Reconstruction the Economic Problems of Peace

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The Economic Problems of Peace:

Financial problems loomed large. The national debt had shot up from a modest $65 million in 1860 to nearly $3 billion in 1865. At the same time, war taxes had to be reduced to a less burdensome level.

Physical devastation inflicted by invading armies, chiefly in the South and Border States, had to be repaired. What was to be done with approximately 4 million black slaves suddenly being plunged into the cold bath of freedom? Were the seceded states to be brought back into the Union on the old basis, and if so, with or without punishment? What of the captured Confederate ringleaders, all of who were liable of charges of treason? Jefferson Davis was temporarily clapped into irons during the early days of his two year imprisonment. But he and his fellow “conspirators” were finally released. All rebel leaders were finally pardoned by President Johnson as a Christmas present in 1868.

Potential Foreign Problems with France & Britain:

During the Civil War, Napoleon III had enthroned an Austrian tool, the “Archduke” Maximilian, on the ruins of a crushed Mexican republic – in violation of the Monroe Doctrine. By 1867 Napoleon realized that his costly gamble was doomed. He reluctantly took “French leave” of his ill-starred puppet, who crumpled before a Mexican firing squad.

Embittered relations with England continued as Northerners nursed vengeful memories of British sympathy of the Confederates. Hatred of England was especially strong among the Irish-Americans, many of them Civil War veterans.

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