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Reconstruction Proposal

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Reconstruction Proposal - Page Text Content

FC: Proposal for Reconstruction Hello, my President. Thank you for assigning me the position of adviser to help better our torn country. In order to stitch together the pieces that made our country great, I've decided that history tells a story about the attempts made to put a country back together; historians call this era the Reconstruction era. On educating you about this time period, I will not only share the many options that could be done to fix Terpakistan, but also to use it to formulate our own plan of action.

1: The Plans: When the Civil War ended in 1863, the president had come up with a plan to help restore the United State's beautiful nation between the North and the South, who were also fighting for slavery. The plan Abraham Lincoln made was the 10% plan. This plan allowed an approach of reconciliation rather than punishment for the South's seceding from the North, Union. He issued a Proclamation of Amnesty, which was a pardon to any Southern state who swore loyalty to the Union and followed the laws of the Union. The states did this on a voting majority, where 10% of the state had to vote for loyalty. Another plan was the exact opposite of Lincoln's plan. Radical Republicans believed that the Southern states shouldn't have any mercy, for they could regain power again. They also felt that the Union, or the Radical Republicans, should enter the South to impose their ways onto them. They felt strongly that African Americans should have political equality and the right to vote. In 1867, the Military Reconstruction Act was issued, where any Southern state who made a constitution allowing all men to vote and follow the 14th amendment could be in the Union's hands. All southern states, with the exception of Tennessee, were split into five districts run by Union generals. The last plan the United States tried was President Andrew Johnson's plan in 1865. As Lincoln's successor, he made his plan much like Lincoln's, where pardoned southern states would be reconciled. He made a new Proclamation of Amnesty which

2: only applied to farmers and lower class citizens. White planter elite had to individually ask for pardons. Afterwards, each state held a convention to make a constitution which abolished slavery, rejected Civil War debt, and ratified the 13th amendment. With these plans and their outcomes, I believe that the Military Reconstruction Act was the least accomplishing, although all plans of action were rather forceful on beliefs of government and society. The reason the West seceded in the first place was because of economic differences; they wanted to run their states the way they wanted to. With the Military Act enforcing Union generals inside the "districts," our citizens would probably feel intensely watched and enraged. Reconciliation is a good way to bring our country back together, but forcing them to join the Union isn't the way, either. The West are our brothers, and as well as we need reconciliation, we also need compromise.

3: The five districts made in the Military Reconstruction Act

4: The Freedmen's Bureau: On its own, Congress created the Freedmen's Bureau in 1865, which was an organization that helped refugees and now freed slaves get their lives back together. The organization helped freed slaves by giving them food, clothes, housing, health care, an education, and job opportunities in which the free person would be skilled in. This program is something we need to enable in our country once you've initiated the reconstruction plan. Not only will this lower the homeless rate, but it will further join together our nation by teaching our freed slaves the way of a free man in Terpakistan. It wouldn't be forcing our Eastern ways upon the people, but rewiring their way of life that better fits with their current state.

5: The Black Codes: Sadly, another thing happened in 1865 that didn't benefit the freed slaves so much. Because so many Southern planter elite or bigoted whites hated the fact that slavery was abolished, many Southern states enacted the Black Codes. These were a series of laws that gave white southerners the right to whip or beat any of their workers. Any colored citizen had to get a license to work anywhere nonagricultural and had to sign up for annual work contracts. The laws varied from state to state, but the basic idea was to lower a colored person's rights so they might has well have been enslaved. These laws will start to come up if we start programs like the Freedmen's Bureau or ratify any amendments that help colored people increase in wealth and status. When they do, we need to be able to defend the rights of the black citizens, for they are our people, too. As well as we have to suit the needs of our colored citizens, we also need to come to a compromise with the Western planter elite so that we don't have another uprising; so we can reconcile. Maybe we can create a sector of the government that watches the wages that the western plantation owners give to colored people so they can have equal pay to the whites. This will enforce equality, still keep the economy intact, and make everyone happy.

7: The Amendments: Along the way of reconstruction, three amendments were ratified. The 13th amendment, ratified on December 6, 1865, abolished all slavery in the United States. This amendment was done in spite of the Emancipation Proclamation, which just abolished slavery in rebelling Confederate states, mainly because it was only a military tactic. Now that the war was over, slavery could be abolished in all states by the Constitution, including the border states. This amendment might not have been the greatest idea at the time to issue, especially for us. It will create lots of tension on the Western side. We need to ease them in with programs that will gradually develop their economy to work around freed slaves getting wages. To suddenly drop upon the West and their border states that their economy will have to change will definitely anger lots of western citizens. Although this amendment had good intentions, I believe we should gradually issue the amendment so that the West will be alright about it. The 14th amendment, issued after the Civil Rights Act of 1866, was ratified on January 9, 1868 during Johnson's presidency, which included three major clauses. The Citizenship clause overruled the Dred Scott vs. Sanford case. The ruling to the case was that any slaves had no rights as a citizen and could not testify in court. This clause made it possible for black citizens to live where ever they want and

