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What Did The Radical Republicans Stand For

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Radical Republican Reconstruction Plan

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The postwar Radical Republicans were motivated by three main factors:

  • Revenge a desire among some to punish the South for causing the war
  • Concern for the freedmen some believed that the federal government had a role to play in the transition of freedmen from slavery to freedom
  • Political concerns the Radicals wanted to keep the Republican Party in power in both the North and the South.
    • Liberal land policies for settlers
    • Federal aid for railroad development

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    Radical Republicans And Reconstruction

    These policies were not severe enough for the Radical Republicans, a faction of the Republican Party that favored a stricter Reconstruction policy. They insisted on a dramatic expansion of the power of the federal government over the states as well as guarantees of black suffrage. The Radicals did consider the Southern states out of the Union. Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner spoke of the former Confederate states as having committed suicide. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania went further, describing the seceded states as conquered provinces. Such a mentality would go a long way in justifying the Radicals disregard of the rule of law in their treatment of these states.

    President Johnsons Reconstruction plan had been proceeding well by the time Congress convened in late 1865. But Congress refused to seat the representatives from the Southern states even though they had organized governments according to the terms of Lincolns or Johnsons plan. Although Congress had the right to judge the qualifications of its members, this was a sweeping rejection of an entire class of representatives rather than the case-by-case evaluation assumed by the Constitution. When Tennessees Horace Maynard, who had never been anything but scrupulously loyal to the Union, was not seated, it was clear that no Southern representative would be.


    What Northerns And Southerns Thought of the Civil War

    This article is one of many of our educational resources on Reconstruction.

    How Is The Democratic Party Different From The Republican Party

    Democrats are generally considered liberal, while Republicans are seen as conservative. The Democratic Party typically supports a larger government role in economic issues, backing regulations and social welfare programs. The Republicans, however, typically want a smaller government that is less involved in the economy. This contrary view on the size of government is reflected in their positions on taxesDemocrats favour a progressive tax to finance governments expanded role, while Republicans support lower taxes for all. However, Republicans do support a large budget for the military, and they often aggressively pursue U.S. national security interests, even if that means acting unilaterally. Democrats, however, prefer multilateralism. On social issues, Democrats seek greater freedoms, while Republicans follow more traditional values, supporting government intervention in such matters. For example, Democrats generally back abortion rights, while Republicans dont. In terms of geography, Democrats typically dominate in large cities, while Republicans are especially popular in rural areas.

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    How Did This Switch Happen

    Eric Rauchway, professor of American history at the University of California, Davis, pins the transition to the turn of the 20th century, when a highly influential Democrat named William Jennings Bryan blurred party lines by emphasizing the government’s role in ensuring social justice through expansions of federal power traditionally, a Republican stance.;


    But Republicans didn’t immediately adopt the opposite position of favoring limited government.;

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    “Instead, for a couple of decades, both parties are promising an augmented federal government devoted in various ways to the cause of social justice,” Rauchway wrote in an archived 2010 blog post for the Chronicles of Higher Education. Only gradually did Republican rhetoric drift to the counterarguments. The party’s small-government platform cemented in the 1930s with its heated opposition to the New Deal.

    But why did Bryan and other turn-of-the-century Democrats start advocating for big government?;

    According to Rauchway, they, like Republicans, were trying to win the West. The admission of new western states to the union in the post-Civil War era created a new voting bloc, and both parties were vying for its attention.


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    Additional resources:

    Who Uses Radical Republicans

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    The Radical Republicans played an important role in US history, and they are widely referenced in formal discussions of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    Contemporary liberal and progressive American politicians who push strongly for reforms and champion racial equality may be compared to the Radical Republicans, despite the irony that historic Democrats variously opposed the empowerment of black Americans.

    Alternatively, members of the modern conservative Republican Party who are particularly vehement about their political ideologies may be called Radical Republicans, though their positions may far from resemble their partys historic ones.


    Outside of the United States, a Radical Republican Party existed in early 20th-century Spain, and is used in the context of Spanish history as well.

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    Eisenhower Goldwater And Nixon: 19521974

    In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower, an internationalist allied with the Dewey wing, was drafted as a GOP candidate by a small group of Republicans led by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in order that he challenge Taft on foreign policy issues. The two men were not far apart on domestic issues. Eisenhower’s victory broke a twenty-year Democratic lock on the White House. Eisenhower did not try to roll back the New Deal, but he did expand the Social Security system and built the Interstate Highway System.

    After 1945, the isolationists in the conservative wing opposed the United Nations and were half-hearted in opposition to the expansion of Cold War containment of communism around the world. A garrison state to fight communism, they believed, would mean regimentation and government controls at home. Eisenhower defeated Taft in 1952 on foreign policy issues.

