21H.102 | Spring 2018 | Undergraduate

American History Since 1865

Lecture Notes

Lecture 2 - Reconstruction, Race, and Reunion

Main questions

  • What would become of former Confederates and former slaves?
  • What does freedom mean, and for whom?
    • Freed people: autonomy, mobility, land
    • Planters: economic freedom to control workers to reboot Southern economy

Key concepts and terms

  • Second American Revolution
  • Connection between 13th Amendment and mass incarceration
  • Restoration (Presidential Reconstruction)
  • Freedmen’s Bureau
  • Civil Rights Act of 1866 and definitions of American citizenship
  • 14th Amendment and consequences in American law
    • Birthright citizenship
    • Equal protections clause
    • Compromises on black suffrage
  • Military Reconstruction (1867)
  • Myth of “bayonet rule”
  • Reconstruction as labor struggle
  • Free labor ideology and the Republican Party
  • Subsistence and post-emancipation societies
  • Compromise of sharecropping
  • Ku Klux Klan: political and class violence to establish control
    • Paramilitary arm of the Democratic South
    • “Brotherhood of property holders”
  • “Lost Cause” and memory of the Civil War
    • Colfax Massacre vs. Riot (“end of carpetbag misrule in the South”)
    • Confederate war memorials (e.g. Stone Mountain Memorial)
  • Reconciliationist memory
  • Emancipationist memory

Key people

  • Andrew Johnson, Thaddeus Stevens, and disagreements with Republican Party
  • Alexander Stephens (Cornerstone Speech)
  • W.E.B. DuBois (Black Reconstruction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (Blue and Gray Reunion)

Additional resources

Glory. Directed by Edward Zwick. Color, 122 mins. 1989. A movie about the first African-American military unit during the Civil War.

13th. Directed by Ava DuVernay. Color, 100 mins. 2016. A documentary about race, justice, and mass incarceration in the U.S.

Lincoln. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Color, 150 mins. 2012. A biopic based on: Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Simon & Schuster, 2006. ISBN: 9780743270755.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2018
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Lecture Notes