The Radical Republicans Of The Civil War Essay

The Radical Republicans Of The Civil War Essay

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After the Civil War, the Radical Republicans had a different view from that of President Andrew Johnson with respect to Reconstruction. Just like Abraham Lincoln, his predecessor who lived barely a year into the Reconstruction before he was assassinated, President Johnson was of the idea that a more lenient and conciliatory approach should be taken in the South which had faced a lot of damage due to the civil war. On the other hand, Radical Republicans were against both Lincoln’s and Johnson’s approaches and policies on reconstruction as they were too lenient. The Radical Republicans approach was more strict and firmer because it wanted the Federal government to exert more control of the South during Reconstruction by ensuring the protection of the Freedman and punishment of ex-confederates instead of including them in the rebuilding of the South (Finkelman, 2000). The Radical Republicans assumptions of the South were right as will be discussed in this paper.
Firstly, it was to the surprise of many that Abraham Lincoln, the great liberator, supported limited black suffrage. Radical Republicans started to oppose President Lincoln through laws that were firm against the Southerners both the confederates and the populace. The first radical approach employed by the Radical Republicans was the Iron Clad Oath which was later opposed by Abraham Lincoln and declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court as it went against the ex post facto laws and bills of attainder (Finkelman, 2000). Iron Clad Oath required all voters to swear or affirm they have never held arms against the Union which means anyone who supported Confederacy would not be allowed to vote in the South. Lincoln preferred an oath were they would swear to supp...


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...s not prohibited in the Emancipation Proclamation. Other Southern States were only allowed to be servants or farmers, while in others they were supposed to pay special taxes. The Black Codes marked the return of slavery and oppression in another form. The whites went ahead and created electoral regulations that were too complex for the average blacks who were eligible to vote (Dunning, 1901).
In conclusion, the lenient measures undertaken by Lincoln and his successor dwindled when the Reconstruction came to an end in 1877 and white supremacy was back. The plantation owners from South established their supremacy and undermined the blacks through the use of violent groups such as Ku Klux Klan. Use of radical and strict policies against the ex-confederates would have improved the economic and social status of the Freedman because tough times call for tough measures.

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