Reconstruction Era - A Dark Age Essay

Length: 3 pages Subject: American History Type: Essay Paper: #50202991 Related Topics: Jim Crow Laws, Women Suffrage, Civil War Women, Civil War
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … era after the Civil War that came to be known as the Reconstruction Era. The author of this report is to focus on several different things. This essay will describe the plans of President Lincoln and President Johnson and how they differed from the plans of Congress. There will also be a focus on the impact of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The author of this report will respond to the notion offered by many historians that the post-Civil War era was one of the "darkest" times of American history. Finally, the author of this report will answer the question of whether anything could have or should have been done differently. While many of the stains of the Reconstruction Era are gone, that time period was in many ways the worst period of American history and that includes the slavery that occurred pre-1861.


In terms of what the Congress did instead of and in spite of what Lincoln and Johnson were doing, there are a couple of things that can be pointed to. First, there were three Reconstruction bills passed in 1867. All three of them were passed in spite of vetoes by President Johnson. Tennessee was readmitted to the Union given its ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment but other ten Confederates states were rejected and were instead split into military districts. Those states had to prepare new Constitutions...


About seven states had complied by 1868. However, some other laws were much more dubious and aggressive. For example, the Tenure of Office Act actively forbid the President from removing civil officials, and that included members of the President's own Cabinet, without the consent of the Senate. This was seen as an obvious ploy to protect Secretary of War Edwin Stanton who was coopering with the "Republican Radicals." They also made a move to require that two thirds of the Supreme Court would have to vote in favor of anything that was a contravention of a law of Congress. This was done mostly in reaction to the Supreme Court asserting that military tribunals could not be used as the justice mechanism in areas with functional civil courts. This flew in the face of the military district system mentioned earlier in this essay.

Lincoln's involvement in Reconstruction and the planning thereof was fairly limited given his rather untimely death via assassination not long after the Civil War ended. However, there were some details First, Lincoln asserted that a state convention could be summoned to come to a new Constitution after only…

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