Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction

Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction

Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction

Lincoln's Plan of Reconstruction

Excerpt

Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor in the White House, upon whose shoulders the burdens and the contentions of the "Reconstruction Period" fell, liked to allege that he was carrying out Lincoln's plans for the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. Commentators then and later have accepted Johnson's contention, and many of them have engaged in futile speculations about how different things would have been, if Lincoln had lived to complete his second term. His plan, rather than the plan of Congress, would then -- perhaps -- have been put into operation and would have saved the nation from the dozen years of turmoil that followed the surrender of the Confederate forces.

In this monograph, originally prepared as a series of lectures at Memphis State University, I have attempted to examine the basis for this contention; to survey the various plans that Lincoln instituted, operated, and abandoned; and to look at the evolution of the rival program of the Radical Republicans in Congress. Implicit in the story is the construction of the American nation from the ruins of the old Federal Union.

University of Wisconsin Fall, 1959

WILLIAM B. HESSELTINE

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