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Reconstruction1Robert Smalls:born a slave in 1839 to a white father. Allowed to live and work independently, hiring his own time from a master who may have been his half brother. Took command of confederate ship, the Planter. Was made captain of the Planter after being commissioned as a Union officer. Went on to a distinguished political career—state legislature and several terms in the US Congress.For a brief period of years, black politicians exercised more power in the South than they would for another century.The President Versus CongressConstitution provided no firm guidelines, for the framers had not anticipated a division of the country into warring sections. Emancipation compounded the problem with a new issue: how far should the federal government go to secure freedom and civil rights for 4 million former slaves?Advocates of minimal Reconstruction policy favored quick restoration of the Union with no protection for the freed slaves beyond the prohibition of slavery (White House view).Proponents of a more radical policy wanted readmission of the southern states to be dependent on guarantees that “loyal” men would displace the Confederate elite in positions of power and that blacks would acquire basic rights of American citizenship (Congress view).Wartime ReconstructionLincoln took initiatives that indicated he favored a lenient and conciliatory policy toward Southerners who would give up the struggle and repudiate slavery. December 1863—he offered a full pardon to all Southerners who would take and oath of allegiance to the Union and acknowledge the legality of emancipation.Congress was unhappy with the presidents Reconstructions experiments and in 1864 refused to seat the Unionists elected to the House and Senate from Louisiana and Arkansas.
Reconstruction2Congress believed the president was exceeding his authority by using executive powers to restore the Union.Congress passed a Reconstruction bill of its own in July 1864. Known as the Wade-Davis Bill, this legislation required 50% of the voters take an oath of future loyalty before the restoration process could begin. Lincoln exercised a pocket veto by refusing to sign the bill before Congress adjourned. Justified his action by announcing that he did not want to be committed to any single Reconstruction plan.Andrew Johnson at the HelmAndrew Johnson attempted to put the Union back together on his own authority in 1865. His policies eventually set him at odds with Congress and the Republican Party.Johnson’s Background:born to poverty in North Carolina. Moved to eastern Tennessee as a young man and made his living as a tailor. Did not learn to read and write until adulthood. Entered politics as a Jacksonian Democrat. Known as an effective stump speaker.