Plans for Reconstruction
Johnny’s plan envisioned Pardons that would be granted to those taking a loyalty oath but No pardons would be available to high Confederate officials and persons vowing property allude in excess of $20,000. Also, a state needed to abolish slavery before being readmitted and a State was required to repeal its secession ordinance before being readmitted. Most of the seceded states began compliance with the president’s program.Congress was not in session, so there was no immediate objection from that quarter. However, Congress reconvened in December and refused to seat the Southern representatives. May of 1 865, just six weeks after taking office, President Andrew Johnson revealed his Reconstruction plan.
Johnson hoped to form new state governments from hose loyal to the Union and issued an amnesty proclamation plan for the restoration of North Carolina.Johnny’s main goal was to limit the political power of rebel leaders, to protect the former slaves and plan for their social and economic advancement, and to establish black suffrage (voting rights). Johnson did this by renewing the Freedman’s Bureau charter. The Freedman’s Bureau was created by the U. S. Congress near the end of the Civil War as an agency to deal with the enormous humanitarian crisis brought about by the war. The Freedman’s Bureau was envisioned as an agency wielding enormous power over the South.
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An editorial in the New York Times published on February 9, 1 865, when the original bill for the creation of the bureau was being introduced in Congress, said the proposed agency would be: ‘ separate department, responsible alone to the President, and supported by military power from him, to take charge of the abandoned and forfeited lands of the rebels, settle them with freedmen, guard the interests of these latter, aid in adjusting wages, in enforcing contracts, and in protecting these unfortunate people from injustice, and securing them their liberty. The task before such an agency would be immense. The four million newly freed blacks in the South were mostly uneducated and illiterate (as a result of laws regulating slavery), and a major focus of the Freedman’s Bureau would be setting up schools to educate former slaves. An emergency system of feeding the population was also an immediate problem, and food rations would be distributed to the starving. It has been estimated that the Freedman’s Bureau distributed 21 million food rations, with five million being given to white southerners.The program of redistributing land, which was an original goal for the Freedmen ‘s Bureau, was thwarted by presidential orders. The promise of Forty Acres and a Mule, which many freedmen believed they would receive from the U.
S. Government, went unfulfilled. Throughout the South, where most of the fighting had taken place, cities and towns were devastated. The economic system was virtually nonexistent, railroads had been destroyed, and farms had been neglected or destroyed. And four million recently freed slaves were faced with new realities of life.On March 3, 1865, the Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Commonly known as the Freedman’s Bureau, its original charter was for one ear, though it was reorganized within the war department in July 1866.
Congress also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1 866 which granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States “without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude. ” President Andrew Johnny’s veto of the bill was overturned by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, and the bill became law.Johnny’s attitude contributed the growth of the Radical Republican movement, which favored increased intervention in the South and ore aid to former slaves, and ultimately to Johnny’s impeachment. After this Congress drafted and then ratified the 14th amendment in 1 868, shortly after the Civil War. It was created primarily to ensure that the rights former slaves (freed by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1 865) would be protected throughout the nation. The need for the Amendment was great because up to this time, the provisions of the Bill of Rights were not enforceable against state governments.This was due to the case of Barron v.
Baltimore (1835). In this case, the IS. S. Supreme Court held that the provisions of the Bill of Rights ere only enforceable against the federal government (and not against state governments) due to the federal structure of the nation. Therefore, without a Constitutional Antifundamentalist federal intervention in the affairs Of the states, states hostile to the interests of the newly freed slaves might still legally discriminate against or persecute them. Johnny’s plan excluded southerners for many reasons.Johnson granted a general amnesty (pardon) to rebels who would sign a loyalty oath, except political and military leaders of the Confederacy and those Southerners whose property had a value greater than $20,000.
Even they could apply for special pardons, which Johnson granted regularly. He appointed provincial governors and set forth conditions that the reorganized state governments must meet. But these conditions were minimal because Johnson took a limited view of the goals of the war and what the federal government could require afterwards.The Union victory in the Civil War in 1 865 may have given some 4 million slaves their freedom, but the process of rebuilding the South during the Reconstruction period (1865-1877) introduced a new set Of significant challenges. Under the administration of President Andrew Johnson in 1865 and 1 866, new southern Tate legislatures passed restrictive “black codes” to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans. Outrage in the North over these codes eroded support for the approach known as Presidential Reconstruction and led to the triumph of the more radical wing of the Republican Party.During Radical Reconstruction, which began in 1 867, newly enfranchised blacks gained a voice in government for the first time in American history, winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.
S. Congress. In less than a decade, however, reactionary ores-including the UK Klux Klan-would reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a violent backlash that restored white supremacy in the South. Andrew Johnson left decisions about black suffrage to the states. In the summer and fall of 1865, the provisional governors carried out their duties, including arranging for the election of representatives to Congress.His Plan for Reconstruction left many Northerners questioning his plan, especially after the beginning of 1866. The Northerners doubted the fitness of the Southern States for readmission because of the countless reports of violence against blacks and their white supporters, the passing of laws unfair to blacks, and the frequent election of former Confederate leaders.
When Congress met in December of 1 865, they rejected Johnny’s plan and would not seat the newly elected Southern congressmen. This is because some congressmen criticized Johnny’s plan.From February 1866 Through March 1867, Congress and the president argued over a number of bills designed to replace Johnny’s plan. Congress pushed through several of these bills, even when Johnson vetoed them. One of the bills continued the Freedman’s Bureau, which assisted the former slaves. The Civil Rights Act provided broad federal protection for civil rights. Johnson thought it was wrong to pass such laws when the South was not represented.
He believed such subjects were not appropriate concerns of the federal government.In June 1 866, Congress passed the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment defined American citizenship for the first time, including blacks in that definition. It also laid a basis for far-reaching changes in the relationship of state and federal governments to the individual. In addition, the amendment barred former rebels from holding political office. Johnson strongly objected to the 4th Amendment, though the president has no official function in the constitutional amending process. Johnson decided to present his view to the people before the congressional elections of 1866.
Johnson traveled through the Eastern and Midwestern states. This trip began well for Johnson, but ended badly. The president lost his temper when hecklers tried to break up his meetings. His remarks sometimes lacked dignity and restraint. Newspapers exaggerated the situation, one reporting the president was “touched with insanity stimulated with drink . ” The elections gave the Radicals a majority in Congress. Johnson and Congress argued over the way construction should be done but in the end Congress succeed and Johnson was impeached.