Reconstruction after the Civil War

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After Reading John Hope Franklin’s Reconstruction after the Civil War I have a completely new outlook on reconstruction. Some may say that this book, regardless of its historical contribution on Reconstruction, which it tries to demolish William Dunning’s myth of white supremacy. It is also has a very serious attempt to be fair and objective about a very controversial period when race, politics and ideology played a very different role in Society. It is precisely in Franklin’s ability to deal with these three issues; race, ideology and politics. This makes his book interesting and much different from other books that have been written on the subject. Franklin’s work was taken because everyone knew the clear disadvantage of former slaves who were released into a society they were never taught how to live in. Even though in his book the racist implications of white people in the south are evident, he spent very few pages explaining the definition of inequality; there were other things that mattered, for example the economy, and the southern oligarchy’s fear of losing its power. By the end of the war, Lincoln was trying to pass bills and rebuild the Union. The president according to Franklin, “worked hard to gain acceptance of his plan of restoration” and wrote letters to military leaders and civil authorities making suggestions but no demands. In the defeated south, there was an obvious sense of northern invasion and a strong resistance to accept the new political scene. In Franklin’s words, the achievements of Reconstruction were made during war, not in the postwar years. If we carefully read the chapter “The Era Begins to End” we could notice a sentiment of lost opportunity and see the descri... ... middle of paper ... ...truction Franklin still made an effort to comprehend an excellent and complex political reality. In a book without footnotes, it is still easy to find important dates and a great amount of interesting bibliography. The narrative is very well performed and the style, even though it is purely academic, is also fluid, and the extension is not too long: the author wrote a comprehensive short story with no intention of wearing the reader. Reconstruction is, for better or worse, a crucial period in American history because it reminds us of the dark side of American Growth, and the exploitation and suffering of one race. African Americans, in their fighting for equality, look at Reconstruction as a pivotal point in their own history. Although I’m not a huge admirer of history, this book caught my attention and I highly recommend it to any history fanatic.
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