Reconstruction-What Went Wrong?

Topics: Reconstruction era of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War Pages: 15 (2820 words) Published: October 6, 2012

I. Historiography of Reconstruction
A. Early Views
Journalists, Poets, & Rebels
Negative view of Reconstruction
Sidney Andrews, The South Since the War (1866)
John Dennett, The South as It Is.
Southern frame of reference
Sidney Lanier (poet)
Attempt to justify Civil War
B. Early Professional Historians
John Ford Rhodes
Ohio Democrat
Not impartial
Blamed North for problems of Reconstruction’
Claimed Black Rule forced on South at point of bayonet
John William Burgess
Tennessee Unionist
Former Union soldier
Studied at University of Berlin
Organized History Graduate Program at Columbia University
Produced historians such as U.B. Phillips and William Archibald Dunning
Traditionalist view of Reconstruction
Burgess, Phillips & Dunning
Basic view:
Stressed Southern problems
Minimized achievements of Freedmen
Regarded White Supremacy as normal in South
C. Dunning School And Traditionalism
William Archibald Dunning
Taught at Columbia University
Attracted best historical minds of his day
Wrote histories of their own states
James W. Garner, Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901)
Walter Lynwood Fleming, Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama (1905)
William W. Davis, Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida (1913)
Clara Mildred Thompson, Reconstruction in Georgia (1915)
Histories very detailed and accurate BUT hostile to Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags
Praised Democratic Party
D. Marxist Historians
Prejudice in opposite direction
Stressed accomplishment of Blacks
W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction (1935)
E. Revisionists
Influenced by Depression and New Deal
Attacked Dunning School
Most important historians
Howard Beale
Francis B. Simpkins
Charles and Mary Beard
Kenneth Stamp
John Hope Franklin

II. Ending the Civil War
A. What happened in the Spring of 1864?
South already defeated
North began new phase of operations
Grant named supreme commander
1863 had been the decisive year for the South
Chancellorsville, May 1863
Vicksburg, July 1863
Gettysburg, July 1863
Chattanooga, Nov. 1863
Events of 1864
Army of Potomac
Meade and Grant
Operate against Lee
Sherman versus Joe Johnston in Georgia
Philip Sheridan destroying the Shenandoah Valley
B. Devastation of the War
Virginia in ruins
Shenandoah Valley destroyed
Bridges gone
Farms burned
Tennessee Valley of Alabama, a waste land
Alabama lost 40,000 men, 20,000 disabled
20,000 widows and orphans
People begging for food
Freedmen’s Bureau fed thousands
Richmond, Va. Business district burned
Charleston, S.C. almost destroyed
Columbia, S.C. 80 square blocks burned
Atlanta, Ga. Completely destroyed
Mobile, Al. Harbor destroyed and 9 blocks downtown in ashes
Selma, Al. in ashes
Oxford, Miss. Only one business standing
New Orleans referred to as “a city whose soul was dead”
Bridges were prime military targets Burned or washed out
River traffic gone
Railroads bridges, tussles and lines destroyed
Cross ties rotten
Railroad hubs destroyed
Took years to rebuild
Iron works wiped out
Salt works destroyed
Textile mills burned
Southern industry non-existent
Banks gone
Only Confederate money and it was worthless
Peoples’ savings vanished
Insurance companies bankrupt
Colleges bankrupt
South’s non-slave wealth dropped by one-third
Livestock gone
Fields lying in waste
Fences burned
Implements and tools destroyed or in decay
One-third to one-half of draft animals gone
No seed
No Fertilizer
Slave property no longer exists, valued at $2 Billion
Land prices fell from $300 an...
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