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This paper represents an attempt to determine why Andrew Johnson's moderate policy for the reconstruction of the South failed. Because the paper is a study of Andrew Johnson, the politician, it dwells primarily only upon the political climate of 1865--although the importance of the social and economic changes occurring during reconstruction is recognized, they are herein treated only incidentally. In essence, the paper demonstrates the defeat of a politician. It is, furthermore, the contention of the paper that moderate reconstruction failed because of the ineffectiveness of its administrator--Andrew Johnson--not because of cabalistic intrigues hatched by those whom F.B. Simkins scoffingly calls "Carlyle's wild-eyed conspirators." Johnson was no helpless victim of the unconquerable radical forces about him, but became hopelessly ensnared in a defeat woven by his own inflexible, egotistical temperament which resulted in both political misjudgments and incompetent political maneuvers.



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