The Importance of the Rise and Fall of Reconstruction in the South.
Abraham Lincoln’s original idea of reconstruction of the south is a hotly-debated topic that often has many divided opinions. The compromise of 1877 and the removal of the federal troops ended reconstruction, but not in the way former president Abraham Lincoln had hoped for. America moved from Lincoln’s idealism to pro-business, and an anti-government way of thinking in the 1870’s to the 1880’s. And then moved onto many vast changes that took place in America between 1865 and 1890.
During the Civil war, many states felt that Lincoln’s goal was to overlook states rights and take away their power to own slaves. In result, many states were seceding from the union. After the civil war was over, Lincoln announced the emancipation proclamation. Lincoln wanted to restructure the U.S. and get the south back into the union. In all of Lincoln’s efforts to reform the union, he came up with the 10% plan. The 10% plan required at least 10% of the state to agree that they wanted to be back into the union. Sadly, Lincoln didn’t see through to his plan of reconstruction to the south. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, at the Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Johnson became president after the assassination of Lincoln. President Johnson was an old-fashioned Democrat from the south. He favored swift restoration of the seceded states to the union. Johnson tried to continue Lincoln’s plan to try and reconstruct the south. He exonerated everyone who would take a pledge of allegiance. Congress was not in session in the early months of 1865. Johnson’s plans didn’t give protection to the former slaves. There were many radical republicans in congress at the time of Johnson’s presidency, Johnson was no match for them. Congress met in the later months of 1865 when most southern states were reconstructed. Slavery was beginning to become abolished. Many republican in Congress moved fast to change Johnson’s plans. The Republicans passed laws placing limitations on the president, because of this president Johnson was impeached by the Senate in the spring of 1868.
Thaddeus Stevens was a radical republican, and a Pennslyvania congressman who was a member of the United States House of Representatives. Stevens opposed Lincoln’s reconstruction plan for the south because he thought the plan was too lenient. Stevens revoked Johnson’s reconstruction plan and passed civil rights legislation and the 14th amendment. Stevens was honestly committed to black social equality. Stevens had a congressional reconstruction plan to place the south under the military ownership and to give black men the right to vote. Stevens led the congressional movement to impeach Johnson, but the political battles of the reconstruction had taken their toll on him.
There was a meeting on January 12, 1865, in Savannah Georgia. Union general William Sherman was one of many who attended, William Sherman was known as a racist. Sherman set aside a portion of South Carolina and the Georgia coast ranging 30 miles inland for black settlement. This plan confiscated the land from southerners who had deserted their own land. Sherman’s plan gave each black family 40 acres of land and 1 mule. By June of that same year, 40,000 freedmen were settled on 400,000 acres of land. For Sherman land confiscation was crucial to change the south.
In conclusion, reconstruction brought the end of legalized slavery and citizenship for former slaves. Their new found political power was taken away within a decade, and they became second-class citizens under a system of segregation that would stand for the next 80-90 years.