Reconstruction Period Research Forum
December 1863 President Abraham Lincoln announces his reconstruction plan. It offers general amnesty to all white Southerners who take an oath of future loyalty and accept wartime measures abolishing slavery. Whenever 10% of the number of 1860 voters take the loyalty oath in any state, those loyal citizens can then establish a state government. In early 1864 the governments of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee are reconstructed under Lincoln’s "Ten Percent Plan." Radical Republicans are shocked at the policy’s leniency, so Congress refuses to recognize the governments or seat their elected federal representatives.
July 1864 Congress passes its own reconstruction plan, the Wade-Davis bill. It requires a majority of 1860 voters to take a loyalty oath, but only those who swear an "ironclad" oath of never having fought against the Union can participate in reconstructing their state’s government. Congress requires the state constitutions to include bans on slavery, disfranchisement of Confederate political and military leaders, and repudiation of Confederate state debts. After Congress adjourns, Lincoln refuses to sign the Wade-Davis bill, so it is "pocket-vetoed" and not implemented.
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