American History – Reconstruction – Part 2

Johnson’s Plan of Reconstruction

Johnson retained Lincoln’s cabinet. He carried out Lincoln program who gave his approval to governments in Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Virginia.

  1. He issued an amnesty proclamation similar to Lincoln’s.
  2. His amnesty was not extended to property at $20, 0000 and several groups Lincoln had included.
  3. By successive proclamations, he set up provisional governments in North Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. He authorized loyal white citizens to draft and ratify new constitutions and to elect state legislatures.
  4. He insisted that those states with the first legislature should: a) repeal ordinances of succession, b) repudiate the confederate state debts and c) ratify the 13th amendment which provided formally and finally for abolition of slavery.

In December 1865, radical leaders of the congress were convinced that the president was too lenient and opposed his plan. Hence, Congress which was influenced by the radicals opposed the senators, representatives who had been elected by “provisional governments” acc. to Johnson’s plan.

  1. They thought that those newly elected members would be a threat for the congress.
  2. They began to make new plans for reconstruction.
  3. Thaddeus Stevens, a republican, set up a joint committee on reconstruction consisting of 15 members.
  4. The political reconstruction and new proposals for congressional action were authorized by the committee.
  5. Charles Sumner, a radical republican leader stated that the seceding states had given up their statehood and become territories entirely to the will of the congress.
  6. Thaddeus Stevens, the radical republican…

…..said that A] the southern states had no right of their own.

B] Negros should be given full civil rights.


The following were the motives of the Radicals.

  1. Personal animosity towards President Johnson.
  2. The fear of executive encroachment.
  3. Resentment over speedy return of ex confederates on political power in the south.
  4. The determination of republican politicians to create a republican party.
  5. Humanitarians safeguarding the interests of the Negros.
  6. Northern business hoped the removal of southern influence from congress which would result in a programme of government aid to industry.