Reconstruction, in U.S. history, (1865–77) were attempts to heal the incidents happened during American Civil War.

Ten Percent Plan

President Abraham Lincoln announced the first comprehensive program for Reconstruction, the Ten Percent Plan. Under it, when one-tenth of a state’s voters took an oath of loyalty, they could establish a new state government.

Andrew Johnson

Following Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, Andrew Johnson became president and inaugurated the period of Presidential Reconstruction (1865–67). Johnson offered a pardon to all Southern whites except Confederate leaders and wealthy planters by restoring their political rights and all property except slaves.

Freedman’s Bureau Bill

The congress setup this bill to protect and provide for the newly emancipated Negros. The Negros demanded too much freedom and lived by petty thievery. They were allotted land for livelihood. Disputes were settled by agents from Freedman Bureau. Schools and medical care was provided. The bureau was resented by the south that it interfered in their local affairs.

The Civil rights Bill

The Civil Rights Act became the first significant legislation in American history to become law over a president’s veto. Full rights to Negros were given. All cases under the act were declared within the jurisdiction of federal courts. Equality of treatment before the law. The moderated in the congress urged the president to sign the bill to avoid complete break down between executives and legislature but Johnson refused. He argued that it invaded state rights and would revive rebellion. Johnson returned the bill with his veto and the congress passed the bill over his veto brining about a complete break down between the president and the congress.

The 14th  amendment

The quarrel grew more violent with President Johnson and the congress. Radical republicans insisted upon political punishment on ex confederates. An amendment was brought by them and it was approved by the congress in 1866.

Citizenship was conferred on every person naturalized in the United States (to include Negros). State laws abridging civil rights were prohibited. States which deprived Negro ballot were to suffer reduction of representation. Ex confederates were debarred from holding national and state offices. The confederate debt was repudiated and validity of US debts was affirmed. Tennessee quickly ratified the amendment and was readmitted to the union in 1866. All other states rejected the amendment under the notice of Johnson considering it unconstitutional.  Through the 14th amendment congress offered the southern states to get re-admitted into the union. If the southern states and president accepted this offer, reconstruction would have ended there.

Reconstruction acts of 1867

Ten states of south were divided into five military districts with a major general in command. When registration was completed, constitutional conventions elected by Negros and loyal whites were to frame constitutions providing for Negro suffrage. Southern whites were unable to register, so power came to carpetbaggers and Negros. The constitution was made by men who had little or no experience in government matters. The union league was set up to teach Negros their responsibilities to Republican Party. Constitutions with constitutional conventions were accepted by congress. Qualified voters should take pledge that they’d ratify the fourteenth amendment and Negros will have right to vote. After ratification they could apply for representation in congress.

Congressional plan of Reconstruction

Black Codes:

Enacted in 1865 to ensure white supremacy.

It conferred some rights of citizenship upon Negros.

They were not to testify in case of white persons.

Not to bear arms.

Not to serve on juries.

Not to vote.

Liable to be arrested if sound idle.( jobs were closed for them)

These were passed by southern states as 1. Feared that Negros will upraise 2. Felt that Negros weren’t ready for the share of government. But was considered as an attempt to bring back slavery in another name.

 Tenure of office act and the military reconstruction act

In December 1866, congress took immediate steps to secure supremacy of congress legislature in the government and reduce the president to a position of figure head. The tenure of office act was passed by which the congress attempted to restrict the president’s power. The Military reconstruction act in 1867 tried to limit his power as commander in chief of army and the navy. President should issue orders through navy and army.

Reign of Radicals

These acts were more significant than a punishment to the southern states for their failure in ratification of the 14th amendment. It was a political protest against the spread of slavery transformed by financiers of the north.Criticism:  Land owners who couldn’t pay had to forfeit large blocks of land which was nothing short of confiscation. State and national debt increased rapidly. However, the reconstruction governments had done some good. Public works were more extensive than before the war. Roads, bridges and public buildings were constructed in all states. Real progress had been made in system of free public schools. Often money was spent foolishly, as taxes were raised to repair war damages, rebuild railways and factories and schools for Negros and whites.