Modern historians now draw a more nuanced view of Reconstruction.

 After the Civil War, the Federal Government began a process of Reconstruction.

Lincon was killed before Reconstruction could begin.

Virginia was an early test case as Lincoln sought to encourage the development of a Union alternative government to the secession government in Richmond and then the partition of the state to create a new government in West Virginia – which was admitted to the Union in 1863 only after it had outlawed future slavery in its constitution. Historian Eric Foner noted: “The first Southern state to abolish slavery at least partially of its own volition was West Virginia, where blacks comprised only 5 percent of the population. Reconstruction, in a sense, began in 1861 when a convention of Unionists meeting in Wheeling repudiated Virginia’s secession and chose Francis H. Pierpont, a railroad attorney and coal mine operator, as the state’s legitimate governor. In 1863 West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a separate state, with the proviso that it abolish slavery. A popular referendum then approved a plan whereby all blacks born after July 4, 1863, would enjoy freedom. By the end of the war, complete emancipation had been enacted.”30

It is not clear how President Lincoln would have conducted Reconstruction after the War.

Emancipation and Reconstruction

Much of the three-hour Cabinet meeting on Friday, April 14, was devoted to the subject of reconstruction and Secretary of War’s proposals about how to proceed in North Carolina. “General Grant was present at the meeting of the Cabinet to-day, and remained during the session,” wrote Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles in his diary. “The subject was the relations of the Rebels, the communications, the trade, etc. Stanton proposed that intercourse should be opened by his issuing an order, that the Treasury would give permits to all who wished them to trade, excluding contraband, and he, Stanton, would order the vessels to be received into any port. I suggested that it would be better that the President should issue a proclamation stating and enjoying the course to be pursued by the several Departments.

T1 - Roux-en-Y reconstruction at greater curvature in biliopancreatic diversion

This is now changing, but another adverse impact is that the Reconstruction and Jim Crow experience poisoned the attitudes of many blacks toward America and their place in the americn experience.

They were determined to make black civil rights a cornerstone of Reconstruction.


Reconstruction at the End of the War

President Lincoln understood that Union military victory was a precondition for both emancipation and for reconstruction. He avoided applying the Emancipation Proclamation to areas such as eastern Tennessee where it might undermine Union sentiment. He needed to cultivate residual Union sentiment along with renewed cooperation in the South. Historian Herman Belz wrote: “Lincoln was reluctant to assume direct control over reconstruction but was committed to upholding the Emancipation Proclamation. Hence, throughout 1863 he urged southern Unionists to form loyal governments and abolish slavery. The focus of reconstruction attention was Louisiana, where Lincoln instructed military authorities to hold a constitutional convention to inaugurate a loyal antislavery government.”100 However, throughout the latter half of 1863, Lincoln became increasingly more frustrated by the failure of military and civilian authorities in Louisiana to act cooperatively on reconstruction. By the end of 1863, his patience at an end, he gave more explicit instructions to General Nathaniel Banks.

Civil War and Reconstruction - Texas Our Texas

Reconstruction set the stage for a conflict between the legislative and executive branches on grounds of principle – who had the right and authority – and ground of practice – who had the right ideas on how to proceed. “Almost all Republicans agreed on two fundamental points: former rebels ought to be kept out of political office; and Congress had power to legislate concerning reconstruction, as well as exclusive power to decide on the readmission of rebel states,” wrote historian Herman Belz. He wrote: “Cooperation between President and Congress was a characteristic of progressive restoration. Yet perhaps more significant was congressional determination to control reconstruction. As the reorganization of state governments became a more pressing problem, this attitude grew stronger and formed a basis for the conflict with Lincoln, who was equally determined to control the process of state reorganization.”102

SparkNotes: Reconstruction (1865–1877): Key People & …

The Union government struggled to handle these problems. Tension between the War Department and the Treasury Department developed during 1863 and 1864 over which agency has responsibility for freed blacks. Even when generals did not take the initiative for securing their freedom, self-emancipated black slaves streamed into their camps and followed their maneuvers. Military and civilian officials struggled with how to handle the influx and establish arrangements to sustain the former slaves. The authors of The Civil War and Reconstruction observed: “When the Union army appeared in the interior of the South, as it increasingly did in 1864 and 1865, more slaves left plantations and farms. As Bell Wiley writes, blacks ‘generally engaged in the seizure and distribution of property and a general celebration of the advent of freedom.’ Freed women sometimes adopted symbolic badges of their liberation, carrying parasols and wearing the veils previously denied them. Yet many blacks in the interior of the Confederacy remained in bondage – some hurriedly removed to Texas, where as many as 150,000 were sent during the war.”81