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Jim, Lauren, Danielle, and Michael

Raftery & Friends


Reconstruction Plan


Reconstruction after the American Civil War was ineffective and unsuccessful. Under the new president, Andrew Johnson, Confederate officials were granted amnesty and the South, with little allegiance was able to enter the Union and acquire representation in Congress. The amendments to the Constitution, (13th, 14th, and 15th) which granted civil rights and suffrage to blacks, were avoided if not completely ignored. Many freedmen were convinced through violence and intimidation not to participate in politics. However, after the impeachment of President Johnson, Congress took a different approach. By passing the Civil Rights, Force, and Ku Klux Klan Acts, Congress attempted to take control of the still rebellious South. Troops were placed in areas in the hope of enforcing these new laws. However, as these measures came after the period of Presidential Reconstruction, troops were somewhat ineffective and eventually removed entirely. If instead, new laws had been enacted and enforced quickly and effectively, reconstruction may have been ultimately success in granting freedmen civil rights and political power. By implementing programs specifically charged with aiding blacks, and using troops to ensure peace before conflict has a chance to occur, this plan will establish lasting civil rights for freedmen in the North and South alike.
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The Raftman reads from his script!


The ex-Confederate leadership cannot continue to rule the South. The ex-Confederates will be restrained from the political realm, until social changes of equality are present. The ex-Confederates will be allowed to reenter society life. There will be no unnecessary containment or execution. If ex-Confederates conform to peaceful reunification, no isolation of combatants will be necessary. Injustice towards freemen will be strictly dealt upon. No violent inequality will be permitted. Depending on the individual ex-Confederates’ actions upon reentering post- Civil War society, certain incentives will be in place with correct adjustment. The negative inability to peacefully reintegrate into rebuilding the South will result in army supervision and regulations. The ex-Confederates will be for the majority preoccupied with the South’s restoration within the Union. If ex-Confederates choose to intimidate the freedmen, the Union army will be in place to administer fitting justice. The ex-Confederates will eventually understand the social changes occurring are great changes of equal liberty. The North can not waver in their resolve for social justice. The ex-Confederate will return to society and help rebuild the South economically.

The freedmen will enjoy all rights they were formerly deprived of, including, but not limited to, the right to be paid for their work, own property, marry, and the vote. To back up these rights there will be the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, ensuring that these rights cannot be taken away by simple Southern state legislation in the future. The freedmen’s right to vote will also be enforced by the Union Army, while the South is occupied by the Union Army. A land policy will be started that takes the government held lands formerly owned by confederates will be offered to freedmen for a small fee that they may take out a loan to the government for, the government loans will insure that they cannot be swindled by corrupt white-supremacist southerners. However, there will be free lands made available in the Dakota territories in a way similar to the Homestead Act of 1862. Discriminating laws such as the recent “Black Codes” are nullified as they dispute federal laws in the way that they try to re-enslave the freedmen. There will be a federal bureau dedicated to helping freedmen in need. Free education will be available to all in need and with interest. All teachers must be qualified by the bureau mentioned above. Southerners who agree to teach and continually prove to be adequate teachers will be given extra aid, Northerners who are qualified and come down to teach will be granted free room and board. Priests who refuse to perform legalized marriages to freedmen simply for their color will not be allowed to perform any kind of legal union. If the South interferes in any shape, way, or form, with these policies they will be subject to the military. Anyone participating in terrorist actions against these freedmen shall be persecuted and if seen, and will not stop, force will be implemented.

In the new Southern governments anyone loyal to the Union, has pledged loyalty to the Union first and foremost, is a citizen, and has not committed treason may hold office; this includes freedmen. This is after re-admittance to the Union; while under military precaution governments will be in the process of being rebuilt and those who were sympathetic to the Union cause will be encouraged to participate. Freedmen with knowledge of reading, writing, and politics are especially encouraged to participate. Regarding representation, during the reconstruction process, until a state is formally re-admitted to the Union, they will only have partial representation in congress. Regarding voting, during the reconstruction process, only those not associated with the Confederacy may vote.

To avoid the misfortune of troops appearing as an invading force, it must be first accepted by the citizens of a state that Union troops will be sent to oversee elections and participate in rebuilding. Though it would be possible to disguise this as a caveat in a loyalty oath, this would miss the point entirely. Our objective is not passage, but acceptance. In order to regain full rights and representation, a majority of a state’s citizenry must agree to allow Union troops within their borders. The passage of legislation guaranteeing freedmen citizenship and full rights including suffrage is imperative. These requirements will seem harsh and unfounded in the eyes of many Southerners. However, with neither rights nor representation, Southern states will have very limited power to demand funds or aid. It is therefore in the best interest of the former Confederates to quickly meet such requirements. For this reason, we must also safeguard against a rapid reversal. What can be so quickly gained must not carelessly lost. We must quickly integrate freedmen, and we must weaken the South politically. The reinstatement of Confederate leadership is not an option.

