Civil War - Radical Reconstruction Essay

This essay has a total of 1119 words and 5 pages.

Civil War - Radical Reconstruction


Immediately following the Civil War the actions of Radical Republicans led to many changes
in the South. Leading the way to Radical Reconstruction was Congressmen Charles Sumner and
Thadeus Stevens. Their were many goals and motives the Radicals hoped to obtain. The first
and main goal of the Radicals was to punish the South. The Radicals also hoped to retain
Republican power by taking advantage of the South any way they could. Going along with
taking advantage of the South, the Radicals wanted to protect industrial growth in the
North and benefit economically from the situation. Another very important goal of the
radicals was to aid the freed slaves. Equality for blacks was a hope the Radicals hoped to
obtain, but it was also an effective way to retain Republican power. If the Radicals help
Blacks, then Blacks will become Republican, thus increasing republican power. Using
Legislature, the Radicals hoped to acquire all these things.


The first victory for the Radicals was the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. One of
the main obstacles the Radicals came across was the opposition by Andrew Jackson. Jackson
immediately vetoed the Civil Rights Act as soon as he could. But the Radicals held most of
the power in Congress and overrode his veto. Due to Johnson's resistance, Congress took it
a step further and then passed the 14th Amendment. "All persons born or naturalized in the
United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States
and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State
deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to
any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."-14th Amendment. Both
of these basically protected the rights of the blacks and hoped to bring about equality.
These actions by Congress didn't sit to well with the South. The South particularly
resented the actions of the newly established Freedmen's Bureau, which Congress
established to feed, protect, and help educate the freed slaves.


With the exception of Tennessee, all Southern states refused to follow the 14th Amendment.
To counteract the South's actions, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867. This
was a strong blow to the South. The act: put the South under military rule, dividing it
into five military districts, each governed by a northern general; forced southern states
to create a new constitution; allowed all qualified male voters to vote, including Blacks;
banned southerners who supported the confederacy to vote; required equal rights for all
citizens; and required states to accept the 14th Amendment. The Act was met with much
opposition. Even under military rule, Whites killed, beat, and burned any blacks they
could find. Blacks were lynched by the hundreds.


Along with the South, Andrew Johnson resented the actions of the Radicals. In response to
the newly passed Tenure of Office Act passed in 1867 (which required Senate approval for
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