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Reconstruction Act

From Academic Kids

Following the Civil War, the United States Congress passed four pieces of legislation known as Reconstruction Acts.

Contents

Reconstruction Act of 1867

On March 2, 1867, the first of several Reconstruction Acts was passed by Congress. All of the acts were passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson. The series of four acts provided for the division of all former Confederate states into five military districts (except for Tennessee, as that state had already ratified the 14th amendment and was considered already reconstructed). Each district would be headed by a military commander, who was charged with ensuring that the states would create new constitutions and ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.

Contents of the Act

  1. Divided the South into 5 parts and put each under one Northern general
  2. Ordered southern states to elect new delegates and form new constitutions.
  3. Required states to allow all males, African Americans included, to vote in the elections.
  4. Temporarily barred southerners who originally supported the Confederacy from voting.
  5. Required all southern states to guarantee equal rights to all citizens.
  6. Required the states to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.

Opposition and Effects

President Andrew Johnson, however, severely opposed any of this congressional movement and he responded by firing a member of his Cabinet, the Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, previously appointed by President Lincoln. Through the Tenure of Office Act, however, (passed the previous year) the House of Representatives found Johnson's act of removal unconstitutional and impeached him. When the Impeachment Articles moved to the Senate, the vote to remove Johnson from office failed by one vote.

Sources

  • Cayton, Andrew, Elisabeth Israels Perry, Linda Reed, Allan M. Winkler. America: Pathways To The Present Prentice Hall: New Jersey. 2002

See also


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