Reconstruction

By: Jennifer Doggett

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as he was vice president at the time of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination.


  • Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, at first pleased the radicals by publicly attacking the planter aristocracy and insisting that the rebellion must be punished.
  • instead, his lenient Presidential Reconstruction program merely issued thousands of pardons to the wealthiest landowners and infuriated Congress, which rejected his plan and refused to seat the newly elected southern representatives.
  • His amnesty proclamation (May 29, 1865) was more severe than Lincoln's; it disenfranchised all former military and civil officers of the Confederacy and all those who owned property worth $20,000 or more and made their estates liable to confiscation.
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Freedmen's Bureau

Was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65)
  • The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized into districts covering the 11 former rebel states, the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Each district was headed by an assistant commissioner.
  • During its years of operation, the Freedmen’s Bureau fed millions of people, built hospitals and provided medical aid, negotiated labor contracts for ex-slaves and settled labor disputes.
  • In the summer of 1872, Congress, responding in part to pressure from white Southerners, dismantled the Freedmen’s Bureau
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Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and one of the leaders of the Radical Republican faction of the Republican Party during the 1860s.

  • The abolition of slavery slowly became Steven's primary political focus and, as a result, he emerged as one of the nation's most militant Radical Republicans.
  • Stevens introduced the resolution for President Johnson's impeachment, and chaired the committee responsible for drafting impeachment articles.
  • Following the Civil War, Stevens served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, and played an important role in drafting both the 14th Amendment and the Reconstruction Act of 1867.

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14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed.
  • In July 2011, former President Bill Clinton said he would use the 14th Amendment to raise the national debt ceiling
  • Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States whose presidency spanned from April 15, 1865 to March 4, 1869. One of the key events during his presidency was the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

  • In all, the amendment comprises five sections, four of which began in 1866 as separate proposals that stalled in legislative process and were amalgamated into a single amendment.
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