What were the Reconstruction plans put forth by Congress and the President (both Lincoln and Johnson)?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

President Abraham Lincoln could see the writing on the wall by 1863, that the Union would most likely win the war, and the need for reconstruction of the national politically, economically and socially would be paramount.  His idea was the 10% Plan, where if 10% of the number of people...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

President Abraham Lincoln could see the writing on the wall by 1863, that the Union would most likely win the war, and the need for reconstruction of the national politically, economically and socially would be paramount.  His idea was the 10% Plan, where if 10% of the number of people in a state that voted in the 1860 election swore allegiance to the Union (not 10% of the entire population, which would be harder), then the state could be readmitted.  Johnson was from a border state, and he supported Lincoln's plan.

Radical Republicans in Congress, Thaddeus Stevens among them, believed this was way too lenient for what they considered traitors.  He put forth the Conquered Province Theory, which suggested that the states shouldn't be readmitted at all, and that the people living inside those states were no longer citizens.  He wanted to divide up the states into five military districts and run them by martial law as conquered provinces.  But he was a radical, and the Congress eventually adopted Lincoln's plan.

Congress also put forth the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, while no southern Democrats were yet in Congress and amendments were easier to pass.  This abolished slavery, gave free blacks citizenship, and allowed black males 21 and older to vote.

Stevens' other idea was "40 Acres and a Mule", which would break up the old plantations and divide the land among the former slaves.  This was a great idea, and would have worked, except it was never adopted.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team