- What were the significant differences of the Reconstruction plans offered by President Johnson and the Congress? Why were they different?
Andrew Johnson was Lincoln’s vice president. He automatically took over the presidency after the assassination of Lincoln (Hearn). He was keen to continue Lincoln’s Reconstruction vision (Trefousse). However, it was not easy; he was to clash with the Congress which continued to come up with more radical legislation.
There is a significant difference between the Reconstruction plan President Johnson offered and the Congress included. The confiscation Act that Congress had passed between 1861 and 1862 which allowed confiscation of land that was owned by Confederates, and proposed that this land should be redistributed to freedmen (Connelly 45). On his side, Johnson was not keen to allow the Act, and he ordered that the land is given back to the pardoned owners instead.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed that sought to give freedmen full legal equality, however, were not granted right to vote. While this act was vetoed by Johnson, the Congress overrode.
Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts, though this act was initially vetoed by President Johnson, were overridden later by the Congress (Thompson). The first Reconstruction Act passed was keen to see Ten Confederate States fall under military control. It went further to grouping them into five military districts with the aim of enabling them to serve as the acting governor for these regions (Ayers 13). The primary aim of this act was to recognize African Americans and give them the right to vote.
The significant difference between Congress and President Johnson were based on the fact that while South needed to be rebuilt after the civil.
President Andrew Johnson had very different ideas about it than doing Radical congressional Republicans (Boehm 23). The president was more lenient and took a conciliatory approach to the South, which was against the wishes of the Radical Republicans, who favored civil rights for African-Americans. This difference in ideas led to conflict between the two arms of the government leading Johnson’s impeachment and his near removal from office.
Ayers, Edward L. Holt American Anthem. Austin, Tex: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2007. Print.
Boehm, Richard G. Early United States. Orlando, Fla: Harcourt Brace, 2000. Print.
Connelly, Thomas L. American Military History. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press,
Trefousse, H. L. The radical Republicans: Lincoln’s Vanguard for racial justice. New
York: Knopf, 1969.
Thompson, Elizabeth L. The Reconstruction of Southern Debtors: Bankruptcy After the Civil
War. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004. Print.
Hearn, Chester G. The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson. , 2007. Internet resource.