Peyton Warley, Christie Huff, Megan O’Hanlon, and Carter Ehlers
AP United States History

Reconstruction Proposal
For the last four years, this country has been engaged in a devastating civil war that has utterly dismantled the unification of our country as a whole. Not only has the war temporarily ruined the Southern way of life both physically and socially, it has resulted in the collapse of a “civilization” of sorts that as a country, we must find a way to rebuild and restore to its former tranquility and prominence. We must find a way to reconstruct and create a society in which the North and the South will be reunified and prosper for years to come. Our proposal is one that will deal with ex-Confederates and freedmen rightly so that reunification is made possible. Furthermore, it will address the issue of the Southern state governments and the Southern economy as a whole, as well as outline the role of black and white voters within our society. Henceforth, our primary goal during the reconstruction process is to reunify the nation as a whole and create an environment where Northerners and Southerners as well as blacks and whites alike, will progress socially and economically, and in turn create a nation that will move forward from the difficult times of the past.

In order to accomplish our primary goal during the reconstruction and reunification of the nation, we must deal with many important issues that could stand in the way of reunification. We must determine how to deal with the ex-Confederates, and the answer is not to forcibly punish them. This can only drive them further away from the Union, thus taking us further from our goal of reunification. Instead, we propose that we will allow the ex-Confederates to become citizens once again to the United States by pledging their loyalty to the Union. Through this pledge, they will be granted the right to vote and hold office in the Union. With this position reinstated for the ex-Confederates, they will have a voice in the government, and thus be able to help us in mending the nation in the aftermath of the Civil War. However, we will restrict those who held office in the Confederacy from immediately running for office until our government has reached a more solid place and we are closer to becoming a unified nation again.

After the passing of the 13th amendment, freeing all slaves and prohibiting slavery, we must now also determine what is to be done for the freedmen. These men deserve to be granted citizenship, but they lack the basic education that would allow them to be informed citizens. Therefore, before granting citizenship to the freedmen, we propose to establish an education program through the public school systems, which would allow for the freedmen to gain the knowledge needed to become an informed citizen. In order to achieve this goal of educating all the freedmen, we must install a federal tax, which will provide the government with the adequate funds to start the schools. With this program in place, we would propose to establish an amendment declaring the citizenship of black men.

Having granted citizenship to the African Americans, we also must focus on who can vote and hold office in the new Southern state governments. We feel that the right to vote is an important liberty to have. Thus, we will grant this right to all men, white and black. We must also determine who can hold office in the South because we need to restrict those who do not pledge their loyalty to the Union from entering office. Equally important, we need to arrange an organization that educates African Americans about politics because they need to be informed citizens. We are aware of the hatred many Southerners have for blacks, and thus we realize that it will be difficult for many African Americans to take positions in government, but this is a necessary step towards reunifying the nation and civil rights.

It is also vital that we address the issue of allowing the Ex-Confederate States to regain their full rights and representation in government. We propose that our first step towards reinstatement will start when the Southern states pledge their loyalty to the Union. Moreover, we will install the ten percent plan, which will allow a state to reenter the Union once ten percent of its voters have vowed their allegiance to the United States. Thus, the Ex-Confederate States will be permitted to actively participate in government with full rights for citizens and equal representation once they have pledged their loyalty. However, those who held office during the civil war will be restricted from running for office. Finally after resolving the issues of voting and representation, we are left to face the aftermath of the Civil War on the economy in the South.

