HST3105/3106: Reconstructing America, 1863-1877
40 credits (semesters 1 and 2)
A pass in at least two history modules at level two.
Reconstruction – the years in which the defeated South was occupied by Union troops -- has generated intense historical debate on topics ranging from slavery, economic production and race relations to Indian removal, social conflict and the reformation of cities and their people. This module will critically explore old and new approaches to the period while examining an array of primary sources. Through analysing satirical cartoons, congressional investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, and the testimonies of former slaves we will consider why America's experiment with biracial democracy and activist government gave way so quickly to segregation and political retrenchment.
This module aims to:
- Provide students with an in-depth understanding of themes surrounding Reconstruction and the relevant historiography.
- Foster students' ability critically to evaluate contrasting modern interpretations in the light of primary sources.
- Promote students' ability to write informed and cogent essays in clear, structured and grammatical prose.
- Promote collaborative learning among students and develop team-work skills.
- Encourage students to develop their confidence and competence in presenting their ideas orally.
Twice weekly two hour seminars. The discussions will focus on the close scrutiny of primary material such as newspapers, songs, and political speeches. Students will often be encouraged to locate sources themselves. The seminars will involve a mixture of class discussion, student presentations, and class debates.
The word limit for essays includes footnotes, but excludes the bibliography.
- Ira Berlin et al, Slaves No More: Three Essays on Emancipation and the Civil War (Cambridge, 1992)
- Laura Edwards, Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstruction (Urbana, 1997)
- Eric Foner, Reconstruction: American's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (London, 1988)
- Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction (London, 1990)
- Steven Hahn, A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration (Cambridge, Mass., 2003)
- Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War, (Yale, 2007)
- Allen Trelease, White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction (Baton Rouge, 1971)
Intended Learning Outcomes