    Eisenhower was an exception to most Presidents in that he usually let Vice President Richard Nixon handle party affairs . Nixon was narrowly defeated by John F. Kennedy in the 1960 United States presidential election, weakening his moderate wing of the party.


    Strength of parties in 1977
    Party
    290

    Nixon defeated both Hubert Humphrey and George C. Wallace in 1968. When the Democratic left took over their party in 1972, Nixon won reelection by carrying 49 states.

    What Was The Radical Plan Of Reconstruction

    After the election of November 6, 1866, Congress imposes its own Reconstruction policies, referred to by historians as Radical Reconstruction. This re-empowers the Freedmans Bureau and sets reform efforts in motion that will lead to the 14th and 15th Amendments, which, respectively, grant citizenship to all

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    What Was The Difference Between Lincolns And Johnsons Reconstruction Plans

    Johnsons plan wasnt as willing to give as much freedom to newly free slaves as Lincolns was. Johnson wanted to give the land back to the south unlike the RR. Johnsons plan gave less protection to freed slaves then the Radical Republicans plan. Unlike the 10% plan, the plan they had wanted to punish the south.

    Andrew Johnson And Presidential Reconstruction

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    At the end of May 1865, President Andrew Johnson announced his plans for Reconstruction, which reflected both his staunch Unionism and his firm belief in states rights. In Johnsons view, the southern states had never given up their right to govern themselves, and the federal government had no right to determine voting requirements or other questions at the state level. Under Johnsons Presidential Reconstruction, all land that had been confiscated by the Union Army and distributed to the formerly enslaved people by the army or the Freedmens Bureau reverted to its prewar owners. Apart from being required to uphold the abolition of slavery , swear loyalty to the Union and pay off war debt, southern state governments were given free rein to rebuild themselves.


    As a result of Johnsons leniency, many southern states in 1865 and 1866 successfully enacted a series of laws known as the black codes, which were designed to restrict freed Black peoples activity and ensure their availability as a labor force. These repressive codes enraged many in the North, including numerous members of Congress, which refused to seat congressmen and senators elected from the southern states.;

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    Why Did Radical Republicans Disagree With Lincoln

    The Radical Republicans opposed Lincolns plan because they thought it too lenient toward the South. Radical Republicans believed that Lincolns plan for Reconstruction was not harsh enough because, from their point of view, the South was guilty of starting the war and deserved to be punished as such.

    The Obama Years And The Rise Of The Tea Party: 20082016

    Following the 2008 elections, the Republican Party, reeling from the loss of the presidency, Congress and key state governorships, was fractured and leaderless.Michael Steele became the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, but was a poor fundraiser and was replaced after numerous gaffes and missteps. Republicans suffered an additional loss in the Senate in April 2009, when Arlen Specter switched to the Democratic Party, depriving the GOP of a critical 41st vote to block legislation in the Senate. The seating of Al Frankenseveral months later effectively handed the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, but it was short-lived as the GOP took back its 41st vote when Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts in early 2010.

    Republicans won back control of the House of Representatives in the , with a net gain of 63 seats, the largest gain for either party since 1948. The GOP also picked up six seats in the Senate, falling short of retaking control in that chamber, and posted additional gains in state governor and legislative races. Boehner became Speaker of the House while McConnell remained as the Senate Minority Leader. In an interview with National Journal magazine about congressional Republican priorities, McConnell explained that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for Obama to be a one-term president”.


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    From Watergate To A New Millennium

    From 1972 to 1988 the Democrats lost four of five presidential elections. In 1972 the party nominated antiwar candidate George S. McGovern, who lost to Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in U.S. electoral history. Two years later the Watergate scandal forced Nixons resignation, enabling Jimmy Carter, then the Democratic governor of Georgia, to defeat Gerald R. Ford, Nixons successor, in 1976. Although Carter orchestrated the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, his presidency was plagued by a sluggish economy and by the crisis over the kidnapping and prolonged captivity of U.S. diplomats in Iran following the Islamic revolution there in 1979. Carter was defeated in 1980 by conservative Republican Ronald W. Reagan, who was easily reelected in 1984 against Carters vice president, Walter F. Mondale. Mondales running mate, Geraldine A. Ferraro, was the first female candidate on a major-party ticket. Reagans vice president, George Bush, defeated Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis in 1988. Despite its losses in the presidential elections of the 1970s and 80s, the Democratic Party continued to control both houses of Congress for most of the period .

    Making Black Demands Known

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    For now, the only leverage blacks could apply in making their demands was the threat of the continued presence of federal troops and agentsespecially of the Freedmens Bureau, which whites particularly hatedin the South. These demands included, first and foremost, the right to vote, to serve on juries, and to obtain education. Although economic issuesparticularly that of landownership, and whether the federal government would compensate the former slaves with free landwere of great concern to blacks, they generally avoided making demands in this area because they did not want to alarm whites. Their statements were sprinkled with the references to such popular nineteenth-century values as hard work, honesty, thrift, neatness, morality, and Christianity. They asked for civil and political rights but not for social equality with whites, emphasizing that they did not wish to socialize with whites if whites did not desire such contact.

