Brent, Kate, Maya, and Kendalyn

In the midst of Civil War, Lincoln once addressed, "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." With the following reconstruction proposition, we hope to restore the United States of America to its former glory. This plan will enhance the democratic ideals so deeply set within our nation, and follow the guidelines of our Constitution. It binds the philosophies of several founding fathers including Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington, while also collaborating the principles of both presidential and congressional reconstruction. Since, Andrew Johnson may have failed in his duties to restore unity between the North and the South by being to lenient for the country’s sake, and congressional reconstruction was far too rigid and austere for our country’s common good, it follows that a more moderate reproach must be taken in order to both unify and strengthen these United States of America. We must stand together, and help our brothers out, while still taking an aggressive approach towards the South that had inevitably lost the civil war, so that we may maintain a democratic institution throughout the nation and its politics. We must give and we must take, so that we may set in motion a new and more powerful system to successfully aid our fellow Americans, no matter their race or heritage. All of the ideas encompassed within this plan hold true to that which is right, which is just, and which is also appropriate under these circumstances.
Knedlayn explains why the A Team proves they are number one!

For many of the southern confederates who, like the north, fought against his brother in an arms race for "independence", their actions, and our own, are regrettable. But we have recompensed. Now, it is time for the confederates to do so. In a court of law, a military tribunal, if the ex-confederate soldiers and leaders renounce their beliefs and wish to whole-heartedly join the union once more for our protection, they will be given an economic stimulus of sorts including the incorporation into economy and full national support. With the prospect of future westward expansion, why not allow for every man to hold 10 acres and a mule? All it takes (and I know for many it is a very difficult task) is to regret ones actions and allow ones brother the same right and citizenship as oneself.

As for civil rights of newly-freed Americans, they should be given just as much right as any other American citizen. They praise the same flag as I, they are loyal to the same man and government as I, they believe in the same hopes and aspirations as I, so why shouldn't they be given the trimmings and elegance that I (and the rest of us) have been given? With the future, these freedmen should be given 10 acres and a mule in hopes of achieving the "American dream". With this new hope they should be able to stabilize themselves and their reunited family. These men, along with an economic boost, should be given the same rights to education, representation, justice, and support as so many of our American brethrens take for granted. Above all, all hostilities amongst southern plantation owners and freedmen must be abolished for the unity of a nation must not crumble from within.

In the new Southern state governments, there is the dilemma of who can vote and who can hold office. It has been decided that whomever is of age, meaning eighteen years or older, regardless of race or gender should be able to vote. Every person who is a citizen in the United States can vote. Every person who was born and raised in the United States can vote. And every person who truly cares about the outcome of their country, about who is leading their country should be and can be able to vote. This is the conclusion that we have drawn about voting rights. As for holding offices, any citizen, regardless of color or gender, may be able to run for office. They can run as long as they have a deepened respect for their country and their society and as long as they are educated in the ways of democracy and politics. They should also not hold a biased view in their campaigns, against the Union or against humankind. If a politician is found to only want to hold office because they have a deep hatred for the South or for the North, then they should be eliminated from the race immediately. The persons in charge of their office should be aiming towards a hard-working country, a unified country always. He persons in charge should hold the ideals, no the reality, of the Constitution close to their minds.

Before these Southern states can regain full rights and representation, they should hold it in their hearts that what they did was wrong and unjust. They should regret their actions immensely and profusely. They will be allowed full rights if, and only if, there is a peaceful transition of black rights and woman’s rights. Failure to see others as equals will result in the government forcibly removing the Southerners of their rights, one by one. If this new citizenship is broken by any of these states, the government reserves the right to intervene. Therefore, the South may have full rights, only if the blacks have full rights. That includes sharing drinking fountains.
In order to stabilize the Southern economy, the natural resources need to be utilized. The South needs to export more goods such as cotton and tobacco. They will sell their goods to the north and back to Europe. The South will also need help from the Union. We have a plan to establish the 90-10 Plan. The Union with give the South funds, when the South begins to gain more power, the South will keep 90% of the funds, and give the other 10% back to the Union, who will then use the funds to further westward expansion.

The primary goal of reconstruction is to unify the country and establish civil rights in the most coherent way. In order for the country to be in harmony once again, the two sections of the country must be able to lean on each other. We propose for the Union to play a slight significant role in the reconstruction of the South. The Union will help, aid and monitor-but not takeover- the South. The North can also vote in Southern elections to ensure fair play.

Furthermore, unity is our top priority, as it was with Lincoln’s administration along with basic egalitarian or democratic ideals which our country was founded upon, and with this plan will be further enhanced. However, we also find it both appropriate and necessary to exert some force on that matter, to possibly gain a better society for ALL Americans by utilizing a sort of “aggressive peace” approach. In a crisis such as this, every town, every man and woman of every heritage and ethnicity must give assistance (or receive fair consequence) and also gain some in return, in order to unify our proud country- our United States of America.

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I’m going to do my response paragraph by paragraph to your proposition.

I really liked how you opened with a quote from Lincoln. Overall, I think your introduction is really good, and I truly think a moderate approach is the way to go, however, Lincoln was not one of the Founding Fathers.
I think your idea to have every ex-Confederate soldier and leader “renounce their beliefs” is a bit idealistic and naïve. I think it is done with good intentions, but people do not like to admit they have done something wrong, and I doubt asking all ex-Confederate soldiers and leaders to take back everything for which they fought would be pragmatic.

Again, I think this paragraph is a bit idealistic. I think the intention is good, but nevertheless, some questions such as arise. Questions as to from where the mules and land will come; if you plan to offer western lands to African Americans, would it end up being like the Trail of Tears? Also, what kind of economic boost would the freedmen receive? And where would the Federal government procure the money to implement said boost? Finally, I don’t think it is practical to state, “all hostilities amongst southern plantation owners and freedmen must be abolished”; it is one thing to say it another to do it. Racism is still a problem in the world today; what makes you think you can abolish racism by saying it needs to be abolished. If that were possible, the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s would have been if not unnecessary, a lot less bloody.

I am unsure as to whether Mr. Geib made this requirement, but Mr. Barich said that we were not allowed to let women vote because that came later. However, I still find this paragraph a bit idealistic; I feel like when you wrote this, you were not thinking of ex-Confederates who were still loyal to the Confederacy and its cause, as many were. I think this voting policy is naïve, only because it thinks of the social background in one dimension; one cannot say that somebody can run for office if they have a “deepened respect for their country and their society and as long as they are educated in the ways of democracy and politics ”. Also, doesn’t the part about being educated in the ways of democracy and politics exclude the freemen who have known nothing but cotton plantations for all their lives?

In this paragraph I feel that you are overlooking majority of people who lived in the South; ones who did not own slaves, but fought because they felt they needed to protect their families. Also, I do not think, “forcibly removing the Southerners of their rights, one by one” is the right approach. First of all, it is unconstitutional. Would you suspend the right to vote, the right to habeas corpus, the right to a free market? You need to be more specific, especially in a world of clever lawyers hired to find loopholes. Secondly, if you threatened to remove constitutional rights, the people would retaliate, and that could mean anything from the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses to lynching.

I think your economic plan sounds well planned and would probably have succeeded. My only question is regarding the exportation of cotton: in the midst of the War, European nations simply bought cotton from the Egyptians; why would they want to buy Southern cotton now?
Aside from “slight significant
”, which sounds a bit oxymoronic to me, this plan sounds good, and would probably work.

All in all, I think you put in a good effort, and you tried to think what would be best for the country. I think you did a good job for a really tough situation. Also, I ADORE your name! :)