What Are The Policies Of Reconstruction And Reunion

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The Varying Policies for Reconstruction and Reunion Following the Southern defeat of the Civil War, President Lincoln had every intention of returning the rebellious states to the Union as quickly and painlessly as possible. During the war, he had already drafted a plan for reconstructing the torn nation, called the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. The plan involved returning land and granting pardon to most rebellious citizens (but not the higher Confederate officers and bureaucrats) and for the Southern state governments to handle the newly freed slaves however they chose, so long as they retained their freedom. This proclamation was also called the 10 Percent Plan, as the final policy was the the southern states could return …show more content…

The Congress Republicans tended to fall into two categories; moderate and radical. The moderates-who made up the majority- wanted the south to return to the Union as quickly as possible, but on the terms of Congress. The radical Republicans, however, wanted to break the recalcitrant states down and rebuild them from the ground up, forcing them to uproot their sociopolitical structure before they could return to the US. While both groups approached the issues quite differently, what they both could agree on was that the rights of the emancipated slaves needed to be protected, and that former Confederates did not belong with them in Congress. When the Republicans had realized they would eventually have to include delegates from southern states (which would have a significant amount of clout, now that former slaves were being properly counted as part of the population, meaning the South would have more representatives), they tried to pass as much legislature as they could to limit Southern power. This began when Congress managed to supercede Johnson's veto of a civil rights bill it had passed and Congress realized they could ignore the president's vetoes again and again. In this vein, they proposed the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which, among other things, granted citizenship to former slaves and …show more content…

While the legislation of the radical Republicans brought much-needed measures of radical equality to America, their enforcement of such measures came at a time when the South was already looking for reasons to resent the Union, and the military action certainly didn't help the concept of remaining on good terms. Corruption under these regimes were rampant as well, in which radical government schemers took advantage of the money provided for new public programs and used it to pad their own wallets. The Ku Klux Klan began because of the backlash from the hastily-passed 15th Amendment and would proceed to beat, threaten, and murder blacks and Republicans alike, creating an atmosphere of fear and a movement that would persist until the 1920s. In the end, the results of Congress's actions served to alienate Republicanism in the South, and the good they attempted to do for freed blacks was ultimately undermined by Southern voting stipulations, governmental corruption, and a Northern disinterest in the plight of African Americans. Lincoln's plan never saw fruition and never had the chance to evolve as necessary; only the bare ideas were in place, and written before the war was even over. But reinstating the Union gradually and remaining on good terms with the South could have provided a fertile ground in which to plant the seed for racial reforms, without the backlash, resentment, and the use of loopholes accompanied

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