The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Beginning of the End

What was on Lincoln’s mind as he returned to Washington, D.C.?

There had to be a score of things, but the three that topped the list had to do with the Confederate soldiers, the freed African Americans, and the status of the states. What, for example, was to be done with the hundreds of thousands of former Confederate soldiers? Were they to be punished, even slightly, for their actions? As to the newly freed black Americans, how were they to be integrated into a nation, and an economy, that had previously scorned them? And what of the eleven states that had seceded from the Union? Were they to be readmitted? Did they have to be reorganized? And would the Radical Republicans in Congress allow the president the leeway he desired to make these decisions?


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