Megan Ernst, Meghan Barrett, Christine Georgakakos, Nailah Ogle

A Plan for Reconstruction and Restoration of the True America

In this intense test of the strength United States of America, the best path of action is to draw on the American ideal and the defining qualities of our nation. Our forefathers created our country as a haven, as a refuge for liberty and individualism. It seems that as soon as these concepts were created, the idea that “[People] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” our country began to limit to whom these “unalienable” rights applied. As Lincoln said at Gettysburg the United States was “Conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” There is no doubt that the nation has strayed from that original concept, and a re-centering needs to take place. We need to return to the true ideal of America, true freedom and true liberty. He catalyzed our “new birth of freedom” to ensure that “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” He has not lived to see his dream realized, his goal achieved, but it is our duty as Americans to hold ourselves to the standards that the great men who came before us aspired to. In accordance with these ideas a plan has been created that will ensure the American ideal has not been forgotten but rather examined and bettered for the common good.



Article I: Immediate elections will take place in the Southern states for all public offices barring all current officials from candidacy.
(The view of the ex-Confederates, by the ex-confederates is that they did nothing wrong and that they should not be penalized for their desire for freedom, one of the founding beliefs of the country. Therefore the dealings with ex-Confederates must be cautious and inoffensive. The problem posed is that the majority of the south’s political leaders were part of the Confederate government, so eliminating them completely would require a new generation of politicians. Therefore the proposed route of action could lessen this problem.)

· Section 1: New candidates must comply with all previous legislation in order to run for office, with the exception of the changes implemented by Article IV
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Section 2: All former Confederate officers will not be allowed to participate in this first election, but will be re-eligible to run for local or state office if they swear an Oath of Allegiance before a panel, which will approve their candidacy.
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Section 3: This panel will be comprised of members of the civil service created in Article III to ensure that re-eligibility is considered only in terms of allegiance and to maintain equality and fairness throughout the process.
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Section 4: The Oath of Allegiance will require that candidates swear:
  • I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign, state of which I have heretofore given my loyalty; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

One question and one question only: can black people vote, too? Will the white people in the south allow the black people to vote -- and maybe even win elections?



Article II: An organization (New Beginnings) will be instituted to rebuild cities, create jobs and housing, and enhance transportation in the post-war South.
(The organization designed uses the necessities of both the North and the South to regain economic, social, and political stability. The North desires to reconnect the nation politically as well as by the addition of roads and transportation routes. The South needs to find employment for the thousands of blacks who were recently freed from the bondages of slavery, as well as the poor white portion of society that is often forgotten but which plays an important part in Southern culture. The system that is chosen is an organization run by the military so the troops will necessarily be a influential part of it.)

· Section 1: This organization is founded to re-stabilize the economy of the South by creating jobs for all citizens in need, regardless of creed or color or any other discriminating factors.
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Section 2: The jobs will be geared towards improving and hastening the industrialization and reconstruction of Southern cities and greater connectivity between regions, and will result in closer economic and physical unity.
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Section 3: Jobs will include projects to build railroads and roads to further connect the country physically, as well as factories, low-income, high-density housing, and city centers to strengthen the Southern economy. In making the South more economically similar to the North, large-scale political discrepancies will not be as prevalent, and thus sectional parties will not exist.
(Because the majority of the employees of New Beginnings will be Southerners, a percentage of the population will be able to see the South regain its physical strength leading to eventual economic and political stability.)
· Section 4: All pre-war labor laws will be enforced, with the exception of the new provisions of this federal action.
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Section 5: The program will be overseen by the US Army (as administration, not occupation). Because the Army is not present in an offensive situation, the south will not see the army as overly intrusive. This also will create more lasting jobs for those soldiers in the Union Army who are qualified for these positions.
(Despite the Army’s role in administration of the organization, they will not take away any jobs that were formally held by Southerners. The Army will not have influential roles in the governing of the South on their path to stability, which will force the territories to provide motivation for their region and ensures that policies are not monopolized by the Republicans of the North.)
· Section 6: A branch of this Army administration will be dedicated to insuring equality in the selection of employees based on need and not race or any outside and unrelated factors. This civil service will be set up according to the protocols set forth in Article III.
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Section 7: Funding for New Beginnings will be federal and will be set up and implemented in accordance with Article IV.

