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Reconstruction

Andrew Johnson took office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. He was a Southern Democrat from Tennessee, when he became president, the Civil War had ended and reconstruction was in its beginning stages. Johnson was then faced with the same problems Lincoln had — the challenge of mending a broken nation, yet there was a definite difference in the ways Johnson and Lincoln approached the problems of Reconstruction. Johnson was not one of our best or brightest presidents, he did not care about his public appearance and he was not good at making decisions. One of the most illogical decisions Johnson made as president was to start a new reconstruction plan, before his death Lincoln already had a plan set out. Yet Johnson blatantly ignored the original reconstruction plan and that was when he began to experience abhorrence from both the Northerners and the Southerners which led to his impeachment. His impeachment, in May 1868, was because of his violation of the Tenure of office Act but it was mainly about the nation’s loathing for the president.

After the civil war the country was spilt down the middle, the country needed reconstruction to mend it back together but the idea of reconstruction was easier said than done. Lincoln was the first man to begin reconstruction and he began it fervently with many great ideas and compromises to the important issues such as what to do with the newly freed slaves, if he should punish the south and if so to what extent and who should be in charge of Reconstruction the executive branch or congress.
Lincoln understood the great opportunities Reconstruction could offer, if he was not assonated in 1865, then maybe Reconstruction would not have been an opportunity lost. After it was passed down to the hands of Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice president, Reconstruction took a turn for the worst. Andrew Johnson was the exact opposite of Lincoln he did not care about his public appearance or about what the public wanted and was extremely stubborn which eventually led to his impeachment in 1868. Due to his poor leadership skills the opportunity of change presented to us through Reconstruction was lost forever.

Andrew Johnson was inaugurated in after Lincoln’s death and was not a popular with the people. Johnson had a real problems with alcohol, he showed up drunk to Lincoln’s second inauguration. This showed the people how much he didn’t care about his image and that he did not take his job very seriously. This was not a good idea for Johnson because he already had a lot of enemies because he was a radical democrat from the South. The south loathed him because he was a democrat and the North loathed him due to his lenient treatment of the South. The North wanted to deal with the South brutality yet Johnson handed out many pardons to the Confederates, pushed to restore civilian control in the Southern states and shied away from implementing voting rights for blacks. From the beginning, Johnson was at odds with the Radical Republicans, who favored radical reconstruction of the defeated Southern states, including military rule and distribution of both land and voting rights to blacks. Later these same people voted to impeach him.

Johnson believed that the government should be indulgent with the Southerners. Since that is how he felt he took the insinuative to make a proclamation of amnesty in May 1865, without giving the public any say in the matter. This angered a lot of Democrats and Northerners who felt that the South should not just be pardoned that they should be reprimanded. Then Johnson took it a step further by not only pardoning all of the southerners but, allowing them to have and form their own new governments. This allowed the south to have ex-confederate leaders to hold spaces in the senate, for example, Senator Alexander H. Stephens who was the vice president of the Confederacy.

At this point a lot of people were tried of Johnson as there president. There were many complaints about the way he did he’s job such as his generous pardon of power and his complete lack of care of the public. In 1867, the Tenure of Office