Reconstruction and the American Civil War Essay by erinb1985

Reconstruction and the American Civil War
An analysis of the decade of Reconstruction, following the American Civil War, and its implications to Americans.
# 101891 | 1,031 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2007 | AU
Published on Mar 05, 2008 in History (U.S. After 1865) , History (U.S. Civil War 1860-1865)

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This paper discusses the scope and effects of the American Civil War on American society. It then attempts to provide an explanation for the peculiar trend that the war's denouement and crucial aftermath (the decade of Reconstruction) is so noticeably absent from historical accounts. The paper look at the ways in which Reconstruction is a painful and divisive topic for all Americans, even today.

From the Paper:

"Despite some successes, the complicated, limited, 'unfinished' nature of both Reconstructions is most likely the reason for the gap in the scholarship on this topic amongst people who were in favour of Reconstruction, as well as their reluctance to create further antagonism over an issue that continues to divide America. This is not to say there is no literature on Reconstruction, but of the works that do exist, many contradict one another over lines of time, race, location and political affiliation. There does not seem to be consensus over many issues at all, and it seems that no conclusion has been reached with regard to this period's real meaning and significance. It is not surprising that those people who were 'anti-Reconstruction' (many of whom subscribe to the ideas of the 'Lost Cause') remained equally quiet and divided over an issue that incites such passion. They too feel the failure of the period (perhaps more specifically the 20th Century version) in that black people did improve their position substantially from what it was under slavery, and did enjoy gains that so threatened white citizens of the South (provoking the brutality which for some, may be a source of shame). It is no surprise these people remain reluctant to dredge up old scars."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Clarke, Frances, Radical Reconstruction,' 18th September 2007, University of Sydney.
  • Clarke, Frances, 'The Demise of Reconstruction, 2nd October 2007, University of Sydney.
  • Clarke, Frances, 'The War's Aftermath, 17th September 2007, University of Sydney.
  • Foner, Eric & Mahoney, Olivia, America's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War, (Lafayette: Louisiana State University Press, 1997), p.121-5.

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