Reconstruction Memorial Project Olivia Madigan

During the Reconstruction era, tensions between the north and south were still high when laws were being passed and determining whether or not newly freed slaves were granted citizenship and the right to vote. With Congress being dominantly Republican and to have a Democrat in office certainly proved to be a challenge so how did Andrew Johnson affect the Reconstruction during his presidency? The presidency of Johnson during the Reconstruction era proved to be both a failure and a success. For example, due to Johnson’s presidency, Congress was motivated to be stronger than it was before and successfully pass laws. Or how he became known as the president who took the courageous high ground in challenging Congress's unconstitutional usurpation of presidential authority but also known to be the first ever president to be impeached.

One of the more successful results of President Johnson was his ability to run the country as a democrat while Congress was dominantly Republican. Johnson struggled with the separation of powers and attempted to veto the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Civil Rights Act as well as the 13th and 14th amendments and to essentially weaken Congress. However this motivated Congress to respond by overthrowing those vetoes and ended up becoming stronger as a result and reconstructing America in the right direction. In conclusion, President Johnson’s attempt to weaken Congress resulted in making Congress stronger and changing America for the better.

The biggest failure that President Johnson had to face during Reconstruction was his impeachment. This affected the Reconstruction era because his vetoes towards passing the Freedmen's Bureau and the Civil Rights Act held back Congress to successfully passing the laws. He was the first president to ever be impeached and with his efforts to weaken Congress failed as well and as attempting to veto the Freedmen's Bureau and the Civil Rights Act. President Johnson’s impeachment may have made the process of reconstructing America more difficult and slower, however it also affected the Reconstruction era in a positive way.

The presidency of Andrew Johnson is considered to be a legacy because he took the courageous high ground in challenging Congress's unconstitutional usurpation of presidential authority. It was incredibly daunting for Andrew Johnson to become president after Lincoln who was a positive legacy during the Civil War and the Reconstruction period. The reason why Johnson was a failure during his presidency was because he was opposed to all of Lincoln’s views. However, many southerners had the same political views as Johnson but were overthrown by the northern views who still fought for Lincoln’s views on civil rights. Due to the failure of Andrew Johnson’s presidency, the Reconstruction era was affected greatly.

The Reconstruction era was a success in that it restored the United States as a unified nation, however the tension between north and south and democrats and republicans resulted in the failure of the Reconstruction era. President Andrew Johnson was a major contributor to the Reconstruction period whether it was through his successes or failures and was responsible for the outcome, however the results of his actions in attempt to improve America through reconstruction was immensely different from FDR’s effort to improving America after World War ll. FDR’s effort included the New Deal which increased America’s status economically and proved to be way more successful than the Reconstruction era.

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