Kristen S, Travis D, Michael, and Nelly

"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This famous line from the Declaration of Independence applies to every individual present in the United States, no matter their age, gender, or ethnicity. It is evident that the Southerners need some guidance and reconstruction at the time and this is our proposal to offer our help by doing simple tasks such as educating the confederates not to repeat their prior mistakes, and educating the freedmen how to read and write, and giving them the opportunity to vote among their peers. However, we feel the previous confederate leaders shall not be able to hold office for a set amount of time, and the dissident states shall not be able to return to the Union.

The Confederates have betrayed their country, and for that they will be forced to pay for their mistakes. They need
Team Awesome is really more "awesome" than they appear in this photo!
to realize there can only be one Union and forever it will remain one Union. They brought about this issue themselves and turned it into a huge war and for that they shall suffer consequences.

Our proposal on a proper lesson for the ex-Confederates is to bring about their awareness on the results of their actions and everything they have caused. We will have the ex-Confederates in prison for at least two years. The figure heads like Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee will be disabled forever as an American Citizen. We will have them be executed from this country under the penalty of death if they ever tried to return. Many of them will be brought up for trial and maybe lawful conviction will occur so they can suffer the penalty as a punishment. For this, they will be given the right to vote but they will not be holding office unless they earn a pardon. We do not want a reoccurrence of this period and with our proposition the Confederates shall learn from their actions.

They have lost everything and are now facing a new lifestyle full of pain and misery. Many are now living in agony; some are still trying to survive with only one leg and multiple other injuries. They will have their property but will not have any slaves working for them. Throughout the time we will make sure they have realized betraying their country was not a sly move.
The freedmen have struggled with the demanded for formal education. It was crime to teach them how to read and many of the white’s attitude discouraged literacy towards them. Now, there will be a change, and the freedmen will have the opportunity to earn a free education and be prepared for tasks and jobs that require one.
Now that we have established the Freedmen Bureau for destitute by the Civil War, we will make sure the bureau supervises freedmen employment, and we will begin to establish schools where every black man and woman will learn to read and write. They will be provided with books and will also be offered military protection for students and teachers against the opponents of black literacy. With this in mind the military will also enforce every single one of their votes. They will not be able to hold office yet, but within a few years when they are literate that will change. Everyone deserves equal education, and for that the African Americans will have their Civil Rights and be given equal opportunities as the whites.

When faced with the reconstruction of a civil war-torn country, the victors must be sure that the dissenter’s leaders will not be put into positions of power, for that will only reinvigorate the lost cause. The American Civil War has produced a great number of Confederate Politicians, War Generals and other men in positions of power who blatantly support succession. A House divided cannot stand. For these reasons, our plan’s policy supports detaining previous Confederate leaders from holding office for a set period of time.
Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee and other Confederate leaders have been the role models for all southerners throughout the entire Civil War. They would follow these leaders to the ends of the earth. Once the South is given the option of free elections where anyone can run for office, these dissenter leaders will be first to pounce on this opportunity and the first to obtain those titles. This will not help reconstruct the South but tear it away, once again, from the north. Therefore, it is logical to bar previous Confederates from the competition of political office.
But for how long? The foundational values of America were not built on policy of shutting out the competition but welcoming it. Therefore, it would go against all of what the United States was founded on to bar these men from competition without just cause. The policy that we have thus far laid out is to easily corrupt. The radical Republicans would soon grow into their new position of power and decide to define “Confederate” as any Democrat and that would only lead to a corrupt government. To detain this from happening, our plan includes a twenty year ban on Confederate officials holding political office.
While it may be logical to keep the figureheads of the Confederacy out of positions of power, it makes no sense to not have the previous confederacy members, now members of the United States of America, be able to vote. Their vote is a powerful incentive to be in the United States and not in the Confederacy. If you don’t vote you don’t count. The southerners want to count, therefore they would see it as their right to be able to vote and if that “right” was taken away then they would be offended greatly and this would increase hate towards “those northern Yankees”. This would not help reconstruction. Therefore it would behoove the Reconstructionist plan to allow the southerners the vote.
The newly emancipated black population, however, is an entirely different matter. As we have previously stated, one of a major pillar in our plan for reconstruction is not offending the South. In order to keep the peace in-between the war-torn nation, the plan must not allow blacks to take a position over whites while the whites had no chance to win that position of authority. They would be completely taken aback if a Confederate leader would not be able to hold an office that a black man could. Therefore, our policy includes another twenty year ban on a black person holding governmental office. In addition, if the black population suddenly had the ability to vote, the effect, both on the radicalization of the governmental policy and on the “shock factor” to the fragile Confederates would be too great for the Reconstruction to stand. Therefore, it is logical to provide a five year ban on any blacks vote.

