American Reconstruction after the Civil War Essay

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Reconstruction was a period of time after the Civil War (1865-1877) that was supposed to be the rebuilding of America. It was also the process used to readmit all the Confederate states back into the Union. There was controversy, however, on how to go about rebuilding the nation. Abraham Lincoln proposed a lenient plan. After he was assassinated, Andrew Johnson proposed a very similar plan. The Radical Republicans, a group of legislators that were in favor of freedmen’s rights, were opposed to both plans under “Presidential Reconstruction”. They initiated “Congressional Reconstruction”. Because of the conflicting views, there was little cooperation between the Executive and Legislative branches. This lead to many unsuccessful…show more content…
Johnson stated that the seven remaining states would be admitted if: they withdrew its secession, swore allegiance to Union, anul Confederate was debts, and ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. The only main difference being that Johnson did not want high-ranking Confederates and wealthy Southern landowners to take the oath needed to vote. The Radical Republicans were infuriated by Johnson’s Plan because it failed to effectively help former slaves. They wanted a plan stricter on the punishment of the Southerners, and one that addressed the land, voting, and protection under the law of slaves. This is why when Johnson pardoned all Southerners the Radicals refused to admit the Southern representatives back into Congress. The Radical Republicans, and the rest of Congress, were the ones who passed most of the bills for Reconstruction, because of their ability to override the president with their majority. They expanded the Freedmen's Bureau, which did show some progress in the helping of former slaves and poor white men. The Freedmen’s Bureau set up hospitals, schools, and also gave out supplies. This achieved the enablement of former slaves having the right to free education. Later on, however, the Freedmen’s Bureau became neglected, and was often forgotten or overlooked. The Freedmen’s Bureau is accurately described in this following statement, “This auspicious beginning belied the great disappointments that lay ahead,” (CITE TEXTBOOK). Many of
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