1860 - 1890 Reconstruction

1860 - 1890 Reconstruction - Problem of how to Reconstruct...

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Problem of how to Reconstruct the Union Constitution provided no firm guidelines Advocates of minimal Reconstruction policy favored quick restoration of Union w/ no protection for freed slaves beyond prohibition of slavery Advocates of more radical policy wanted readmission of 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 White House favored the minimal approach, while Congress endorsed more radical & thoroughgoing approach Lincoln never set forth a final & comprehensive plan for bringing rebellious states back into Union December 1863 – issued Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction Offered full pardon to all Southerners, except certain classes of leaders, who took oath of allegiance Ten Percent Plan – once 10% voting pop took oath, authorized to set up local government Radical Republicans (minority of Republican congressmen) – strongly antislavery; favored protection for black rights as precondition for readmission of southern states Larger group of Congressional moderates opposed Lincoln’s plan b/c did not trust repentant Confederates – feared old ruling class would return to power and cheat North of full fruits of victory Dominant view in Congress was that southern states had forfeited their place in Union & was up to Congress to decide when and how they would be readmitted Wade-Davis Bill passed July 1864 Required 50% of voters take oath of future loyalty before restoration process could begin Then those who could swear they had never willingly supported Confederacy could vote in election for delegates to constitutional convention Did not require black suffrage but gave federal courts power to enforce emancipation Lincoln exercised pocket veto by refusing to sign bill Congress & Lincoln remained stalemated through end of war Andrew Johnson takes the Helm Attempted to put Union back together on own authority in 1865 His background shaped his approach – born in dire poverty in NC, made living as tailor in TN, lacked formal schooling, entered politics as Jacksonian Democrat, railing against planter aristocracy Was only senator from Confederate state who remained loyal to Union & continued to serve in DC He objected only to the fact that slaveholding was privilege of wealthy minority Endorsed Lincoln’s emancipation policy & carried it into effect Viewed it primarily as means of destroying power of hated planter class rather than recognition of black humanity May 29, 1865 initiated policy – created some uneasiness Placed NC & eventually other states under appointed provisional governors mostly from among loyal southern politicians Governors responsible for calling convention & ensuring only “loyal” whites permitted to vote for delegates Participation required oath of allegiance Those in exempted categories had to apply for individual presidential pardons
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