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Reconstruction of the South - Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction

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Presidential and Congressional reconstruction

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, on April 15, 1865 in the theatre in Washington, DC. Immediately after, the office was given to Andrew Johnson, from Tennessee. Johnson the so-called "accidental president" didn't take long to announce his ideas about the south, failing to consider advice from the congress.

After returning to the capitol in December, being gone throughout the summer and fall, they came to realize that the new President and confederates were highly worried about the already set and decided reconstruction. Confederates were choking at even the smallest requirements, let alone the big changes. The government throughout the south created a concept of laws called black codes, which was a parody to black freedom. These codes were sought to discriminate against the slaves. They also banned blacks from jury duty, the right to vote and in no single state was granted any black, no matter how high of class they were. The legislators hurried freedmen back to the plantations, as they encountered the death of slavery. Johnson truly believed that this path would make him greater politically. In the fall elections of 1865, the mood of the white changed greatly. However, they assumed that because the president was willing to accept their opinions, the republicans accepted it as well. The majority of the Republican Party wanted assurance that slavery had came to an end. They however, we not big fans of the black equality either.

Early 1866, the republican's produced two bills. The first bill was called the freedman's Bureau, which extended the life of the agency made by the previous congress. President Andrew Johnson wasn't hesitant to veto this bill. The second bill was called The Civil Rights Act, which required the end of legal discrimination in state laws and it represented an expansion of black rights. Johnson vetoed this bill as well. In April 1866, the Republican Party pushed the civil rights bill through congress for the second time and this time over road the presidential veto. Johnson would not budge on constitutional issues or policies, republicans' responded by amending the constitution. June 1866, congress passes the 4th amendment, which states that all native born persons are American citizens and prohibits states from depriving of life liberty of property without due process of law. It protected blacks against violation by the southern state governments. This amendment gave the blacks the right to vote, but not the women. Johnson made the 14th amendment the overriding issue of the 1866 elections. Johnsons strategy had a setback when whites in southern cities rampaged against blacks. The elections resulted in a republican victory. When Johnson urdged southerners to reject the amendment, every state besides Tennessee. March 1867, the congress overturned state government

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