Free Essay in American History: The Plans of American Reconstruction

Published: 2022-06-14
Free Essay in American History: The Plans of American Reconstruction
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Slavery Abraham Lincoln American history
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1351 words
12 min read

In the history of the United States, the reconstruction age is a period (1865-1877) which followed the American Civil war. During this period, there were attempts to solve the negative issues concerned with slavery and the political, social and economic heritage. The primary aim was to address the glitches that arose from the re-admission to the union of the 11 states. These states had previously split just before the outbreak of the war. Many historical scholars portray the reconstruction era as a period when radical republicans secured black sovereignty upon the overwhelmed Confederacy.

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As a result of this, people viewed the reconstruction era in the 20th century sympathetically as a commendable trial in the interracial democracy. In this way, this era witnessed far-reaching changes in the political life of the United States. American presidents and the Congress played a role in the reconstruction period. It is because of the plans that they laid. This paper aims to discuss the plans for reconstruction that Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Congress offered. I also intend to highlight the goal of each plan and how each of these plans proposed to accomplish the goals.

Abraham Lincoln's Plan

Lincoln was in the course of reestablishing the Union from the earlier years of the American war. He announced a formal plan for the reconstruction of the United States. His idea is what came to be known as the ten percent plan. The following are the plans:

In 1863, he issued a general amnesty those persons who would take a vow of loyalty to the United States, and pledge to conform to all the federal laws that pertained to servitude. In this plan, some Confederate state could form a unity regime under a condition that the sum was equal to 10 percent of people who had elected in 1860 and swore loyalty to the American constitution.

There was the temporary exclusion of high confederate executives and army leaders from the process. Other officials in this category are the high-ranking officers of the Southern militia and navy, the judges of courts, members of the congress, and other army generals of the United States. These officials had resigned from their government positions with the aim of helping the rebellion. Some of these officials had also abused and captured the African American soldiers and brutalized them. The people acquitted of treason also received a presidential pardon while certain groups of individuals did not receive this kind of amnesty.

When ten percent of the voters who had turned up to participate in the election that took place in 1860 had taken an oath of allegiance within the Confederate state, the state was now in the process of launching a new government. In this new government, the election of new representatives to Congress could now take place.


In Abraham Lincoln's plan, it was more of a partisan scheme than a strategy for the United States rebuilding. The primary goal of Abraham Lincoln was to end the war quickly. The primary reason for this was that he had fears that a prolonged war would lose the backing of the American citizens. In his opinion, it meant that the North and South America would never be united if in any case the war did not end. In 1863, Democrats were demanding a treaty and diplomatic agreement. It, therefore, justified the fears of Lincoln. In this way, Abraham Lincoln's plan was a tolerant endeavour to lure South America to capitulate.

How the plan accomplished the goal

When Congress approved the Wade Davis Bill with an aim to concur Lincoln's ten percent plan, Lincoln vetoed it as being too harsh. The bill attempted to take charge of the reconstruction. It was mandatory that popular white males to vow adherence and loyalty to the union before their readmission to confederate. In this way, Abraham required the rebuilding to be a short procedure where secessionist federations could draft new constitutions. He wanted a rapid amalgamation. However, his murder in 1865 changed the plans.

Andrew Johnson's Plan

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, who deputized Lincoln, took over the presidency. Johnson was a pro-Union Democrat who was the solitary senator from separating state to continue staying in Washington. President Andrew is believed to hold prejudices and was a racist who hated the white southern elites. The following were his plans:

Pardons granted to those American citizens who took the loyalty oath. It meant that any South American citizen who swore allegiance to the Union and the constitution of the United States would be pardoned.

There would be no pardons granted to the high Confederate officials that were working for the government and any individual who owned property that was worth more than $20,000. In this plan, he shared opinions with Abraham Lincoln and pushed his dream. These people were mostly plantation farmers. In this plan, Johnson created a simple plan for the Confederate States to re-enter the Union.

For a state to be re-admitted, it needed to abolish slavery.

Every state was mandatory to revoke its separation decree before being readmitted.


Andrew Johnson was a racist who hated the African-Americans. In his plan, he encouraged the conventions to give a small number of blacks balloting rights, particularly those who had some level of schooling or with army service. Andrew Johnson also gave the African Americans with military service voting rights. The essential goal of this plan was to prevent the richest southerners from repossessing political control. The plan also included appointing a Unionist as a temporary governor in every southern federation.

How the plan accomplished the goal

In this plan, Andrew Johnson managed to make the seceded states to comply with the program. During this period, the Congress was not in sitting, and there was no instant opposition from the section. Congress rejected his plan.Therefore, he sought to destroy the congressional plan as a result. Congress relied on Stanton (Secretary of War) to carry out its policies. Andrew fired Stanton as a result. As a result, Andrew Johnson remained the president of the United States because he privately agreed to comply with the Congressional Reconstruction. Andrew Johnson became the first president in America to face impeachment.

Congressional Plans for Reconstruction

The congress took charge on March 2, 1867. Congress passed three important laws, and this created the Congressional Reconstruction. These were:

The Military Reconstruction Act

The primary goal was to abolish altogether new regimes in the insurgent federations established under the rule of President Andrew Johnson's indulgent plans of reconstruction. As a result, Congress created military control over ten among eleven former Confederate states. The act also required that conventions of elected male citizens to draft new state constitutions.

The Command of the Army

The president was required by this act to subject all army commands via General-in-Chief, Ulysses S. Grant. There were fears that President Andrew would assign generals to take control of the army district who would be too tolerant. The act enforced Congressional reconstruction in South America.

The Tenure of Office Act

The act mandated the head of state to eliminate any federal official who the senate had established his/her appointment. The primary intention of this policy was to avert President Johnson from dismissing Stanton who was one of the most outspoken congressmen who criticized the president.

In conclusion, it is imperative to note that Reconstruction successful on political grounds because it attempted to solve the issues concerned with ways of dealing with the freed slaves. Also, it aimed at bringing the seceded states back to the union after the American civil war took place. This paper has discussed the plans of two American presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson with the Congress. The article has also addressed the goals of each of the ideas and how each plan proposed to achieve the goals. Most of these plans were unsuccessful and had adverse effects on the social and economic well-being of American citizens.


Katz, Michael B. Poverty and policy in American history. Elsevier, 2013.Tindall, George Brown, and David E. Shi. America: A narrative history. WW Norton & Company, 2016.

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