vated the North’s turn against Johnson’s policies was not a desire to “pun- ish” the white South, but the inability of the South’s political leaders to accept the reality of emancipation. “We must see to it,” announced What were the sources, goals, and competing visions for Reconstruction? 6 0 1 Selling a Freeman to Pay His Fine at Monticello, Florida, an engraving from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, January 19, 1867. Under the Black Codes enacted by southern legislatures immediately after the Civil War, blacks convicted of “vagrancy”—often because they refused to sign contracts to work on plantations—were fined and, if unable to pay, auctioned off to work for the person who paid the fine.
Republican senator William Stewart of Nevada, “that the man made free by the Constitution of the United States is a freeman indeed.” T H E R A D I C A L R E P U B L I C A N S When Congress assembled in December 1865, Johnson announced that with loyal governments functioning in all the southern states, the nation had been reunited. In response, Radical Republicans, who had grown increasingly disenchanted with Johnson during the summer and fall, called for the dissolution of these governments and the establishment of new ones with “rebels” excluded from power and black men guaranteed the right to vote. Radicals tended to represent constituencies in New England and the “burned-over” districts of the rural North that had been home to religious revivalism, abolitionism, and other reform movements. Although they differed on many issues, Radicals shared the conviction that Union victory created a golden opportunity to institutionalize the princi- ple of equal rights for all, regardless of race. The Radicals fully embraced the expanded powers of the federal govern- ment born during the Civil War. Traditions of federalism and states’ rights, they insisted, must not obstruct a sweeping national effort to protect the rights of all Americans. The most prominent Radicals in Congress were Charles Sumner, a senator from Massachusetts, and Thaddeus Stevens, a lawyer and iron manufacturer who represented Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives. Before the Civil War, both had been outspoken foes of slavery and defenders of black rights. Early in the Civil War, both had urged Lincoln to free and arm the slaves, and both in 1865 favored black suffrage in the South. “The same national authority,” declared Sumner, “that destroyed slavery must see that this other pretension [racial inequality] is not permitted to survive.” Thaddeus Stevens’s most cherished aim was to confiscate the land of dis- loyal planters and divide it among former slaves and northern migrants to the South. “The whole fabric of southern society,” he declared, “ must be changed. Without this, this Government can never be, as it has never been, a true republic.” But his plan to make “small independent landholders” of the former slaves proved too radical even for many of his Radical col- leagues. Congress, to be sure, had already offered free land to settlers in the
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