Benjamin Wade portrait

Co-authored by Ohio Senator Benjamin Wade and Maryland Congressman Henry Winter Davis in 1864, the Wade-Davis Bill was an attempt to impose harsh Reconstruction terms on the South, which President Lincoln pocket vetoed. [Wikimedia Commons]

Wade-Davis Bill Facts

1864

Advertisements
  • On December 8, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln announced his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction outlining lenient Reconstruction terms for the South.
  • On February 17, 1863 Republican Senator Ira Harris of New York introduced a bill (S. 538) To guarantee in certain States a republican form of government. The bill enumerated various conditions for the reestablishment of constitutional governments in the Confederate states following the war.
  • Senate bill 538 served as the foundation of a Reconstruction measure co-authored by Ohio Senator Benjamin Wade and Maryland Congressman Henry Winter Davis in 1864.
  • On February 15, 1864, Maryland Congressman Henry Winter Davis reported a bill from the House Select Committee on the Rebellious States entitled, A Bill to guarantee to certain States whose governments have been usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government (H.R. 244), commonly known as the Wade-Davis Bill.
  • The Wade-Davis Bill prescribed harsher terms for reconstruction than President Abraham Lincoln’s plan.
  • The House of Representatives passed the Wade-Davis Bill (H.R. 244) on May 4, 1864.
  • The Senate approved an amended version of the Wade-Davis Bill (H.R. 244) on July 1, 1864.
  • Congress passed the Wade-Davis Bill (H.R. 244) on July 2, 1864.
  • President Abraham Lincoln pocket vetoed the Wade and Davis Bill.
  • In addition to pocket vetoing the Wade-Davis Bill, President Abraham Lincoln took the unusual step of issuing a presidential proclamation on July 8, 1864 outlining his reasons for not signing the bill.
  • Outraged by President Abraham Lincoln’s pocket veto of the Wade-Davis Bill, Senator Benjamin Wade and Congressman Henry Winter Davis issued the Wade-Davis Manifesto on August 4, 1864.
  • The Wade-Davis Manifesto was entitled “To the Supporters of the Government.”
  • The Wade-Davis Manifesto was first published in Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune.
  • The Wade-Davis Manifesto was highly critical of President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Viewed by many as a treasonable attack on the office of the presidency in the midst of war, the Wade-Davis Manifesto backfired. Republican moderates and voters in the North rallied behind Abraham Lincoln to reelect him by a wide margin of electoral votes in the November 1864 presidential contest.
  • Many of the principles expressed in the Wade-Davis Bill eventually resurfaced in legislation enacted under Congressional Reconstruction.
Advertisements

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Wade-Davis Bill Facts
  • Coverage 1864
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 17, 2021
GET THE BEST OF AMERICAN HISTORY CENTRAL DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX!
SIGN UP
By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to receive news, offers, updates, and additional information from R.Squared Communications, LLC and American History Central. Easy unsubscribe links are included in every email.
CLOSE [X]