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The Radicals, a faction of the regular Republican Party, came into prominence on the national level after 1860. They never achieved majority status within Republican ranks, but were successful with manipulating the other factions to their advantage. Radical influence was especially strong in the New England states. Their basic aims included the following:
During the war, the Radicals were critical of Abraham Lincoln, a member of their own party. The chief complaints about the president were that:
In 1867 and 1868, the Radicals passed Reconstruction Acts featuring far harsher treatment of the South. The Radicals also played a leading role in the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and the succeeding trial. Participation in those events tended to weaken the Radicals’ appeal at the polls as the public grew weary of their hard-edged tactics.
The Radical Republicans in the early 1870s urged Ulysses Grant to take action against the Ku Klux Klan, and later pressed for labor reforms, which included improved working conditions in factories and the eight-hour day.
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Ulysses S. Grant by Josiah Bunting.
As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lee's surrender at A...