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Wade-Davis Bill

First page of "A Bill to guaranty to certain states whose governments have been usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government" (Wade-Davis bill as originally introduced), 1864

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

If the Wade-Davis bill had become law, the South would have been run by a military governor appointed by the President. Fifty percent of the state’s voters would need to swear allegiance to the Union as well as swearing that they had never assisted the Confederacy. Only after taking this "Ironclad Oath" would they participate in conventions to write new state constitutions. The bill also would have congressionally mandated an end to slavery, but would have limited suffrage in Southern states to whites.

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