The Reconstruction Era which followed the Civil War was a period marked by a severe effort to re-establish a depleted and distraught society. The war, which was aimed at confronting the national dilemma of slavery, only led to subsequent problems over emancipation and an undefined condition of freedom. Some, who had naively assumed that ending slavery would resolve the problem of racial inequality, overlooked the prejudice and unpleasant feeling towards blacks.
Lincoln’s plan for reconstruction was aimed at reuniting southern states with the union and to strengthen the Republican Party in the South; which were his main supporters. One of the main purposes of Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction was that all slaves be freed. In Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, he stated that all slaves would be declared free in those states still in rebellion against the United States (Lincoln “Emancipation Proclamation: January 1, 1863”). However, this only pertained to those states which, after that date, came under the military control of the Union Army. It did not concern slaves in states such as Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and parts of Virginia and Louisiana, that were already occupied by Northern troops. This illustrates Lincoln’s agenda to have as many African Americans as possible enlist in the Union Army.
Under Lincoln’s plan, for a state to be permitted back in the union, voters had to take an oath of loyalty. If 10% of voters took the oath, statehood would be re-established. Foner comments that Lincoln did not recognize emancipation as a social revolution or believe that Reconstruction would bring about social and political changes outside of abolishing of slavery (36). Lincoln’s main objective was political and although he is given credit for “freeing the slaves”, African Americans earned and fought for this right during the Civil War. President Lincoln was assassinated
Bibliography: Reference. New York: Macmillan; London: Prentice Hall International, 1998. Bowers, Claude G. The Tragic Era: The Revolution after Lincoln. Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1929 Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: Harper & Row, 1988 1865; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1999; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=40. The House Joint Resolution proposing the 14th amendment to the Constitution, June 16, 1866; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1999; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives The House Joint Resolution proposing the 15th amendment to the Constitution, December 7, 1868; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1999; General Records of the Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address; endorsed by Lincoln, April10, 1865, March 4, 1865; Series 3, General Correspondence, 1837-1897; The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the