It may seem rather counter intuitive to hinder the dissident states return to the Union after a bloody war fought in order to keep the South from seceding, but that is precisely what is needed in order to reconstruct a more perfect union. If the states are automatically re-entered into the Union then they will have more political power than the losers of the war deserve. In other words, it would make sense to have the secessionist states jump through a few hoops in order to ensure their participation in upcoming reconstructionist policies, for instance, adopting Lincoln’s “10 percent” policy, lowering crime rates to reasonable levels and ratifying new amendments.
We must ensure that at least 10% of the given southern state would pledge themselves to the Union. While this may have seemed like a silly policy to adopt all on its own, when this “hoop” is combined with other strong policies, it in turn is strengthened by the collective. Obviously it makes sense for the Southerners to have to prove their loyalty to the Union even if it is only 10% of the population, it plants the seed for more unionists to grow. No longer would they be the Solid South but they would be 90% solid south and at least 10% unionist.
Second, the Southern states must lower their crime rates to what they were before the Civil War. At first glance, this may seem like our most “out of the blue” policy and in all realities it is, but it is also one of our more ingenious ones. We will propagate this policy as a simple matter of making sure that this war-torn land is restored to its natural beauty and that we are on the South’s side. This seems like a plausible thing to advocate, once everyone in the South has their land, slaves and wealth taken away, they will most likely turn to stealing, which quite a few of them did. While this happy-go lucky policy really tries to do is secure civil rights for blacks. A great deal of this crime is due to the Ku Klux Klan and other forms of hatred. If the Reconstructionists ensure that crime levels are down, then automatically hate crime levels are down. It’s a way of securing rights for black people without completely advocating for something that the South is adamantly against. Everyone is happy.
Last, the states must ratify the new 13th 14th and 15th Amendments in order to stay in the union. This policy is relatively self-explanatory. These Amendments ensure rights for the black population and ensure a step in the right direction for the south. It forces them to open up their minds to the possibility of the civil rights of blacks and ensures that new Union will be less hateful towards blacks and the radical new way of thinking will be a clean break.

The Southern lands have been devastated, in some areas destroyed, during the war. We should focus our main efforts on repairing the lands for development. Since the Southerners do not have nearly enough money to repair their lands at this point, we also should put some money into the hands of the Southerners so they can begin to fix their lands with little to no intervention.
How will this work? We propose to buy part of the plantation land off the Southerners at original or current (whichever is higher) value. We shall then sell that land in plots to the freedmen at the same price. Now the freedmen have just as much money as the other Southerners, so under the principles of Alexander Hamilton, they shall buy the land in the form of a loan. They can pay back that loan in either a 20- or 30-year option, with a relatively low interest rate. In addition, the owner of a plot of land shall decide what he wishes to do with that land, whether it is a factory, store, farm, or all of them together.
The immediate effect of this plan on the freedmen is the gain of property and a loan. This is the textbook example of the American Dream, and when the buffer period is over, and then they cannot be restricted from voting due to property laws. The former plantations owners now have money that they can use to completely repair their lands and get them on the road to financial stability once again with minimum interference from us, which is desirable for them.
If for any reason the South is unwilling to even negotiate plans for this plan, we have an emergency backup plan. The Russians are looking to sell the massive expanse of land known as Alaska. If we buy it from them, we add a ton of territory to our nation that we can use in a Second Homestead Act exclusively for Southerners. While Alaska certainly will not be appealing to many people, the adventurous freedmen will take a large plot of land in hopes of a huge financial success. However, as stated before, this is only usable if the first plan fails.

“The Union Troops should only be a temporary instilment in the South. Since considering freedmen as equals to the rest of the Southerners is unthinkable for most, if not all, of them, then the crime rates will certainly increase as a reaction intended to prevent this change. The Union troops will be instated in Southern states to prevent the crime rate* from increasing. However, since we cannot keep the troops in the Southern states forever, an adequate policing force has to be established as soon as possible.

When a police force has been established in a certain state, the troops will leave that state for 6 months and the crime rate should be reexamined. If the crime rate has dropped to or maintained the pre-war rate of that state, then the troops shall remain out of that state for another 6 months, and the process will repeat itself until the end of the buffer period. However, if at any examination it is reported that the crime rate has risen above the pre-war rate, then the troops shall either remain in or reoccupy that state until the next examination period.

The effect of this is to try to give the South a chance to live in a peaceful, orderly manner with the freedmen. We do not wish to anger the South, so we give them an opportunity to live without military occupation. However, we must ensure the rights of the freedmen as citizens in our nation, and therefore we must use federal power if necessary.

After the buffer period ends, we can institute a couple of volunteer veterans in houses of prominent freedmen. This of course is assuming that crime rates do not drop during the buffer period. Since prominent freedmen will be the most likely targets, instituting volunteers in those houses ensures their safety and prevents any sway in politics due to violent reasons.

  • For Mr. Geib/Grader: when we mention lowering crime rates, we are really saying preventing violent acts by the KKK, but we would never say that aloud. The white Southerners would get offended.

In conclusion, we assure you that our ways of going about the situation at hand are both realistic and necessary in order to create a more orderly union. These procedures are the first steps in bringing peace and unity to the nation and we highly recommend taking them. With your agreement to follow through with our proposal, we insure you an improved condition of the Union and the civilians captivated in this mess. Together let’s make a difference that will last in the long run!


