Discussion #2: reconstructing the nation


The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, and the original goal of the  North to preserve the Union was accomplished. The task that lay before  Lincoln and Congress was to reintegrate the rebellious Southern states  into the Union. For many white southerners “Reconstruction was a vicious  and destructive experience – a period when vindictive Northerners  inflicted humiliation and revenge on a pro-state South.”

In order to prepare for this discussion forum:

  • Review and identify the relevant sections of Chapters 17  and 18 that support your discussion . 
  • Review and identify relevant information on the linked PBS American Experience site, Reconstruction The Second Civil War 
  • This link will direct you to the full transcript of the Wade-Davis Bill.  What does it suggest about the prevailing Reconstruction sentiments in Congress? 
  • Read the section in Chapter 17 which discusses the Black Codes, and the linked site on the Black Codes. 
  • Read the linked document, a selection from The Ills of the South, written by Charles H. Okten,  a Mississippi Baptist preacher, and schoolteacher, in which he  describes conditions for Black Americans under the sharecropping and  crop-lien system.  

 After you have completed your readings, post your response to ONE of the following questions:

  1.  Were the Black Codes another form of slavery?   
  2. Based  on Okten’s statements, discuss how the sharecropping/crop lien system  created a vicious cycle.  Was this system simply another version of  slavery?  Why or why not.   
  3. Consider  the following statement:  “The persistence of racism in both the North  and the South lay at the heart of Reconstruction’s failure.” Agree or  disagree, and explain your position.
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