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US Civil War
Andrew Johnson

Why was President Johnson lenient toward former Confederates?


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September 20, 2012 10:24PM

Johnson's Reconstruction program offered general amnesty to all who would take an oath of future loyalty. The plan, however, called for high-ranking Confederate officials or any wealthy white Southerner to petition the president personally for individual pardons. Raised in poverty in North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, Johnson, a War Democrat, resented the Southern planter aristocracy, and relished the idea of them begging him for pardons.