The effects of the Civil War took an especially large toll on the Southern economy. Banks and businesses were closed due to outstanding inflation and many factories were dismantled. The transportation system of railroads was broken down completely and perhaps the most drastic change of all was the crippling of agriculture. Slave labor, the primary form of wealth for the planter aristocrats, had collapsed, and all of the livestock were driven out. In order to reconstruct the economy without using means of force, or total repudiation of all destruction caused by both the North and the South during the Civil War, a proposal supporting reunification will have to be made. We propose that a federal tax should be issued to everyone, both Northerners and Southerners, to help supply money for improvements in the Southern economy. This money will go towards the restoration of many factories in order to start to create goods to export. Raised funds will also help support labor forces that could eventually work in the factories or fields and contribute to the rise of the Cotton Kingdom once again. Gold discovered in areas during the days of the California Gold Rush, as well as in other parts of the West, such as the Sierra Nevada goldfields, can also be used as money to stabilize the economy. Volunteer miners can be sent to search for gold, and will be paid for doing so. Immigrations of foreigners, such as the Chinese, who are willing to work in mines and dig gold in the West, are free to take place. These immigrants will be granted important civil rights for doing so. The important obtainment of Alaska should also be utilized. Volunteers, such as the miners, should be sent to Alaska and paid to acquire furs, fish, and gold present in the area.

The use of Union troops is crucial to the success of the reconstruction of the Southern economy, as well as reunification. Troops should not be placed in the South as a means of forcing the South to succumb to the North, but rather as caretakers who watch over and contribute to the success of the nation’s endeavors during the rebuilding process. Union troops should be present in order ensure that no conflicts between the whites and newly freed slaves occur. All Southern states should be required to ratify the 14th Amendment, giving blacks their rights as citizens. Our reconstruction ideals are ones that restrain the states from abridging citizen’s rights, including the rights of the freedmen, as well as ones that advocate reunification of the North and South. Troops will also be in charge of maintaining and gathering the work force in factories and contributing to the rebuilding of those factories. Soldiers should also be sent to Alaska, as well as parts of the West, to watch after mining efforts. These troops will stay in place until the Southern economy has reached its former stability and the government appears to be firm once again.

As a country, we must reunify the nation as a whole, and in the process make sure that we create an economic and social environment, that will meet the demands of a prosperous, reunifying nation at present and adapt and overcome to difficulties that may face this country in the future. In our plan, we hope that the country will be able to work together and prosper. We wait for the day when no sectional divide will exist between the North and the South and the country will thrive together both economically and socially. Although the civil war has temporarily dismantled our country physically, we feel that our plan will create the best possible outcome that will fuel our country for the future.



Hi, I’m Michael from Smurfs, and here are some of the problems I found in your scenario:

-How are you sure that reinstating ex-Confederates will not revert the South back to the way it was pre-Civil War?
-If the freedmen need an education to become citizens, what about the millions of illiterate Europeans immigrating into New York City?
-You indirectly addressed racism, and offered a weak plan to block it. However, even the Force Bills could not completely prevent the Ku Klux Klan from roaming the countryside at night.
-If only 10% of people are for the Union, what could you do to conciliate the other 90%?
-Sending miners to mining fields would be a waste of federal money. The percent of people that actually made more money than they spent was exceptionally small.
-Most immigrants who sought riches in America were willing to travel to America to mine gold for themselves, not for the purpose of the United States’s Reconstruction efforts.
-What about the 15th Amendment?

Michael Huang

  • Do you think it is really realistic to impose a federal tax on Southerners, who already have no money whatsoever, in order to pay for African-American education? Might I remind you that just because the war ended, it is not all puppies and unicorns in the South between whites and blacks?
  • It is stated in paragraph three that all blacks must be educated before they become citizens with the full rights of a citizen adjoining it. Then, in the next paragraph, it is stated that blacks should have the vote on order to have true equality. How can one vote without being a citizen? If they cannot vote until they are a citizen, which means they must be educated, is that not reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws, restricting the vote with insane literacy tests?
  • It is stated that the economy of the South will be restored through factories built with tax dollars. I think it is hard to impose a tax on Northerners who feel no sympathy, nor do they care, about the South, as well as a heap of moneyless subsistence farmers in the Southern states. I find this to be on the simplistic side. Also, if America were to import foreign work, it would take away from jobs otherwise given to Americans.
  • It was not addressed how the newly freed African Americans will find work other than agricultural work as sharecroppers. What is the plan there?
  • I rather like the idea presented regarding the Union troops and their role in Reconstruction, with my one issue being: how will Union troops deal with problems such as Ku Klux Klan violence and other crimes. Will these troops arrest citizens, or even, in extreme cases, put criminals to death? How will their presence be received by white Southerners?
  • All in all, great job on the plans my transcontinental friends. :D

