Reconstruction A Failure Essays

Reconstruction A Failure Essays-13
James Wilford Garner's Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901), Walter Lynwood Fleming's Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama (1905), Thomas Staples' Reconstruction in Arkansas, 1862–1874 (1923), and Charles William Ramsdell's Reconstruction in Texas (1910) were works by Dunning followers, most of whom had positions in history at Southern universities.After the publication of Claude Bowers' The Tragic Era: The Revolution after Lincoln, which promoted the Dunning school view, in 1929, Anna Julia Cooper wrote to Du Bois and asked him to write a response.The academic consensus at this time portrayed black enfranchisement and Reconstruction governments in the south as a failure.

James Wilford Garner's Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901), Walter Lynwood Fleming's Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama (1905), Thomas Staples' Reconstruction in Arkansas, 1862–1874 (1923), and Charles William Ramsdell's Reconstruction in Texas (1910) were works by Dunning followers, most of whom had positions in history at Southern universities.After the publication of Claude Bowers' The Tragic Era: The Revolution after Lincoln, which promoted the Dunning school view, in 1929, Anna Julia Cooper wrote to Du Bois and asked him to write a response.

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In the section on the post-Civil War south, Du Bois argues that white workers gained a "psychological wage" from racism, which prevented a coalition between white and black workers.

He used this term to distinguish it from a material wage."It must be remembered that the white group of laborers, while they received a low wage, were compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage.

Du Bois lists a number of books and writers that he believed misrepresented the Reconstruction period.

He identified those he believed were particularly racist or ill-informed works.

Black Reconstruction in America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860–1880 is a history of the Reconstruction era by W. Du Bois' first published writing on Reconstruction was a 1901 Atlantic Monthly essay entitled "The Freedmen's Bureau," which was reprinted as the essay "Of the Dawn of Freedom" in his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk.

Du Bois argued directly against these accounts, emphasizing the role and agency of blacks during the Civil War and Reconstruction and framing it as a period that held promise for a worker-ruled democracy to replace a slavery-based plantation economy.State by state in subsequent chapters, he notes the efforts of the elite planter class to retain control and recover property (land, in particular) lost during the war.This, in the ever-present context of violence committed by paramilitary groups, often from the former poor-white overseer class, all throughout the South. It marked a significant break with the standard academic view of Reconstruction at the time, the Dunning School, which contended that the period was a failure and downplayed the contributions of African Americans.He wrote a more extensive essay on the topic entitled "Reconstruction and Its Benefits", which was first delivered to the American Historical Association in December 1909 in New York City.White schoolhouses were the best in the community, and conspicuously placed, and they cost anywhere from twice to ten times as much per capita as the colored schools.The newspapers specialized on news that flattered the poor whites and almost utterly ignored the Negro except in crime and ridicule." Some critics rejected Du Bois' critique of other historians writing about the freedmen's role during Reconstruction.They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white.They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and the best schools.The police were drawn from their ranks, and the courts, dependent upon their votes, treated them with such leniency as to encourage lawlessness.Their vote selected public officials, and while this had small effect upon the economic situation, it had great effect upon their personal treatment and the deference shown them.

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