Abraham Lincoln had reflected about the process of reinstating the Union since the start of the war. His guiding standards were to complete the task as quickly as possible and dismiss calls for grueling the South. Through his action plan for the reconstruction, it is evident that Abraham Lincoln aimed at reuniting the country.
Lincoln’s Plan for the Reconstruction
Lincoln had a sound plan for the reconstruction. He announced his plan in 1863. First, Lincoln planned to award a general amnesty to individuals who took an oath of loyalty to the country and guarantee to obey all federal laws relating to slavery. Second, High Confederate officials as well as military leaders were to be provisionally excluded from the reconstruction process. Finally, when 10% of active voters in a particular state (1860) had taken the oath, then their state could unveil a new government as well as elect their own representatives to Congress (Johnson, 2010, p. 195).
Abraham Lincoln was a modest Republican. Therefore, he favored a lenient policy towards the eradication of slavery. His main motivation was to rebuild or maintain the Union. Lincoln hated slavery since it was contradicting to the U.S Constitution. It advocated the pursuit of happiness, liberty and life. On the other hand, Lincoln was an extremely watchful politician. He believed in handling the issue of slavery in smaller steps. Though Lincoln’s key concern was the protection of the Union, he constantly argued and agitated, with linked slave states, to modify their constitutions and acknowledge the elimination of slavery; gradually (Johnson, 2010, p. 199).
Lincoln’s Reconstruction Policy
Lincoln’s reconstruction policy was aimed at achieving a speedy healing of the Union. Except for Confederate leaders, the Southerners would meet the requirements for pardon and recovery of their property once they swore allegiance to the Union as well as acknowledge emancipation. A state would rejoin the Union and form a government once 10% of their voters qualified for amnesty. However, Lincoln’s reconstruction policy faced some objections by Congress. Radical Republicans held differing positions regarding the reconstruction plan. In the light of this, they forwarded the Wade-Davis Bill, which lowered the chances of readmission to the Union. The reconstruction policy, therefore, aimed at uniting the country.
Lincoln was assassinated in April 1864, and Andrew Johnson soon took power. Abraham Lincoln had already set the pace for his successors. Under Johnson, The South was allowed to deal with Southern society and freedman as they desired. Following this new arrangement, most former Confederate leaders retained their positions and attempted to bring the Southern society back to its pre-war state (Johnson, 2010, p.204). This further indicates the re-uniting that followed even after the death of Abraham Lincoln. With their former authority restored, the significant variance in Southern society was that the blacks were at liberty to do as they wished. However, substantial plantation owners who required labourers controlled Southern society. Following freedom of former slaves, the prior owners aimed at controlling the movement and liberty of slaves the best they knew. Southerners sought after accomplishing this with the passing of “Black Codes.” The Black Codes were intended to regulate the free movement of freedmen and, also, guarantee Southern planters a constant and cheap labour supply (Johnson, 2010, p. 195).
During the reconstruction period directly following the Civil War, Negroes struggled to become even citizens of an independent republic. A number of noteworthy leaders secured public office. One of the renowned southern African American leaders of the Civil War, as well as the Reconstruction era, was Robert Smalls of South Carolina. The increased number of black leaders winning office was not only a significant change in the country, but also the reuniting effects of Abraham Lincoln’s prior efforts (Johnson, 2010, p. 199).
Changes in the Country After Reconstruction
Although Abraham Lincoln’s main goals were to reunite the country, reconstruction brought significant changes in the country. These changes continued to affect later generations of Americans. For a brief period of years, black politicians exercised a considerable amount authority in the South. A series of political events, on both national and regional levels, turned Reconstruction into “an unfinished revolution.” This was because it promised but failed to deliver true equality for freshly freed slaves. National party politics, budging priorities among Northern Republicans, and white Southerners’ pledge to white supremacy was supported by legal boundaries as well as substantial extra-legal violence in opposition to blacks. The combination of all these factors stifled the assurance of Reconstruction. The Reconstruction era, however, saw significant transformations in American people on the onset of the Civil War (Johnson, 2010, p.200). These included fresh ways of consolidating labor and family life, different institutions inside and outside the government, and different ideologies concerning the role of government and institutions in the social and economic time. Many of the transformations begun during Reconstruction set the pace for subsequent revolutions in the American society. Pressure between the president and Congress over the reconstruction of the Union arose during the war. Focusing on achieving victory, Lincoln failed to develop a complete plan for bringing defiant states back into the fold. Lincoln, however, took initiatives that showed he favored a moderate and conciliatory policy toward Southerners who would repudiate slavery (Johnson, 2010, p. 208).
Abraham Lincoln’s role in reconstructing the union is undisputable. Before his assassination, Lincoln had set up a solid plan which had three main steps. The overall outcome was not only to eradicate slavery, which Lincoln detested, but also to re-unite the country. Various policies developed by Lincoln ensured that the black community was recognized in congress. This was the beginning of a re-union that would last many generations after him. The election of the first African-American head of state in America is directly attributable to Abraham Lincoln’s campaigns. These campaigns have served to unify the country to date.