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Presidential Reconstruction Previous Next
Digital History ID 3102


After helping to push through the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, the President sought to quickly restore the rebel states to the Union. He considered Reconstruction a "restoration" and wanted to quickly readmit the former Confederate states after they had repudiated their ordinances of secession, accepted the 13th Amendment, repudiated the Confederate debt, and pledged loyalty to the Union.

Johnson's vision of Reconstruction clashed with that of many Republicans. He vetoed a string of Republican-backed measures, including an extension of the Freedman's Bureau and the first Civil Rights bill. He ordered black families evicted from land on which they had been settled by the U.S. Army. He acquiesced in the Black Codes which southern state governments enacted to reduce former slaves to the status of dependent plantation laborers.

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