Three Plans For Reconstruction Essay

Three Plans For Reconstruction Essay

Length: 1047 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview








Analysis of the Three Plans for Reconstruction



The American Civil War, lasting from 1861-1865, was the most severe military conflict the country had seen; it involved the United States of America (the Union), and eleven secessionist Southern states (the Confederate States of America). The war was the upshot of decades worth of political, social, and economic conflict between the agricultural South, which produced mainly cash crops such as cotton, tobacco, and sugarcane, and the industrial North. The South depended on its four million slaves for its social and economic livelihood, whereas the North despised slavery as immoral and illegal. Even before General Lee’s surrender in 1865, the federal government was confronted with an acute dilemma, how to reunite the country. First Lincoln, then Johnson, and lastly Congress, imposed their ideas of how best to restore the Union, that is to say properly execute the task of Reconstruction.

Reconstruction was initiated by incumbant President Abraham Lincoln before the war ended. On December 8, 1963, Lincoln revealed his rather extremely lenient Reconstruction plan. He proposed to grant a pardon to any confederate (excluding high-ranking officials), who would swear their allegence to the Union and accept the end of slavery. If ten percent of the 1860 voting population had taken the oath, that state would hold a constitutional convention. If the delegates had written a state constitution endorsing the 13th Amendment, that state could be re-admitted to the Union.

Andrew Johnson, President Lincoln’s Vice President, and successor after his assasination in April of 1865, unveiled his own Reconstruction plan on May 29 of the same year. Johnson’s plan, which closely resembled Lincoln’s, said the President would appoint a governor to each state (after ten percent of the 1860 population took the oath Lincoln had prescribed in 1863), who would convene a constitutional convention. At this convention, the state had to write a new constitution, void secession, abolish slavery, ratify the 13th Amendment, and stop the payment of war debts. If given a pardon by the President, former Confederate officers and persons owning land worth over $20,000, could vote. Johnson felt that under his plan, Reconstruction would take a few months; in fact, the belief that his plan was too lenient towards the South –he granted 13,000 pardo...


... middle of paper ...


...to restore Southern society to antebellum status (as demonstrated by his vetos of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and of the Civil Rights Bill); and as a result, replenish the ruined Southern economy.

Congressional Reconstruction, brought on a complete social revolution in the south. The South had a military occupation on their hands, and due to their continual resistance to Reconstruction allowed for the passing of seven separate legislations, aimed at changing their way of life. Politically, blacks had significant potential with the right to vote, especially in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Louisiana, where they were the majority of the population. Blacks managed to gain seventeen seats in Congress (two were in the Senate), and an equivalent number of state offices. Had the South agreed to Lincoln’s terms, or even Johnson’s, they would have been able to continue politically, socially and economically just as they had before the war. Unfortunately for the South, their pride and ignorance, caused them to unknowingly choose the greater of three evils. Although Reconstruction ultimately failed, it would have attained optimal results had the South accepted Lincoln’s Reconstruction Plan.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Characteristics and Impacts of American Reconstruction Essay

- Characteristics and Impacts of American Reconstruction The key goals of Reconstruction were to readmit the South into the Union and to define the status of freedmen in American society. The Reconstruction era was marked by political, not violent, conflict. Some historical myths are that the South was victimized by Reconstruction, and that the various plans of Reconstruction were corrupt and unjust. Actually, the plans were quite lenient, enforcing military rule for only a short period of time, ignoring land reform, and granting pardons easily....   [tags: American Reconstruction History Essays]

Strong Essays
1542 words (4.4 pages)

Attempts to Mends the Nation During the Reconstruction Era Essay

- Historians are right to call Reconstruction one of the “darkest” times in American history. Nobody was sure of anything. After the Union victory over the Confederacy, politicians were tasked with trying to mend a nation divided down the middle. It was a time of many questions (Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, 2008). Questions ranging from: What would be the conditions of readmitting the Confederate States back into the Union. Who would be tasked with creating the terms, Congress or the President....   [tags: plans, government, slaves]

