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Abraham Lincoln Responds to the Wade-Davis Bill (1864)locked

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As though the continuing carnage of the Civil War wasn t enough President Abraham Lincoln had to contend with members of his own Republican Party those interested in advancing the cause of their own legislative authority and a highly punitive plan for national Reconstruction By 1864 the debate over the projected remaking of the broken Union was already well underway Some among the radicals in Lincoln s party feared the sometimes moderate chief executive would advance lenient policies allowing the traitor states to come too quickly back into the federal fold One result was the Wade Davis bill proffered by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Wade of Maryland Besides requiring at least 50 percent of a state s inhabitants to swear their ironclad fealty to the federal union the Wade Davis bill also provided for the punishment of high ranking government officials and for the explicit illegalization ...

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