Reconstruction study sheet.docx - Reconstruction study sheet What was Andrew Johnson\u2019s minimal reconstruction plan In 1865 President Andrew Johnson

Reconstruction study sheet.docx - Reconstruction study...

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Reconstruction study sheet What was Andrew Johnson’s minimal reconstruction plan? In 1865 President Andrew Johnson implemented a plan of Reconstruction that gave the white South a free hand in regulating the transition from slavery to freedom and offered no role to blacks in the politics of the South. The conduct of the governments he established turned many Northerners against the president's policies. The end of the Civil War found the nation without a settled Reconstruction policy. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson offered a pardon to all white Southerners except Confederate leaders and wealthy planters (although most of these later received individual pardons), and authorized them to create new governments. Blacks were denied any role in the process. Johnson also ordered nearly all the land in the hands of the government returned to its prewar owners -- dashing black hope for economic autonomy. At the outset, most Northerners believed Johnson's plan deserved a chance to succeed. The course followed by Southern state governments under Presidential Reconstruction, however, turned most of the North against Johnson's policy. Members of the old Southern elite, including many who had served in the Confederate government and army, returned to power. The new legislatures passed the Black Codes, severely limiting the former slaves' legal rights and economic options so as to force them to return to the plantations as dependent laborers. Some states limited the occupations open to blacks. None allowed any blacks to vote, or provided public funds for their education. What did the “Radical” Republicans want in their more comprehensive reconstruction plan? The Radical Republicans believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites. They also believed that the Confederate leaders should be punished for their roles in the Civil War. Leaders like Pennsylvania REPRESENTATIVE THADDEUS STEVENS and Massachusetts SENATOR CHARLES SUMNER vigorously opposed Andrew Johnson's lenient policies. A great political battle was about to unfold.
Americans had long been suspicious of the federal government playing too large a role in the affairs of state. But the Radicals felt that extraordinary times called for direct intervention in state affairs and laws designed to protect the emancipated blacks. At the heart of their beliefs was the notion that blacks must be given a chance to compete in a free-labor economy. In 1866, this activist Congress also introduced a bill to extend the life of the Freedmen's Bureau and began work on a CIVIL RIGHTS BILL . President Johnson stood in opposition. He vetoed the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, claiming that it would bloat the size of government. He vetoed the Civil Rights Bill rejecting that blacks have the "same rights of property and person" as whites.

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