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Reconstruction Era (1865 1877) Essay

1432 words - 6 pages

After the Confederate South was defeated by the Union North in the civil war, there was much time needed for rebuilding and shaping of the Union. This time period in history is known as the Reconstruction Era. After the Union won the civil war in 1865, it became their responsibility to begin the reconstruction of the United States. The Reconstruction Era started at the end of the Civil War in 1865 and ended with the Compromise of 1877. The goals of the Reconstruction Era were to reunite the Southern states into the Union and to ensure the civil rights and freedom of the former slaves in the south.Many different plans from different political views were proposed to help and heal the south after the war. President Abraham Lincoln had a plan of his own. Lincolns plan was called the 10% plan. His plan was to allow the southern states back into the Union at a quick pace. The requirements of the plan to allow states back into the Union were that the south had to accept defeat of the civil war, eliminate slavery and allow African American education, not allow any Confederate officers into political power, and swear allegiance to the Union and to the Constitution. If 10% of the voters complied, the state would be re-established back into the Union. Lincoln also believed that the former southern slaves should continue to be free. However, he did not feel that that should have the same civil rights as the whites. His plan did allow a small percentage of the educated former slaves to be a part of the voting process. The Radical Republicans felt that Lincoln was being far too easy on the South. They felt that the south needed to be punished. The radicals believed that the former slaves deserved equal rights and that it was the duty of the congress to set the terms of readmission into the Union for Southern States. Before President Lincoln and Congress could come up with a compromise, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Fords Theater. Lincolns plan had failed.After President Lincoln was assassinated Andrew Johnson took over and became President. He too was a republican. He came from a very poor background and upbringing. He had two major enemies. The southern slave owners were one which he believed that they were the cause of the Civil War and the slaves themselves. He believed that the slaves were inferior and had no right to vote. President Andrew Johnson had is own plan to help rebuild the south after the Civil War. Johnson planned to quickly return the Southern states back into the Union. He believed that slavery should be abolished; however, former slaves would have no equal rights or the right to vote. He wanted poor southern whites to have political power in the south. He hated the former slave owners and did not want them to gain any power at all. He offered a loyalty oath that white southerners could take to regain their civil and political rights and to have all property restored to them except for their former slaves. This oath would not be...

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