The devastated Southern economy can not rebound from the trauma of the Civil War with the previous economic focus of large agricultural plantations. The South needs to understand that in order to rebuild, a commitment to economic change must first be decided. The mentality of social superiority to the freemen will only prolong the South’s economic hardship. The North will not forsake the South’s economic future, but will not allow reestablishment of previous social injustices upon the freemen. The North will invest in the South’s infrastructure. The rebuilding and development of networks of roads and railroads will open the South’s trade and transportation. Northern investment in the South will have to be a long-term commitment. The economy of the post-Civil War South will need rapid industrial centers. The South needs to be informed of the importance of overall growth. The transition will be arduous, but will significantly allow the Southern economy to grow into different sectors of trade. The productivity of trade depends on the South’s resolution for development and Northern investment. The Northern investment will be crucial to the South’s future. The economy of the South will not improve if the social changes are ignored. Northern investment will not continue if the South fails to respect the social equality and justice of freedmen.

Union troops should mainly act as enforcers, charged with upholding black rights and policing elections. Harassment of freedmen, especially at the ballot box and in local governments should be put down immediately, and with necessary force. It is indescribably important that African Americans feel safe in the political world as well as in their community. Unfortunately, the Union military force is far from infinite. As the War is now over, it has obviously decreased in power and size. Men have returned both to their families and to the workplace. Troops will therefore be repositioned from areas without observable anti-black sentiment to areas where harassment is more common. Demonstration of the ability to allow blacks to participate in politics and live in safety will result in troops being removed from a specific area. The area will be granted a probationary period during which troops will not be present, but regular checks will be made. Such areas will also be granted priority when it comes to aid in physical reconstruction. The role of troops will first and foremost be to facilitate the smooth arrival of African Americans into free society and the political world. Only after this role has been sufficient filled will troops help with the physical rebuilding of the South.

Though punishment for Confederate rebels and the reintegration of the South into the Union are vital to the survival of the Union, it is civil rights which are the most important issue after the war. The freedmen need support and protection to ensure that the racism which continued in the South after reconstruction would not develop. This change will be difficult and completely change the lifestyle of the South, but it is essential for the nation as a whole. These people can no longer be oppressed. They need their voice to be heard. It is our duty to grant them these rights which they are so in need of.


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RESPONSE(S) TO TEAM PLAN:

