Reconstructing the Union

Reconstructing the
Essential Question:
Was Reconstruction a Success or a Failure?
Lincoln’s Reconstruction Plan
• Lincoln offered the South an easier route to restore the Union
• Offered amnesty to all Southerners who took an oath of loyalty to the
• When 10% of a state’s votes took the oath, the state could organize a
new government
• Lincoln did not believe that the South should be punished for its treason.
End the war “with malice toward none, with charity
for all” -Abraham Lincoln, 1865
The Radical Republicans Respond
• The Radical Republicans had 3 goals:
1. Prevent Confederacy leaders from returning to power after the war
2. See the Republican Party rise to power in the South
3. Allow the federal government help African Americans achieve political
equality by guaranteeing their right to vote in the South
“Revolutionize Southern institutions, habits & manners”
- Senator Charles Sumner, Massachusetts
Wade Davis Bill, 1864
• Moderate Republicans were caught between President Lincoln and the
• In the Summer of 1864, they introduced a bill as an alternative to Lincoln’s
• Majority of males in Confederacy take a loyalty oath, then each state could hold
constitutional conventions to create new state governments
• Each convention must do 3 things:
1. Abolish slavery
2. Reject Confederacy debt
3. Forbid former Confederate officers and officials from voting or holding office.
Johnson Takes Office
• Following Lincoln’s Assassination, Andrew Johnson, a Southern Democrat,
became President.
• He offered his “restoration program” and immediately too action.
1. Pardoned all Confederate citizens who took the loyalty oath
2. Although he excluded former officers and officials, many of those men still were
elected to public office. Congress refused to seat former Confederates in Congress.
Republicans Take Control
• In 1865, Republicans join forces to develop their own program.
• Civil Rights Act of 1866: granted citizenship to all born in US except Native
Americans, granted right to own property & be treated equal in court.
• 14th Amendment: prohibits government from taking away “life, liberty or
property” without “due process.
**Both acts were in response to Southern Black Codes which severely limited
African American rights & created conditions similar to slavery.**
Military Reconstruction Act
Reconstruction Act of 1867
• The Act divided the South into 5 military districts.
• A Union general was in charge of each district
• Each state held new constitutional conventions where they were required to
1. Give the right to vote to all adult males, regardless of race
2. Ratify the 14th amendment
• In order to restrict Johnson’s power to refuse to enforce the Act, Congress
took harsh action against the President
• Congress passed the Army Act & Tenure of Office Act.
• Johnson had to send all Army orders through Army Headquarters and could not fire
officials without Congress’s approval
• Johnson defied Congress by firing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and was
• Johnson was not removed from his office and finished his term quietly