The Reconstruction

This paper discusses the roles of President Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson, and the radical Congressional Republicans in the reconstruction after the Civil War.

This paper explains that Lincoln vaguely outlined his plans for reconstruction in his second inaugural address; he intended to be forgiving toward the South. The author points out that, after his assassination, Johnson tried to carry out Lincoln’s plans, but he was strongly opposed by the Radical Republicans in Congress, who wanted to inflict more punishment on Confederate leaders. The paper relates that Johnson took almost no steps to ensure the civil rights of the newly freed slaves, and the control of white Southerners over blacks remained, despite the Thirteenth Amendment.
On May 29th, 1865, Johnson gave his amnesty proclamation. It disenfranchised all former military and civil officers of the Confederacy and all those who owned property worth 20,000 dollars or more. It made all of their estates available to be confiscated. However, it granted amnesty and pardons to all persons who were indirectly or directly involved in the rebellion, with several exceptions. Johnson put his plan into action while Congress was adjourned from April to December. Under temporary governors that were appointed by Johnson, the former Confederate states held conventions that repealed their statutes of secession, and abolished slavery. Their new legislatures ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which guaranteed freedom for blacks. The Confederate debts were abandoned.