Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 Themes

Eric Foner
This Study Guide consists of approximately 27 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Reconstruction.
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Expansion of Federal Authority

Even before the Civil War, Foner explains, the Republican party was in a period of expanding federal authority over the states. During the war and then Reconstruction a strong central authority was considered essential in order to define the terms on which the defeated southern states could return to the Union and to enforce these terms.

The expansion of federal authority was a radical idea at the time and the wing of the Republican Party that endorsed it was sometimes at odds with more moderate and conservative party members. President Andrew Johnson, for example, a Republican, was reluctant to exercise too much authority over the southern states and was slow to enforce the civil rights extended by Congress to southern blacks. Frustration with Johnson led the Radical Republicans to attempt to remove him from office, another expression of the power Congress felt it had the...

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This section contains 1,027 words
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Buy the Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 Study Guide
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