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Reconstruction Plans History - Essay Example

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Reconstruction Plans The basic idea behind southern reconstruction was to integrate the South back into the Union, while rebuilding the economy and providing political and sociological frameworks for the new society. Lincoln's plan included a 10 percent idea, where a state could rejoin the Union once 10 percent of the voters in the state pledged an oath of allegiance to the United States…
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Reconstruction Plans History Essay
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Download file to see previous pages Many view this as a method of ending the war, rather than rebuilding the South, since so many issues were not touched upon thoroughly. This failure to set up long term goals definitely cost the country in the future. Johnson, on the other hand, wanted to limit the federal government's role in rebuilding the South and instead wanted to give the states the power to rebuild themselves. He believed in strong state governments, rather than federal policies that would blanket the entire area. At the same time, Johnson wanted to rebuild the South in a hurry, which also avoided any long-term goals. A major issue was that Johnson pardoned countless landowners who had been major advocates of the Confederate army and did not provide any protection for former slaves. This prevented blacks from becoming equal members of society, since the landowners were able to use their wealth to gain political power in the South. Congress then made three Constitutional amendments that were aimed at helping the reconstruction effort. These amendments abolished slavery, granted American citizenship to everyone born within the country and provided civil rights for these individuals. Later on, the 15th Amendment made it illegal to deny an individual’s right to vote based on skin color or race, although this did not give anyone the right to vote. This means that the states would still have control over their own elections and could still prohibit certain individuals from voting. Many blacks were prohibited from voting, which eliminated the chance of African-Americans gaining any political power. In hindsight, many different things could have been done to maximize the reconstruction effort. For starters, Lincoln needed to gain more support in the South before his policies could have a lasting effect on society. Lincoln’s short-term goal was to quickly unite the country, but he did not look at the long-term picture as much as he should have. By only asking 10 percent of voters in a state to pledge allegiance to the country, he was leaving a great deal of dissention to work against him later. The majority of the people in those states did not even want to rejoin the Union, which made working with them very difficult. In order to properly build the South, Lincoln needed to gain public support in the region before bringing those states into the Union. The first goal of the president at that time should have been a public relations effort to gain support throughout the South, in an effort to convince these states that joining the Union was the best course of action. To test this popularity, he could hold a referendum in the States asking if the voters want to join. This might have taken 10-15 years, but it could have created a more stable South in the end. In addition, there is no reason to believe that just because someone takes an oath, that the person would be loyal. Voting numbers would be a much better gauge than an individual pledging allegiance to a country that he may or may not believe in. Johnson’s ideologies created many problems in the South because he wanted the federal government to wash its hands of the problem. At that time, the South needed strong central leadership because its economy was in such bad shape. Assuming that Lincoln’s plan had already gone through and the Southern states had been forced ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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