The period after the Civil War was a very difficult time in the United States' history. This time was known as the Reconstruction period and it was a very controversial time. There were many issues that had to be addressed such as what to do with the free blacks in the south and how states would be readmitted to the Union. This era saw the rise of the Radical Republicans. The government was going through changes, southerners were going through changes, and blacks were going through changes. Whites in the south were left without people to work their plantations. Slavery was indeed a very important topic during this time. Many of the reconstruction plans that were proposed required states to prohibit slavery in order to be readmitted to the Union.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, there was no definite plan for reconstructing the Union. This was a very serious matter. President Lincoln had begun thinking about this while he was in office. In 1863 he proposed his Ten Percent Plan. This policy would allow seceding states to return to the Union if ten percent of their prewar voters took an oath of loyalty to the Union and if the state would prohibit slavery. Although the plan forced states to prohibit slavery it did not force them to grant equal rights to blacks. The Ten Percent Plan was a good idea but some Republicans felt that it was not strict enough. This paved the way for the Wade-Davis Bill. This bill required the majority of a state's prewar voters to pledge loyalty to the Union and that blacks were seen as equal in the eyes of the law. These plans led to controversy. Some people felt that because the constitution never mentioned succession, the states never actually seceded the Union so they didn't need to be formally readmitted. Others felt that the states from the South had given up their rights once they left the Union so they must be readmitted.
Upon the close of the Civil War, Congress was not in session. They would not meet again...
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