⒈ The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States

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The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States



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At the national level, new laws and constitutional amendments permanently altered the federal system and the definition of American citizenship. In the South, a politically mobilized black community joined with white allies to bring the Republican party to power, and with it a redefinition of the purposes and responsibilities of government. The national debate over Reconstruction began during the Civil War. In December , less than a year after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln announced the first comprehensive program for Reconstruction, the Ten Percent Plan. This offered a pardon to all Southerners, except Confederate leaders, who took an oath affirming loyalty to the Union and support for emancipation. When 10 percent of a state's voters had taken such an oath, they could establish a new state government.

To Lincoln, the plan was more an attempt to weaken the Confederacy than a blueprint for the postwar South. Although it was put into operation in parts of the Union-occupied South, none of the new governments achieved broad local support or were recognized by Congress. In , Congress enacted and Lincoln pocket vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill, which proposed to delay the formation of new Southern governments until a majority of voters had taken a loyalty oath.

Some Republicans were already convinced that equal rights for the former slaves must accompany the South's readmission to the Union. In his last speech, in April , Lincoln himself expressed the view that some Southern blacks -- the "very intelligent" and those who had served in the Union army - ought to enjoy the right to vote. Upon Lincoln's assassination in April , Andrew Johnson became president. In May, he inaugurated the period of Presidential Reconstruction Johnson offered a pardon to all Southern whites except Confederate leaders and wealthy planters although most of these subsequently received individual pardons , restoring their political rights and all property except for slaves.

He also outlined how new state governments would be created. Apart from the requirement that they abolish slavery, repudiate secession, and abrogate the Confederate debt, these governments, elected by whites alone, were granted a free hand in managing their affairs. They responded by enacting the Black Codes, laws that required blacks to sign yearly labor contracts, designated unemployed blacks as vagrants who could be hired out to white landowners, and in other ways sought to reestablish plantation discipline.

African-Americans strongly resisted the implementation of these measures. The inability of the white South's leaders to accept emancipation undermined Northern support for Johnson's policies. When Congress assembled in December , Radical Republicans called for the abrogation of the Johnson governments and the establishment of new ones based on equality before the law and manhood suffrage. But the more numerous moderate Republicans hoped to work with Johnson, while modifying his program. Congress refused to seat the Congressmen and Senators elected from the Southern states, and in early passed and sent to Johnson the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights Bills.

The first extended the life of an agency Congress had created in to oversee the transition from slavery to freedom. The second defined all persons born in the United States as national citizens, who were to enjoy equality before the law. A combination of personal stubbornness, belief in states' rights, and deeply-held racist convictions led Johnson to reject these bills. His vetoes caused a permanent rupture between the president and Congress. Shortly thereafter, Congress approved the 14th Amendment, which put the principle of birthright citizenship into the Constitution and forbade states from depriving any citizen of the "equal protection of the laws.

The 14th Amendment, the most important addition to the Constitution other than the Bill of Rights, embodied a profound change in federal-state relations. Traditionally, citizens' rights had been delineated and protected by the states. Now, Congress provided that the federal government guarantee all Americans' equality before the law, regardless of race, against state violation.

Yet Republican egalitarianism had its limits. Women's rights advocates insisted, without success, that the time had come to eliminate gender as well as race as a ground for legal distinctions among Americans. In the fall congressional elections, Northern voters overwhelmingly repudiated Johnson's policies. Nonetheless, the Southern states, except Tennessee, rejected the 14th Amendment. Congress now decided to begin Reconstruction anew. The Reconstruction Acts of divided the South into five military districts, and provided for the establishment of new governments, based on manhood suffrage.

Thus began the period of Radical or Congressional Reconstruction, which lasted until By , Congress had recognized new governments, controlled by the Republican party, in all the former Confederate states. Three groups made up Southern Republicanism. Most had come south before , when the possibility of obtaining office was remote. But they leapt at the opportunity to help remake the "backward" region in the image of the North.

The second large group, "scalawags" or native-born white Republicans, included some businessmen and planters but most were non-slaveholding small farmers from the Southern upcountry. Loyal to the Union during the Civil War, they saw the Republican party as a means of keeping "rebels" from regaining power in the South and were willing to work with blacks toward that end. In every state, African-Americans formed the overwhelming majority of Southern Republican voters. From the beginning of Reconstruction, black conventions and newspapers throughout the South had called for full civil and political rights.

