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Racism and Reconstruction


Although Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction was not put into effect in
the South after the Civil War, if it had been racism would have been
almost completely avoided in the 20th century. Licoln's proposed plan
was called the "10% Plan." It called for 10% of the people would voted
in the 1860 Election to take a pledge of loyalty to the Union. This
plan was met by harsh oppostion by the Radical Republicans in Congress
who viewed the South as conquered territory. These Radicals said that
Lincoln's plan was much too soft. In return, Republicans in Congress
then moved to pass the Wade-Davis Bill in 1864. This bill required
that a majority of the South would have to take an iron clad oath that
the had never supported the Confederacy. The Wade-Davis bill was
pocket-vetoed by Lincoln who was assassinated shortly after. Johnson
took over the presidency and his Plan of Reconstruction was passes.

Instead of Lincoln's "10% Plan", Johnson's Plan of Reconstuction was
put into effect. Johnson's plan was much more acrimonious towards the
South. Johnson's plan demanded that the South nullify their
secessions, hold stae conventions, adopt the 13th amendment, re-elect

The question of how to reconstruct the devistated South after the Civil
War was one of immense importance in many aspects. Most would argue
that the problems involving the South adjusting socially to the notion
of liberated blacks was the msot heated issue. It was an issue that
encompassed both a change in lifestyle as well as in longstanding moral
values. Both Presdential and Congressional plans were developed in an
attempt to ensure Reconstruction would be as smooth as a political,
economic and social revolution as humanly possible.

President Abraham Lincoln believed from the start of the War, and
therefore the start of Reconstruction, that the Southern states had
never legally seceded from the Untion. Therefore his plan for
reconstruction would be aimed at preserving the peace of the Union and
fairly rebuilding the South. Lincoln's "10 % Plan" was the
Presidential attempt to see to it that the South would adhere to the
ideals surrounding emancipation. Lincoln claimed he would then work on
re-developing the structure of each state government.

The difference of opinion between the President and Congress over this
matter not only revealed the differences between each sector
politically, but set the stage for heated emotions in regards to

This whole chain of events was much a part of the seperation now
existing within political parties, as well as dividing views held by
Southerners. Due to the bickering in Washington, problems starting
arising in the South involving discrimination against liberated
blacks. The enactment of Black Codes by newly formed Southern regimes
was hurting the black emancipation movement. These laws were created
to control the affiars of the freed blacks, acting as post-Civil War
slave statutes. Now the Southern ideals of white aristocractic
supremacy were revitalized and racist viewpoints as well as prejudice
societies were formed. Although it is true that the passage of
Lincoln's 10 Percent plan would have been a far simplier, swifter way
of starating the task of Reconstruction, it could not have
singlehandedly stopped the inevitable Southern backlash regarding
empancipation. Therefore, although the 10 percent plan would have more
readily assissted in the transtition from slavery! to emancipation, it
would have not been able to stop the formation of racist ideals or

Even though we have racism today in almost the 21st century, it
probably could be severely lessened had we used Lincoln's Plan of


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