Reconstruction4 Essay

This essay has a total of 1182 words and 6 pages.


Philip Smith
AP American History
Mr. Catapano

After the Civil War ended, President Lincoln was faced with the task of rejoining a Union
which was thriving less than fifty years earlier. In 1863 to achieve this goal, Lincoln
introduced his ďrestoration planĒ to the country. During this time of Reconstruction many
compromises were made in order to bring the south into American society once more, while
incorporating the needs of the newly emancipated slaves. Although Lincoln was very
helpful in trying to join the north and south, he was assassinated before and his
successor, Andrew Johnson disliked by the majority of the nation, could not follow through
with its ideals. During this time, ex-slaves were trying to integrate into the new
American economy and society. Throughout the course of the twelve year period of
Reconstruction, black Americans made significant gains in their struggle for equal rights.
Because of the lack of attention and the unfair manner Johnson treated the North, all who
opposed him aided black Americans in their goal for economic and social equality of

President Lincolnís announcement of restoration plans for the country began with what he
called his 10% plan. He proposed an exculpation for Confederate citizens, not including
high-ranking officials, who agreed to take an oath pledging their loyalty to the Union and
accept all the Unionís wartime acts and proclamations concerning to slavery. Once 10% of
any confederate state took that oath, those specific individuals would be then allowed to
organize a new state government. During this time congress was made up of the radical
republicans, the moderate republicans, and the democrats. The radical republicans wanted
none of the leaders of the Confederacy to come to power in the South, and wanted the
establishment of the republican party as the ďnational party.Ē They also demanded that
the federal government should ensure civil rights for the ex-slaves. The moderate
Republicans agreed with the radicals mostly, but were not confident about full equality
for black Americans. The last group, the democrats who wanted the South to be integrated
into the new American society with as little restrictions as possible. As a result of
these very intense differences across party lines republicans and democrats did not get
along well at all. But because of Lincolnís 10% plan, Northerners and Southerners alike
were able to compromise on a suitable way to unite the country, even though no party was
fully satisfied with Lincolnís plan. As negotiations progressed, the South was integrated
into the North quicker and the political parties were willing to compromise for that time,
but on April 4, 1865, President Lincoln was shot in the head at Fordís Theater in
Washington, by a unstable actor named John Wilkes Booth. Immediately after Lincolnís
death, his Vice President Andrew Johnson, a democrat, was sworn into office.

Andrew Johnson introduced Presidential Reconstruction to the nation. He provided pardonís
and returns of all property except slaves to almost all southerners if they took an oath
to of allegiance to the Union. Rich southerners and high-ranking confederates who
personally apologized to him were also given amnesty. Eventually all confederates met
Johnsonís demands and by 1865 all the Southern states had active governments. Johnsonís
lenient behavior caused him to lose the support of the radical republicans and eventually
the moderate republicans began to the side of the radicals. Johnson alienated more
members of congress as he vetoed acts passed. One act, for example, the Reconstruction
Act of 1867, which started that all men, including blacks, can vote for state
constitutional conventions to improve the fourteenth amendment. Since congress would
allow southern states to come into the Union only if they ratified the fourteenth
amendment, congress had seen enough. At this point, both the moderate and radical
republicans took control of congress and announced the Tenure of Office Act. This act
prohibited Johnson from firing any cabinet officials. Johnson did not take this new act
seriously and challenged congress by firing an radical republican, Stanton. Once congress
heard of this, they immediately impeached President Johnson. Chief Justice Chase presided
over the trial and he came to the conclusion that the Tenure of Office Act was
unconstitutional. Only because of some very important Supreme Court decisions Johnson was
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