A couple of questions: How are you going to pay for these expensive programs? The country is exhausted from the war and is most likely unwillling to want to pay more taxes than the war already required? And "pre-war" labor laws? You mean slavery? And are you serious about giving all these government jobs to blacks and whites equally? What about the fact that whites will not work next to black people -- nor live near them, nor allow any race mixing!?!? This sounds OK on paper but is oblivious of the grim realities on the ground in the South of 1868!?!



Article III: A civil service will be implemented to insure equality within the program and in other work places.
(The civil service portion will ensure that this legislature will be upheld instead of forgotten and worked around. It will provide a reliable place for low-income workers to go if their working conditions are not acceptable. This portion of New Beginnings will create some friction with the planter elite, however benefits and humanity of the system far out weigh the desire to appease the wealthy.)

· Section 1: The program will distribute jobs in accordance with who needs the jobs most.
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Section 2: The civil service will be comprised of ranking military officers who have 1) successfully completed applications and interviewed with members of the House of Representatives, and 2) have had their applications certified accepted by vote of those Congressmen.
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Section 3: Interviews will be held with 20 congressmen, each from a different state. Candidates will be chosen based on adherence to these criteria.
1. Allegiance to the US Constitution
2. Allegiance to and understanding of the provisions of New Beginnings
3. Allegiance to the US Armed Forces
4. An allegiance and understanding of the equality of all US citizens
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Section 4: The civil service will be responsible for placing Southerners who apply for jobs in areas they are capable of working.
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Section 5: The civil service will be responsible for discerning the re-eligibility of current Southern officers at the local and state level. The panel which decides whether a former Confederate official is ready to reenter service has the same conditions as a panel for people applying for the administrative portion of New Beginnings.
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Section 6: The civil service will be responsible for regulating the wages of workers in New Beginnings.
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Section 7: The civil service will check the equality of people in the workplace, including farms on which former slaves have decided to stay and work for wages. The civil service is responsible for making sure this transition is smooth and just.

How are you going to pay for all these new jobs? Where is the money going to come from? The South is broke and devastated? Will the North be willing to pay for these programs for the South? WHAT IS THE SOUTH GOING TO DO FOR MONEY? Cotton prices are low. Times are tough. Where are the jobs?



Article IV: Funding for New Beginnings
(Funding for the proposed organization will come from an unequal application of tariffs. However, despite the apparent unfairness of the situation, proportionate to their wealth, each region of the United States of America will be paying the same amount. The necessity of this plan comes from the need to reunite the nation and to do this the following actions will be taken.)

· Section 1: Funding for New Beginnings will come from federal taxation and tariffs.
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Section 2: As the South has highly inflated currency as well as a floundering economy, the South will pay for their part of the debt on a state to state basis
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Section 3: Southern states will be required to give a percentage of their total profit to New Beginnings to be used in the reconstruction of the region. Northern states will all have a tariff put in place regardless of location or total state profit.
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Section 4: Because the South is in such a devastating economic condition, applying a tariff similar to that of the North right away would be counterproductive. However, all taxes by the end of reconstruction will be the same. (The tax on a percentage of the state’s profit will only go up to equal that of the Northern tax)

Times are tough. The North is not going to make serious financial sacrifices to help the "treasonous rebels" so soon after beating them in a war. If there is little economic activity in the South, there will be little tax money coming in. Is this realistic?



Article V: Voting rights at the local, state, and federal level shall be extended to all men, regardless of race or class.
(The struggle that the nation has gone through with respect to civil rights is far from over and the issues has just barely been uncovered. The problems of discrimination and racism will not disappear with the application of this plan, but it will help to send the nation in the correct direction. Changing the way of life for the wealthy southern planters is not a situation that is desired, however the inhuman aspects of it must be removed.)

