What were the major differences between presidential and congressional Reconstruction plans?

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

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I will share the features of each plan so you can see the similarities and differences.

Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan (December 1863)

  1. 10% of the voters of a state would take an oath of loyalty to the U.S.
  2. New state governments could form and would  adopt a constitution banning slavery
  3. Amnesty (forgiveness) offered to all white  Southerners who agreed to be loyal to U.S. excluding Confederate leaders
  4. Lincoln encouraged the states to give the right to vote to the former slaves

Wade-Davis Bill (Plan of Congress in July 1864)

  1. A majority (over 50%) of white males had to agree to be loyal to the U.S.
  2. Only white males who pledged they had never taken up arms (weapons) against the Union could   vote for delegates to constitutional conventions
  3. Slavery had to be abolished in the new constitutions which would be written
  4. Former confederate leaders couldn’t hold office

President Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan

  1. Amnesty and the return of their property were offered if people promised to be loyal to the U.S.
  2. High ranking Confederates had to apply to the President for amnesty (wanted to get back at  wealthy southerners who he thought tricked white southerners into seceding)
  3. Only people who promised to be loyal and who  were pardoned could vote for delegates  to state constitutional conventions
  4. Temporary state governments would be set up, secession must be rejected, and the 13th amendment (which abolished slavery) had to be ratified in the state constitutions

Radical Republican Plan

  1. Divided South into five military districts and created new governments in ten southern states under a military commander
  2. Only Tennessee, which ratified the 14th amendment, kept its own government, and it  was readmitted to the Union in 1866
  3. Former Confederate leaders couldn’t hold political office
  4. African-American males could vote in state elections
  5. Set process for rejoining the Union in which states would write and approve new  constitutions that Congress also had to approve      
  6. Ratify the 13th and 14th amendment

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