Wade-Davis Bill
Benjamin Wade
Benjamin Wade

The Wade-Davis Bill was a plan for Reconstruction written by two Radical Republicans, Benjamin Wade and Henry Davis. They believed that Lincoln's Reconstruction plan was too easy on the Confederates, so they created a plan that was much tougher on the South. Although it was approved by the Senate, Lincoln stopped it with a pocket veto. It was never approved again but it laid the groundwork for the Senate's plans for Reconstruction after the assassination of Lincoln.

Terms of the Bill

  • A majority of the population of each state had to swear allegience to the Union by taking the "Ironclad Oath"
  • In their new constitutions, the states would have to acknowledge the abolition of slavery
  • Former Confederate officials would not be granted amnesty
  • A military governer would temporarily be installed as the leader of the state
Henry Davis
Henry Davis

  • After Lincoln used a pocket veto on the bill, the Radicals were extremely upset
  • Wade and Davis issued a manifesto that accused Lincoln of using Reconstruction to gain voters in the South
  • The manifesto ultimately failed however, and Lincoln easily won re-election and the future passage of the 13th amendment ending slavery
  • After Lincoln's assassination, Congress took control of Reconstruction and used ideas from the Wade-Davis bill along with Lincoln's ideas to form a plan