Reconstruction (1865-1877)

  • Rebel leaders pardoned by President Andrew Johnson 1868. Southern economy in ruins - banks & businesses closed, factories vacated, transportation broken down, agriculture crippled, South retained bad attitudes.
  • Slaves free! Many Souther slave owners protested, some slaves showed loyalty and stayed with masters, some ran free (and opened a can of whoop-ass on their masters in revenge). Families reunited, black churches established (AME - African Methodist Episcopal). Education: development of black schoolhouses.
  • Congress created Freedmen's Bureau 1865 - welfare agency (provided food, clothing, medical care, and education to freedmen and po' whites). Run by Oliver O. Howard. Bureau expired in 1872.
  • In 1863, Lincoln had claimed a "10% Reconstruction Plan" : a state could be reintegrated with he Union when 10% of voters (from election of 1860) pledged oath to the US and emancipation. Very soft on South.
  • 1864 Congress made Wade-Davis Bill: 50% of voters had to take oath. Lincoln didn't sign it.
  • Johnson recognized 10% plan and issued Reconstruction Proclamation in 1865 - disfranchised leading Confederates, states required to repeal secession ordinances, ratified 13th amendment, and disowned Confed. debts.
  • Black Codes: made to ensure a stable and subservient labor force from the blacks :(
  • Congress passed 14th amendment: Civil Rights Bill. -> Conferred civil rights and citizenship on freedmen, reduced representation of a state if it denied blacks the vote, disqualified former Confederates from office, and guaranteed federal debt.
  • Radical Republicans: Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens wanted to keep South out as long as possible. Moderate Republicans preferred restraining states from abridging citizen's rights over federal government to individuals. 1867 both factions agreed blacks needed the vote!
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867 - divided South into 5 military districts, commanded and policed by Union soldiers and disfranchised thousands of former Confederates. Required states to ratify 14th amendment.
  • 15th amendment 1869 - Black suffrage (ratified 1870)
  • 1866 Ex parte Milligan - Supreme Court ruled that military tribunals could not try citizens (right of habeas corpus during peace time)
  • 1867 Congress passed Tenure of Office Act (president could not remove federal officials without permission of Senate). Andrew Johnson dismissed Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton 1868. House voted to impeach Johnson for "high crimes and misdemeanors" because he violated the Tenure of Office Act. Voted not guilty by one vote. Not removed.

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