In 1864, during the American Civil War, Ohioan Benjamin Franklin Wade, a United States Senator, and Henry Winter Davis, a United States Representative from Maryland, introduced the Wade-Davis Bill. This legislation sought to create a policy for how seceded states would rejoin the United States following the war's conclusion. It required fifty percent of white Southern voters living in a seceded state to take an oath of allegiance to the United States before the state could apply for readmission to the Union. The bill easily passed Congress, but President Abraham Lincoln refused to sign it. Lincoln favored a much more lenient policy and the bill never became law.
Many members of the Senate and the House of Representatives were Radical Republicans and desired to punish the South for causing the American Civil War. The Congress repeatedly the relatively lenient plans of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson to reunite the country upon the war's conclusion.