During the late 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction which came to known as his 10 Percent Plan. In 1864, Andrew Johnson was chosen as the running mate of Lincoln so as to represent unity. Johnson was a war democrat and spent most of his years in Tennessee. He was among the Southern members of the party that with the Union in the Civil War. Lincoln put forward the Ten Percent Plan for reconstruction program, and Johnson, being his vice president and later the president prior to Lincoln’s assassination, proposed that the Southerners needed to abolish slavery before being admitted.
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Lincoln and Johnson’s Reconstruction Plans
When Lincoln was elected as the president, he began preparing plan for reconstruction so as to bring unity of the southern and the northern regions. This was after the victories at Gettysburg in 1863.The motivation factor of his reconstruction plan was basically forgiveness to the Southerners since he believed that the South had not legally become independent from the Union. Therefore, in the same year he announced his objective to reunite the states. He issued the Proclamation Amnesty and Reconstruction Plan. In such a way, he expected the amnesty to rally the Northern support for the war and influence drained Confederate soldiers to surrender.
The Ten Percent Plan was the blue print for Lincoln’s reconstruction. It specified that the Southern state was to be readmitted back to the union once the plan of the voters affirmed an oath of allegiance to the Union (Intelecom 137). The voters were given powers to elect delegates that would revise the State Constitution and establish new state governments. Lincoln guaranteed the Southerners full protection for their property, but not the slaves. This proposal for reconstruction was supported by most of the Republicans in the Congress because they wanted to quickly stop the war. However, the Ten Percent Plan for reconstruction was more of a political scheme rather than a plan for construction. Lincoln was also motivated to bring a quick end to the war since he feared that he would loose popularity and, moreover, the Southern and the Northern regions would never reunite.
The Republican Congress
According to most of the leading Republicans, Lincoln’s Plan for Reconstruction was not inconsiderately adequate. They believed that the Southern region deserved to be punished for causing war in the state. The Republicans expected to lead the process of reconstruction, renovate the Southern state, and disperse the planter aristocracy, redistribute land, influence industrial development and assure civil liberty to former slaves (Peretti 278)..
In 1864, Republicans passed the Wade-Davis Bill with an intention to counter the Ten Percent Bill. According to this Bill, the Southern state could rejoin with the Northern only when fifty percent of the voters swore an oath of allegiance to America. This Bill protected civil rights of the blacks, but did not give them a right to vote.
Lincoln and the Republicans disagreed on both the best way to readmit the Southern states and redistribute Southern land. The Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1865 so as to supply food, establish learning institutions and distribute land to former slaves and poor whites.
Lincoln and Johnson supported plans for reconstruction. They went ahead to present an open-handed amnesty to facilitate the retention of Southerners’ wealth and reacquire political rights. Republicans claimed that the Southerners need to be punished for starting the war and also expected that they would protect the rights of the former slaves. They expanded the Freedmen’s Bureau above the Johnson’s veto and supplied basic needs and education to former slaves and refugees (Harris 141). They passed Reconstruction Act and Civil Rights Act over Johnson’s veto and managed to grant legal equality and undercut black codes.
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