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Were the policies followed at the beginning of Reconstruction the best possible course of action for the United states - Essay Example

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This essay examines the extent that the policies followed at the beginning of Reconstruction were the best possible courses of action for the United States. The United States’ 19th century Civil War constituted one of the most substantial and impactful periods in the nation’s history. …
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Were the policies followed at the beginning of Reconstruction the best possible course of action for the United states
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Download file to see previous pages This essay has examined the extent that policies followed at the beginning of Reconstruction were the best possible courses of action for the United States. In this context of understanding it’s demonstrated that the United States enacted varying degrees of policies that considered the reintegration of southern states into the Union, as well as civil rights policies that aided African Americans. While there are varying degrees of effectiveness in these policies, it’s clear that in large part the inclusive stance adopted by the American government was successful. In addition, while the government was lax in allowing for oppressive social policies, to a degree they had to adopt this stance because of the divided socio-cultural Reconstruction climate.
There were a variety of Reconstruction plans that emerged in the wake of the Civil War, each with varying degrees of stringency. The first and perhaps most influential reconstruction policy was Lincoln’s 10% Plan. This plan was lenient in that if a Confederate supporter took an oath to support the Union they received a pardon. In addition, if a state had 1/10 of their voting population support the Union, they were allowed back into it. Lincoln’s plan was generally effective in that it placed limited requirements on reentry into the Union. Still, other policies placed more restrictive measures. For instance, the Wade-Davis bill necessitated that if a majority of voters took an ‘iron clad’ oath to support the United States Constitution, then a new state convention would be held. Similarly, in this policy, anyone who had the rank of Colonel or high in the Confederacy could not become a United States citizen again. In large part these policies created a general state of discontentment and distrust in the South, as they believed that were being unfairly punished. After Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew John assumed the Presidency. While Johnson had previously favored restrictive reconstruction policies, upon assuming office his reconstruction plan pardoned all individuals unless they had over $20,000; he also indicated that Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana had fulfilled Lincoln’s 10% plan. Similar to Lincoln’s, these reconstruction policies were successful largely for their inclusive nature. Major debates emerged in terms of the extent that states should be readmitted into the Union and once again receive representation. It’s been noted that the overriding perspective on this matter was that “inasmuch as the lately insurgent States had no legal right to separate themselves from the Union, they still retain their positions as States, and consequently the people thereof have a right to immediate representation in Congress without the imposition of any conditions whatever” (‘odur’). A number of individuals voiced dissent to this perspective, arguing that as these states ceded from the Union with ease there should be substantial consideration in allowing them to rejoin the Union. Even as these are valid perspectives, it’s clear that encouraging an atmosphere of inclusivity was the most appropriate Reconstruction policy. In these regards, one considers that to a great degree the United States was experiencing a period of significant strife and division and it was necessary to create a period of goodwill and acceptance that would restore the Union. There are also a number of significant historical occurrences to the efficacy of this policy. Perhaps most notable is the understanding that the United States was founded on the right to representation and that withholding this from states would have run counter to core American values. One also considers the hardline stance that Europe and the United States took towards Germany in the period proceeding World War I, leading to much of the negative sentiment that fueled World War II. In addition to broad ranging policies that considered the nature of reintegration into the Union, some of the most prominent Reconstruction po ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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