The Stages Of Reconstruction During The Civil War Essay

767 Words May 4th, 2016 4 Pages
There are three stages of reconstruction, the first being Wartime Reconstruction. Before the Civil War began, rumors spread in many southern communities that Abraham Lincoln planned to enforce emancipation. Slowly, a small number of slaves made their way to Union camps seeking refuge. Initially, Union leaders returned the slaves, due to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. However, General Butler, at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, decided to put the slaves to work for the Union cause once the war broke out. For the remainder of the war, slaves continued to flock to Union lines. At first, the Lincoln administration allowed individual commanders to determine how to handle the runaway slaves. Yet, as the war progressed, it became necessary for the government to adopt a more standard policy.

Lincoln struggled to find a policy that would meet the demands of the refugees for freedom while also appeasing slaveholders. Initially, his administration did not develop a long-term policy for dealing with the former slaves. However, the Emancipation Proclamation, coupled with Union victories, contributed to the disintegration of slavery. Moreover, it meant when southern states, either by choice or by force, returned to the Union, they had to accept abolition. Therefore, Lincoln developed a policy for restoring the rebelling states that took into consideration the transition from a slave labor system to a free labor system. At the same time, the Congressional Republicans did not always approve…

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