Emerging Civil War

The month following Robert E. Lee’s April 1865 Appomattox surrender, President Andrew Johnson submitted for comment to his cabinet a plan for reconstructing the Union to include the former Confederate states. All members were originally appointed by the recently martyred Abraham Lincoln and all approved of Johnson’s plan. It was modeled after Lincoln’s December 8, 1863 reconstruction proclamation. Essentially, Johnson required that the previous Rebel states meet three requirements: (1) ratify the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, (2) repudiate Confederate debts, and (3) renounce the secession ordinances. Most residents of such states would be granted amnesty by swearing an oath to “henceforth” support the Constitution and laws of the United States, although selected classes such as wealthy landowners were required to directly petition the President for a pardon.

Johnson’s terms wiped out $3 billion worth slave property, which was the single biggest investment in the USA prior to the war, exceeding…

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