Week 4 Discussion 2: Reconstruction and the Compromise of 1877

The three Reconstruction plans, Proclamation of Amnesty & Reconstruction, Andrew Johnson’s Reconstruction and Congressional Reconstruction plan, can be compared to one another by noting that they each had their own “reconstruction” ideas all concerned the South but in different ways. The 10% plan, also known as the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, was put into effect by President Lincoln after the Civil War ended. Its purpose was to have at least 10% of the 1860 voting population in the former rebel states to take a binding oath of future allegiance to the U.S and the emancipation of slaves, and declare once those voters took the oath, then the restored confederate states would draft a new state constitution as explained in Corbett et al. (2014). Lincoln had figured this plan would make it easier and quicker to establish emancipation with only needing the 10% to pledge their allegiance to the Union. Lincolns plan wanted to be able to make the resolution and emancipation acceptable everywhere.  But shortly after he had set his plan into motion, he was assassinated, therefore Andrew Johnson became president. Johnson’s reconstruction plan was similar to what Lincoln wanted, he did want to follow with keeping Lincoln’s plan after taking over the Presidency, having a quick incorporation of the south into the union on more lenient terms and be able to smooth over the turmoil that had occurred noted by Corbett et al. (2014). In Johnson’s reconstruction plan, wanting to still adhere to Lincoln’s plan, but wanted it to be more lenient in the way that he provided amnesty and pardons, if the former confederates were able to affirm their support of the Constitution, then he granted them back all of their properties except slaves, one difference was the Confederate generals who were asking for property back had to basically apply to have the pardon unlike Lincoln’s plan was to not have them be eligible. He also wanted them to them adhere to the 13th amendment; to abolish slavery, and be able to clear the confederate debt, then allowing the southern states to send people to Washington to be representatives and be able to then vote, noted in NPS (2020).  When in comparison to the Congressional Reconstruction Act, there was much to compare. Congress and Johnson did not have the same mind set when it came to reconstructing the U.S.. Many within Congress wanted it to be stricter and punished the South for what had occurred during the Civil War and made them pay for what they had done. According to NPS (2020), the ex-confederates were not allowed to vote, the constitution states “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States, or elsewhere, is guilty of treason”, leading to view the confederate states as being treasonous, there fore losing the voting right due to loss of citizenship because of treason. They had also put in place military rule, in which the former confederates had to follow the law, especially the 13th Amendment. In all, the Congressional Reconstruction wanted to hold on to the power of keeping Republican’s in the house, thus basically making the South basically conform to all the new set laws/rules before they were considered forgiven and reinstated back into the union under the new said laws/rules.

The impact that the Compromise of 1877 had on the end of reconstruction to African American’s is that it brought to light how segregated the United States was when it came to rights of black American’s. This compromise, which was put into play by the candidate Hayes, basically vowing that if he was to win the election, that he would withdraw the army from the South, letting the white supremacist/racists within in the Democratic party be able to govern their affairs without any interaction from the federal side, this according to Smith (2014). He also had imposed that the protection of the civil and political rights along with helping with the development of African American economy, but this was quickly forgotten once the army was removed from the South. It led to many years of segregation and oppression set forth by the white American’s who recanted on the promises and not honoring the civil and political rights of the African American’s.  

Corbett, P.S, Volker, J. Lund, J.M., Pfannestiel, T., Waskiewicz, S., Vickery. P. (2014). U.S. History. OpenStax. Houston, TX. Retrieved from: https://openstax.org/books/us-history/pages/1-IntroductionLinks to an external site..

National Park Service (2020). Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction. U.S. Department of the Interior: National Park Services. Retrieved from: https://www.nps.gov/anjo/andrew-johnson-and-reconstruction.htmLinks to an external site..

Smith, R. C. (2014). Compromise of 1877. In Encyclopedia of African-American Politics, Second Edition. New York: Facts On File. Retrieved September 20, 2020, from https://online.infobase.com/Auth/Index?aid=239824&itemid=WE52&articleId=158866Links to an external site.

Lincoln felt that the states did not have the legal right to succeed and wanted to bring the nation back together. He put forward the 10% Act which would allow 10% of the voters, if they would pledge allegiance to the United States, they would be able to form state government and rewrite a constitution that abolished slavery.  This act did exclude some high raking military officials that participated in the war.

Once Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson a southerner set forth is own plan to bring the south back into the U.S. His plan was considered a “self-restoration” and included 14 categories of exception. It granted amnesty to the government officials and the military and allowed the states to write new constitution’s and that would abolish slavery.  However, some of these states wrote in “black codes” that restricted freedom for the slaves.

He would not consider civil rights for formal slaves and Congress felt this looked a lot like the pre-civil war.  Congress wanted rights for the freeman.  Congress took action to protect the rights of the free slaves and enacted the 13th amendment which abolished slavery and gave rights to free black Americans.  Johnson did not agree with this and vetoed the bill.  Congress overrode his directive, and it became law in 1866.      

The Compromise of 1877 came about in a presidential race that was controversial and could not be decided by the electoral college. There were three states in dispute all under democratic control.  In order to elect Hayes a republican a compromise of three democrats form these states occurred. In exchange for the vote. The troops that were in the South protecting the rights of the Free slaves would be removed.  This restored white dominance in the states and ended the reconstruction.   Adderley (2018).

  1. S History (2014) https://openstax.org/books/us-history/pages/16-1-restoring-the-unionLinks to an external site.

Adderley, C (2018) The Compromise of 1877. New York: Facts on File. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2020 form online.infobase.com

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