As the reconstruction of the Union began after the Civil War ended, there were major differences of opinion about how this should be done. There were the Radical Republicans who thought the south should be punished for its role, Lincoln's ideas of a gentle treatment of the south, and Andrew Johnson's restoration plan. In the Senate, Johnson made a name for himself. He supported the Homestead Bill, a plan to give free farms to poor people. Most Southern Senators opposed that bill. Johnson ignored the majority and stuck to his beliefs.
At the start of the Civil War, Johnson made a bold choice. When the Southern states seceded from the Union, all other Southerners left the U.S. Congress. Andrew Johnson stayed. To the South, this made him a traitor. To the North, he became a symbol of loyalty. A few years later, President Lincoln chose
Johnson as his vice president.
Turn and Talk with your group members
How would you explain the reason Lincoln chose a man from another political party and the South as his Vise President? How would you elaborate on the reason that his record as a senator led to choice as Vice President?
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