Yours Truly,
Nick Herson

  • If the Ex-Confederates (especially the major ones) are allowed to hold governmental positions, what is stopping the South from electing all of its popular generals from the war? Has anything really changed if the government is run by the same basic people?
  • What happens if they go against this pledge?
  • Where do you propose to get funding for the education of all of the freedmen? The South is broke, and I do not believe higher taxes would go over well with the people, especially whites whom do not like freedmen in the first place.
  • Do you think that the primarily racist Northerners would be gun-ho for higher federal taxes, after fighting a huge four year war, for the education of a race they do not care about and the restoration of the land that tried to succeed and destroy them?
  • Again, there is hardly any money and people are having trouble paying their taxes as it is
  • How do you propose to handle the situation of white being outraged about the voting of the freedmen?
  • What will you do for hate crimes against them? And will not the threat of the Ku Klux Klan deter hundred of freedmen from the ballot box? And is that a true democracy if everyone is not given the right to vote without a brutal beating or even the danger of death?
  • Industrialization of the South will take decades and fish and fur can only be acquired in moderation
  • King Cotton will never rise again to its previous glory because of its growth in other countries such as India, in close ties with England (America’s number one cotton purchaser)
  • You compare Union troops to “caretakers” do you really think Southerners will see them in this light?
  • Overall, I believe you have done a good job! I know we cannot win these scenarios, and you have impressed me by including some unique ideas that I never would have thought of. I am sorry if I ever came across as a jerk at all during this process.

With love,
Caroline Frambach

  • Your plan forbids southern citizens who have held office in the Confederacy from running for office in the Union "until our government has reached a more solid place and we are closer to becoming a unified nation again." Exactly how long will this be, and what exactly is your definition of "a more solid place?" If Reconstruction fails or takes far longer than expected (which it probably will), you are essentially discriminating against these people.
    • Later on, you specify that those who held office in the Confederacy during the Civil War are forbidden for running. What about those who held office before the Civil War? Or before the South even seceded? These people likely hold the same sentiments as the ones you disallow from running.
  • "[Freedmen] lack the basic education that would allow them to be informed citizens." Since when has intelligence and education been a requirement of citizenship? Former slaves do indeed need to be educated, but it is not a necessary factor in becoming a citizen of any country.
    • Additionally, is education a necessary requirement of white voters as well?
  • You propose using a federal tax to pay for public education, through which freedmen will be educated. However, are these schools only for African Americans, or are they accepting of white children as well? If so, how do you expect to keep such a controversial idea afloat in the deep south?
  • In my opinion, the Ten Percent Plan is weak. WEAK. Personally, I suggest revamping the necessary percent of allegiance from voters to at least 40% (preferably higher), or simply forgoing the idea altogether.
  • The South has no money. The North has some money that they do not want the South to have. A simple fact that makes federal taxes a fair bit harder to swallow.
  • The days of Cotton in the South are over. The soil is barren, the crop is near-worthless, and the manpower has been freed and/or shot by Union troops.
  • The entire idea of trading labor and manpower to acquire gold, furs, lumber, etc for a more or less false citizenship for immigrants is bizarre and likely to cause problems down the long run. What civil rights, exactly? What states will respect such a shady, shoddily-thought-out deal?
  • Your entire plan lacks a general air of victory and dominance. So many people fail to realize that the South lost the war, and therefore shouldn't be treated to incessant coddling by the North. Provide a few baby-steps while holding the South's hand, and then let them hold their head above the mess they've made as best as they can, for as long as they can.

