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Reconstruction: Political and Economic, 1865-1877 (The American Nation: A History, Vol 22)
Reconstruction Political and Economic 1865-1877 - The American Nation: A History, Vol 22 Author:William Archibald Dunning From the editor's introduction: "...[F]rom 1865-1877, the field of the present volume, Federal troops remained in the South, almost as garrisons in a hostile country. Yet it must never be forgotten that when the guns were once silenced no person was deprived of life or property because of his connection with the Confederacy. The North also had i... more »ts reconstruction, and in the process suffered terribly from unfit officials, the plundering of public treasuries, and the degradation of civic standards. To the mind of Professor Dunning, reconstruction appears, therefore, not to be simply a process applied by the victorious section to the defeated; but a realignment of national powers, a readjustment of political forces, a slow recovery from the wounds inflicted on the body politic by four years of civil war. ..."
From the author's preface: "In a short history of the period covered by this volume the chief problem is that of just proportion as to affairs in the two lately warring sections. Many things contributed to keep conditions in the South in the forefront of contemporaneous interest; and the historian cannot but feel the influence of this fact. Moreover, few episodes of recorded history more urgently invite thorough analysis and extended reflection than the struggle through which southern whites, subjugated by adversaries of their own race, thwarted the scheme which threatened permanent subjugation to another race. From the point of view of social and political science in general, the South bulks largest in the history of reconstruction. But our point of view in the present volume is different. We must regard the period as a step in the progress of the American nation. In this respect the North claims our principle attention. The social, economic, and political forces that wrought positively for for progress are to be found in the record, not of the vanquished, but of the victorious section. In the record there is less that is spectacular, less that is pathetic, and more that seems inexcusably sordid than in the record of the South; but moral and dramatic values must not have greater weight in the writing than they have had in the making of history. Our narrative, therefore, ... will be found, I trust, to present in something like their true relations the facts and forces which, manifested chiefly in the politics of the North and West, transformed the nation from what it was in 1865 to what it was in 1877."« less