Reconstruction Dbq

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From 1863-1877, the federal government undertook a monumental task to heal a broken nation torn by war. The policy of reconstruction would take a strong leader, determined to maintain the rights of the individual states, and heal the Union. While Lincoln’s original plans outlined his goals and views for reconstruction, following Lincoln’s assassination, his successor Johnson didn’t share the same resolve and was more swayed by radical factions within Congress and the current economic state of the country to forge his own political agenda. On December 8, 1863, approximately 16 months before the Union defeated the Confederacy, Lincoln issued a proclamation that laid out his vision of Reconstruction. Lincoln proposed a more lenient program…show more content…
(Rutherford pg.1) After northern voters rejected Johnson’s policies in the congressional elections in late 1866, Republicans in Congress took firm hold of Reconstruction in the South. The following March, again over Johnson’s veto, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which temporarily divided the South into five military districts and outlined how governments based on universal male suffrage were to be organized. The law also required southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, which broadened the definition of citizenship, granting “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves, before they could rejoin the Union. In February 1869, Congress approved the 15th Amendment (adopted in 1870), which guaranteed that a citizen’s right to vote would not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of…show more content…
African American participation in southern public life after 1867 was unlike that of any other society following the abolition of slavery. (Rutherford pg.1) Blacks won election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress during this period. Among the other achievements of Reconstruction were the South’s first state-funded public school systems, more equitable taxation legislation, laws against racial discrimination in public transportation and accommodations and ambitious economic development programs. Though federal legislation passed during the administration of President Grant in 1871 took aim at the Klan and others who attempted to interfere with black suffrage and other political rights, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South after the early 1870s as support for Reconstruction waned. Racism was still a potent force in both South and North, and Republicans became more conservative as the decade continued. In 1874–after an economic depression plunged much of the South into poverty–the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Civil War. (Rutherford
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