8: still have equal rights to whites. The second clause allows every American citizen the rights of "life, liberty, or property," and no one can deny these rights "without due process of law." This means that no one can say that black citizens don't have the same rights as them as a court ruling. This amendment is a very good Constitutional law for us to have, I recommend. As well as it provides protection of freed slave's rights, it also protects anyone in Terpakistan, including the Western ex-rebels. It all goes along with reconciliation, which also ties in with the main goal; to piece together Terpakistan to continue the progress our country has made. The 15th amendment, ratified on February 3rd, 1870, gave any man the right to vote, regardless of race, social status, servitude, etc. Once freed slaves were allowed to vote, people like Hiram Revels joined the Congress, in this particular case, as Senate in 1870 and 1871. This gave a voice for a large portion of the U.S. population in the government. Giving ex-slaves the right to vote would increase the amount of population vote when we switch out presidents and it will give everyone an equal voice in the Congress, which will ultimately bind our nation.

9: Reconstruction of Economy: After the Civil War, the Southern land was trashed and mutilated, leaving no room for cash crop selling or plantation running. This completely devastated any way of rebuilding a succeeding economy. There were two forms of work that ex-slaves participated in that fixed the land and helped rebuild the economy. There was tenant farming and sharecropping. Tenant farmers would bring their own belongings and work tools to work off of the land sold to them by the owners of the land. The farmer would have to pay the owner of the land in cash or crops, but the operations of working the land were strictly controlled by the farmer. Sharecroppers, like tenant farmers, would be sold land in which they had to pay off in debt owed to the landowner. Tools and other necessities were supplied by the landowner. Sharecroppers would have to give the landowner a certain amount of the crops they produce in order to pay off their land. Both of these systems are a great way to rebuild our Western land and economy, although it still means that the ex-slaves can never really be an equal to the white planter elite, which is what Radical Republicans hope for. This causes a political imbalance, which will be talked about in the next section. I believe that tenant farming would be the better solution, in which the only way the person would owned was the land they lived off of. In sharecropping, they constantly had to pay off debt their whole lives, and not really amount to anything.

10: Restoring Government: As I've mentioned earlier, the Military Reconstruction Act, issued by a Radical Republican based Congress, played a heavy role in the Southern economy by enforcing their generals in the five districts. Lincoln and Johnson, the two presidents who reigned at the time of Reconstruction, opposed Radical Republicans for their ideas of punishment for secession and their strong urge to permanently abolish any idea of slavery, even if it means the Southern people fighting back. There will be people in Terpakistan who will strongly appeal to the ways of Radical Republicans, but we shouldn't let them get to the point where they rule the nation and enforce strict law on the West, much like the Radicals did when they impeached Andrew Johnson. Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, who led the Radical Republicans, believed that the Confederates should be handled in a matter of new territories. I believe that it goes against the idea of reconciliation, which is the more peaceful way of handling Reconstruction of the government. Radical Republicans felt strongly for the ex-slaves and did everything in their power to make them equals to the whites of the Nation. The Congressional group did this by started the Freedmen's Bureau, ratifying the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment, signing the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which allowed citizenship of African Americans before the 14th amendment was established, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875,

11: which allowed African Americans to use any public accommodations. As Johnson became president after Lincoln's assassination, he started to pick up where Lincoln left off with peaceful reconciliation. The radicals gained power in Congress and overthrew any vetoes the president made towards bills and acts that the president opposed. Congress issued the Tenure of Office Act which said that the Senate had to approve removals of government. Johnson, to test the Congress, hired Senate Stanton, and Johnson was then sent to court for impeachment. This is an example of Congress gaining too much power and possibly overthrowing your rule. Although I agree that the president shouldn't have all the power, there should be a medium between the two governmental sectors so no one can overthrow the other, therefore having Reconstruction get done peacefully and efficiently, instead of what was called Radical Reconstruction. The president the radicals voted for was Ulysses Grant, who commanded the Union armies to victory. This was to try to keep the country away from giving too much reconciliation to the South, assuming Confederate nationalism and the idea of bringing back slavery were dead, and watching the South closely. Grant, being the radical president, went through his presidency contending to what ever the radicals wanted. He signed what was called Force Acts which allowed soldiers into the South to stop the Klan from assaulting African Americans

12: and Republicans. He also sent thousands of troops to South Carolina to watch over the elections of 1870 so that there would be no temperament with the votes by the Democrats. After many scandals related to Grant, such as the Panic of 1873, the Democrats in the South took power in Congress. At the new presidential election, Grant did not run again, but Rutherford Hayes was elected due to the Compromise of 1877. This compromise was between the Democrats and Republicans of Congress for the electoral college. The deal was that the Democrats would vote for Republican Hayes if he took Union troops out of the South. This deal was made and troops were out of the South, ending Reconstruction, which I believe was overall a failure. The South, although put back into one nation, is split up severely governmentally due to the splitting hatred of the Republicans and the Democrats. If it weren't for the Republicans getting so much power and using the military to try to stitch back together the nation, the Congress and previous presidents could have efficiently put back together the Nation as the founding fathers wanted it peacefully.

