Essay: The goal of Lincoln and the Congress during the War

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  • Published on: January 19, 2020
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  • The goal of Lincoln and the Congress during the War
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During the war, the goal of Lincoln and the Congress was to let the Confederate states establish new state governments. To succeed, Lincoln imagined a plan that was based on forgiveness and to be sure it will work he created the Ten-Percent Plan. This simple plan was a United States presidential proclamation that consisted that a southern state could be reintegrated within the Union if 10 percent of voters rolls from the election of 1860 promise to an Oath Of Allegiance to the Union. Lincoln therefore decided to publish the Proclamation in 1863 to show the country that its purpose was to reunite the United States again. He wanted to believe that this proclamation would rally the support of the North for war. However, the Ten-Percent Plan was not so much alike a reconstruction plan, but more like a political maneuver. Lincoln did not like the atmosphere of war between the North and the South, because he knew that if it would last too long, they would never reunify. He then wanted to end it quickly.

Wade-Davis Bill
The Radical Republicans, the founders of the Wade-Davis Bill, were against the Ten-Percent Plan, because they thought it was too mild, too gentle for a good and durable reconstruction. This is why Senator Benjamin F. Wade and Representative Henry Winter Davis proposed something similar than the Ten-Percent plan except it would not be ten, but 50. It’s in 1864 that Wade and Davis, members of the Radical Republicans, that proposed this plan which consisted that if 50 percent of state’s white males take a loyalty oath, they would be readmitted to the Union. Not only that, if the states would agree, they have to give blacks the right to vote. However, because Lincoln was still president of the country, he refused to develop on the Wade-Davis bill so his Ten-Percent plan can be put in action.

Johnson’s Presidential Reconstruction
President Andrew Johnson believed that the states would have to repeal their secession and abolish slavery in his plan of Reconstruction. Andrew Johnson supported the position of the Union, but he still believed that slaves did not have the ability to excel in education or any other aspect. Therefore, his plan included that slaves could have no role in the politics of the South, and this is what caused problems between Johnson’s presidency and the Northerners. President Andrew Johnson implemented a pardon policy to pardon all white Southerners except Confederate leaders and wealthy planters, even though they ended up being pardoned later.

Congressional “Radical” Reconstruction
Radical Republicans were people that believed that African Americans should be granted the same political rights and opportunities as White Americans. After the northerners outvoted President Johnson’s policies, the Republicans took hold of the majority of the Congress. Radical Republicans’ plan was to make former slaves into voting citizens. White southerners were very upset by this and were willing to do anything that would overthrow a plan that helped empower African Americans. There was only a tiny minority of Republicans who thought it was essential to create an agenda of new legislation and policies that included the passing of civil rights bills. They found it imperative to amend the United States Constitution in order to secure racial equality, grant the freed slaves land and suffrage and integrate them into public places. The Radical Republicans also believed that the land of Confederate leaders should be confiscated and there should be troops in the South in order to enforce the law.

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