What was the goal of Reconstruction?

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

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Reconstruction had several goals.  The main goal was to rebuild the South.  After the Civil War, the South was completely destroyed. This meant several things needed to occur.  First, the economy needed to be rebuilt.  This meant diversifying the economy so it wasn’t so farming dependent.  It also meant rebuilding the infrastructure of the South.  The second part of rebuilding the South was to bring the Confederate states back into the United States.  This meant developing a plan so the southern states could write new constitutions.  Once these constitutions were written and met the requirements set by the Radical Republicans in Congress, the states could rejoin the Union.  A third goal of Reconstruction was to give the former slaves freedom, rights, and opportunity.  There were government agencies, such as the Freedmen’s Bureau, that worked to help the former slaves.  The goal was to provide equal opportunities for the former slaves.  

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scisser | (Level 3) Honors

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The goal of Reconstruction was to rebuild the South after the end of the Civil War because of the extensive damage that had been caused (ex. Sherman's March to the Sea).

There were two different types of Reconstruction: Presidential Reconstruction and Radical Reconstruction. Lincoln's original plan was Healing, but Congress wanted to be more harsh and give justice.

Healing:

  • Lincoln's 10% Plan (December 1863)- Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana
  • Amnesty to all but high ranking officials
  • Those with amnesty would get all their property back except slaves
  • 10% of votes of the 1860 election would allow them to get a new Constitutional Convention, but they had to abolish slavery.

Justice:

  • Wade-Davis Bill (July 1864)
  • 50% of the citizens had to swear loyalty to the Union
  • Only those who were always loyal could participate in conventions
  • South had to abolish slavery and repudiate debt
  • Ex-confederates could never vote
  • Wade Davis Bill was pocket-vetoed.

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