discriminating and segregating African Americans. Their plan worked and put the South in its place. It made the South work they’re way back into the Union.


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