The Reconstruction Era of the United States was a period of time following the American Civil War, during which the country sought to rebuild and heal. The era is often associated with President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated shortly after the war ended.
Reconstruction was a difficult and sometimes violent process, as communities across the country struggled to rebuild their lives and homes. But out of this chaos came some of the most important advances in American history, including the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.
Today, the Reconstruction Era is remembered as a time of great progress, even though it was also a time of great turmoil. It is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, we can always find hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you for learning about this important time in American history.
The Civil War came to an end in 1865, with the Union triumphantly conquering the secessionist southern states. However, every conclusion brings about new beginnings, which is why we’re now in the middle of a new chapter in American history: The Reconstruction. From 1865 through 1877, America was experiencing a period known as Reconstruction. The Confederate States were eventually rejoined to the United States during this time.
This was done by creating new state governments, ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment, and enforcing civil rights laws.
Reconstruction was a time of great hope and progress for America. It was also a time of turmoil and violence. The people of the United States were trying to rebuild their country after a devastating Civil War. At the same time, they were dealing with the problems of slavery and racism.
The Reconstruction era began with the end of the Civil War in 1865. President Abraham Lincoln had been working on a plan to reunite the country. However, he was assassinated before he could put his plan into action.
Vice President Andrew Johnson became president after Lincoln’s death. Johnson was from Tennessee and he sympathized with the South. He believed that the states should be allowed to govern themselves.
This did not sit well with Congress, which was controlled by the Radical Republicans. The Radicals were northerners who wanted to punish the South for its role in the Civil War. They also wanted to ensure that African Americans would have equal rights.
Congress passed a series of laws known as the Reconstruction Acts. These laws placed the southern states under military rule. They also gave African Americans the right to vote and hold office.
Reconstruction was a difficult time for America. There was much disagreement between the different groups of people. However, it was also a time when America made great progress toward becoming a more united country.
In the days immediately preceding General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th, 1865, which formally concluded the war, debate raged in Congress and across the nation about whether Confederate states would be accepted back into the Union on strict or generous terms. One of the most common worries was what part the federal government would play in reconstructing the political, economic, and social fabrics of the south.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, who was assassinated 5 days after Lee’s surrender, had his own plan of reconstruction. He wanted to offer amnesty to all southerners who would take an oath of loyalty to the Union. His “10% Plan” stated that once 10% of a state’s 1860 voting population had taken this loyalty oath, the state could then form its own government. States would also need to ratify the 13th amendment which abolished slavery.
Lincoln’s assassination put Vice President Andrew Johnson in charge of reconstruction. He continued with Lincoln’s 10% Plan but also allowed former confederate leaders to have a role in their state governments as long as they swore loyalty to the Union and ratified the 13th amendment.
Not all southerners were happy with these lenient terms, however, and many northerners thought they were too lenient. In response to this, Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 which placed the former Confederate states under military rule. New state constitutions were to be written and ratified that would enfranchise African American men. The 14th and 15th amendments were also to be ratified.
The Reconstruction era was a time of great social, political, and economic change in the United States. The Union victory in the Civil War and the subsequent abolition of slavery led to a new constitutional framework under which the nation was governed. This period saw the rise of new leaders in the South who worked to rebuild the region.
At the same time, African Americans gained increased rights and freedoms, although these were not always respected by those in power. The Reconstruction era came to an end in 1877 with the withdrawal of federal troops from the South. This marked a return to white rule in the region and signaled the beginning of a new era in American history.
The South had changed dramatically as a consequence of the war. In this new economic environment, the newly liberated slaves sought to subsist while attempting to coexist with an often hostile and resentful white population. The country was left riven by bitterness. Abraham Lincoln, the president, felt that the South had already been severely punished and advocated for Rehabilitation’s less stringent tactics.
This was not a unanimous belief. Radical Republicans, who were strong in the North, wanted to make sure that Reconstruction led to fundamental changes in Southern society, including guarantees of civil and voting rights for African Americans.
Lincoln was assassinated before he could see his plans for Reconstruction through. His successor, Andrew Johnson, shared Lincoln’s views on leniency towards the South. Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction was much more moderate than that of the Radicals. He pardoned most former Confederates and allowed Southern states to write their own black codes, which limited the freedoms of African Americans.
The Radicals in Congress eventually came to blows with Johnson over his handling of Reconstruction and started impeachment proceedings against him. The Radicals eventually won out and Congress took control of Reconstruction. Under Radical Reconstruction, African Americans made great strides. They were elected to office in unprecedented numbers, and some states even ratified the Fifteenth Amendment, which guaranteed voting rights regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
However, by the late 1870s, Reconstruction had come to an end. White supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan used violence and intimidation to keep African Americans from exercising their newly won rights. Many Northerners grew tired of what they saw as a costly and unsuccessful experiment in social engineering. In 1877, the last federal troops were withdrawn from the South, marking the official end of Reconstruction.
The ten percent plan was implemented by Lincoln with the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. The ten percent plan called for pardons to be given to any Confederate who had not held a civil position but would promise to uphold the Constitution and the Union. Once ten% of the population in each state took an oath, they would be allowed back into the union.
The plan also allowed for new state governments to be formed, with the exception of Virginia, which was readmitted without a constitutional convention. The state legislatures would then be responsible for ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment, which would abolish slavery.
Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865 by John Wilkes Booth put Reconstruction efforts into the hands of his vice president, Andrew Johnson. A Tennessean and former slaveholder, Johnson favored a quick reunion of the states and was much more lenient towards the Confederates than Lincoln had been.
He continued Lincoln’s ten percent plan, but required that all officeholders take an additional oath of loyalty to the Union. He also granted general amnesty to all Confederates who swore this oath. In addition, Johnson allowed the former Confederate states to write their own black codes, which were laws that limited the freedom of African Americans.
The Radical Republicans in Congress were outraged by Johnson’s leniency towards the Confederates and his endorsement of the black codes. They began to impeach him in 1868, but he was acquitted by one vote in the Senate. The Radicals then turned their attention to passing a series of laws known as the Reconstruction Acts, which placed the former Confederate states under military rule. The Reconstruction Acts also called for new state constitutions that would guarantee civil rights for African Americans.