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Apush Reconstruction Essay

1223 words - 5 pages

As a country, America has gone through many political changes throughout her lifetime. Leaders have come and gone, all of them having different objectives and plans for the future. As history takes its course, though, most all of these “revolutionary movements” come to an end. One such movement was Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a time period in America consisting of many leaders, goals and accomplishments. Though, like all things in life, it did come to an end, the resulting outcome has been labeled both a success and a failure.

When Reconstruction began in 1865, a broken America had just finished fighting the Civil War. In all respects, Reconstruction was mainly just that. It was a ...view middle of the document...

Also, those high ranking officers of the state could not hold office or carry out voting rights unless the president said so.

Well, sadly enough, Honest Abe was assassinated at Fords Theatre in 1865, before he could put his plan to the test. After his death, several other political leaders emerged with plans in hand. These men were of the Republican Party, and they called themselves Radicals. The Radical Republicans that came out to play after Lincoln’s death had two main objectives to their cause. First, they were mad at the south, blaming them for the Civil War that had just ended. Ergo, they wanted to punish them and make them pay. Secondly, they wanted to help all of the near four million slaves who were now free men after the war. They felt these “men” needed protection, and it was their job to do so. There were three main Radical Republican leaders. These men were Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, and the formally inaugurated president Andrew Johnson. Thaddeus Stevens was a very political man, holding a place in the House of Representatives. His main concern was the economic opportunity for slaves. He wanted them to be able to make a living on their own, and not depend on the “white man” as they had done all their lives. Thinking almost on these same lines was Charles Sumner. He was a senator who fought mainly for political rights for African Americans, as well as for their citizenship. He felt that the “all men are created equal” part of the constitution really should hold up for everybody. Well, for men that is. Finally there was President Andrew Johnson. Probably due to the fact that he had been Lincoln’s vice president, Johnson had in mind a Reconstruction plan that almost mirrored the former presidents. Many of the Radicals did not approve of Johnson’s plan, though. They felt he went over the limit with 13,000 pardons, and that he wasn’t paying enough attention to the major issue, the rights of slaves. In 1868 Andrew Johnson was impeached. All though he was not removed from office at this time, he was basically without authority. It was at this point that Congress really stepped in with their own plan of Reconstruction. The Reconstruction Act finally passed by congress had two main points to it. First, troops were required to move in and take up residence in the confederate states of the south. Secondly, any state that wanted back into the union was only allowed to do so when and if they changed their...

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