by : Sara Hale
The Radical Republicans believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites. They also believed that the Confederate leaders should be punished for their roles in the Civil War. Leaders like Pennsylvania REPRESENTATIVE THADDEUS STEVENS and Massachusetts SENATOR CHARLES SUMNER vigorously opposed Andrew Johnson's lenient policies. A great political battle was about to unfold.
Andrew Johnson, at first pleased the radicals by publicly attacking the planter aristocracy and insisting that the rebellion must be punished. 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. The obvious intent was to shift political control in the South from the old planter aristocracy to the small farmers and artisans, and it promised to accomplish a revolution in Southern society.
The 14 amendment to the US constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868 during the Recrustuction era. It, along with the 13th and 15th amendments are collectively known as the Reconstruction amendments. However, of those three, the 14th is the most complicated and the one that has had the more unforeseen effects.
the 15 amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.