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Reports & Essays: Social Issues - Racial

"AND""OR"


Racism and Reconstruction
Although Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction was not put into effect in the South after the Civil War, if it had been racism would have been almost completely avoided in the 20th century. Licoln's proposed plan was called the "10% Plan." It called for 10% of the people would voted in the 1860 Election to take a pledge of loyalty to the Union. This plan was met by harsh oppostion by the Radical Republicans in Congress who viewed the South as conquered territory. These Radicals said that Lincoln's plan was much too soft. In return, Republicans in Congress then moved to pass the Wade-Davis Bill in 1864. This bill required that a majority of the South would have to take an iron clad oath that the had never supported the Confederacy. The Wade-Davis bill was pocket-vetoed by Lincoln who was assassinated shortly after. Johnson took over the presidency and his Plan of Reconstruction was passes. Instead of Lincoln's "10% Plan", Johnson's Plan of Reconstuction was put into effect. Johnson's plan was much more acrimonious towards the South. Johnson's plan demanded that the South nullify their secessions, hold stae conventions, adopt the 13th amendment, re-elect Congressmen, The question of how to reconstruct the devistated South after the Civil War was one of immense importance in many aspects. Most would argue that the problems involving the South adjusting socially to the notion of liberated blacks was the msot heated issue. It was an issue that encompassed both a change in lifestyle as well as in longstanding moral values. Both Presdential and Congressional plans were developed in an attempt to ensure Reconstruction would be as smooth as a political, economic and social revolution as humanly possible. President Abraham Lincoln believed from the start of the War, and therefore the start of Reconstruction, that the Southern states had never legally seceded from the Untion. Therefore his plan for reconstruction would be aimed at preserving the peace of the Union and fairly rebuilding the South. Lincoln's "10 % Plan" was the Presidential attempt to see to it that the South would adhere to the ideals surrounding emancipation. Lincoln claimed he would then work on re-developing the structure of each state government. The difference of opinion between the President and Congress over this matter not only revealed the differences between each sector politically, but set the stage for heated emotions in regards to emancipation. This whole chain of events was much a part of the seperation now existing within political parties, as well as dividing views held by Southerners. Due to the bickering in Washington, problems starting arising in the South involving discrimination against liberated blacks. The enactment of Black Codes by newly formed Southern regimes was hurting the black emancipation movement. These laws were created to control the affiars of the freed blacks, acting as post-Civil War slave statutes. Now the Southern ideals of white aristocractic supremacy were revitalized and racist viewpoints as well as prejudice societies were formed. Although it is true that the passage of Lincoln's 10 Percent plan would have been a far simplier, swifter way of starating the task of Reconstruction, it could not have singlehandedly stopped the inevitable Southern backlash regarding empancipation. Therefore, although the 10 percent plan would have more readily assissted in the transtition from slavery! to emancipation, it would have not been able to stop the formation of racist ideals or organizations. Even though we have racism today in almost the 21st century, it probably could be severely lessened had we used Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction.

 



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