The congressional reconstruction acts meanwhile the

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*The Congressional Reconstruction Acts* - Meanwhile, the Republicans dominated the 1866 Congressional elections, which they saw as a mark of approval for their plan. Nevertheless, nothing could be done w/the planter dominated “Johnson Governments” still in the South. Therefore, Congress decided that the states would have to be reorganized. - This decision led to a series of Reconstruction Acts passed through 1867 and 1868. The basis of the plan was established in the first Reconstruction Act [March 1867], in which Union generals assumed control in the five different military districts that were established in the South. The troops were charged w/supervising elections, among other things. - The act also guaranteed freedmen the right to vote and forced S. states to ratify the 14th Amendment, to ratify their new constitutions by majority vote, and to submit them to Congress for approval. The rest of the acts, passed between March 1867 and March 1868, dealt w/the details. - The Reconstruction Acts successfully limited Johnson’s power, but some of the Radical Republicans were still unsatisfied, as their proposal for land redistribution, which they felt would provide much needed economic equality, did not win popular support b/c the North liked a limited gov’t. *Johnson and Congress Struggle for Control* - Johnson continued to oppose Congressional policies, so Congress began to pass a series of laws to extend its influence. For instance, it set the date for its own reconvening [unheard of] and limited Johnson’s power over the army by forcing him to issue orders through Grant alone, who couldn’t be fired w/o their approval. Most important was the Tenure of Office Act, which gave the Senate power to approve changes in the Cabinet [designed to protect Secretary of War Stanton]. All of this was passed over Johnson’s vetoes. - In response, Johnson issued orders to commanders in the South limiting their powers, removed some of the best officers, and gave the governments he created in 1865 more power. Lastly, he tried to fire Stanton, which was the last straw as far as Congress was concerned. - Consequently, Congress impeached Johnson, indicting him for violating the Tenure of Office Act. He was tried in the Senate, where the Radicals tried to prove that he was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, but the measure failed to pass by one vote. Johnson stayed with only a few months left in his term. *The Presidential Election of 1868 and the Fifteenth Amendment* - In the Presidential Election of 1868 Union general Ulysses S. Grant ran against and defeated the New York Democrat Horatio Seymour. Although Grant was not a Radical, he supported Congressional Reconstruction and black suffrage. On the other hand, the Democrats ran a white supremacist campaign. - Both sides used the war as a campaign tactic [waving the “bloody shirt”], but the Democrats unwisely associated themselves w/Johnson and the rebels, which contributed to their defeat. Additionally, black voters helped Grant emerge victorious.

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