PRESIDENTIAL RECONSTRUCTION

With the war over, Americans were forced to define what the expanded freedom resulting from black emancipation meant in law and practice. At the national level, Republicans fought for ratification of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery, and, in its enabling clause, empowered Congress "to enforce this article by appropriate legislation" - to define freedom. But any Republican definitions of freedom coming from Congress waited on Andrew Johnson, the new president and lifelong Democrat until his support for the "Union" ticket in 1864. Johnson ignored the Republican Party's needs and interests and initiated a benign policy of easy restoration for the former Confederate states that resulted in white rule and outrages against Unionists and blacks in the South. The "unreconstructed" South's intransigence angered Republicans who demanded control of Reconstruction for reasons of principle and party. At minimum, they wanted to entrench northern victory to build a Republican Party in the South. The freedpeople, meanwhile, rushed to define freedom for themselves. They founded their own churches, started schools, gathered in conventions to lobby for basic civil rights, and bargained for the best labor arrangements

"The Great Labor Question From a Southern Point of View," in Harper's Weekly, July 29, 1865.

"Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction, And How it Works," Harper's Weekly, September 11, 1866.