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Civil War in 1877 - Course of Reconstruction

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Reconstruction is the name given to the period at the end of the Civil War in 1877 when the last federal troops were pulled out of the South. Although the real process of reconstruction could not begin until the war ended, attempts at restoring the union were begun long before that. Since Abraham Lincoln believed that the South had never legally withdrawn from the Union, restoration was to be relatively simple. In his plan for restoring the union, the southern states could be reintegrated into the Union if and when they had only 10% of its voters pledge and taken an oath to the Union, and also acknowledge the emancipation of the slaves; it was appropriately called the Ten Percent Plan. Like the loving father who welcomed back the prodigal son, Lincoln's plan was very forgiving to the South. The Radical Republicans felt punishment was due the South for all the years of strife. They feared that the leniency of the 10 % Plan would allow the Southerners to re-enslave the newly freed Blacks, so they rammed the Wade-Davis Bill through Congress. It required 50% of the states' voters to take oaths of allegiance and demanded stronger safeguards for emancipation than the 10% Plan. However, Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill by letting it expire, and the 10% Plan remained. It became clear that there were now two types of Republicans: the moderates, who shared the same views as Lincoln and the radicals, who believed the South should be harshly punished. When Andrew Johnson took power, the radicals thought that he would do what they wanted, but he soon proved them wrong by basically taking Lincoln's policy and issuing his own Reconstruction proclamation: certain leading Confederates were disfranchised (right to vote removed), the Confederate debt was repudiated, and states had to ratify the 13th Amendment. During the war, without the Democrats, the Republicans had passed legislation that had favored the North, such as the Morrill Tariff, the Pacific Railroad Act, and the Homestead Act, so now, many Republicans didn't want to give up the power that they had gained in the war. Northerners now realized that the South would be stronger politically than before, since now, Blacks counted for a whole person instead of just 3/5 of one, and Republicans also feared that the Northern and Southern Democrats would join and take over Congress and the White House and institute their Black Codes over the nation, defeating all that the Civil War gained. Johnson repeatedly vetoed Republican-passed bills, such as a bill extending the life of the Freedman's Bureau, and he also vetoed the Civil Rights Bill, which conferred on blacks the privilege of American citizenship and struck at the Black Codes. As Republicans gained control of Congress, they passed the bills into laws with a 2/3 vote and thus override Johnson's veto. In the 14th Amendment, the Republicans sought to instill the same ideas of the Civil Rights Bill: (1) all Blacks were American citizens,



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