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Assignment Prompt Into Reconstruction we go. We really start Reconstruction wit

Assignment Prompt
Into Reconstruction we go. We really start Reconstruction
with General Sherman
taking Savannah, maybe even before. Once the
major battles of 1863 had ended, with Grant having saved the day in
Chattanooga, the war was for all intents and purposes, over. Of course,
it was really over after Antietam because once Lincoln shifted the
war to a war
about slavery, the chance of the South ever getting any European
support
disappeared. From then, the only thing they could hope for would be to
make the war as bloody and painful as possible, in hopes of getting a new
President in 1864. That almost worked, but ultimately due to the support
of the votes of the Union
soldiers and the success of Grant’s armies, Lincoln
would prevail.
Technically, this isn’t the first “Reconstruction”
that we’ve seen this semester. First,
there was reconstruction after the
Glorious Revolution of 1689 when all of the
Royalists, both in England and
in the colonies, had to learn how to navigate in a new
country led more by
Parliament. Then there was the reconstruction that occurred
after the
American Revolution, both for the Loyalists (many who fled or were run out
of
the country) and for the successful rebels. They had to reconstruct a
civic entity into a NEW VERSION that did NOT have a monarch as the
leader.
See, this is the critical point of every Great Crisis. At
the end, there are winners and
losers. For the losers who stick around,
life will be very challenging. Many loyalists,
like many Southerners,
lost almost everything. Many had to flee the country. Others
didn’t, obviously. The post Civil War experience became even more
challenging due
to the reality of 4.5 million former slaves now freed into the
country. And more
significantly, those freed peoples had the worst time of
all, trying to navigate their
new freedom while largely existing in a
geographical space with people who did not
want them there.
When U.S. Grant was elected in 1868, he did so on the campaign
slogan of “Let Us
Have Peace.” Many hoped that Southern leaders
would move on past the Civil War with an acceptance of equal rights, of the
“new birth of freedom” that Lincoln had spoken about. They did not. There was no peace.
Instead, a series of events, both things specifically in the
South and others that
impacted the entire country, created an atmosphere in
which many in the north began to perceive the ideas of Reconstruction as a
“horrible mistake.”
So, the act of reconstructing the country would begin by the end
of 1863. Lincoln
would actually come up with rules for a southern state
to return to the fold and in
1864, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana were
reconstructed. Between 1864 and
1877, however, things got messy and most
people consider Reconstruction a failure. Your assignment will look at
the reasons why: looking at the plans that were not
united and the events
that happened that derailed the process.
Please write answers to these three
things, either in one long essay or in three clearly marked sections:
First, explain the presumed desires, plans
and expectations for Reconstruction of Lincoln/Johnson, the “Radical”
Republicans, White Southerners/Democrats, and the freed slaves. You will perhaps only find actual
“Reconstruction plans” for the first two choices, but for the last
three groupings, you can certainly ascertain what their desires and
expectations were.
Second, how did Reconstruction
unravel? What happened that led to its
conclusion in 1877? I would suggest that
you not miss the critical importance of the three Reconstruction Constitutional
Amendments (13, 14, 15). You can read those in the module. In particular, the 14th Amendment is often
seen as “the crux of Reconstruction” so pay particular attention to
it.
Third, explain whether you believe
Reconstruction of 1865-1877 was a success or a failure? You must demonstrate historical evidence to
support your conclusion.

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