With the best of intentions,
J.T. Love

  • Even if they pledge to the Union, they could just be lying and not really mean it.
  • Immediately give them the power to control the government they were fighting against just moments ago?
    • Sure, but when is “… until our government has reached a more solid place and we are closer to becoming a unified nation again.”?
  • …15th amendment?
  • Education is a good point, but who is going to pay for the federal taxes which support black education? The south probably won’t.
  • What do you do when the KKK use violence against blacks in order to stop them from voting and holding office?
  • “However, those who held office during the civil war will be restricted from running for office.” – assuming that you were referring to the Confederates, what office are you referring to then that they held during the war?
  • 10% plan seems a bit too lenient, considering the other 90% could still have feelings of discontent, maybe violent discontent
  • Can the South afford to be taxed more, directly after the war with a chattered economy? If the funds go to help the South, and “This money will go towards the restoration of many factories” what factories in the South? The gun ones?
  • Volunteers getting paid… seems like an oxymoron. The only way immigrants will want to mine gold for the government is if the government pays them more than their gold is worth, and then the government would simply be loosing money.
  • What good are Union troops if they don’t use force?
  • “In our plan, we hope that the country will be able to work together and prosper.” Simply hoping for peace and togetherness in a post-war, segregation time period won’t bring promising results without authority or support.

Cool plan, hope it works,
-Kelsey Martin

  • In paragraph 3 you say that freedmen will only become citizens after they receive an education so...
    • What schools can they go to?
    • Will the schools be segregated?
    • What Southern would allow their child to go to school with former slaves?
    • If the freedman are not citizens until they are educated how can they be protected?
    • What will you do if a freedman who has not yet become a citizen is killed?
    • What of militant groups like the KKK prevented blacks from attending school to prevent them from becoming citizens? What would you do?
    • Can black people vote? Will they ever be able to vote?
  • Taxes: your plan proposes two taxes (one for education and one for Southern improvements) yet you also say that the banks and economy are struggling so:
    • How can Americans afford to pay these new taxes?
    • Wouldn't new taxes just anger people further?
    • Would the South pay an education tax if they knew it would help freedmen get an education and become citizens?
  • For the miners:
    • Wouldn't they just mine the gold and run? They would get more money than they could be paid by running.

Interesting plan. Have a nice day.
- Jesse Brown

• It’s as if even a slap on the wrist was too much and you decided that, if they gave you a great big hug, you’d give them a lollipop and frolic across America spreading joy and cheer with pixie dust sprinkled throughout congress.
• So you’re taxing white people to specifically educate the freedmen. Are white people allowed in these schools? If so, do you believe most whites would allow their children to go there? If it’s a black only school, then you think all the white people are going to want their money going directly, and only, to the freedmen? What happens when the KKK burns the schools down?
• So blacks can vote, what are you doing about the KKK? What’s to stop them from intimidating the freedmen from voting? And by, “We must also determine who can hold office in the South because we need to restrict those who do not pledge their loyalty to the Union from entering office.” Do you mean to tell me you haven’t determined who can hold office? Is all that’s required to hold office a simple pledge of allegiance with one hand on their heart and their fingers crossed behind their back?
• Now the state must pledge with their fingers behind their back while spreading pixie dust at the same time?
• The North doesn’t want to send more money on the South, the South wants nothing to do with factories, and the “cotton kingdom” is forever gone, as cotton was planted around the world causing it to decline as a viable economic source. Volunteer miners being paid for gold? First, that doesn’t make them volunteers anymore. Second, no one, excluding a few, made any money on he gold rush. The government certainly would not. And using gold as money would lead to anyone seen with gold being quickly robbed or beaten as gold is valuable. Is the gold they find not more valuable then the money they are being paid for? Especially if gold could be used as currency. Plus, using Alaska and California would only boost Alaska and California. It is the Southern economy which is in shambles and needs to be restored.
• So the soldiers are just watching? Why send soldiers? What about when the KKK begins using force? Are the soldiers just going to watch or do you expect them not to fight? Do you want to intimidate the South with the soldiers? If they are busy building factories then how can they watch over? What soldier is going to want to go to Alaska? What does this have to do with the South?

