After the Civil War, the United States had to recover from war,
handle western expansion, and grapple with very new economic forms.
However, its greatest issues would revolve around the legacies of
slavery and increasing diversity in the decades after the Civil War.
Reconstruction was partly a period of military occupation of the south
by the northern victors. Former slaves now had freedom and new
opportunities but faced old prejudices and rapidly forming new barriers.
Immigrants from Europe and Asia came in large numbers but then faced
political and social restrictions. Women continued to seek rights. Yet,
on the whole, America became increasingly diverse by the 1920s. Consider
developments, policies, and laws in that period from 1865 to the 1920s.
Take one of the positions as suggested below, draw from the sources
listed, and present a paper with specific examples and arguments to
demonstrate the validity of your position.
Possible position—in each case you can take the pro or con position:
- The Lost Cause narrative of the South effectively sabotaged and
influenced racial policy in the US for most of the post-Civil War
period. (or you can take the position that it did not)
- Political policies in the decades after the Civil War generally
promoted diversity and “the melting pot” despite the strong prejudices
of a few. (or you can take the position that political policies did not)
- Reform movements between 1865 and 1930, like the Progressives and
the agrarian populists, generally led the way to increased democracy.
(or you can take the position that these movements did not)
After giving general consideration to your readings so far and any
general research, select one of the positions above as your
position—your thesis. (Sometimes after doing more thorough research, you
might choose the reverse position. This happens with critical thinking
and inquiry. Your final paper might end up taking a different position
than you originally envisioned.). Organize your paper as follows,
handling these issues:
- The position you choose (from the list above)—or something close to it—will be the thesis statement in your opening paragraph.
- To support your position, use three specific examples from different
decades between 1865 and 1930. You may narrowly focus on race or gender
or immigrant status, or you may use examples relevant to all
- Explain why the opposing view is weak in comparison to yours.
- Consider your life today: In what way does the history you have
shown shape or impact issues in your workplace or desired profession?
Be sure to use the Schultz text as a source. Use at least two of the
other sources listed here. Some sources are “primary” sources from the
time period being studied. Some sources below can be accessed via direct
link or through the primary sources link on Blackboard. Each week has a
different list of primary sources. For others, they are accessible
through the Library tab to the left of the screen in Blackboard—once in
there, you may do a “keyword” search of the article title.
APA Reference for the textbook – Schultz, Kevin M. (2018). HIST5: Volume 2: U.S. History Since 1865 (Student edition). Boston: Cengage.
Choose sources relevant to the topic and position you are taking:
- Abu-Laban, Y., & Lamont, V. (1997). Crossing borders:
Interdisciplinary, immigration and the melting pot in the American
cultural imaginary. Canadian Review of American Studies, 27(2), 23-43.
- Black Testimony on the aftermath of enslavement. (1866). Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Retrieved from http://college.cengage.com/history/wadsworth_9781133309888/unprotected/ps/black_testimony.htm
- Chinese Exclusion Act. (1882). Retrieved from http://college.cengage.com/history/wadsworth_9781133309888/unprotected/ps/chinese_exclusion_act.htm
- Davis, J. C. Bancroft. (1896). Plessy vs. Ferguson. Retrieved from http://college.cengage.com/history/wadsworth_9781133309888/unprotected/ps/plessy_ferguson_1896.htm
- Fitzgerald, M. W. (2018, Jan.). Terrorism and racial coexistence in Alabama’s Reconstruction. Alabama Review, 71(1), 7-24. [accessible through Library tab; keyword search the article title; get the .pdf file of the article]
- Foster, G. M. (2002, Feb. 24). The Lost Cause. Shotgun’s Home of the Civil War. Retrieved from http://www.civilwarhome.com/lostcause.htm
- Harjo, S. S. (1996). Now and then: native peoples in the United States. Dissent (00123846).
- Meacham, J. (2017). Our historical ambivalence about immigrants is a great American paradox. Time, 189(5), 23.
- The Lost Cause. Civil War Journeys. Retrieved from http://civil-war-journeys.org/the_lost_cause.htm
- Mississippi Black code. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/122/recon/code.html
- Moody, W. G. (1883). Bonanza Farming and its impact. Retrieved from http://college.cengage.com/history/wadsworth_9781133309888/unprotected/ps/bonanza_farming_impact.htm
- Parsons, E. F. (2011, Feb.). Klan Skepticism and denial in Reconstruction-Era public discourse.
- Journal of Southern History, 77(1), 53-90. [accessible through Library tab; keyword search the article title; get the .pdf file of the article]
- Populist Party Platform. (1896). Retrieved from http://college.cengage.com/history/wadsworth_9781133309888/unprotected/ps/populist_partyplatform_1896.htm
- Schultz, Kevin M. (2014) HIST: Volume 2: U.S. history since 1865 (3rd ed.). University of Illinois at Chicago: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
- Sinclair, Upton. (1906). Attack on the Meatpackers. Retrieved from http://college.cengage.com/history/wadsworth_9781133309888/unprotected/ps/attack_meatpackers.htm