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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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Andrew Johnson and the End of Confiscation

Andrew Johnson and the End of Confiscation

(p.137) 9 Andrew Johnson and the End of Confiscation
The Civil War Confiscation Acts

John Syrett

Fordham University Press

The succession of Andrew Johnson to the presidency in April 1865 produced a shift in the enforcement of the confiscation acts. Lincoln had implemented the acts conservatively with the willing assistance of Attorney General Bates. While Lincoln had been the most criticized president until that time, his death and Johnson's performance soon suggested how wonderfully talented he had been. Johnson wanted to use confiscation to intimidate leading rebels, forcing them to ask for pardons. There can be no doubt that freedmen wanted land after the Civil War. Many slaves and former slaves believed it only just that they receive land after suffering in slavery. Most black leaders evinced little or no interest in confiscation even if a few appreciated the importance of land reform in the South for the freedmen's future.

Keywords:   Andrew Johnson, rebels, pardons, slaves, black leaders, freedmen, land reform, confiscation

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