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if they only accepted reunification under his terms.In December 1863, President Lincoln offered the residents of the section of Louisiana that were occupied by the Union army the opportunity to be readmitted into the United States under an agreement that became known as the Ten Percent PlanPresident Lincoln’s plan for readmitting Confederate states back into the Union during the Civil War. The plan allowed the states to elect delegates who would begin the process of recreating their government as soon as 10 percent of eligible voters swore an oath of allegianceto the United States.. Lincoln stated that once 10 percent of the residents of these communities who were eligible to vote in 1860 agreed to pledge their loyalty to the Union, these residents could hold elections and begin the process of self-government. Governments organized under these terms could even return to full statehood, provided that they rewrite their state constitutions and ban slavery. Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas were each readmitted to the Union in 1864 under these terms, a stinging defeat for the Confederacy. Although the Ten Percent Plan made no mention of political rights or compensation for the former slaves, it represented a triumph for those who wanted to end slavery. Unlike the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which explicitly exempted every county and parish under Union control by name from its provisions, Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan demonstrated a commitment to ending slavery.Many congressmen supported Lincoln’s aims but believed that the Ten Percent Plan was too lenient giventhe treasonous act of secession and the tremendous cost of the war. Republican Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Davis of Maryland proposed what became known as the Wade-Davis BillAn alternative to Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan that was approved by Congress but never became law. This plan allowed Confederate states wishing to return to the Union to begin the process of readmission once half of the eligible voters swore and oath that they had never supported the Confederacy. as an alternative to Lincoln’s plan. Congress approved this measure, which required a majority of adult males to
take what was known as the Ironclad Oath—a pledge that stated they had never supported the Confederacy. Lincoln believed that this requirement would prevent most Confederate states from ever returning to the Union, thereby undermining his attempt to promote reconciliation and end the war. Because Congress adjourned shortly after the bill’s passage, Lincoln’s refusal to sign the Wade-Davis Billprevented it from becoming a law; a strategy known as the pocket veto.Behind the mists of ruin and rapine waved the calico dresses of women who dared, and after the hoarse mouthings of the field guns rang the rhythm of the alphabet…they came seeking a life work in planting New England schoolhouses among the white and black of the South. They did their work well. In that first year they taught 100,000 souls, and more.—W. E. B. Du Bois on the efforts of female school teachers during Reconstruction