What Were Andrew Johnson’s Plans for Reconstruction?

President Andrew Johnson’s plans for Reconstruction were the same as President Lincoln’s plans: The union would be reunited, and the South should not be punished. Johnson planned to do this by pardoning Southerners who, though they took part in the war, pledged allegiance to the United States. He also readmitted states into the union if 10 percent of the state’s white voters pledged allegiance. After they rejoined the union, he allowed them to reform their government without slavery.

Despite these great strides in Reconstruction, Johnson was not supported or popular with the powerful Republican party. The Republican party wanted more emphasis on protecting the freed slaves and making reentrance into the union more difficult. Moreover, Republicans were concerned at how quickly the southern states were passing laws to limit the freedoms of former slaves. Andrew Jackson and Congress did not work well together. They rejected his plans for Reconstruction, and Jackson in return vetoed their plans. However, Congress was able to vote their Reconstruction plans through with a large enough margin. Congress also limited Jackson’s presidential power through their passage of the Tenure of Office Act. This meant Jackson could no longer remove federal appointees. When Jackson did so anyways with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Congress tried to impeach him. The House voted to do so, but the vote fell one short in the Senate. This contention ended in 1869 when Ulysses S. Grant became president and fully supported the Reconstruction plans of Congress.