By 1870, just five years after Confederate surrender and thirteen years after the Dred Scott decision ruled blacks ineligible for citizenship, Congressional action had ended slavery and given the vote to black men. That same year, Hiram Revels and Joseph Hayne Rainey became the first African-American U.S. senator and congressman respectively. In South Carolina, only twenty years after the death of arch-secessionist John C. Calhoun, a black man, Jasper J. Wright, took a seat on the state's Supreme Court. Not even the most optimistic abolitionists had thought such milestones would occur in their lifetimes. The brief years of Reconstruction marked the United States' most progressive moment prior to the civil rights movement.
Previous histories of Reconstruction have focused on Washington politics. But in this sweeping, prodigiously researched narrative, Douglas Egerton brings a much bigger, even more dramatic story into view, exploring state and local politics and tracing the struggles of some fifteen hundred African-American officeholders, in both the North and South, who fought entrenched white resistance. Tragically, their movement was met by ruthless violencenot just riotous mobs, but also targeted assassination. With stark evidence, Egerton shows that Reconstruction, often cast as a "failure" or a doomed experiment, was rolled back by murderous force. The Wars of Reconstruction is a major and provocative contribution to American history.
Douglas R. Egerton is a professor of history at LeMoyne College. He is the author of six books, including Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War, He Shall Go Out Free: The Lives of Denmark Vesey, Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802, and Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. He lives near Syracuse, New York.
Table of Contents
Prologue Robert Vesey's Charleston 1
Chapter 1 "An Eagle on His Button": Black Men Fight for the Union 22
Chapter 2 "To Forget and Forgive Old Scores": War's End, Activism's Beginning 57
Chapter 3 "All De Land Belongs to De Yankees Now": The Freedmen's Bureau 93
Chapter 4 "The Lord Has Sent Us Books and Teachers": Missionaries and Community Formation 134
Chapter 5 "We Will Remember Our Friends, and Will Not Forget Our Enemies": Black Codes and Black Conventions 168
Chapter 6 "Andrew Johnson Is But One Man": The Progressive Alliance Coalesces 211
Chapter 7 "We Knows That Much Better Than You Do": Voting Rights and Political Service 245
Chapter 8 "An Absolute Massacre": White Violence and the End of Reconstruction in the South 284
Chapter 9 "We Shall Be Recognized As Men": The Reconstruction Era in Memory 321
The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America's Most Progressive Era 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Even to this day , I heard from my mother that a older women who was living in the same Apartments who moved from a place that was socially sheltered . She was sitting with my mother and a few others. Then she motioned to a African American woman who was walking toward them . The woman sitting with them said "Does she live here? " others said "Yes she does" The woman said" why don't she go live with her own kind?" there are still strong racism people in 2014!!
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