14: Feuding Society: Along with the Congress not getting along, the societies between the South, North, and African Americans had many conflicts between each other. Not all interactions were from bad to worse. During the Civil War, the Union had liberated the territory of Port Royal. There, about ten thousand slaves joined forces with Northern charitable organizations to work the land into a livable state. This "experiment", for it was called the Port Royal Experiment, was the supposed model for the Reconstruction Era, even though it was clearly not the end result. Another instant of people working together to rebuild society was Sherman's Field Order No. 15 in 1865. During the Civil War, general Sherman led a group including slaves along the March to the Sea in Georgia to reek havoc on passing areas. This Field Order was used to give land for the slaves and refugees who joined his cause to live on. Forty-thousand acres of land was split between eighteen-thousand black families in forty acre pieces per family. Here, Reconstruction was also being replicated to better a lower class society such as the freed slaves.

15: Then came the bad and the ugly. Once Reconstruction began, people from the North started coming into the South looking for job opportunities and betterment. These people were considered to be "carpetbaggers," as people in the South would insultingly call them. They were known for their carpeted luggage. The South hated them for taking advantage of their poor economy and unstructured politics and for their political views siding with the Republicans, as was stereotyped. In reality, more carpetbaggers were ex-soldiers looking for land to start over on. Another group that rose in the South were Scalawags, which were Southern white men who sided with Republican Reconstruction. (Brief description of Southern reaction on page 16) Because of all the political scandals mentioned earlier, groups who opposed what was happening on Southern soil, such as the generals occupying the five districts, started forming secretive groups. One in particular was the Ku Klux Klan, informally known as the KKK. This group of people went around burning crosses, harassing, killing, and running off Republicans and freed blacks. Their main goal was to try to gain political power in Congress for the Democrats. This part of history was called "Redemption." Redemption, which started in 1872, when the Radical Republicans split into two halves, with the Liberal Republicans sympathizing with the Bourbon Democrats. Here, Southern politicians and other white citizens tried to win back, or

16: "redeem" the southern states from Republican rule. This had to be done violently, sadly. Paramilitary groups, like the Red Shirts and the KKK developed, who tempered with voting boxes, corrupted southern whites, and drove out Republicans and blacks from the areas. The case that followed, U.S vs. Cruikshank, tested the fourteenth amendment in which citizens had the right to citizenship with due process of law. The white rioters were claimed innocent on the interpretation that the fourteenth amendment only applies to a state and not to individuals pegged against each other. Groups of people also fought politically. People in Crescent City started complaining of disease caused by the left overs of nearby slaughterhouses, such as Crescent City Livestock Landing and Slaughterhouse Company. The Louisiana legislature then passed a law limiting the company to run their business in New Orleans, as well as set all independent butchers in the area and prohibit any other business from slaughtering there. Slaughterhouses in the area sued the Louisiana government for depriving them of the privileges and immunities set forth by the fourteenth amendment. The Supreme Court hearing, called the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873, ended with announcing that the Louisiana government didn't violate the fourteenth amendment by depriving privilege and immunities of American citizenship, which is what the fourteenth amendment states.

17: These cases were supposed to again obstruct Radical Republicans, which it didn't; this angered lots of democratic southerners. Along with these group excursions, one event entitled the Colfax Massacre happened in April, 1873. This event consisted of white democrats attacking armed Republicans and freed slaves. Many were killed and imprisoned for the riotous event at the Courthouse in Colfax. This just shows that as democrats gained more power, hatred between Republicans/blacks and democrats grew out of control. So many instances of violence and hatred politically and physically plagued the societies in the Reconstruction Era into two splitting halves, yet again. When Terpakistan starts to go through Reconstruction, I suggest trying the idea out on a smaller part of our nation first, just like the U.S did with the Port Royal Experiment. History can repeat itself, and we can use our mistakes to make perfection for the rest of the nation's rebuilding. If we do this, we can apply which plans work best, as well as avoid any political issues that will result in societal issues listed here. Remember, our goal is to reunite the West peacefully and efficiently.

18: This cartoon was known to show the emotions of the southerners when carpetbaggers started coming into the south. Here we see the Union with his carpet luggage being driven by a southern lady into the south. She feels hopeless, for the South could not stop the carpetbaggers from taking advantage of their land and economy. The land in the background is war beaten. Confederate soldiers are chained to the southern lady to help her lift the load of the Union. This cartoon really expresses the remorse and hatred for the Union barging into their territory.

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  • Title: Reconstruction Proposal
  • This proposal will be presented to the president of Terpakistan, in which will decide the Reconstruction plan the president decides to use.
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  • Published: about 7 years ago