Posted: September 17th, 2017

The Reconstruction

Prepare: In Chapter 11, you will find that the Civil War ended with the preservation of a single American nation, but the end of the war began a struggle to define the characteristics of that nation. Before the Civil War, many white Americans viewed black Americans as a foreign people, and even those who opposed slavery often believed that whites and blacks could not live together in a state of equality. As active combatants fighting on the winning side of the Civil War, however, African Americans seemed to have proven their mettle as citizens of the United States; and for a decade after the war, Congress, the Republican Party, and black Americans themselves made a determined effort to establish full political and legal rights and equality for freed people. Their efforts succeeded temporarily, and the election of 1872 was the freest, in racial terms, in American history to that point and for a century to follow. Many white Americans, however, fiercely resisted racial equality, and mounted a campaign, sometimes conducted at the ballot box, sometimes involving blatant terrorism, to reverse the gains of Reconstruction. By 1877, white northerners generally were ready to abandon the experiment in racial equality. The considerable gains won by African Americans did not disappear that year, and they played an active role in politics for fifteen years to follow; but by the end of the century, their political gains were almost wholly erased and their legal gains would be largely undermined by the fiction of “separate but equal” segregation.

To complete this assignment, use information from Chapter 11 in the textbook and the following films:

Kunhardt, P. B., III (Writer, Producer, & Director), Kunhardt, P. B., Jr., & Hakim, J. (Writers), Steiner, N., & Kunhardt, P.W. (Producers & Directors). (2002). What is Freedom? [Video file]. In Freedom: A History of US. Retrieved from

Pollard, S. (Producer & Director). (2012). Slavery by another name [Documentary]. Retrieved from
Reflect: As you consider the reading and the videos, please consider the impact of Reconstruction on the following individuals:

African Americans
White, southern farmers
White, former plantation owners
Write: Once you have prepared and reflected, please choose one of the groups you considered and then answer the following question for that group:

Was Reconstruction successful? Why or why not? Use specific examples from this week’s resources to support your opinion.
Writer needs to use mostly his own words when writing also needs to read ch 11 from the text below in order to complete assignment.

Stockwell, M. (2012). The American story: Perspectives and encounters to 1877. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
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