Strong Essays
799 words (2.3 pages)

Success of Reconstruction Essay

- Success of Reconstruction Reconstruction was the time period following the Civil War, which lasted from 1865 to 1877, in which the United States began to rebuild. The term can also refer to the process the federal government used to readmit the defeated Confederate states to the Union. While all aspects of Reconstruction were not successful, the main goal of the time period was carried out, making Reconstruction over all successful. During this time, the Confederate states were readmitted to the Union, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments were ratified, and African Americans were freed from slavery and able to start new lives....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
765 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about The Reconstruction

- The Reconstruction Reconstruction is defined as the period following the Civil War in which the Republican-dominated Federal government sought to reunite the Union; the measure included drastically remodeling Southern society in order to secure equality and independence for blacks through granting them various freedoms. Many historians believe that in order to fully understand the modern United States, one must understand Reconstruction. Studying it, therefore, has been a top priority amongst historians....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
916 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Why Did Reconstruction Fail?

- Reconstruction is known as the period after the Civil war. The whole country was separated in two, people didn’t know what to do, the south was completely destroyed, and there were a lot of decisions to be made by the president. It lasted four years, and there was over half a million casualties between the union (North) and the confederate states (South). The north was declared the winner of the war after General Lee surrender in the Appomattox court house on April 9, 1865. The causes of the war was the secession of several southern states, they argued that it was up to them and it was in their rights to decide whether they should make slavery legal or illegal in their own boundaries....   [tags: Civil War, American History, Economy, Diision]

Strong Essays
945 words (2.7 pages)

American Reconstruction Essay

- American Reconstruction period is a stage of readjustment in which the whole country life turned from a state of war to the normal life. The Civil War was ended, but Americans had to confront many difficult questions such as how Reconstruction should be carried out over the differences. American in the Gilded Age: From the Death of Lincoln to the Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Sean Deneis Cashman, this book argued many debates would be considered, how this war-torn nation could be reunited together, what rights the freed African-Americans would be granted....   [tags: Readjustment, American History]

Strong Essays
1030 words (2.9 pages)

Reconstruction and Industrialization Essay

- Reconstruction and Industrialization After the Civil War, the nation witnessed two major social-economic movements: Reconstruction and Industrialization, which changed the country completely and made it one of the greatest industrialized countries in the world. However, it changed not only the country, but also, the society, its way of life and traditions. The effort to rebuild the southern states and restore the Union was known as Reconstruction, a period that lasted from 1865 to 1877. Several different plans for Reconstruction emerged during and after the war....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1265 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Was The Reconstruction A Success Or A Failure

- Discuss Whether Reconstruction Was a Success or a Failure. Reconstruction is the period of rebuilding the south that succeeded the Civil War (1861-1865). This period of time is set by the question now what. The Union won the war and most of the south was destroyed. Devastation, buildings turned into crumbles and lost crops. The South was drowning in poverty. To worsen the situation there were thousands of ex-slaves that were set free by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13 Amendment. "All these ex-slaves", Dr....   [tags: American History]

Strong Essays
957 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about Reconstruction

- 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....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
934 words (2.7 pages)

Differing Views On Reconstruction Essay

- Differing Views On Reconstruction By 1866, several distinct positions on Reconstruction emerged. These were divided into three opposing camps: Conservatives (democrats), Moderates, and Radicals. The Conservatives believed the South should be readmitted into the Union as soon as possible, but the Radicals and Moderates believed there should be consequences for succeeding. The question of what those consequences should be separated Radical from Moderate. The answer to this question was as related to how important each side believed it was to enfranchise African Americans into this country (socially, politically, economically, and culturally) as it was in exacting an appropriate punishment fo...   [tags: American America History]

Free Essays
1079 words (3.1 pages)