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Reconstruction: A Very Short Introduction [#635]
Reconstruction: A Very Short Introduction [#635]
  • Written by the leading authority on Civil War, Reconstruction, and Lincoln, and three-time winner of the Lincoln Prize
  • Provides a new perspective on Reconstruction, showing that it did not take place only in the South, but also in the West
  • Discusses other "reconstructions" that occurred in parallel with the political one: in philosophy, literature, law, and economy

The era known as Reconstruction is one of the unhappiest times in American history. It succeeded in reuniting the nation politically after the Civil War but in little else. Among its chief failures was the inability to chart a progressive course for race relations after the abolition of slavery and rise of Jim Crow. Reconstruction also struggled to successfully manage the Southern resistance towards a Northern, free-labor pattern. But the failures cannot obscure a number of notable accomplishments, with decisive long-term consequences for American life: the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, the election of the first African American representatives to the US Congress, and the avoidance of any renewed outbreak of civil war. Reconstruction suffered from poor leadership and uncertainty of direction, but it also laid the groundwork for renewed struggles for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement.
This Very Short Introduction delves into the constitutional, political, and social issues behind Reconstruction to provide a lucid and original account of a historical moment that left an indelible mark on American social fabric. Award-winning historian Allen C. Guelzo depicts Reconstruction as a "bourgeois revolution" -- as the attempted extension of the free-labor ideology embodied by Lincoln and the Republican Party to what was perceived as a Southern region gone astray from the Founders' intention in the pursuit of Romantic aristocracy.


List of Illustrations

Ch 1: Vengeance
Ch 2: Arrogance
Ch 3: Alienation
Ch 4: Reconciliation
Ch 5: Dissension
Ch 6: Law
Ch 7: Withdrawal
Epilogue: Reconstructions

Further reading

About the author: 

Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. Three-time winner of the Lincoln Prize, he is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in AmericaLincoln: A Very Short Introduction, and Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

"a well-organized, cogent recounting of a complex topic" -- William A. Link, Journal of Southern History

"Reconstruction provides a judicious and full account that serves as an entry point into the subject" -- William A. Link , University of Florida , The Journal of Southern History

Product details

ISBN : 9780190454791

Allen C. Guelzo
192 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jan 2020
Very Short Introductions
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Reconstruction: A Very Short Introduction [#635]

Reconstruction: A Very Short Introduction [#635]

Reconstruction: A Very Short Introduction [#635]