The period immediately following the Civil War is known as Reconstruction. The broken, split nation had to be "reconstructed". President Lincoln had a plan. The Radical Republicans in Congress had a plan. They clashed.

Terms you should know

  • suffrage
  • segregation
  • Jim Crow
  • disenfranchisement
  • sharecropping
  • Black Codes

Lincoln's Plan

Lincoln believed..

    • Southern states did not have the right to secede and therefore were in rebellion and never left the Union
    • "With malice toward none, with charity toward all"
      • Forgive and accept southern states back with no harsh punishments.
    • States must abolish slavery in their Constitutions
    • 10% of voters must take a loyalty oath

His primary goal was to restore the Union ASAP. Reinstate Southern representation in Congress quickly.

Radical Republicans' Plan -(the plan that actually happened)

  • Wanted harsh punishments for south
  • South divided into 5 military districts
  • New State constitutions must be written
  • States must ratify the 14th amendment
  • African-Americans must be given the right to vote
  • Former Southern Confederate leaders barred from voting

Lincoln Assassinated

  • Lincoln was assassinated before the clash between the President and Congress was settled.
  • When Lincoln died it paved the way for the Radical Republicans to run with their plan.

President Johnson

  • Became president after the death of Lincoln
  • He supported Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan
    • He wanted to quickly reinstate the south
  • Johnson was a Southern Democrat, disliked by the Republicans. They disagreed with his plan for Reconstruction.
  • Johnson was ultimately impeached by Congress (but got to remain in office)
    • Johnson fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton without Congressional approval. Congress passed a law that Congress has to approve firings. Johnson broke the law. This is the "official reason" he was impeached.

Constitutional Amendments during Reconstruction

13th - Abolished slavery

14th - Freed slaves granted citizenship. Bill of Rights protections now extend to them. Guarantees "equal protection of the law". Gives the Federal government some power to place more restrictions on state governments.

15th - Voting rights (suffrage) for African-American men. The South responded to this amendment by adding Literacy Tests and Poll Taxes to keep blacks from voting (disenfranchisement).

Black Codes

Laws that were written to restrict freedom and rights of African-Americans.


Northerners who moved down south to participate in the Reconstruction government.


African-American were not allowed to raise their own crops (Black Codes). Sharecropping gave them the opportunity to work farms owned by landlords for hefty payments (usually half their crops) Merchants supplied the sharecroppers with tools, seeds, clothing, food, etc. in exchange for large payments. Some sharecroppers made a living working on the farms of their farmers owners in exchange for some of the profits.


Often violent group started by ex-Confederate soldiers that used fear and violence to intimidate African-Americans and "meddling" northern carpetbaggers.

Plessy vs Ferguson (1896)

Tested the 14th amendment. The court ruled that "separate but equal IS equal". The court allowed racial segregation as long as the separate facilities were "equal". They weren't. This decision led to the passage of Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow Laws

  • Laws passed in southern states to restrict the freedom of African-Americans
  • Civil rights violations were common and widespread
  • Helped the south limit the Reconstruction amendments (13, 14, 15)
  • Made racial segregation legal (de jure)