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Reconstruction took place after the end of the civil war. The reason for reconstruction was to put the union back together and free the slaves once and for all. Reconstruction took three eras to be completed. The first was Lincoln, the second Andrew Johnson, and the third was the Congressional “hard plan.” The Lincoln era lasted from 1863-1865. On December of 1863 the decree of “soft plan” was introduced. The “soft plan” included amnesty for the southerners that took the loyalty oath. It also said a state would gain readmission into the union if ten percent of the state’s population took the oath and agreed to emancipation. (Reconstruction). This era ended on April 14 when President Lincoln was shot. He died on April 15 at 7:55 am, officially ending the Lincoln era of reconstruction. The next era of reconstruction was the Andrew Johnson era. The Johnson era went from 1865-1867. Johnson was a Democrat from Tennessee. He was a poor white man with no education and self-taught. He fought for free schools and property tax against wealthy planters. He was a slaveholder but indifferent he had more sympathy for white workingman. He voted for the Homestead Act. Johnson made two proclamations regarding reconstruction. The first was you would be granted amnesty if the loyalty oath was taken. Amnesty was not given however for 14 classes especially the 14th class, those who had $20,000 or more in property. The second proclamation was restoration. Andrew Johnson appointed scalawag Unionist William Holden as Governor of North Carolina. He then appointed provisional governors who called conventions to repudiate secession, debts, and the 13th amendment. Andrew Johnson however was said to be soft. The reason for this was that he was too conservative and feared social reform and change. Another reason was Johnson being against radical republicans in congress. The last was his stubbornness, and the inflexibility of his personality. The third era was the Congressional “hard plan.” It was introduced by the 39th congress, which began on December 4, 1865. In the senate, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts put an emphasis on voting. In the house Thad Stevens of Pennsylvania emphasized equality and land. Republican moderates including Senator John Sherman of Ohio emphasized economics, railroads, and banks. There were three motives that drove the “har... ... middle of paper ... ...The Radical Republicans of Congress did not agree with Johnson and his plans for “Restoration.” They had different beliefs about the South and started “Radical Reconstruction.” The disagreement between the President and Congress heightened and eventually led to the impeachment of President Johnson. There were also great scandals during Grant’s presidency, which caused a similar effect in with the politics in the South. As a result of the corruption the North lost interest in Reconstruction completely. Reconstruction did however have several accomplishments, including liberalized state constitutions, public schools systems in the South, and internal improvements. “Whatever laws protects the white man shall afford ‘equal’ protection to the black,” according to Thaddeus Stevens. But this was for the most part not true, and the failures of Reconstruction greatly outnumbered the accomplishments. Politically, the South remained the same as it had before, Democratic. The blacks did gain freedom but were far from equality. And the great amount of corruption during this time period marks Reconstruction as a failure. (American History: A Survey, Alan Brinkley)
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