There were several plans for Reconstruction. I will explain each plan so you can identify the similarities and differences. The plans were different because each person or group proposing the plan had different objectives. For example, President Lincoln want to heal the country yet be sure some of the factors leading to the Civil War didn’t occur again. President Johnson was from the South. Some people felt that impacted his plan. Congress wanted to have a plan that was harsher on the South. Some in Congress, the Radical Republicans, really wanted to punish the South.
Lincoln’s Plan was known as the Ten Percent Plan. It required ten percent of the voters to pledge to be loyal to the United States. New constitutions would have to end slavery. Forgiveness would be offered to white southerners who agreed to be loyal to the United States. This provision didn’t include the former leaders of the Confederacy.
The Wade-Davis Bill was a plan proposed by Congress. It required 50% of white southerners to be loyal to our country. In the new state constitutions that would be written, slavery would be illegal. Former leaders of the Confederacy couldn’t hold office.
President Johnson had a plan because he believed the President should direct the Reconstruction process. Southerners would be forgiven and get their property back if they agreed to be loyal to the United States. The leaders of the Confederacy had to ask the President directly for forgiveness. New state constitutions would be written. Slavery would be illegal, and secession wouldn’t be allowed in these newly written constitutions.
The Radical Republicans in Congress had a plan that was quite harsh on the South. They wanted to give African-American males the right to vote. They wanted to prevent the former leaders of the Confederacy from voting. They also planned to give slaves land by taking it from the plantation owners. They also provide funding for schools. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were part of their plan. Slavery was illegal with the 13th amendment. All people born in the United States would be citizens of the United States was part of the 14th amendment. With the 15th amendment, people couldn’t be denied voting rights based on their race or color. The military was also in charge of Reconstruction in the South.
Eventually, it was the harsher Radical Republican plan that prevailed and became the plan of Reconstruction in the South.