Lincoln and Johnson vs. the Radicals

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Ian Albert
2/19/2013
Research Paper 1

Lincoln/Johnson Reconstruction Intentions vs. Congressional Actions

The Civil War, which lasted up until 1865, was the bloodiest battle that this Nation had ever faced. Making it even sadder was the fact that this Nation was divided, North against South, and brothers were killing brothers, fathers killing sons. It was indeed a tough time for President Lincoln who was sworn into office in 1861. He needed to end the war and figure out a way to bring peace and rebuild the Nation. In order to end the war he devised a plan to free all slaves in the eye’s of the government, and on the first day of the year in 1863 he announced his “Emancipation Proclamation,” declaring all slaves owned under the Confederacy to be now free men. The Confederacy was beginning to crumble; Southern cities were destroyed and the Southern economy was in ruins. Lincoln now focused his attention on the idea of Reconstruction, and reuniting those Southern States back into the Union. It would not be easy for Lincoln, however, as he faced far different ideas than his, proposed by the Radical Republicans, led by Pennsylvania Representative Thaddeus Stevens and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Despite being the Republican nomination for President, Lincoln was far more conservative than those Republicans taking the majority of seats in Congress. In December of 1863, before the war had officially come to a close, Lincoln began to devise his Reconstruction plan, which at the time was considered to be very lenient by those of the Union. His plan was very compassionate toward white southerners, except for major leaders of the Confederacy. He needed those Confederate Army generals and high-ranking officers to take an oath of loyalty to the Union, and verbally accept the Nation’s abolition of slavery. Lincoln’s plan was to institute new state governments in the South, under control of those southerners who had not aided to Confederacy. Lincoln also had...
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