What was the main issue relating to Reconstruction that divided Republicans at the end of the Civil War? If you had been a member of Congress at the time, what type of plan for Reconstruction would you have supported and why?
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The major disparity was between the increasingly radical faction of the Republican party (hence Radical Republicans) and the more moderate Republicans like Lincoln. After the War, the Radical coalition demanded many changes, such as civil rights for freedmen, abolition of slavery, and harsh penalties on ex-Confederates e.g. those involved in local government. Radicals managed to push a Reconstruction program through the Congress which they dominated, however Lincoln swiftly vetoed the Act in 1864. Lincoln and like-minded moderate Republicans sought gradual change without seeking to upset the balance of the union and thus avoided excessive punishment of ex-Confederates and planned to re-compensate those whose slaves were liberated.