Reconstructing the Union
After the Civil War, Radical Republicans in Congress and President Andrew Johnson disagreed over the terms and conditions for readmitting the seceded states to the Union. President Johnson viewed Reconstruction as an executive responsibility and blocked congressional initiatives. Congress sought to curb the power of the presidency, which had expanded in wartime, and took a less conciliatory stance toward the former Confederate states on issues of loyalty, governance, and the rights of black citizens. In 1867 and 1868 Congress passed four Reconstruction Acts over Johnson’s vetoes.