To be honest, your plan wasn't that bad but you lost me on the mining and Alaska part.
-Bryan Fregoso

Hi, I'm Jonathan Davis from the Smurfs and here is my critique:

For the Ex-confederates to not be punished at all and just to get a pat on the back and make them take a pledge AND allowing them to hold office and vote does not seem to teach them anything other than they can do what they want and you will still love them. Also they could they not possibly take advantage of their powers within the government? It just does not seem like it will smooth over that easily.

How do you know the freedmen will take in and retain all the knowledge they learn when they are well past their 30s? Who will the federal taxes be imposed on?

If blacks can vote, won't that just create the Klu Klux Klan again?

Won't the freedmen be put down by the whites in the "fully represented" society?

Won't a tax on the already poor Southerners just make it worse for them? Won't they not want factories due to all the Jacksonian believers that want to keep their agriculture life going? Won't the immigration of the Chinese to California/Alaska and giving them civil rights throw the balance in Congress?

Will you have enough troops to send to the South and the West, and will they even have the capacity to carry out all that work after a long and strenuous war?

Overall seemed like an alright plan.
Good job.
-Jonathan Davis

Hey, my name is Jessica Entrekin from team Random, quick gist of my thoughts on your plan, randomly brilliant for the most part good job Georgia.

-Why can’t women vote?
-Why not just grow weed for profit? (Jonathan your group is brilliant for that plan, props my friend)
-Will schools be segregated?
-Volunteer miners, no one is going to want to volunteer in such sad states of economy.
-Alaska, how do you know that even exist? How do you know fish and such exist there?
-What happened to other amendments like the 15th?
-With the government having no money as it is, where are people suppose to get money for the raised taxes when they already are bankrupt from previous taxes?
-Due to other countries profit in King Cotton it will never rise again in the South.
-If troops are not using force like you plan to use the Union what good are they?

1. You say that ex-Confederates will not be allowed to hold office "immediately." Do you think their views will have changed simply
due to a loyalty oath once they are allowed to hold office again?
2. So blacks in the South will not be given the vote without education? In Democracy, if you don't vote you have no power, and with
a population that has a 90 percent illiteracy rate, they would for the most part be barred from the polls. And there is no education
requirement on citizenship for other ethnicities.
3. It's been asked already, but will the public schools be segregated? If so, will this federal tax pay for all of the schools equally,
and will there be any plan to integrate them in the future? If not, do you imagine that former Confederates will be willing to pay a
tax for these schools or send their children to receive public education in an integrated setting?
4. How will simply educating blacks about politics get them elected when you list racism as the barrier to their holding office?
5. Do the former Confederate states need to ratify the 13th, 14th, or 15th amendments to be returned to the union, or simply
pledge loyalty? Keep in mind that without at least the 13th slavery will not even be abolished.
6. How can Southerners afford new taxes for public schools and infrastructure when they have been economically devastated?
7. Is relying on "volunteer miners" in California to support the economy really a stable way to rebuild a society?
8. Is cotton a viable source for their future? The pre-war South didn't have many factories, and during the war cotton was planted
in other countries to overcome the lack of access to their southern supplies. With the demand down, prices will never reach the
highs of their heyday. Is there any backup plan to "growing more cotton" after the war?
9. Will the Southerners who disagree with the way the world has changed really see "caretakers" rather than oppression with
Union troops stationed in the South?
10. Are you planning to use the troops to deal with the backlash against the expanding rights of blacks? You acknowledge
racism at one point but never address any means of overcoming the deep racial divide in the area.
- Geneva