The Main Idea
Congress took control of Reconstruction, as a new, radical
branch of the Republican Party began emerging.
• How did the South respond to Reconstruction under President
• Why did Congress take control of Reconstruction, and what
changes did it make?
• How did Radical Reconstruction differ from earlier Reconstruction
plans, and what were its effects?
Reconstruction under President Johnson
– Deep-rooted prejudice continued. African Americans had rights, but those
rights did not include a role in government. Johnson declared, “White men
alone must manage the South.”
– Johnson pardoned nearly everyone who applied, and prewar leaders were
restored to power. Congress refused to seat these former Confederates.
The Black Codes
– Designed to keep freedmen in slavelike conditions, Black Codes gave planters
a cheap labor supply. The laws varied by state, but they allowed freedmen
certain rights, such as the right to marry and to own property. The series of
laws kept freedmen dependent on the plantation for their existence.
Keeping a way of life
– Local sheriffs and Civil War veterans supported and enforced these laws. White
citizens formed private groups, supposedly to keep order in the South. The Ku
Klux Klan formed in 1866 and soon began terrorizing African Americans and
whites who were loyal to the Union. Violence against blacks was rarely
Congress Takes Control of Reconstruction
Northerners felt if southern states were allowed to
abuse freedmen, the North’s victory would be
Radical Republicans wanted to reshape southern
society and favored a more thorough program of
Reconstruction. They wanted freed slaves to have
economic opportunities and political equality. But
moderate Republicans still controlled Congress.
Moderates did not want a social revolution, but
wanted to help and protect freedmen. They passed
two bills, including a Civil Rights Act. Johnson’s
vetoes pushed the moderates to help the Radical
Republicans to take control of Reconstruction.
Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment, writing the
Civil Rights Act into the constitution and granting citizenship
to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”
Republicans took control in the election of 1866 after riots
in the South discredited Johnson’s views. Radicals now had
the votes needed to pass the Reconstruction Acts.
These laws put the southern states under U.S. military
control and required them to draft new constitutions.
Congress also passed the Tenure of Office Act in March
1867 to keep Johnson from using his power as commander
in chief to interfere with Reconstruction.
• Edward Stanton, Lincoln’s
secretary of war, had stayed on
in Johnson’s cabinet.
• Stanton supported congressional
Republicans and prevented
Johnson from undermining
Congress’s program. In response,
Johnson fired him.
• The House of Representatives
voted to impeach Johnson for
violating the Tenure of Office Act.
• The Senate failed to convict by
one vote, and Johnson remained
• Although no longer in control of
continued to issue pardons, and
by the end of 1868 the rights of
almost all Confederate leaders
had been restored.
The Fifteenth Amendment
• During the impeachment trial,
Republicans nominated General
Grant as their presidential
• The 1868 election was close, but
the African American vote in the
South gave Grant an electoral
• Republicans pushed through the
Fifteenth Amendment, which
extended suffrage to all African
American males nationwide.
• This brought millions of potential
new voters to the Republican
Party and aimed to protect
freedmen from pardoned former
Confederates. However, it did not
ban denial of suffrage for reasons
other than race.