What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Radical Republicans’ plan and Andrew Johnson’s plan?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were strengths and weaknesses of both the Radical Republican plan for Reconstruction and Andrew Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction. The biggest weakness in Andrew Johnson’s plan is that many people felt it was too easy on the South. There were not many rights enumerated for the former slaves in his plan since he wanted the states to decide what rights the former slaves would have. His plan also called for returning some property to white Southerners. One strength of his plan was that it required the states to write new state constitutions that approved the Thirteenth Amendment and rejected secession.

The Radical Republican plan was a very harsh plan for the South. A strength of this plan was that it gave freedoms to the former slaves. The passage of the Fourteenth Amendment said any person born in the United States was a citizen and had the rights of citizenship. The Fifteenth Amendment prevented the denial of voting rights based on race or color. Both of these amendments helped African Americans get more rights, at least for a period of time. A disadvantage of this plan is that it created much resentment among white southerners. They hated this plan and many people never accepted that the former slaves would have voting rights and the rights that citizens have. White Southerners hated the Republican Party for a long time and supported Democratic Party candidates for many years. This resentment eventually led to the creation of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, which worked to deny African Americans their rights and to terrorize them.