The Controversial Role Of Reconstruction In The United States

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Reconstruction, the period from 1863 to 1877, was a tempestuous and controversial time for the United States of America. President Lincoln sought to reunify the North and South, and urged moderate policies that would help to heal the wounds from the Civil War. Andrew Johnson advocated harsh penalties, including hanging, for Confederates, but softened his stance following Lincoln’s assassination. The Radical Republican Congress favored a more punitive Reconstruction policy and citizenship for the freedmen. This desire led to the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which granted citizenship to anyone born in the United States. The Reconstruction was marked by struggles between moderate views of Lincoln and Johnson and Congress’ radical views on treatment of both Confederates and ex-slaves; the Fourteenth Amendment, meant to address the citizenship of slaves freed by the Thirteenth …show more content…
They first passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The Library of Congress (2015) states that Congress was fearful that this might be overturned, and thus worked on drafting an Amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee rights for the slaves and for subsequent generations by including a definition of citizenship that included anyone born on United States soil. Congress also worked to eliminate the Black Codes that were passed in the South; these codes were designed to maintain Caucasian supremacy over the freed slaves politically and economically. The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed citizenship and put provisions in place to take away a states represented power in Washington if they prevented blacks from voting. While the Republicans felt they had done a sufficient job for ex slaves, many freedmen felt that a true solution involved the granting of land to them (Rourk. Et al. p.

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