Attempts to Mends the Nation During the Reconstruction Era

815 WordsJul 17, 20184 Pages
Historians are right to call Reconstruction one of the “darkest” times in American history. Nobody was sure of anything. After the Union victory over the Confederacy, politicians were tasked with trying to mend a nation divided down the middle. It was a time of many questions (Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, 2008). Questions ranging from: What would be the conditions of readmitting the Confederate States back into the Union? Who would be tasked with creating the terms, Congress or the President? What was to become of the Confederate leaders? What labor system would be replacing slavery? What would former slaves social status be (Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, 2008)? In the end, three different plans…show more content…
The Wade Davis bill demanded that fifty percent of a Confederate states male voter population take the “ironclad” oath before reentering the Union. However, President Lincoln used his pocket veto to keep the Wade-Davis Bill from ever becoming a law. By the end of the Civil War President Lincoln’s plan for reconstruction was ultimately a bust. States like Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia followed President Lincoln’s plan for readmission to the Union, but Congress refused to seat the Senators and Representatives elected from those states. President Lincoln's assassination followed shortly after and his plan for reconstruction died along with him (HighBeam Research, LLC, 2005). After President Lincoln’s assassination his Vice President Andrew Johnson became the new President and began his own version of reconstruction. Although it was common knowledge at the time President Johnson did not like southern planter elites, he was surprisingly lenient towards them. He even blocked radicals in Congress attempts to pass punitive legislation on the Confederate states (ushistory.org, 2008). Just as his predecessor, President Johnson’s main reconstruction goal was to get the Confederate states back into the Union as fast as possible. To help speed up this process President Johnson returned property confiscated by the Union’s army to southerners. He issued pardons to both

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