Reconstruction's aim was to bring the South back into the Union while protecting the rights and safety of the newly freed slaves. At the end of the Civil War, there were nearly 4 million former slaves in the South. It was the hope of Reconstructionists that they could be integrated into the fabric of a free society. Unfortunately, Reconstruction would fall short of its goal.
The original structure of Reconstruction was largely designed by Abraham Lincoln. Had Lincoln lived to see it, he may have been able to guide Reconstruction through. His successor, however, was Andrew Johnson, a rare southern politician who had stayed loyal to the Union. Johnson tweaked Lincoln's plan significantly. He allowed most southern leaders to return to power. All they had to do was swear loyalty to the Union and ratify the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. They were not required to protect the former slaves from abuses or treat them as full citizens.
In response to this, congressional Republicans...
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