1.How did Lincoln's vision of Reconstruction differ from that of the Radical Republicans?
2.What were the gains made by organizations such as the Freedman's Bureau? What were typical failures?
3.How did the practice of sharecropping restrict the development of a middle class and produce generations of poor Southerners, regardless of race/ethnicity?
1. How did Lincoln's vision of Reconstruction differ from that of the Radical Republicans?
According to Lincoln, he considered that the southern states had illegally tried to secede from the Union. As a result, he considered their act one of rebellion, an insurrection which he felt compelled to put down. Having done just that (in his mind), he believed that as commander-in-chief under the Constitution, he had the power to pardon their wrongdoing. Therefore, in December 1863, he had come up with the "Ten Percent Plan" to reconstruct the areas of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control. This plan called for pardons to former Confederates who would swear an oath of support to the Constitution for the United States and for the Union. When ten percent of registered voters (according to the 1860 census) had taken the oath, that state could be readmitted into the Union by reforming a new government. As such, they could elect representatives and senators for Congress. By the spring of 1864, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas had already met these so-called easy terms and were ready for readmittance.
However, this plan met stiff resistance from the Radical Republicans who believed that Lincoln was treating the South with too much kindness. They wanted the South to be treated as a conquered ...