Why Was The Radical Republican Plan For Reconstruction Considered Radical

Why was the Radical Republican plan for Reconstruction considered radical?


The Radical Republican plan was considered radical because it involved completely reforming and re-creating Southern society. Former slaves were empowered, and many even entered into politics. To accomplish this, the US Army had to occupy many Southern states in order to protect the newly freed Black population and ensure their right to vote.

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Congressional Reconstruction is often referred to as Radical Reconstruction because it involved big bold plans. Presidential Reconstruction as envisioned by Lincoln and Johnson was meant to be lenient to the former Confederacy in order to encourage reunification and heal the wounds of the Civil War. Radical Republicans in Congress had another plan. They wanted the former rebellious states to be punished and for former slaves to be protected and empowered. In short, Radical Reconstruction was designed to completely remake the South.

Senator Benjamin Wade and Representative Henry Winter Davis proposed their plan in February 1864. The ensuing Wade-Davis Bill was designed to punish the defeated Confederates. This bill would require 50 percent of eligible voters in Southern states to swear loyalty to the Union before their states could be readmitted into the country, unlike the 10 percent proposed by President Lincoln. Unlike proposed Presidential Reconstruction, confiscated Confederate...

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