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Reconstruction. Essay

963 words - 4 pages

After the Civil War, the United States entered an era of complete pandemonium. After the long and arduous war, the country was lead into a more grueling reconstruction. Different beliefs and backgrounds became an obstacle along with opposing ideas upon what to do with this "new" country. New amendments to the Constitution were necessary to ensure equality among all men. With all of these predicaments in the way, one could only wish for a success.Different opinions on what to do with the south made it difficult to agree on one single decision. Abraham Lincoln, whose main goal since the start of the War was to preserve the Union, had this idea of offering and amnesty to all southerners who pledged an oath to the nation, excluding a few high ranking Confederate officers. He determined that when ten percent of a state's voters had taken the oath, Congress should readmit that state. When Lincoln was assassinated and Johnson succeeded him, he had his own thoughts. He felt that each southern state should abolish slavery, repeal its ordinance of secession, and pay all of its war debts. Only then should the state be readmitted. Every state except for Texas complied. The Radical Republicans on the other hand, felt that Congress should be the one taking over the Reconstruction policies, since it was made mostly of Radical Republicans. Thinking that Johnson's ideas were far too lenient, this party had the sternest plan. They tried to pass the Wade-Davis Bill of 1864, which would put the south under military rule and once the majority of a states electorate swore the loyalty oath, then readmission would be granted. However, Lincoln destroyed this bill with a pocket veto (Encyclopedia Americana). While opinions on how to readmit states to the Union varied, that was not the only decision leaders came to argue about.Since all blacks were freed for the first time, questions upon what to do with them also became an issue. Lincoln supported the idea of colonization of free blacks into Africa and the Caribbean. However, the African Americans did not like this plan because America was their home, not any other place. He also thought that if African American men could read and write and served in the Union army, they could vote. Johnson felt that the issue of black status should be left up to the states individually. Yet the Radical Republicans felt that the south could not be trusted with the status of blacks. Southern state legislature passed black codes that limited the rights of blacks and made it so they maintained a subordinate position. The northerners were clearly outraged by these codes which gave African Americans barely any more rights than they had when enslaved. To guarantee equality among whites and blacks alike, amendments to the Constitution became a must. Ratified in 1865, "the Thirteenth Amendment states that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude...shall exist in the United...

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