The South and the nation as a whole utterly suffered while facing a difficult time trying to rebuild the government again. Efforts were put in place to ensure continued growth of the economy too. In addition, African Americans had just been freed the issue of how to deal with them was one of the main concerns. There were a lot of struggles over the reconstruction of the union by the Congress and the president. There was a lot of contrast over the best way to carry out the reconstruction. The debate that dominated the fight was to the extent the federal government would secure equality and civil rights for the African Americans who had been freed by the war.
By the year 1863, President and the congress had started holding debates over two main issues. The first one was how to reconstruct the Southern states and the former confederates, and the other issue was how to go about the freed four million African Americans. President Abraham Lincoln wanted a moderate program that would bring about the restoration of the Southern states to the Union. At around 1865; Lincoln was willing to compromise with the radical plan of the Congress about reconstruction. After Lincoln was assassinated, the reconstruction issue remained unsolved.
Abraham Lincoln proposal was the Ten –Percent Plan for reconstruction which was meant to reconstruct and unify the North and the South after the end of the wars. This was a plan that was based on forgiveness. The Ten-Percent Plan stated that the southern States would be readmitted in the Union if 10% of its voters swore an oath of allegiance to the Union. The president proposal was supported by a good number of moderate Republicans in Congress, but the leading Republicans in Congress thought that the plan was so lenient for the south which had caused the wars. The desires of the Radical Republicans were to take charge of the reconstruction process. Most moderates were swayed by the Radicals and the passed the Wade-Davis Bill that countered the Ten-Percent Plan by Lincoln. There was also a disagreement about the most suitable way to redistribute the land in the southern.
After Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson became the president. He led an extremely bitter clash with the Congress. Although an agreement was signed between the Congress and Johnson on the abolishment of slavery and the breaking down of power by the planter class, the Congress was supporting federal guarantees for Black citizenship while Johnson wanted the Southern to be granted permission to establish the White supremacy again.
The Congress which was led by the Republicans extended the life of freedmen and passed a bill of civil rights to protect the freedman and ensure equal rights. Johnson vetoed the above reconstruction bills rejected the Congress came up with its own more radical program.
First Reconstruction Act in 1867 was passed and the south placed in the hands of military rule to make sure that the Southern states were re-admitted in the Union. The implementation of this plan was obstructed by Johnson and the Congress retailed with an attempt to remove him from office. To preserve the office, he allowed the congress to have an upper hand in the reconstruction.
Lincoln ardent desire was to stop the war that was still going on as soon as he could. He was worried that if the war did not come to an end quickly it would be impossible to reunite the north and south. All he wanted was a peaceful resolution. Johnson’s intention was to take away the political control from the old planter to small scale farmers and artisans and also accomplish a revolution in the Southern Society. The Congress wanted to punish the South because of starting the war. The congress was also concerned about the freedman.