America fought for freedom a century prior to the American Civil War. Ideas of unity and feelings of harmony filled the atmosphere upon America's acquisition of freedom. However, within the next century, the nation would suffer a huge divide. With an attempt to impose their ideas on each other, the two divisions would enter a war. Eventually, it was this war that would convert the South. However, different people had different thoughts on how this should be done. The three major Reconstruction plans were those of Lincoln, Johnson, and the radical Republicans. The radical Republicans had the best methods and ideas for reconstructing the South.
Lincoln believed in exercising his power of pardon. He claimed that the South had never left the Union. In other words, he emphasized that the Southern political leadership rather than the Southern people had seceded. He acted "with a miracle toward none and charity for all." Lincoln's plan provided for a quick readmission process.
Much like that of Lincoln, Johnson's plan called for a quick readmission process. His 10% plan was mild, lenient, and involved no major punishments. His plan accepted the Thirteenth Amendment, as well as implemented Lincoln's plan. However, Johnson pardoned all who asked.
Johnson's plan was in a political struggle for that of the radical Republicans. This plan was harsher, more vengeful, and more punitive. It was based on Congressional power to admit new states, and called for more civil rights. The radical Republicans' plan included the 50% plan which consisted of dividing the South into five military districts. Also, troops would remain in the South in order to keep order when it came to accepting not enforcing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.
Although all three plans called for an efficient way to integrate Southern culture into the Union, the radical Republicans' plan seemed more efficient and with better methods. The use of more severe punishment would help emphasize federal power. Also, they had good reasoning. They wanted to promote civil rights and provide the South with economic aid in order to keep blacks in the South. This way, competition for Northern labor jobs would be avoided. Finally, this would also provide for the expansion of a Republican Party in the South.
The Reconstruction would shape that nation in a way that would carry through for many years. Therefore, the implementation of a carefully and well thought-out plan was crucial. Lincoln, Johnson, and the radical Republicans all had their input on the nation's future.