Composed mainly of those who had been free before the Civil War, and slave ministers, artisans, and Civil War veterans, a capable black political leadership emerged during Reconstruction to press for the elimination of the racial caste system and the economic uplifting of the former slaves. Bruce in the U. Senate, over in state legislatures, and hundreds more in local offices, from sheriffs to justices of the peace. It marked a dramatic break with the nation's traditions and aroused bitter hostility from Reconstruction's opponents.

Serving an expanded citizenry and embracing a new definition of public responsibility, Reconstruction governments established the South's first state-funded public school systems, adopted measures designed to strengthen the bargaining power of plantation laborers, made taxation more equitable, and outlawed racial discrimination in public transportation and accommodations. They also embarked on ambitious programs of economic development, offering lavish aid to railroads and other enterprises in the hope of creating a New South whose economic expansion would benefit black and white alike.

But the program of railroad aid spawned corruption and rising taxes, alienating increasing numbers of white voters. Meanwhile, the social and economic transformation of the South proceeded apace. To blacks, freedom meant independence from white control, as well as autonomy both as individuals and as a community. This aspiration was reflected in the consolidation and expansion of the institutions of black life. Although the Radical Republicans were the minority party in Congress, they managed to sway many moderates in the postwar years and came to dominate Congress in later sessions. The bill stated that for a state to be readmitted, the majority of the state would have to take a loyalty oath, not just ten percent.

Lincoln later pocket vetoed this new bill. This agency provided food, shelter, medical aid, employment aid, education, and other needs for blacks and poor whites. It also attempted to oversee new relations between freedmen and their former masters in a free-labor market. With the help of the bureau, the recently freed slaves began voting, forming political parties, and assuming the control of labor in many areas. However, Congress continued to pass more radical legislation. During this era, Congress passed three important Reconstruction amendments.

The Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery was ratified in The Fourteenth Amendment, proposed in and ratified in , guaranteed U. Congress also passed the Reconstruction Acts. These initially were vetoed by President Johnson, but later were overridden by Congress. The first Reconstruction Act placed 10 Confederate states under military control, grouping them into five military districts that would serve as the acting government for the region.

One major purpose was to recognize and protect the right of African Americans to vote. Under a system of martial law in the South, the military closely supervised local government, elections, and the administration of justice, and tried to protect office holders and freedmen from violence. Blacks were enrolled as voters and former Confederate leaders were excluded for a limited period. The Reconstruction Acts denied the right to vote for men who had sworn to uphold the Constitution and then rebelled against the federal government. As a result, in some states the black population was a minority, while the number of blacks who were registered to vote nearly matched the number of white registered voters. In addition, Congress required that each state draft a new state constitution—which would have to be approved by Congress—and that each state ratify the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.

Constitution and grant voting rights to black men. Lincoln is typically portrayed as taking the moderate position and fighting the Radical positions. There is considerable debate about how well Lincoln, had he lived, would have handled Congress during the Reconstruction process that took place after the Civil War ended. The other camp believes that the Radicals would have attempted to impeach Lincoln, just as they did his successor, Andrew Johnson, in While Andrew Johnson favored punishment for Confederates after the Civil War, his policies toward the South softened during his presidency.

Both Northern anger over the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln as well as the immense cost of human life during the Civil War led to vengeful demands for harsh policies in the South. When he became president, however, Johnson took a much softer line and pardoned many of them. Additionally, no trials for treason took place. Only Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of the prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia, was executed for war crimes. First, he sought a speedy restoration of the states, on the grounds that they had never truly left the Union, and thus should again be recognized once loyal citizens formed a government.

Unlike Radical Republicans, Johnson did not seek to make Southerners accountable for the war, but instead wanted to reintegrate them as easily as possible. Despite some of his rhetoric during his vice presidency, his actions as president reveal that he was not concerned with punishing the South. Second, to Johnson, African-American suffrage was a delay and a distraction; it always had been a state responsibility to decide who should vote. Without a focus on providing explicit legal equality for the freed slaves, Johnson overlooked the actions of white Southerners and blocked the actions of Congress. Despite the abolition of slavery, many former Confederates were not willing to accept the social changes. Southern state governments quickly enacted the restrictive Black Codes.

