Civil War Reconstruction

Topics: American Civil War, Black people, African American Pages: 5 (1588 words) Published: January 28, 2013
The Civil War arose from many conflicts but the main conflict was slavery. The issue of slavery would be the debate in Congress for several years. Slavery was abolished but separation of races and equal rights for all was never carried out. These conflicts were trying to be solved in the period called Reconstruction for 1860 to 1877. Although they tried to resolve these issues they never did, so Reconstruction failed the African Americans.

Reconstruction was after the civil war, where the country needed to become whole again and be one nation as it was before. The nation faced many questions such as who would rule the federal government, what are the limits of the newly freed slaves freedom, and would reconstruction preserve the old republic or form a new republic(Norton 421).

Lincoln had wanted to keep the union together at any cost but the circumstances set, such as slavery, caused the Civil War. Lincoln feared that the war would end but would still have units of soldiers leading resistant movements in the South(Norton 421). Lincoln planned to have “a swift and moderate Reconstruction”(Norton 421). Lincoln planned to pardon all the Confederates except those of the highest rank and each state had to have ten-percent of their voters take the oath in order to re-join the union(Norton 421). Lincoln and Congress did not agree on how to deal with the South, Congress wanted much harsher punishments on the South. Many saw that the South had become a foreign nation and should be treated as so(Norton 422). Congress had passed the Wade- Davis Bill in 1864 that outlined that Southern states needed a majority of white males vote in the new government, state delegates had to take an “iron clad” oath, and the soldiers higher than the rank of lieutenant were not considered a citizen of the United States but Lincoln vetoed the bill(Norton 422). Lincoln and Congress debated about the issue of Reconstruction from 1864-1865(Norton 422). Congress and Lincoln agreed that slavery was the main cause of the Civil War. Congress passed the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery in the United States and congress has the right to enforce this legislation(Norton 422).

Once Lincoln was assassinated Reconstruction took a completely different route than Lincoln had planned. Johnson had much harsher terms in store and often criticized the Southern aristocrats (Norton 427). Johnson did not uphold this policy though, he began pardoning many Southern aristocrats and leading rebels(Norton 429). Johnson became known as the Southern hero and many saw the reason why he began changing his views was because he needed southern support for the next presidential election(Norton 429). Johnson also called Reconstruction over after just eight months(Norton 429).

Congress had its own plan and differing views on how to carry out Reconstruction. Congress interpreted the Constitution as they have the right to make polices concerning reconstruction(Norton 429). Congress had made a compromise between Johnson that would extend the Freedmen’s Bureau and would have a policy that counteracted the Black Codes. Johnson vetoed the bill, which proved his racism and Congress overruled the veto and made the compromise law(Norton 431). The congressional reconstruction provided the most significant amendment of the time, it prohibited states from not allowing the same privileges to all and could not take a person right o due process away and equal protection for all(Norton 431) .

Reconstruction failed to protect the newly freed slaves. Many Southern states had placed “Black Codes”. This codes had placed strict laws on the African Americans such as not being able to quit a job and keep their wages and not being allowed to carry firearms(Black Codes). The freed Blacks had nothing to begin with, “I lost my house. My son give me one room, and he paying the debt off now. It's hard for colored folks to keep anything”(Guidon). Also “They won't give me the pensions, and I don't...
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