Essay Paper on President Lincoln’s Goals
by Javier Wiesselman
President Lincoln is rightfully regarded as one of the most prominent persons in history of America. The period of Reconstruction is connected with Lincoln. It was President Lincoln who has actually tried to start the process of reconstruction during the Civil War. He elaborated the plan of reconstruction and how the Southern states should be treated. Following Union triumphs at Gettysburg, Chattanooga and Vicksburg, Lincoln hoped that some Confederate states could witness the handwriting on the wall and would wish to rejoin the Union if good conditions were offered. The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction was issued in December 1863. According to it which those states with 10% of 1860 electorate would rejoin theUnionand agree to liberation might be readmitted (Foner, 2002). As for the congress, it refused to recognize plan ofLincolnand countered with much harsher approach of the Wade-Davis Bill.
Johnson was the follower ofLincoln. The Radical Republicans supposed at first that unlikeLincoln, Johnson wanted to punish the South for its seceding. Though, on May 29, 1865, Johnson adopted his own reconstruction proclamation that was mainly in agreement with plan of Lincoln (Foner, 2002). Like Lincoln, Johnson, held that the southern states had never officially left the Union, in addition, Johnson kept to most ofLincoln’s 10 percent plan. On December 6, 1865, Johnson announced that his conditions for reconstruction were met by the southern states and that to his mind theUnionwas restored.
Despite numerous problems of the Reconstruction, many people hoped that the progress could be made. Many honest citizens realized the problems and tried to resolve them, though many goals were not realized, and much of the progress made during Reconstruction was inverted later. Probably, one of the most interesting ironies of the Reconstruction is that it had to occur in a legal sense (Fitzgerald, 2008). During the four years of bloody war, government tried to prove that the state could not unilaterally leave the Union and when the war was finally over, the United States Congress dictated conditions according to which the states were admitted back into the Union.
Foner, E. (2002). Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. Denver: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Fitzgerald, M. (2008). Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (American WaysSeries). NY: Ivan R Dee
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