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Johnson broke with the Republicans after vetoing two key bills that supported the Freedmen's Bureau and provided federal civil rights to the freedmen.

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Those elections followed outbreaks of violence against blacks in the former rebel states, including the Memphis riots of 1866 and the New Orleans riot that same year.

The subsequent 1866 election gave Republicans a majority in Congress, enabling them to pass the 14th Amendment, take control of Reconstruction policy, remove former Confederates from power, and enfranchise the freedmen. The Bureau protected the legal rights of freedmen, negotiated labor contracts, and set up schools and churches for them.

After Johnson vetoed the bills, Congress overrode his veto, making the Civil Rights Act the first major bill in the history of the United States to become law through an override of a presidential veto.

The Radicals in the House of Representatives, frustrated by Johnson's opposition to Congressional Reconstruction, filed impeachment charges. The new national reconstruction laws – in particular laws requiring suffrage (the right to vote) for freedmen – incensed white supremacists in the south, giving rise to the Ku Klux Klan. Grant supported Congressional Reconstruction and enforced the protection of African Americans in the South through the use of the Enforcement Acts passed by Congress.

Historian Eric Foner argues: In the different states Reconstruction began and ended at different times; federal Reconstruction ended with the Compromise of 1877.

In recent decades most historians follow Foner in dating the Reconstruction of the south as starting in 1863 (with Emancipation and the Port Royal experiment) rather than 1865. Reconstruction policies were debated in the North when the war began, and commenced in earnest after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863.Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson both took moderate positions designed to bring the South back into the Union as quickly as possible, while Radical Republicans in Congress sought stronger measures to upgrade the rights of African Americans, including the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, while curtailing the rights of former Confederates, such as through the provisions of the Wade–Davis Bill.Johnson, a former Tennessee Senator and former slave owner, followed a lenient policy toward ex-Confederates. legislation enacted between 18, see Reconstruction Acts.In the context of the American history, the term has two applications: the first applies to the complete history of the entire country from 1865 to 1877 following the American Civil War; the second, to the attempted transformation of the 11 ex-Confederate states from 1863 to 1877, as directed by Congress.NOTE: Our link-checking program no longer works, so we are looking for a new one.

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