Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction was announced in December 1863, and was also known as the Ten Percent Plan. This name was given it because if ten percent of the popular vote (based on what the popular vote was for the Election of 1860) of a state took an oath to Lincoln and the Union pledging allegiance to the Union and agreeing to the abolition of slavery, then those voters could set up their own state government. With this new state government however, there had to be a provision abiding by emancipation. This would basically pardon all white Southern offenders (except those of high rank in the Confederate Army, or high up Confederate officials) from any misdemeanor against the North, or even just for having at one point been a Confederate sympathizer Lincoln had also planned to grant the right to vote to educated, landed African American male Union veterans. Lincoln however did not have any plans to extend suffrage to poor uneducated blacks who would not add anything to the Northern

With this plan in hand, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee created governments loyal to the Union in 1864. However due to dissent within Lincoln’s own party, the three readmitted Southern states were denied representation in Congress, nor in effect representation in the Electoral College. Especially noticeable because of the Election of 1864 just a year later, in which their votes were not counted.

The Radical Republicans had a negative reaction to Lincoln’s plan. The majority of them thought Lincoln was being too soft on the South. The Radical Republicans thought Lincoln ought to punish the Southerners and make them go through many an ordeal before re-admittance could even be considered. Their reaction to Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan, was their own plan for Reconstruction, known as the Wade-Davis Bill. The Wade-Davis Bill passed through Congress, but was then pocket-vetoed by Lincoln.

Lincoln didn't appreciate the Radical Republicans' new approach to Reconstruction because he had motives of his own. He had purposely been very mollifying towards the South because he primarily wanted to popularize the Emancipation Proclamation, but also because he wanted Reconstruction to move quickly. Lincoln thought that a moderate approach towards Reconstruction would create a more lenient South and allow for a quicker unification. Lincoln was also scared he might lose the Election of 1864 if he didn't have the Southern Democrats on his side.