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Title: Reconstruction & Johnson’s Impeachment Original Plans of Reconstruction: Lincoln’s Plan The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, December.

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Presentation on theme: "Title: Reconstruction & Johnson’s Impeachment Original Plans of Reconstruction: Lincoln’s Plan The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, December."— Presentation transcript:


2 Title: Reconstruction & Johnson’s Impeachment

3 Original Plans of Reconstruction: Lincoln’s Plan The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, December 1863, gave forgiveness to those who pledged Union loyalty and support for emancipation. When 10% of voters had taken the oath, a new state government could be organized. The new government was required to ban slavery. This plan for readmission was known as the Ten Percent Plan. Opposition Wade-Davis Bill –In 1864, Congress wrote its own plan. –Majority of white male citizens would be required to take a loyalty oath before elections could be held. Lincoln killed the bill using a pocket veto (it passed in the last 10 days of the legislative session)

4 Lincoln’s Assassination Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865, and died the next morning. John Wilkes Booth was part of a conspiracy, and others were supposed to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. The president did not live long enough to test his wartime popularity against Congress for control of Reconstruction plans. A grief stricken nation mourned Lincoln’s death. White southerners were concerned. Lincoln’s death meant a change in Reconstruction plans and a new president. Some disliked Andrew Johnson and felt he was a traitor.

5 At war’s end, two major questions faced the reunited nation. 1) What would be the status of blacks in the postwar nation? 2) Under what conditions would the Southern states be readmitted to the Union? The newly liberated slaves, called freedmen, were primarily interested in the chance to earn wages and own property. Black leaders hoped that their service in the military would earn blacks equal rights.

6 Vice-president Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency Johnson, a Southern Democrat, had opposed secession and strongly supported Lincoln during his first term In return, Lincoln rewarded Johnson with the vice-presidency When the war ended, Congress was in recess and would not reconvene for 8 months. That left the early stages of Reconstruction entirely in Johnson’s hands.

7 Johnson’s Reconstruction plan called for the creation of provisional military governments to run the states until they were readmitted to the Union The states would have to write new constitutions eliminating slavery and renouncing secession. Required all Southern citizens to swear a loyalty oath before receiving amnesty for the rebellion Many of the former Southern elite (including plantation owners, Confederate officers, and government officials) were barred from taking that vow, thus prohibiting their participation in the new governments. Johnson did not require the states to enfranchise African Americans

8 The plan did not work because Johnson pardoned many of the Southern elite who were supposed to have been excluded from the reunification process After the states drafted new constitutions and elected new governments, former Confederate officials were again in positions of great power Furthermore, many of their new constitutions were only slight revisions of previous constitutions

9 Southern legislators also passed a series of laws defining the status of freedmen. These laws, called black codes, which: –Limited freedmen’s rights to assemble and travel –Restricted their access to public institutions –Instituted curfew laws –Passed laws requiring blacks to carry special passes In the most instances, state legislatures simply took their old slave codes and replaced the word “slaves” with “freedmen”

10 When Congress reconvened in Dec 1865, the new Southern senators included the vice- president of the Confederacy and other Confederate officials. Northern Congressmen were not pleased Invoking its constitutional right to examine the credentials of new members, Congress voted not to seat the new Southern delegation In many Southern states at the time, all Republicans agreed that Johnson’s Reconstruction needed some modification.

11 Congress was divided into three “Republican” sections: Conservative Republicans: Generally agreed with Johnson’s plan Radical Republicans: Wanted to set up a Reconstruction that punished the South –Confiscate land from the rich and redistributed it among the poor (including the freedman) –Extend democratic rights in the South Moderates: Large enough contingent to swing a vote in one or the other direction

12 Johnson refused to work with the Radicals and vetoed a compromise package that would have extending the life of the Freedman’s Bureau and enforced a uniform civil rights code on the South. Freedman’s Bureau: Government program established in 1865 to help newly liberated African Americans establish a place in postwar society –Helped with immediate problems of survival (food, housing) and developed social institutions, such as schools

13 In response, the Radicals drew up the plan that came to be known as Congressional Reconstruction, which included the 14th Amendment. The amendment: (1) prohibited states from depriving any citizen of “life, liberty, or property, without due process” –meant to override the effect of the black codes (2) gave states the choice either to give freedmen the right to vote or to stop counting them among their voting population for the purpose of Congressional apportionment –aimed to force states to either extend suffrage to black men or lose power in Congress (3) barred prominent Confederates from holding political office (4) excused the Confederacy’s war debt.


15 In the Congressional election of 1866, the North voted for a Congress more heavily weighted toward the radical end of the political spectrum. The new Congress quickly passed the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867. –It imposed martial law on the South –Called for new state constitutional conventions –Forced states to allow blacks to vote for convention delegates –Required each state to ratify the 14th Amendment and to send its new constitution to Congress for approval

16 Aware that Johnson would oppose the new Reconstruction, Congress then passed a number of laws designed to limit president’s power. Conflict reached its climax when the House Judiciary Committee initiated impeachment proceedings against Johnson When he fired the Sec. of War (Edwin Stanton), they accused him of violating the Tenure of Office Act They stated that the President had to secure the consent of the Senate before removing his appointees once they’d been approved by that body Real reason for impeachment: He was getting in the way of Reconstruction.

17 Although impeachment failed (by one vote), the trial revealed that the power of impeachment could not be abused, and he served the last few months of his presidency and retired. With a new president, Ulysses S. Grant, in office, Congress forged ahead in its efforts to remake the South. The 15th Amendment, proposed in 1869, finally required states to enfranchise black men Ironically, the 15th Amendment passed only because Southern states were required to ratify it as a condition of reentry into the Union A number of Northern states opposed the amendment

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