Why did southern military leaders oppose Reconstruction?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Southern military leaders were very opposed to Reconstruction.  The southern leaders (political and military) wanted to develop their own plans for Reconstruction, or at least have input into a plan that would be developed.  They didn’t want the Republicans in Congress to impose a plan on the South.  Most of the Republicans were discussing fairly harsh plans of Reconstruction for the states that had seceded.  These plans would have significantly increased freedoms and rights for the former slaves. The southern people, for the most part, had not changed their attitudes towards the former slaves. They wanted to keep them down, keep them segregated, and make life difficult for them.  If the Republicans implemented their plans, the United States military would rule in the South.  The southerners would find it more difficult to restrict the freedoms and rights of the former slaves.  Additionally, the southern military and political leaders were going to be held to a much more strict form of punishment than the average citizen if the Republicans were able to implement their plans.  These leaders would have their rights, power, and possibly their freedom greatly reduced.  There were several reasons why the southern leaders opposed Reconstruction.

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