Wade-Davis Bill


Wade-Davis Bill

(1864) Measure passed by the U.S. Congress to set Reconstruction policy. It was cosponsored by Sen. Benjamin Wade and Rep. Henry W. Davis (1817–65) to counter Pres. Abraham Lincoln's lenient plans for readmitting Southern states after the American Civil War. Supported by the Radical Republicans, the bill called for provisional military government of the seceded states, an oath of allegiance from a majority of the state's whites, and new state constitutions that would abolish slavery and disqualify Confederate officials from holding office. Lincoln considered the bill too harsh and allowed it to expire by using a pocket veto.

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