Evolution of reconstruction

Evolution of reconstruction custom essay

Reconstruction was one of the most controversial and vitriolic events in American history Custom Essay

Reconstruction was one of the most controversial and vitriolic events in American history. Discuss its evolution from the Ten Percent and Wade/Davis plans of 1864 through the end of Andrew Johnson’s administration in 1869. How and why did the unfolding drama evolve into what became known as Radical Reconstruction? How and why did Johnson so polarize the situation and unite the Republicans? Then turn to Ulysses S. Grant’s administration. How did Reconstruction unfold during these years, and how did Grant respond? How did Reconstruction end in the Compromise of 1877 and in your final analysis, what was its long-term legacy?

The settlement, or more accurately, the resettlement of the American West, was one of the most dramatic events of

 

the late 19th century. Discuss the role of the railroads in making this possible, and how mining, cattle-driving,

 

and farming contributed to the larger process. If the new arrivals in the region altered the entire course of

 

settlement, to what degree did the older inhabitants, the Indians — descendants of Asian immigrants — suffer in

 

what one reformer referred to as a Century of Dishonor?” In your final analysis, discuss why the region’s

 

growth became so identified with a powerful mythology that shapes the region and nation to this very day.

Identify and give the significance of five of the following ten items:

 

  1. Alabama Claims
  2. Samuel J. Tilden
  3. Freedmen’s Bureau
  4. Tenure of Office Act
  5. Military Reconstruction Act
  6. Californios
  7. Homestead Act
  8. Comstock Lode
  9. Pacific Railroad Act
  10. Helen Hunt Jackson

 

The Machine in the Mountains by George Elbert Burr. The six-gun myth of the West notwithstanding, the industrial

 

revolution, here exemplified by the railroad crossing a mountain range, fostered the development of the American

 

West in the later 19th century by providing the transportation infrastructure essential in a region with few

 

navigable rivers. Courtesy James E. Fell, Jr. All Rights Reserved.

COMMENTARY

The American Civil War was the most traumatic event in American history, but when the fighting ended in 1865 with 625,000 Americans dead and untold destruction of property, there still remained two problems. One was the issue of integrating more than three million people freed from slavery into the larger society. The second was the problem of national reunification – how should the states that had seceded in 1861 be brought back into the union, if brought back in at all. There were different visions on how to deal with these issues. The alternative that finally evolved – often called Radical Reconstruction – aggravated old hatreds and created new bitterness, the effects of which were felt for decades, perhaps even down to the present day.

As Reconstruction unfolded in the South, Americans surged into the West, spurred by hopes and dreams of wealth in this sparsely settled region. The new transcontinental railroads and innumerable short lines provided relatively cheap transportation to and through this vast, arid land for the first time in history. Miners, cattle-drovers, and farmers poured in to take advantage of undeveloped resources, and Congress helped everyone with favorable policies and legislation. The newcomers ultimately took up more public lands than at any other time in American history, and many new states entered the union. Although this transformation reflected the powerful forces reshaping the larger society, what happened in the West became the stuff of a powerful myth that evolved even as

 

the settlement process, or perhaps more accurately, the resettlement process, unfolded. And as the 20th century

 

loomed, the growing problems in agriculture and silver mining turned the region into a powerful locus for change

 

in the larger society.

 

STUDY HINTS

Carefully read Amendments XIII, XIV, and XV at the back of The Enduring Vision. You should also familiarize yourself with the sections of the Constitution that describe the process of impeaching and trying a president.

As you read the material in this unit, keep in mind the overarching impact of the railroads on the older inhabitants, the Indians, and the newer peoples and the reasons that brought them west. Although the idea of the western movement, the frontier, has long been a powerful icon in American society, you should also keep in mind the story of peoples acquired by the United States along with an eastward, northward, and southward movement of peoples into the region. Their stories are far less known.

 

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