Initial Congressional Plan
The Radical Republicans voiced immediate opposition to Lincoln’s reconstruction plan, objecting to its leniency and lack of protections for freed slaves. Congress refused to accept the rehabilitation of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
In July 1864, Congress passed the Wade-Davis Bill, their own formula for restoring the Union:
- A state must have a majority within its borders take the oath of loyalty
- A state must formally abolish slavery
- No Confederate officials could participate in the new governments.
Lincoln did not approve of this plan and exercised his pocket veto.
An angry Congress would later pass the Wade-Davis Manifesto (August 1864), which charged Lincoln with usurping the powers of Congress. This statement would have little impact on the public, as the military news from the South improved; Sherman
’s Atlanta Campaign
restored Lincoln’s popularity and helped assure his reelection.