1. Policy towards the ex-Confederates seems vague and unrealistic. You mention “army supervision and regulations” but do not stipulate what these “regulations” would be or to what extent the army would “supervise.” You also do not define exactly what is acceptable and what isn’t as far as ex-Confederate “reintegration” within post-war society. This indefiniteness seems to lend itself to abuse by Union officers. VAGUE THIS VAGUE THAT BLAH BLAH BLAH. NO IT ISN'T. I THOUGHT IT WAS PRETTY CLEAR!
2. “A land policy will be started that takes the government held lands formerly owned by confederates will be offered to freedmen”—Basically you are advocating the government taking land from white southern landowners and giving it to the freedmen. Yes you are putting a price on the land, but allowing freedmen to “take out a loan to the government for.” First of all, this makes the land practically free. How can the government insure that these men are good for their loans? Also, what do you plan to do with the whites you kick of their land? There were thousands if not hundreds of thousands of destitute white southerners after the war. Did you take them into account? Also, even with a government loan, you have to have a source of income to pay it off, otherwise even the government would come collecting as aggressively as your “corrupt white-supremacist southerners.” HOW CAN ANYONE ENSURE THAT THEY ARE GOOD FOR THEIR MONEY YOU CAN'T. YOU HAVE TO TRUST YOUR FELLOW MAN....OR ELSE DEATH AND CORRUPTION WILL OCCUR
3. “Regarding representation, during the reconstruction process, until a state is formally re-admitted to the Union, they will only have partial representation in congress. Regarding voting, during the reconstruction process, only those not associated with the Confederacy may vote.” – So no southern states can vote? This doesn’t seem clear!
4. “To avoid the misfortune of troops appearing as an invading force, it must be first accepted by the citizens of a state that Union troops will be sent to oversee elections and participate in rebuilding.” –That’s still an invasion. The military will override Southern government, aka: INVASION. Also, they have been given power to suppress terrorist acts and punish ex-Confederates, so their mission is not entirely peaceful and you can’t tell people that’s all they’re there for.
5. “The passage of legislation guaranteeing freedmen citizenship and full rights including suffrage is imperative.”—I agree with this, but how do you expect admittedly reluctant Southerners to accept and pass laws that are radical on a national scale? The 14th amendment wasn’t ratified until 1868 and the 15th amendment in 1870. You can’t expect Southerners to possess an irrational and sudden progressiveness. You can expect them to ratify these amendments eventually, but not create state laws that precede these national amendments. YOU CAN TRY!!!!! NO HARM IN TRYING WAHOOOO!!
6. “We must quickly integrate freedmen, and we must weaken the South politically. The reinstatement of Confederate leadership is not an option.” – When dealing with states who seceded because of perceived lack of power, I would be careful about making it an outspoken objective to weaken them. Though I agree it seems weak to give power back to rebels, you may want to more carefully assess this issue. It is more complex than you are allowing for. It is grossly simplistic to merely state your objectives without any steps in place to act them out. Who will lead if not the Confederates? Are you going to take them out of power? If so, when will you re-elect leaders? How will you ensure that they are not Confederate sympathizers? Basically this has not been thought out at all.
7. “The North will invest in the South’s infrastructure.” Where are you planning to get “Northern” money with which to invest? I believe it will take quite a bit, and it’s a topic you seem to have systematically avoided. By “North” do you mean northern businesses, northern tax payers, the federal government, individual grants? SO vague.......NOT REALLY
8. “Northern investment will not continue if the South fails to respect the social equality and justice of freedmen.” Again so vague! What requirements are there for northern funding? What will happen if requirements are not fully met?
9. “Union troops should mainly act as enforcers, charged with upholding black rights and policing elections” This is in DIRECT conflict with what you said earlier! (#4) You asserted that Union troops would not be “invaders,” but “enforcers” seems synonymous if not more menacing.
10. “Only after this role has been sufficient filled will troops help with the physical rebuilding of the South.” What chance are you giving society to function if you choose to play psychologist to southerners before allowing them to pick themselves up and start over? Thousands of out of work, hopelessly poor, bitter Southerners, both black and white, are bound to pick fights if no improvement is in sight. What do you plan to do with all these people until societal equality is reached? It seems unrealistic and simplistic.
11. Generally, your policies are painfully vague at best and contradictory at worst. If you tried to clarify more, and make your proposals implementable, I think you would realize some of them aren’t. Although your goal seems noble, to guarantee equality for the freedmen, you are going about it in a way that will not make it possible as quickly or seamlessly as you want. How can you expect to punish, deprecate, and dethrone the Southern way of life (whether it is right or wrong), and somehow convince the south to entirely change their most deeply entrenched beliefs? It is not the most intelligent way to deal with people stereotyped as ignorant and prideful. WE ARN'T ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTING THESE PLANS MEGAN!!!!!!!
12. One of my biggest issues with reading this was it was so VAGUE. There is no way anything you said could be acted upon because it was theoretical at best. The proposals you made would hardly have worked in reality, and at many points seemed simplistic and foolish. Plans began generalized and imprecise, and were never clarified. There was more repetition of your goal (which frankly does not parallel your policy decisions) than there was explanation of how to reach that goal. Every mention of “North” or “South” lacked a definition of what that term encompassed. Those terms in and of themselves are unclear, and made your entire argument unsteady. I THOUGH IT WAS GOOD. MY GRAMMER SSUCKS AND I'M FROM GEORGIA. OH AND ALL OF THE PROPOSALS ARE THEORETICAL!!!!
13. Lastly, your argument in many places seems obtuse and jejune, and it doesn’t seem like anyone of consequential power would have been able to agree with you. Your poor grammar coupled with an overuse of your Thesaurus rendered your argument undecipherable in places, and scatterbrained and childish in others.
14. Your goal was honorable, and some of your initial thoughts interesting, but your plan overall would not have been a viable alternative to reconstruction.

Megan from Monster Jam

ALL THE CAPS ARE FROM PEOPLE IN GEORGIA! WAHOOO!

Hey this is just a little note. It looks good don't listen to above it was harsh and the rest of us in Georgia don't feel like that. It looked really really good when I read it!
-anonymous and the rest of the AP History Class in Georgia.