· Section 1: Voting laws will be compliant with the state’s pre-war laws, with the exception of the new provisions set in place by this federal action.
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Section 2: Voting men must be aged 21 or older, and citizens of the United States, and residents of the state in which they are registered to vote. Other than these requirements, and that their registration is successfully completed, no other restrictions on voting eligibility are to be enacted.
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Section 3: There will be no fee or tax associated with voting in local, state or federal elections.
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Section 4: This article requires the enforcement of the 14th and 15th amendments immediately following their ratification.
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Section 5: As territories of the United States, those states previously in rebellion against the Union are under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States of America, and will abide by the Constitution and its amendments.

Is this realistic? Why did the Ku Klux Klan come into being? The white South is completely and totally opposed to black suffrage and you just say they "have to" give black people rights and hope that works? Aren't you just repeating the mistakes of the past? Are you going to use the US Army to inforce these laws, just as in the real history?



Article VI: The eligibility for office shall be extended to all men regardless of race.

· Section 1: Laws regarding eligibility to hold any local or state office will be in compliance with the state’s pre-war legislature, with the exception of the new provisions of this federal action.
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Section 2: All officers must be residents of their state, citizens of the United States, and comply with the minimum age requirements for their respective states and positions.
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Section 3: No new stipulations or regulations are to be placed on eligibility with the exception of those set forth in Article I.
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Section 4: This article requires the enforcement of the 14th amendment immediately following its ratification
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Section 5: As territories of the United States, those states previously in rebellion against the Union are under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States of America, and will abide by the Constitution and its amendments

Is this realistic? See comments from last article!



Article VII: The reinstallation of those territories formerly in rebellion against the Union back into the United States of America will be a decision determined by individual stability and unity of ideals with America.
(The United States of America needs to go back to its unifying roots presented by the Revolution and recreate the nation that has an enormous amount of potential. The only way for this to happen is the reinstallation of territories into states quickly, but also carefully.)

· Section 1: Effective immediately and in accordance with Article I, Southern “territories” (as they will be referred to because they are not acting participants of the Union until completion of this process) will elect Senators and Congressmen to sit in the federal legislative branch.
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Section 2: These legislators will not have acting power, and their vote will be suspended until the reinstatement of their respective territories.
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Section 3: The reinstatement of a territory will be possible after a 4-year mandatory rebuilding period under the administration of New Beginnings as stipulated in Article II.
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Section 4: After this rebuilding period, territories may apply for reinstallation into the Union.
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Section 5: The territory must be deemed economically and politically stable by the civil service outlined in Article III. They will be assessed on their completion of New Beginnings’ goals and on the strength of their elections following the primary election stipulated in Article I.
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Section 6: These territories must ratify the 13th-15th amendments prior to reinstallation



In accordance with these articles, the organization New Beginnings will be put in place to administer and direct the reconstruction of the South. The plan is designed to be as inoffensive as possible while still maintaining order and control in the territories formerly in rebellion. Instead of wandering away from the ideals Revolutionary leaders used to create this ‘experiment of a republic’ we will return to the purest ideas we can reach while still preserving the characteristic cultures of the various portions of the country. Addressing the issues of race relations and the necessity for the elimination of discrimination based of race, this plan humanely reconstructs the economy, politics and society of the South.

Why would the South not just regard this as Yankee meddling and fight it tooth and nail, like happened in real history? Does your plan address the real problem of economic development and the absolute refusal of the white Democratic traditional South to give the vote (and power) to African Americans? If it were this easy, perhaps Reconstruction would have been a success in real life?

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RESPONSE(S) TO TEAM PLAN:
Jim I'll try to keep my fingers off of my synonymy.

All former Confederate officers will not be allowed to participate in this first election, but will be re-eligible to run for local or state office if they swear an Oath of Allegiance before a panel, which will approve their candidacy."
According to this provision, all Jefferson Davis or Alexander Stephens must do to regain power will be to wait a term, cross their fingers behind their backs, and be cleared by this panel:

"The civil service will be comprised of ranking military officers who have 1) successfully completed applications and interviewed with members of the House of Representatives, and 2) have had their applications certified accepted by vote of those Congressmen."

