The Agony of Reconstruction

  • Lincoln sets forth 10 percent Reconstruction plan

    The Ten Percent Plan called for full pardon of all Southerners except Confederate leaders, and readmission to the Union for any state after 10 percent of its voters in the 1860 election signed a loyalty oath and the state abolshed slavery.
  • Wade-Davis Bill passes Congress but is pocket-veoted by Lincoln

    Wade-Davis Bill required that 50 percent of the voters take an oath of future loyalty before the restoration process could begin. The bill did not require black suffrage, but it did give federal courts the power to enforce emancipation.
  • Johnson moves to reconstruct the South on his own initiative

    Johnson placed North Carolina and other states under appointed provisional governors. The governors were responsible for calling constitutional conventions and ensuring that only loyal whites were permitted to vote for delegates. Confederate leaders, former officeholders who participated in the rebellion, and those posessing taxable property exceeding $20,000 in value were excluded.
  • Congress refuses to seat representatives and senators elected from states reesstablished under presidential plan

    Instead of endorsing Johnson's work and recognizing the state governments he had called into being, Congress established a joint committee, chaired by Senator William Pitt Fessenden, to review Reconstruction policy and set further conditions for readmission of the seceded states.
  • Johnson vetoes Freedmen's Bureau Bill

    Freedmen's Bureau was a temporary agency set up to aid the former slaves by providing relief, education, legal help, and assistance in obtaining land or employment. Johnson's vetoes shocked Republicans who had expected him to accept the relatively modest measures as a way of heading off more racial proposals.
  • Johnson vetoes Civil Rights Act; it passes over his vetoe

    The Civil Rights Act won the two-thirds majority necessary to override his veto. This was the first time Congress had overridden a presidential veto.
  • Congress Passes Fourteenth Amendment

    The Fourteenth Amendment gave the federal government responsibility for guaranteeing equal rights under the law to all Americans.
  • Republicans increase their congressional majority in the fall elections

    The Republican majority in Congress increased to two-thirds in both houses, and the Radical wing of the party gained strength at the expense of moderates and conservatives.
  • First Reconstruction Act is passed over Johnson's veto

    The First Reconstruction Act passed over Johnson's veto on March 2, 1867. It placed the South under the rule of the army by reorganizing the region into five military districts.
  • Johnson is impeached; he avoids conviction by one vote

    The House voted to impeach the president on February 24, he was placed on trial before the Senate. Because seven Republican senators broke with the party leadership and voted for acquittal, the effort to convict Johnson and remove him from office fell one vote short of the necessary two-thirds.
  • Grant wins presidential election, defeating Horatio Seymour

    Ulysses S. Grant defeated Haratio Seymour in the 1868 presidential election. Grant had 214 electoral votes, Seymour had 80 electoral votes.
  • Congress passes Fifteenth Amendment, granting African Americans the right to vote

    The amendment prohibited any state from denying a male citizen the right to vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
  • Congress passes Ku Kulx Klan Acts to protect black voting rights in the South

    The Ku Klux Klan Acts are also known as the Force Acts. It made interference with voting rights a federal crime and established provisions for government supervision of elections.
  • Grant re-elected president, defeating Horace Greeley, candidate of Liberal Republicans and Democrats

    Most Republicans stuck with Grant because they still could not stomach the idea of ex-rebels returning to power in the South. Grant won 56% of the popular vote.
  • Financial panic plunges nation into depression

    $356 million in greenbacks remained in circulation. The Grant administration allowed the greenbacks to float until economic expansion would bring them to a par with gold, permitting a painless return to specie payments. The Panic of 1873 led to a revival of agitation to inflate the currency.
  • Congress passes Specie Resumption Act

    Specie Resumption Act provided for a limited reduction of greenbacks leading to full resumption of specie payments by 1879. Its action was interpreted as deflation in the midst of depression.
  • "Whiskey Ring" scandal exposed

    The public learned that federal revenue officials had conspired with distillers to defraud the government of millions of dollars in liquor taxes. Grant's private secretary was indicted as a member of the "Whiskey Ring" and was saved from conviction by the president's personal intercession. Grant's secretary of war was impeached by the House.
  • Disputed presidential election resolved in favor of Republican Hayes over Democrat Tilden

    To ensure Hayes election Republican leaders made a bargain with southern Democrats, known as the Compromise of 1877. Because of the Compromise of 1877 Hayes became president and southern blacks would be abandoned to their fate.
  • Compromise of 1877 end military intervention in the South and causes fall of the last Radical governments

    Hayes immediately ordered the army not to resist a Democratic takeover of state governments in South Carolina and Louisiana, causing the last of the Radical governments, and the entire South was firmly under the control of white Democrats.