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    Understanding The American Republican Party Of Reconstruction

    We explain three;different types of Republicans found in America during Civil War Reconstruction: moderate, conservative, and radical Republicans.


    Lincoln, the first Republican President,;was a moderate Republican like Ulysses S. Grant.;The moderate Republicans of Reconstruction took a centered stance on the South after the war. Meanwhile, Radical Republicans wanted stricter punishment of the Confederate ex-Democrat Rebels, and the Conservatives supported fewer reprimands;and quicker readmission into the Union for the South.

    Progressive Era And The Great Depression

    Because of the Republican Partys association with business interests, by the early 20th century it was increasingly seen as the party of the upper-class elite.

    With the rise of the Progressive movement, which sought to improve life for working-class Americans and encourage Protestant values such as temperance , some Republicans championed progressive social, economic and labor reforms, including President Theodore Roosevelt, who split from the more conservative wing of the party after leaving office.

    Republicans benefited from the prosperity of the 1920s, but after the stock market crash of 1929 ushered in the Great Depression, many Americans blamed them for the crisis and deplored their resistance to use direct government intervention to help people. This dissatisfaction allowed Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt to easily defeat the Republican incumbent, Herbert Hoover, in 1932.

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    The New Deal Coalition

    The countrys third critical election, in 1932, took place in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929 and in the midst of the Great Depression. Led by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democrats not only regained the presidency but also replaced the Republicans as the majority party throughout the countryin the North as well as the South. Through his political skills and his sweeping New Deal social programs, such as social security and the statutory minimum wage, Roosevelt forged a broad coalitionincluding small farmers, Northern city dwellers, organized labour, European immigrants, liberals, intellectuals, and reformersthat enabled the Democratic Party to retain the presidency until 1952 and to control both houses of Congress for most of the period from the 1930s to the mid-1990s. Roosevelt was reelected in 1936, 1940, and 1944; he was the only president to be elected to more than two terms. Upon his death in 1945 he was succeeded by his vice president, Harry S. Truman, who was narrowly elected in 1948.

    What Were The Goals Of Reconstruction For Radical Republicans

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    They wanted to prevent the leaders of the confederacy from returning to power after the war, they wanted the republican party to become a powerful institution in the south, and they wanted the federal government to help african americans achieve political equality by guaranteeing their rights to vote in the south.

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    Reconstruction Comes To An End

    After 1867, an increasing number of southern whites turned to violence in response to the revolutionary changes of Radical Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations targeted local Republican leaders, white and Black, and other African Americans who challenged white authority. Though federal legislation passed during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 took aim at the Klan and others who attempted to interfere with Black suffrage and other political rights, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South after the early 1870s as support for Reconstruction waned.;

    Racism was still a potent force in both South and North, and Republicans became more conservative and less egalitarian as the decade continued. In 1874after an economic depression plunged much of the South into povertythe Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Civil War.

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    The Compromise of 1876 marked the end of Reconstruction as a distinct period, but the struggle to deal with the revolution ushered in by slaverys eradication would continue in the South and elsewhere long after that date. A century later, the legacy of Reconstruction would be revived during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as African Americans fought for the political, economic and social equality that had long been denied them.

    The National Endowment For The Humanities

    Stevens carried the resolutely determined spirit of a fighter with him throughout his life.

    Illustration adapted from Matthew Brady photograph / The Granger Collection, New York

    In 1813, a young Thaddeus Stevens was attending a small college in Vermont. This was well before the time when good fences made good neighbors. Free-roaming cows often strayed onto campus. Manure piled up. Odors lingered. Resentment among students festered. One spring ;day, Stevens ;and ;a friend borrowed an ax from another students room and killed one of the cows, and then slipped the bloody ;weapon back into the unsuspecting classmates room.;

    When the farmer ;complained, the school refused to let the wrongly accused man graduate. Stevens, unable to stomach this injustice, contacted the farmer on his own, fessed up, and ;made arrangements to pay damages. The farmer ;withdrew his complaint, and, within a few years, Stevens paid the farmer back. In gratitude, the farmer sent Stevens a hogshead of cider.

    The anecdote demonstrates early on in his life Stevenss basic characterhis rashness, his inconsistencies, his convictions, and his tenacity.

    Future president James Buchanan worked with Stevens on a case being tried in York. During a break, Buchanan attempted to persuade the rising attorney to get involved in politicson the side of the Jacksonian Democrats. Stevens declined, as he was still in search of the political party that best matched his beliefs.

    Steve Moyer is managing editor of Humanities.

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