Luckily for Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, they are actually qualified to be part of this panel. There are no provisions in your plan to bar or delay admission to the House (in fact you allow immediate elections, and then tell them they have to wait four years). Your restriction of waiting a term is rendered mute by this "rebuilding period." And, as the South is certainly more motivated than the North to gain political standing, it is hard to imagine a group of ranking military officers with political aspirations, affected by no vetting process, that is not dominated by former Confederates.

"Effective immediately and in accordance with Article I, Southern “territories” (as they will be referred to because they are not acting participants of the Union until completion of this process) will elect Senators and Congressmen to sit in the federal legislative branch."
This, in effect, ensures that no blacks will be elected in the South (rendering Article VI useless for the time being). You cannot hand an unpopular group political power, give them no protection, and then expect them to become elected.

"The reinstatement of a territory will be possible after a 4-year mandatory rebuilding period under the administration of New Beginnings as stipulated in Article II."

This ensures that Reconstruction will be an unpopular nightmare in the South. Your plan hands political power to former Confederates the second this "mandatory rebuilding period" is over. That, combined with its lack of a means of enforcing Article VI other than what on the surface appears peaceful civil service organization (with the military solely as administrators), and the fact that it leaves the Union divided for four more years renders it untenable.

Team Karie

Michelle Lee

Overall, I think you guys did a great job. It’s very thorough and well organized. And they actually make sense, so great job! But my homework is to critique, so bear with me.

Article I: Can just swearing an oath ensure their loyalty? And as Jim points out, that would enable former confederates to run for office only after one term. Confederates in congress would cause conflict between Republicans and Democrats and they would for sure slow down the process of reconstruction.

Article II: Where will you get the money for New Beginning institution? Will North favor to give up their money to rebuild the South, their once enemy? US army as administration but not as occupation. How would that work? And how long would US army be there? Wouldn’t south see that as Northern aggression? If you only have few select officers in South, isn’t there a danger of southerners rebelling against the administration?

Article III: How will you determine who needs the job most? How will you create new jobs? What about civilian war damage? Are you going to pay them back?

Article V: How will you control KKK and other racist organization that uses terror to prevent Blacks from voting?

Melina Powell: Here are my critiques of this plan.

Article II:
“Section 5: The program will be overseen by the US Army (as administration, not occupation). Because the Army is not present in an offensive situation, the south will not see the army as overly intrusive. This also will create more lasting jobs for those soldiers in the Union Army who are qualified for these positions.”
-The South will see ANY Union troops as intrusive, no matter what they are there for.
Article III:
“Section 1: The program will distribute jobs in accordance with who needs the jobs most.”
-How will you distinguish “who needs the jobs most”?
“Section 3: Interviews will be held with 20 congressmen, each from a different state.”
-There were over 300 high ranking officers in the Confederate army, how will these interviews be completed even within a year?
Article VI:
“Section 5: As territories of the United States, those states previously in rebellion against the Union are under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States of America, and will abide by the Constitution and its amendments.”
-How will you enforce this policy without protest from Southerners?
Article VII:
“Section 2: These legislators will not have acting power, and their vote will be suspended until the reinstatement of their respective territories.
And Section 3: The reinstatement of a territory will be possible after a 4-year mandatory rebuilding period under the administration of New Beginnings as stipulated in Article II.”

-If their votes don’t count, what is the point of the legislators attending meetings?
“Section 6: These territories must ratify the 13th-15th amendments prior to reinstallation”
-What actions will be executed if the states choose not to ratify them?

Karie Portillo


In Article 1 section 2 you say that former Confederate officers will not be able to run in the first election, and will have to swear an oath of allegiance if they want to run in the next election. What if they decide to break that oath of allegiance?

Ok so you plan on having both black and white people working the same jobs in the same places together, what if they all decide to start killing each other? How are you supposed to handle the many conflicts that will present themselves among both races? Exactly how long will the US Army be there? Those soldiers have wives and families in the north that could care less about the southern reconstruction and just want their men home.

Where in the world are you going to get the money to fund these new jobs and to pay the members of the Civil Service? The south is BROKE!

Ok so do you really think the North is just going to hand over money to help fund all of the South’s new projects?

How will you control the KKK once they decide to take action against your proposal for blacks to vote and run for office? You try to make this bill inoffensive to everyone, but your proposals offend everything the south stood for, how will you enforce everyone’s compliance to your bill?