Here are some of the problems that I found with this plan:

1. You said that "the previous confederate leaders shall not be able to hold office for a set amount of time," but then later said that they will go to prison and "will be disabled forever as American Citizens." Another time you said that confederates "will be given the right to vote but they will not be holding office unless they earn a pardon." Does this apply to all confederates? Are all ex-confederates not able to vote? Or just figureheads? So then which is it? A lot of the points in your plan were contradicted many times and so in the end made no sense. The other points that were made were not detailed enough to work.
2. If you plan to imprison all of the ex-confederates for at least two years, then the entire South will lash out. I agreed that there must be some form of punishment, but this is too drastic and will just result in the opposite of what you desire. Also, if you imprison all the ex-confederates then how does this help the national economy and the idea of reconstruction. So is every Southern man an ex-confederate worthy of imprisonment or only the ones that are chosen, and if so then how will they be chosen, and who decides who the "figure heads" are and how are they chosen? Who will be "brought up for trial" and what is the point of these trials? If the ex-confederates have to go to trial then what will happen to their families and land while they are gone? You said that they have to go the prison but then said that they could keep their land, but without slaves, how do they do both?
3. You said "the victors must be sure that the dissenter’s leaders will not be put into positions of power," but how can they if they are in prison or are no longer citizens. But then you give them a 20 year ban and said that they would be given the death penalty if they ever tried to return, so are they exiled? And can you give them the death penalty if they are not citizens?
4. How will the freedmen be represented in the 5 years before the can vote and the 20 years before they can hold office?
5. What other policies will strengthen the 10% plan?
6. Do the Southerners have to sell their land to the Union? They will not willingly sell their land if they know that it will only be sold to freedmen. What about the poor white Southern men? What if the economy goes bad after reconstruction and the freedmen can not pay their loans? The American Dream is NOT to be in debt, it is to be free of debt! How will the former plantation owners repair their land if they were confederates and are in prison?
7. How will the freedmen get to Alaska, they do not have the means to travel that far.
8. Will the police consist of exclusively of Union soldiers or who?
9. Is the "buffer period" the 5 years before blacks can vote, or the however many years before people can hold office?
10. I find it hard to believe that veterans will volunteer given their own racist beliefs. How will the "prominent freemen" be decided on?

Overall, this needed more detail and less unnecessary filler. It was unpleasantly generalized and packed with dreadful grammar that was accompanied by, at times, over the top or inappropriate vocabulary. Almost all of the policies mentioned here would be impossible to apply in reality, and, truthfully, seem foolish. You cannot imprison most Southern males and still expect the South to excel economically and politically, not to mention think the South would then welcome the Union. For the most part, there was a vast amount of repetition and yet no conceptual expansion. Contrary to the opinions you might think I have about Southern punishment due to my cultural identification, I too believe that something needed to be done about the South. Yet the methods produced in this plan appear to insufficient. For instance, imprisoning confederates, and possibly exiling the confederate "figureheads." The suggestions in this plan are not solutions to the problem at hand of confederate mindsets but only an avoidance of the problem. The goal of your plan was honorable, but sadly not carried out fully. Your ideas were virtuous, and had the correct intentions, but needed to be more organized and thought out.

Thanks, Meghan from Monster Jam

Response to Critique:

Looking at these plans and their critiques I have realized that many of the critiques are "unpleasantly generalized" as well. Inconsistencies and points that are not clarified I can deal with, those are just lapses that our group failed to take into account, but there were two points in particular that didn't make sense to me.

First, point #6 assumes that exactly ZERO Southerners will willingly give away their land. Okay, there should have been a section stating that it would be sold to freedmen AND poor Southern whites, that was my bad. However, the point of the plan is that we don't tell Southerners freedmen would be getting the land, what the public sees is "We'll buy the most decrepit parts of your plantation so you can start your life up again. It will then be sold back to poor folk for further investment" Nothing mentioning freedmen or blacks. And while some of the more intelligent and/or stubborn Southerners will refuse to cooperate, there will be those who will buy into the plan in hopes for a better future. In addition, there could be some scalawags who have land who will donate in full knowledge of who gets the land.

Next, point #10 assumes all veterans are racist. Again, "unpleasantly generalized". Some veterans will respect blacks (probably more of them than scalawags) and rally for the cause. Some may just hate white Southerners and help out of spite, and some believe the 14th amendment should be enforced at all costs. Those three groups should promote enough support to protect "prominent freedmen" who are those with any position of authority, you know, the primary targets of the KKK?

Now while I appreciate the critique you gave our group - much of it could be extremely useful for future use (aka siblings :-) ) There are some critiques that are as absurd as the points they are rebuking (and yes I will admit some of our points are absurd, but that's true of everyone's group). (If anyone reads this Mr. Geib proposed martyrdom, you can respond with what you think of that).