In 1865 when Congress met in December, many of the Southern members included former Confederate leaders such as generals and the former V-Pres of the Confederacy Alexander Stephens
Northern members were shocked and refused to seat the southern delegations.
Congress then set up the Joint Committee on Reconstruction consisting of 6 senators and 9 representatives. Their job was to report on conditions in the South so Congress could make its’ own Reconstruction policies
Republicans in Congress were determined to aid the former slaves
Urged on by the Radicals, Congress passed a bill promoting Civil Rights (those rights granted to all citizens)
The bill was passed to keep funds going to the Freedmen’s Bureau, which in its first year gave out thousands of dollars worth of food and clothing, ran hospitals, started schools, and reunited separated families
This stated all people born in U.S. were citizens and had the same rights
All citizens were to be granted equal protection of the laws
However, the amendment did not establish black suffrage. It declared any state that kept A.A. from voting would lose reps in Congress, which meant Southern states would have less power if they did not grant black men the vote.