The Black Codes indicated that the freedmen would have more rights than they had before the war, but still only a limited set of second-class civil rights. Additionally, freedmen were not granted voting rights or citizenship The Black Codes outraged Northerners, and were overthrown by the Civil Rights Act of , which gave freedmen full legal equality except the right to vote. This helped freedmen force planters to bargain for their labor. Such bargaining soon led to the practice of sharecropping, which gave the freedmen both greater economic independence and social autonomy.

However, because freedmen lacked capital, and because planters continued to own the tools, draft animals, and land, the freedmen were forced into producing cash crops, mainly cotton, for the landowners and merchants. Widespread poverty, as well as the falling price of cotton, led to indebtedness among a majority of the freedmen, and poverty among many planters. Northern officials gave varying reports on conditions involving freedmen in the South. One harsh assessment came from Carl Schurz, who documented dozens of extra-judicial killings in states along the Gulf Coast. He also reported that at least hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other African Americans had been killed in this area. In Selma, Alabama, Major J. Houston noted that whites who killed 12 African Americans in his district never came to trial.

Several other killings never culminated in official cases. Black women were particularly vulnerable at this time, as convicting a white man of sexually assaulting a black woman was immensely difficult. Because black women were considered to have little virtue, some in white society held that they could not be raped. This racist mindset contributed to numerous sexual crimes against black women.

Black men were construed as being extremely sexually aggressive, and their supposed threats to white women often were used as a pretext for lynching and castrations. During the autumn of , the Radical Republicans responded to the implementation of the Black Codes by blocking the readmission of the former rebellious states to Congress. Johnson, however, pushed to allow former Confederate states into the Union as long as their state governments adopted the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery.

The amendment was ratified by December 6, , leading Johnson to believe that Reconstruction was over. Although Johnson had sympathies for the plights of the freedmen, he was opposed to federal assistance. An attempt to override the veto failed on February 20, In response, both the Senate and House passed a joint resolution, disallowing any congressional seat admittance until Congress declared Reconstruction finished. Illinois senator Lyman Trumbull, leader of the moderate Republicans, recognized that the abolition of slavery was worthless without the protection of basic civil rights, and thus proposed the first Civil Rights Law. Congress quickly passed this Civil Rights bill. The impeachment of Andrew Johnson was one of the most dramatic events that occurred during the Reconstruction era in the United States, and was the first impeachment in history of a sitting U.

Johnson was impeached because of his efforts to undermine congressional policy; the impeachment was the culmination of a lengthy political battle between the moderate Johnson and the Radical Republicans who dominated Congress and sought control of Reconstruction policies. Johnson was acquitted by one vote. Johnson was impeached on February 24, , in the U. Specifically, he had removed Edwin M. Stanton, the secretary of war whom the Tenure of Office Act was largely designed to protect , from office and attempted to replace him with Brevet Major General Lorenzo Thomas.

The House agreed to the articles of impeachment on March 2, Chase presiding. The first vote on one of the 11 impeachment articles concluded on May 16 with a failure to convict Johnson. A day recess was called before attempting to convict him on additional articles, but that effort failed on May The to votes were one short of the required two-thirds needed for conviction. The Fourteenth Amendment provided the foundation of equal rights for all U. During and immediately after the Civil War, the U. Congress passed three constitutional amendments that provided political and social equality for African Americans.

Northern congressmen believed that providing black men with the right to vote would be the most rapid means of political education and training. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.

Members of The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States House celebrate when the 13th Amendment is passed In opposition to President Abraham Lincoln 's more lenient ten percent plan The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States, the bill made re-admittance to the Union for former Confederate states contingent on a majority in each Conflict Perspective On Health Care state to take the Ironclad Oath to the effect they had never in The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States past supported The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States Confederacy. In addition, each picasso blue period images was required to ratify the 13th and 14th The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States Pros And Cons Of Hela Cells the Constitution. All known Jefferson Davis dimes were struck in silver at the Paris Mint. With the help of the bureau, The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States recently freed slaves began The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States, forming political parties, and The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States the control of labor in Fashion Admission Essay Examples The Wade Davis Bill: Reconstruction In The Confederate States. Finally, in granting Congress the power to enforce its provisions, the Fourteenth Amendment enabled the enactment of landmark 20th-century racial equality legislation, including the Civil Rights Act ofand the Voting Rights Act of