Reconstruction of 1863.doc | Reconstruction Era | Abraham Lincoln

Reconstruction of 1863-1877

Reconstruction Plans of Lincoln Abe held firmly to the belief that the southern states not constitutionally leave the Union and therefore never did leave. The confederates in hi view represented on a disloyal minority.

Lincoln’s Policies -Abe hoped the South could be reunited with the North by meeting a minimum test of political loyalty.

Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction (1863)- Lincoln stated his "10 percent" Reconstruction plan
which stated that a state could be reintegrated into the Union when 10% of its voters in the presidential election of 1860 had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States and pledged to abide by emancipation. Then a formal state government would be constructed within the state, and the state would be re-admitted into the Union.

Wade-Davis Bill (1864)- It required that 50% of a state's voters take the oath of allegiance and it demanded stronger safeguards for emancipation. President Lincoln refused to sign the bill.

Freedman’s Bureau- because many freedmen (those who were freed from slavery) were unskilled, unlettered, without property or money, and with little knowledge of how to survive as free people, Congress created the Freedmen's Bureau on March 3, 1865. It was intended to provide clothing, medical care, food, and education to both freedmen and white refugees. Union general Oliver O. Howard led the bureau. The bureau's greatest success was teaching blacks to read. Because it was despised by the President and by Southerners, the Freedmen's Bureau expired in 1872.

Lincoln’s last speech-

Johnson’s Policies

-After Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson attempted to carry out Lincoln’s plan for the political Reconstruction of the 11-formoer states of the confederacy. However, as a white supremacist, the new president clashed with the Republicans in Congress who believed the war was fought to preserve the Union and to liberate blacks from slavery. Johnson’s Reconstruction Proclamation- issued his own Reconstruction plan on May 29, 1865. It called for
special state conventions which were required to: repeal the decrees of secession, repudiate all Confederate debts, and ratify the slave-freeing 13th Amendment.

Southern Governments of 186511 ex-confederate states drew up constitutions---Constitutions repudiated secession & negated the dents of the Confederate govt’s, and ratified the 13 Amendment (none extended voting rights to freed slaves & former leaders of the Confederacy were elected to seats in Congress- e.g. Alexander Stephens/VP of the confederacy.

Black Codes- series of laws designed to regulate the affairs of the emancipated slaves. Mississippi passed the first such
law in November 1865. The Black Codes aimed to ensure a stable and subservient labor force. Blacks were forced to continue to work the plantations after their emancipation due to the system of "sharecropping." Plantation owners would rent out pieces of their land to blacks and make the cost of rent higher than the return the land produced. The renters of the land were bound by contract to continue to work the land until debts were repaid to the plantation owner. Unable to repay the debts, blacks began to "jump" their contracts. The codes imposed harsh penalties on blacks who "jumped" their labor contracts, some of which usually forced the blacks to work for the same employer for one year. The codes also sought to restore the pre-emancipation system of race relations. The codes forbade a black to serve on a jury or to vote. The Black Codes mocked the idea of freedom and imposed terrible hardships on the blacks who were struggling against mistreatment and poverty to make their way as free people.The Republicans were strongly opposed to the Black Codes.

Johnson’s vetoes (2 Bills) – such as a bill extending the life of the Freedman’s Bureau, and he also vetoed the Civil
Rights Bill, which conferred on blacks the privilege of American citizenship and struck at the Black Codes. As Republicans gained control of Congress, they passed the bills into laws with a 2/3 vote and thus override Johnson’s veto.

The Election of 1866- As President Johnson went on a tour of giving speeches denouncing the radical Republicans in
Congress, his reputation dropped. Over 2/3 of the ballots cast in the congressional elections of 1866 had gone to the Republican.

Congressional ReconstructionReally there were three round of construction---the first round led by Lincoln and Johnson (1863-1866) and then the congressional reaction against the Reconstruction achieved by the presidentscongress adopted a plan that was harsher on the south& protected freed blacks.

Radical Republicans- felt punishment was due the South for all the years of strife. They feared that the leniency of the
10 % Plan would allow the Southerners to re-enslave the newly freed Blacks, so they rammed the Wade-Davis Bill through Congress. It required 50% of the states’ voters to take oaths of allegiance and demanded stronger safeguards for emancipation than the 10% Plan.

Civil Rights Act of 1866- The law bestowing citizenship upon African Americans and passed over President Andrew
Johnson's veto. It spelled out the civil rights granted to all persons born in the U. S. (except Native Americans), including the right to make and enforce contracts, to sue and give evidence, and to inherit, purchase, and convey real and personal property. It did not apply, however, to state segregation statutes. Nor did it mention the state rights of blacks regarding public education or public accommodations. Due to the racial violence, the Ku Klux Klan, and the political upheaval of the era, it failed to protect the civil rights of the formerly enslaved people of the South.

Fourteen Amendment 1- gave civil rights, including citizenship, to the freedmen; 2- reduced proportionately the
representation of a state in Congress and in the Electoral College if it denied blacks on the ballot; 3- disqualified from federal and state offices former Confederates who, as federal officeholders, had once sworn to support the Constitution of the United States; and 4- guaranteed the federal debt, while the Union assumed all Confederate debts.

Report of the joint committee-

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