John Syrett

in The Civil War Confiscation Acts

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780823224890
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240852 | DOI:

Series: Reconstructing America


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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

Chapter.  2324 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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