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Ex Parte McCardle

Reconstruction

The Reconstruction was the period between 1865 and 1877, directly following the Civil War, in which the federal government attempted to redress imbalances in the former Confederate states through a series of Draconian measures. President Lincoln had planned to offer the South a relatively liberal peace, and his successor, Andrew Johnson, approached the situation similarly. Johnson stipulated that Southern states accept the Thirteenth Amendment, which guaranteed civil rights for freed slaves.

With Johnson's effectiveness ended by the commencement of impeachment proceedings against him, the radical Republicans in Congress assumed de facto control over the defeated states, and proceeded to impose a harsh peace. Congress made it difficult for the Southern states, now under martial law, to reenter the Union, and though each had gained readmission by 1870, it was with much acrimony. Likewise the federal government, while disenfranchising many Southerners, supported government by a coalition of freed slaves and "carpetbaggers."

Southerners reacted through the Ku Klux Klan and other extralegal means. The old leadership began to resume control, sometimes by proxy. By 1877, the federal government had removed its troops, and the South entered a period of reaction against the abortive attempt at modernization.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882Ex Parte McCardle - Significance, Congress Denies Mccardle Access To Supreme Court, Congress Could Not Be Denied, Reconstruction