Emily Dixon of the Dixiecrats
Your plan had major holes. I know it’s a no win situation, but this could use a lot of work.

First I would like to say that “Oaths of Loyalty” aren’t going to cut it. Your problem begins with Article 1 Section 2 which states that
All former Confederate officers will not be allowed to participate in this first election, but will be re-eligible to run for local or state office if they swear an Oath of Allegiance before a panel, which will approve their candidacy.” In a perfect world, it would only take the Confederates a few years to get over their hatred of Northerners, but in reality a mere oath would not keep a fiery-tempered Southerner from crossing his fingers and then doing everything in his power to take down the Union. The South had no inclination to give up.

In Article 2 Section 1 you state
“[New Beginnings] is founded to re-stabilize the economy of the South by creating jobs for all citizens in need, regardless of creed or color or any other discriminating factors.” Why would blacks and whites suddenly end up in a state of harmony? The country just came out of a period of time where blacks were subjugated and dehumanized, and now the two races are suddenly equal in the workforce? Article 4 states that funding for these expensive (and most likely ineffective) would come primarily from federal taxation and tariffs. Would anyone be willing to pay for such a program? Aside from that, the unequal collection of taxes would greatly anger the wealthier Americans (and if you’re planning on having any money for more outrageous government plans, you better keep them happy).

Let’s talk about Article 3 Section 3. If someone says they are loyal to the whole United States system, that does not necessarily mean they truly are. Coming up with a system of checks and balances would be great because there are going to be problems with this. As for the rest of this article, how will the need for jobs be determined? How will equality be measured? How will you pay for the jobs?


Article 5 can be deemed worthless after just the first sentence: “
Voting rights at the local, state, and federal level shall be extended to all men, regardless of race or class.” The KKK came to be just because blacks were suddenly allowed to vote. How do you plan to ensure black security? Article 6 basically reinforces a point that won’t work.

Overall, your plan offends pretty much everyone in America (wealthy because they will be taxed, poor because they will be competing with blacks for wages, ALL OF THE SOUTH because of new rights for the blacks, and so on). In a world of people willing to comply with governmental orders 100%, this would be fine, but politicians need to be pragmatic, not idealistic.


Karen Fox - Dixiecrats
To go through your articles in an orderly manner:
I. Why are you doing this? Why are you kicking out all of the experienced politicians and forcing newbies into office? You said you needed to be "inoffensive," except that's pretty much the fastest way to piss off Southern politicians.
And by the way, where are you going to get those newbie politicians from? The "Solid South" is never going to agree to that, so you'd be setting up Republican governments in the south propped up by inefficient, unseasoned carpetbaggers, scalawags, and blacks. Now tell me, is that or is that not going to foster some resentment in the South?
Also, the South is in ruins. They don't have the infrastructure necessary to have new elections in the first place, let alone all the time and commitment needed to run for office. This article isn't feasible and if passed would just make everyone hate everyone else and their mother.

II. Great idea! Too bad it's ridiculously vague and would cost way too much. Again, not feasible. It's simplistic and rejects explanation - just how is the economy going to be re-stabilized, again? Be specific. And who ever said the South wanted to be industrialized?

III. If this was introduced in 1866, you would have been lynched. Section 1: EVERYONE needs jobs. It's like the Great Depression. You can't just wave a magic wand and say it'll be fixed. HOW is it going to be fixed? Section 2 & 3: I'm sure Congress has nothing better to do. Let's just dump a bunch of army people into their lap and let them sort it out, shall we? Oh, wait. They don't want to interview people? They actually want to pass LAWS and things? Well, that's too bad. This section says they need to do something else instead, even though they were created to make laws. Seriously, they need to spend all their time fixing the mess already created by articles one and two, not mop up after article three. Section 4: So you're instating mini-dictators who decide who works where. Lovely. Am I the only one being reminded of Anthem and other novels set in dystopias? Section 5: Again with the dictators and the giving of too much power. Section 6: This looks like a police state. Section 7: "including farms on which former slaves have decided to stay and work for wages." What planet are you on? Have you ever heard of sharecropping? Whites didn't have any money to pay anyone. And equality in the workplace? Even for the dictators you're creating, that's pretty hard to evaluate given the scanty infrastructure you've fleetingly implied.

