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What did the Reconstruction Act do?

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Quick Answer

The Reconstruction Act put military generals from the North in charge of military districts in the South, it made former confederate states ratify the Fourteenth Amendment and it led to African-American suffrage. The Southern states, and even President Andrew Johnson, were opposed to the act.

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Full Answer

The Reconstruction Act of 1867 was meant to help rebuild the country after the American Civil War. The act was directed at all previously confederate states, as it required them all to ratify the fourteenth amendment, which states that all persons born in the United States should be granted citizenship. This meant that all slaves that were born in the United States instantly became citizens, which eventually led to their ability to vote.

Another statute within the Reconstruction Act was that the South was to be split into five separate military districts, each of which would be led by a Northern general. This took the power away from confederate generals and was expected to unite the nation's military.

While the act was seen as an attempt to unite the United States after an internal conflict, the act was largely resented by the southern states. President Andrew Johnson, who was from the South, vetoed the bill and argued that Southern states were not adequately represented in congress. Despite the presidential veto, the bill was passed by congress on March 2, 1867.

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