The Final Report of the Reconstruction Committee

June 9, 1866


The Reconstruction Committee concludes that white Southerners have proven themselves traitors by giving up their rights, and the states who attempted to secede will not be granted representation in Congress. For any chance of future readmission, the South must prove they have established forms of government in harmony with U.S. laws.


The final report of the Reconstruction Committee, setting forth the reasons for the action of the majority, was read in both Houses of Congress to-day. The conclusions of the committee are, briefly, that the people south proved themselves insurgents and traitors, and forfeited then all political rights and privileges; that the "seceded Confederate States" are not entitled to representation in Congress; that before allowing it, adequate security for the future peace and safety of the country should be required from them- and this can only be found in such changes of the organic law as shall determine the civil rights and privileges of the citizens in all parts of the Republic; that representation should be on an equitable basis; a stigma should be fixed on treason, and protection given to the loyal people against future claims for expenses incurred in the rebellion and for slaves emancipated by the war, together with an express grant of power to Congress to enforce these provisions. To this end the committee advocate the joint resolution amendatory of the Constitution, and the two separate hills designed to carry the same into effect. The committee claim, in conclusion, that these bills are the result of conciliation and concession. The report is signed by ten Republican members. The dissentients are Senator Johnson and representatives Grider and Rogers. The committee say that the governors appointed by the President could not exercise any but military power or authority. They had no power to organize civil law or governments. Neither had the President any other than military power. He might, perhaps, have permitted the people to initiate local goverments and execute such local laws as they might choose to enact ; and if he was satisfied they could be safely left to themselves, he might withdraw the military force altogether, and leave the people to govern themselves without his interference.
About this article

Contributed By

Brooke Beam




“The Final Report of the Reconstruction Committee,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 17, 2022,