IV: Bad idea. Really, really, REALLY bad idea. This kind of thing will make everyone angry - North and South, rich and poor, black and white.

V and VI: Ever hear of the KKK? Lynching? Racism? You've got to be kidding me. There's no way this is going to work. If you want blacks voting, you'll need the army, which is going to make the Southerners mad and the North frustrated. Good luck with your idealism and simplistic reasoning. It won't work in the real world.

VII: I disagree with Section 5, but I actually like this article.

Honestly, overall this was better than what happened in history. So congrats on a job well done!


Group- Raftery & Friends
Michael Raftery
Positive Feedback :
Acknowledging the situation’s complexity your group put forth a thought-out plan of action with several inventive notions.
New Beginnings
Civil Service and the panel of 20 congressmen


Critique of Group’s Plan :
The Oath of Allegiance your group proposes would have minimal change on the ex-Confederates’ resolve and racial intolerance against the social changes of the freedmen.

How long will the army stay in the South? What time duration do you see appropriate? This question is important to see the commitment your plan has to the freedmen and Reconstruction.

How much power does the army have in dealing with unrest and racial violence?
The South is not done fighting for their rights. The army will inevitably confront unruly ex-Confederates.

Does your plan allow for the election of freedmen? How will the white Southerners take this political change to society?

Will African American children be able to go to school with white Southerners?
The social injustice of the Confederates is not being addressed to its actual extreme. What level of segregation will be allowed by your group’s plan? How much force will the army have to stop the social confrontations?

How will the sharecropping of freedmen be avoided? How will your group address the Black Codes?


Lauren Zimmerman - Raftery and Friends
Your plan seems very idealistic. The ideas seem like they might work under conditions today but maybe not under the economic and social conditions of the reconstruction era. The plans proposed will cost massive amounts of money which the government did not have after the civil war. How will you pay for these expensive programs and who will be paying the taxes? Taxing the south extra will create more contention but over-taxing the north will lead to resentment and they may give up even quicker.
How do you plan on enforcing these propositions? Will you use the army? How will you stop terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan from popping up throughout the south? How will you make sure that there is the least amount of conflict possible? How will an oath of allegiance ensure the actual allegiance of the citizens? Will there be total equality in the south? How can you prevent segregation?



Kristen Sohasky from Team Awesome


Hey guys! Your ideas are all very creative and smart, but yet some are unrealistic due to the current state of the Country. Good job overall!

Article I is very unlikely. I wish it were as easy as an oath, but the chances that “oath” would be followed are slim to none.

Article II is a little unrealistic. It would be a great idea but it would mean raising taxes, and that’s not going to happen after the Civil War put them in debt.

Article III is also a bit unrealistic. The upper class will not like this, and who is to determine the “low income workers”, because there are a lot at this time

Article IV will most likely not work because where is all the money suppose to come from? People are not willing to just hand money over, especially if they feel it won’t benefit them.

Article V the people will be mad if blacks and whites are given the same rights this quickly, after all they were just made freemen.

Article VI same thing as above, the whites will be very upset with this sudden change.

Article VII very good, this is necessary and although some will not like it, it is less of a dramatic change than say for example article V and VI.

Travis Dunlop from Team Awesome:

Things that are good:

Overall, your entire plan is very well organized. It is clear that you showed clarity of voice and effort.

Things that could be improved:

(Article II) So what happens when there is only a limited number of jobs and the decision has to be made to either give the jobs to white or black people, who do you think the jobs would go to? Your system is set up for inequality when it is implemented in reality.

(Articles II and III) Your funding for your well named New Begining is unrealistic. The South will not have the money to pay for an expensive program to give jobs to all the blacks, and the North will not want to give any of their money to this program.

Overall, your plan is happy and optimistic but the reality is that no one wants to pay to help the blacks situation. Most people are still pretty racist. They just came out of an expensive war and they won't be to nit-picky if the black's rights are respected or not. It's a nice ideal, but just not plausible.