1.26 – Reconstruction


Civil War and Reconstruction

Frederick Douglass, “What the Black Man Wants” (1865)

Discussion questions

What contributions did African Americans make to the northern war effort?

What sort of political, economic, and social order did white southerners hope to establish in the South during Reconstruction?

What vision for Reconstruction did Radical Republicans and African Americans promote?

What was Radical Reconstruction? What were some of its major accomplishments?

What strategies did southern whites use to undermine and eventually overthrow Radical Reconstruction?

How did African Americans respond to Jim Crow laws and segregation?

From the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, how did historical interpretations of Reconstruction shape American democracy?

Optional essay question for extra credit (see syllabus for details):

What were the most important factors that caused the failure of Radical Reconstruction? In other words, rather than witnessing the establishment and perpetuationĀ of a racially egalitarian democracy in the South, why did white supremacy prevail ?





Use these sources to answer the discussion questions. You are also welcome to conduct additional research.


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