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The Civil War Confiscation ActsFailing to Reconstruct the South$
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John Syrett

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823224890

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823224890.001.0001

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(p.185) 12 Conclusion
The Civil War Confiscation Acts

John Syrett

Fordham University Press

The Confiscation Acts did not accomplish their goals, but they were still important measures that represented many Northerners' concerns about how the war should be prosecuted and applied pressure on President Lincoln to expand the Union's objectives. By the time Andrew Johnson became president, the Republican majority's Reconstruction plans consistently omitted turning over confiscated land to freedmen. Lincoln feared the repercussions of the second act and, by threatening a veto, forced Congress to adopt a joint resolution that further limited the potential for confiscation. Andrew Johnson had given some the impression that he wanted to punish the planter elite, and, at least for a while, he embraced vigorous confiscation even though the war had ended. The Republicans' refusal to agree to permanent forfeiture in 1862 or later meant that no matter how Lincoln chose to implement the law, confiscation would play no part in the Reconstruction or help freedmen obtain land.

Keywords:   Confiscation Acts, Republicans, Northerners, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln, Union, freedmen, confiscation, land, Reconstruction

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