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American Life During And Post Civil War

2988 words - 12 pages

Veer Shah

AP United States History

DBQ Essay #3: “American period between 1860-1880”

The historic period prior to the 1860s was the most underlying era in American society as it led to the bloodiest war in the American history, the Civil war. Prior to the Civil war, the American politics were sectionally divided between the Northern Republicans and the Southern Democrats. The political culture was almost saturated as both sections had realized that the numerous compromises would only provoke questions and dissimilarities between them, with the largely interfered question of slavery and suffrage. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 had been implemented as a nationwide ...view middle of the document...

Since the secession of the Southern Confederates in the beginning of the 1860s, the Republicans gained an unprecedented power in the Congress, and completely lost any minor opposition from the Southern Democrats. They thought of taking immense advantage of this ‘monopolized’ situation, and thus pass laws centered to their purposes. To help the African Americans, and to expand west, the Republicans passed the Homestead Act of 1862, and following with the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 to encourage agrarian education and mechanize the fields. Republicans had long ago realized the importance of the transcontinental railroad to unite the newly settled in the west to the east. Thus, they passed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 to construct the first ‘proper’ transcontinental railroad. In addition, the Congress also passed the National Banking Act of 1863 to provide a nationwide currency. All these laws, coupled with numerous tariff acts, helped the Northern manufacturing economy to flourish, and in turn, granted advantage to the Union over the South. During this period of 1862-63, the Union was under Lincoln’s administration. Lincoln’s clear verdict was to protect the Union, whether slavery was still prevalent or abolished, was never a concern for him. However, Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation, which made it clear that he was also keen to free the slaves. Further, to preserve the Union, Lincoln leniently passed the 10% Plan to readmit the seceded Southern states. But opposition within the Republicans faction arose, as the Radical Republicans strongly wanted the reconstruction plan to be stricter and slower, just to make Southerners realize their defeat. Thus, the Radical Republicans passed the Wade-Davis Act, implementing a 50% Plan for the Southern states to be readmitted. Lincoln’s death in 1865 meant that the 10% Plan would not be implemented, instead the prevalence of the Wade-Davis Bill was evident. Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson hoped to readmit the Southern states only if they ratified the 13th Amendment of abolition of slavery. Thus, this entire political culture was an evidence of a Republican-dominated Congress and their clear motive to alter the servitude condition of Blacks to complete freedom. (Doc 1; Garraty 405)
The Radical Republicans, although in minority in Congress, thought of themselves as the conquerors of the South, and wanted to rule over their decisions. Thus, they sought to overpower the presidency in their endeavors to establish both social and political equality between all males. Most of these Radicals were dissatisfied with the then President Johnson’s “amnesty and pardon” attitude towards the former Confederate leaders. By the end of the Presidential Reconstruction program, all the southern states had been readmitted to the Union, in which many states had purposefully not paid attention to all-male suffrage, civil rights, economic protection, or civil rights. Enraged at this process, a group of Radicals...

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