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The Ordeal of Reconstruction

            Reconstruction was based on rebuilding the South after the American Civil War (1861-1865); it impacted social economic, and political issues. The main reason for reconstruction was to put the union back together and free the slaves once and for all. Reconstruction took three periods to be completed. The first was Lincoln, the second was Andrew Johnson, and the third was Congressional Reconstruction. After the civil war, South cities were seriously destroyed in 1865, and North cities were not affected. In economic aspect, economic life had come to a stop. Andrew Johnson became president after Lincoln's assassination in 1864. Johnson was Lincoln's vice-president and the only chief executive to be impeached by the House until 1998. He was a Southerner who did not understand the North and a Democrat who had never been accepted by the Republicans. Republicans feared Southerners might join hands with Democratics in the North and win control of Congress. If the South ran Congress, blacks might be enslaved once again. To protest blacks, Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill, but Johnson vetoed the Bill. .
             Now the South was faced with freedman that were unskilled, could not read or write. They had no property or money. To cope with this problem Union General, Oliver O. Howard founded the Freedmen's Bureau (1865). The bureau achieved great success after the Civil War. It was a welfare agency that provided food, clothing, medical care and education to both freedmen and white refugees. It also taught 200,000 blacks to read. He later founded and served as president of Howard University in Washington, D.C. .
             Abraham Lincoln believed that the Southern states had never legally withdrawn from the Union. In 1863, Lincoln proposed a plan called the "10% Plan." It called for 10% of its voters in the 1860 Election to take a pledge of loyalty to the Union. This plan was met by severe opposition from the Radical Republicans in Congress who viewed the South as conquered territory.

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