Compare the three Reconstruction Plans: Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan, Johnson's Reconstruction Plan, and the Congressional Reconstruction Plan, in detail.

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martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were basically 3 plans for Reconstruction, Lincoln’s plan, Johnson’s plan, and the Radical Republican plan.

Lincoln’s plan was known as the 10% Plan. It was simple. With a few exceptions, Lincoln offered pardons to any Confederate who swore allegiance to the Union and the Constitution.  When the number of people who took an oath of allegiance equaled 10% of the number of voters who participated in the election of 1860, the state would be readmitted to the Union after organizing a new state government which abolished slavery.  Lincoln was assassinated before this plan could be put into effect.

Johnson’s plan was also lenient towards the southern states.  He would grant pardons to anyone taking a loyalty oath to the U.S. except for high ranking Confederate political and military leaders, and people owning property worth more than $20,000. States would be readmitted to the Union once they created a new state government that abolished slavery, repealed the state’s ordinance of secession, and repudiated Confederate debts.  This was put into effect when Congress was in recess.  Johnson’s Plan did not really address the fortunes of newly freed slaves and southern states began to pass “black codes”, or laws which severely limited the civil rights of freedmen. When Congress reconvened, it refused to recognize Johnson’s plan by refusing to seat any person elected to Congress from any former Confederate state. It then began to pass its own laws concerning the southern states.

The Congressional Plan, or Radical Republican Plan, was meant to aid newly freed slaves (known as freedmen) and to punish the South.  It first passed several laws helping newly freed slaves, such as The Civil Rights Act (whose provisions would later be found in the 14th Amendment).  It also extended the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau.  It then passed a series of laws known as The Reconstruction Acts.  These laws were vetoed by Johnson, but the vetoes were easily overridden and these laws were put into effect.  The Reconstruction Acts basically divided the South into 5 military districts with the military commander of the district given complete authority.  No state would be allowed back into the Union until it ratified the 14th Amendment and guaranteed the right to vote for African American men. And later, for some states, the 15th Amendment had to be ratified, too.  The 14th Amendment punished Confederate supporters and gave citizenship to former slaves.  It also said that no state could deny to anyone, including African Americans, the equal protection of the law and due process of law.  The 15th amendment stated that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of race.  Eventually all states were readmitted under this plan.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were three plans of Reconstruction. President Lincoln had a plan, President Johnson had a plan, and there was the Radical Republican plan.

President Lincoln’s plan called for several things to occur. His plan called for ten percent of the voters to take an oath of loyalty to the United States. New state governments could form. These governments had to ban slavery when they wrote the new state constitutions. His plan would offer amnesty to all white southerners, except Confederate leaders, if these people pledged loyalty to the United States.

President Johnson’s plan was different from President Lincoln’s plan. His plan called for granting amnesty and returning people's property if they pledged to be loyal to the United States. Confederate leaders had to apply directly to President Johnson in order to request amnesty. Only people who promised to be loyal and who were pardoned could vote for delegates to the conventions in each state that would write the new state constitutions. The state constitutions had to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which banned slavery.

The Radical Republicans in Congress had a plan for Reconstruction. Their plan had several parts to it. One part involved passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which gave full citizenship to African Americans with the federal government protecting these rights. The Freedmen’s Bureau, which provided aid to the former slaves, was given additional power. Special courts were created to prosecute people who violated the rights of African Americans. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, which stated that people born in the United States were citizens and had the rights of citizens. These rights couldn’t be taken away without the due process of law. The Fifteenth Amendment stated that voting rights couldn’t be taken away because of a person’s race or a person having been a slave. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 divided the South into five military districts. The military was in charge of registering new voters and ensuring that new state constitutions were written.

Of the three plans, it was the Radical Republican plan that went into effect. It lasted until the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction.

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