The Construction Period - US History - The Ten-Percent Plan The process of reconstructing the Union began in 1863 two years before the Confederacy

The Construction Period - US History - The Ten-Percent Plan...

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The Ten-Percent Plan The process of reconstructing the Union began in 1863, two years before the Confederacy formally surrendered. After major Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in which he outlined his Ten-Percent Plan. The plan stipulated that each secessionist state had to redraft its constitution and could reenter the Union only after 10 percent of its eligible voters pledged an oath of allegiance to the United States. The Wade-Davis Bill and t he Freedmen’s Bureau Many Radical Republicans believed that Lincoln’s plan was too lenient: they wanted to punish the South for secession from the Union, transform southern society, and safeguard the rights of former slaves. As an alternative to the Ten-Percent Plan, Radical Republicans and their moderate Republican allies passed the Wade-Davis Bill in 1864. Under the bill, states could be readmitted to the Union only after 50 percent of voters took an oath of allegiance to the Union. Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill, however, effectively killing it by refusing to sign it before Congress went into recess. Congress did successfully create the Freedmen’s Bureau, which helped distribute food, supplies, and land to the new population of freed slaves. Presidential Reconstruction On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Andrew Johnson became president. Presidential Reconstruction under Johnson readmitted the southern states using Lincoln’s Ten -Percent Plan and granted all southerners full pardons, including thousands of wealthy planters and former Confederate officials. Johnson also ordered the Freedmen’s Bureau to return all confiscated lands to their original owners. While Congress was in recess, Johnson approved new state constitutions for secessionist states many written by ex-Confederate officials and declared Reconstruction complete in December 1865. Progressive Legislation for Blacks Although Johnson vetoed Congress’s attempt to renew the charter of the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1866, Congress was successful in overriding Johnson’s veto on its second try, and the bureau’s charter was renewed. They also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 , which granted newly emancipated blacks the right to sue, the right to serve on juries, and several other legal rights. Although Johnson vetoed this bill as well, Congress was able to muster enough votes to override it. The Radical Republicans also passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which made freed slaves U.S. citizens.

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