Explain the issues facing the nation during Reconstruction.
The abolishment of slavery during the first several years post-civil war was a big adjustment to the United States of America. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed during this war and reconstruction seemed like an inevitable plan of action. There was an array of issues that needed to be addressed during this time including political, emotional, and physical issues. The South needed to be readmitted to the electorate, but both Democrats and Republicans believed doing so would reunite the Democrats and weaken the Republicans. "In addition, the Republican Party had taken advantage of the South`s absence from Congress to pass a program of nationalistic economic legislation- raillroad subsidies, protective tariffs, banking and currency reforms, and other measures to benefit Northern business leaders and industrialists. Should the Democratic Party regain power with heavy Southern support, these programs would be in jeopardy" (Brinkley 402). The political problems only strained the emotion toll the civil war took on Americans. Southerns felt betrayed and defeated, while Northerns wanted their southern neighbors to be punished for their rebellion.
Lincoln had an initial, lenient plan of reconstruction, but he never got to carry this plan of action out as he was killed on April 14, 1865. The new president, Andrew Johnson, had a new plan for reconstruction. "For each state, the president appointed a provisional governor, who was to invite qualified voters to elect delegates to a constitutional convention. [...] In order to win readmission to Congress,a state had to revoke its ordinance of secession, abolish slavery, ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, and repudiate the Confederate and state war debts" (Brinkley 404). He gave entirely too much power to the States which did little for the now-free African Americans in the Southern States. "Black Codes" were enforced in many of these states enraging the North. The codes put restriction on African American`s and reinforced their position in the labor force. Johnson also vetoed bills such as the Freedmen’s Bureau and Civil Rights Bills, which stirred things up because they were both laws to ensure equality among all American citizens. Eventually Congress overrode his vetoes and impeached the president.
Impeachment of Johnson did not solve all the issues our nation was still facing. Groups such as the Klu Klux Klan violently targeted blacks and Republican leaders. Racism was still potent in both the North and the South and would be for decades to come. The reconstruction plan gradually culminated during the 1870`s.
The reconstruction period in history refers back to the 1863 to 1877. When the confederacy was destroyed with slavery, America tried to solve the legacy of the Civil war. There were still some issues to prevent America reconstruction, which proposed the separate states how to return the south, confederate leaders of civil status as well as legal of the black freemen project solution. “It had authority to operate for only one year; and in any case it was far too small to deal effectively with the enormous problems facing Southern society. By the time the war ended, other proposals for reconstructing the defeated South were emerging” (Brinkley, 402). These issues caused a serious debate, which how to deal with these problem and solve them. By the late 1870s, rebuild failed to integrate black equality in law, political, economic and social. “Reconstruction was determined not just by social realities or ideals. It was also determined by partisan politics. The terms by which the Southern states rejoined the Union had important implications for both major political parties”(Brinkley, 402). There were two issues caused reconstruction, which are the death of Lincoln and “black code”. Lincoln was plan for reconstruction before he died. Also, North angered about Lincoln’s assassination, because of that, it losses a lot resources and human; it affect severe policy demands. Andre Johnson was a hard-liner, who was “an intemperate and tactless man, he doesn’t agree freedom of slavery, unwilling to support any plans that guaranteed them civil equality or enfranchisement. He said: White men alone must manage the South”(Brinkley, 404). Southern states government mandate restrictive “Black code”; these laws were to give the right of free more African Americans before the Civil War. Southern owner was afraid because it may cause loss a lot of essential labour. Among all the provisions, they decided to tight limits for black employment rights, because of freedmen’s bureau to provide legal protection for black. Thus, the effectiveness of these laws was limit. They finally passed the civil rights act in 1866. “Then, in April 1866, Congress passed the ﬁrst Civil Rights Act, which declared African Americans to be citizens of the United States and gave the federal government power to intervene in state affairs to protect the rights of citizens. Johnson vetoed both bills, but Congress overrode him on each of them”(Brinkley, 405).
The Civil War began on April 14, 1861, lasted four years in which more than 600,000 Americans were died and more were injured over a fight that both sides were very compassionate about, slavery (Brinkley 397). After the North’s victory it fell upon the government to begin the “Reconstruction” era of this country and how to deal with the people of the South. The decision on how to best deal with the Southern states was divided from harsh to minimal treatment. “Many Northerners believed the South should be punished in some way for the suffering and sacrifice its rebellion caused”(Brinkley 403). There was disagreement in Congress on how to bring the country back to being unified, but Lincoln believed in a lenient Reconstruction policy would the best action (Brinkley 403). In 1863, Lincoln had a plan that offered general amnesty to white Sothern’s, except those who were high officials in the Confederacy, and would pledge their loyalty to the government, as well accept the end of slavery (Brinkely403). Many Radical Republicans did not agree with Lincoln’s program, the Wade Davis Bill was passed in Congress, it made a more complicated process for a state to rejoin the Union and that left it up to the state on where African Americans had any political rights (Brinkley 403). Lincoln disposed of the bill with a pocket veto, which angered the Radical leaders; so he began a move to incorporated some the their demands (Brinkley 403). On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln (Brinkley 403). Booth was an avid advocate of the Southern cause; many Northerners believed the murder was a great conspiracy directed by shameless leaders of the South (Brinkley 404). Andrew Johnson became the next president, but was a poor replacement for Lincoln. He was openly hostile to freed slaves, unwilling to support plans to give them civil equality and enfranchisement (Brinkley404). “In the South state legislatures passed laws called “Black Codes”, which gave whites substantial control over former slaves”(Brinkley405). To counteract the “Black Codes” Congress passed the first Civil Rights Act, which declared that African Americans were citizens of the United States and gave the federal government power to protect the rights of citizens; Johnson vetoed the bill, but Congress overrode him (Brinkely405). “The Reconstruction made some important contributions to the efforts of former slaves to achieve dignity and equality, but in the end the United States abandoned its first serious effort to resolve the nation’s oldest and deepest problem, the problem of race”