The reconstruction plans that were applied after the civil war took a much longer time to deliver healing impacts to the country because the leaders mainly concentrated at strengthening their political power. This has been explained in the three plans discussed below.
President Lincoln was involved in restoration tasks before the end of the war. His motivation was to build a strong Republican party mainly in the South and ensure that the bitterness that resulted from the war was cooled. As a result, on 8th December 1863, he made an amnesty proclamation and reconstruction for the Confederate areas that were occupied by the Union armies. In this plan, Lincoln offered pardoning but with certain exceptions for any confederate that would swear to support the union and the constitution. He promised that if any group in a state that had been conquered equaled in number to a tenth of the state’s vote total in the presidential election of 1860 and accepted to take the oath that had been prescribed and the government organized was against slavery, he would thereby grant such a state’s government executive recognition.
This plan was faced by great opposition as from the radicals in the Congress whose perception was that such actions would take the country back to aristocracy. Lincoln’s reconstruction may have made a little healing to the nation, the only fault it was at was that it was mainly giving attention to self-interest; advocating for the Republican Party.
President Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln. He began by a public attack on the aristocracy planter when he insisted that such rebellion must be punished. This pleased the radicals. On 29th May 1865, he proclaimed that the former civil officers and the military would be disenfranchised. His intention must have been to shift political power in the South to the artisans and the small farmers from the old planter aristocracy. He put his plan into action which was implemented by his own appointed governors when Congress had been adjourned. With these actions, Johnson demonstrated that he had the desire to please the radicals which would eventually make him have more influence in the country. It is critical to note that during his reign, the control of the blacks by the white was restored as some of the legislators that were elected to office still had the power and actually enacted statutes that saw the severe limitation of the rights and freedom of the blacks.
The Early Congressional Legislation
The Northern Republic was outraged by believe that Johnson’s lenient policy was causing the fruits of victory to be lost. Upon its convention of 4th December 1865, the Congress denied to seat with the Southern representatives. Johnson response was a public attack to the Republicans and the vetoing of the Reconstruction measures that they supported. The moderates were eventually driven to the radical side. April 28th 1866 saw the Joint Committee on Reconstruction that had been newly creating make reports indicating that the ex-Confederates were still in the state that there was civil disorder indicating that the elections they had held were not valid. The report also indicated that to attain maximum reconstruction, reconstruction would have to be treated as an executive function and not congressional.
Douglass, Frederick. Reconstruction. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 1996. Print.