A Short History of Reconstruction

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Harper Collins, Oct 19, 2010 - History - 320 pages

An abridged version of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, the definitive study of the aftermath of the Civil War, winner of the Bancroft Prize, Avery O. Craven Prize, Los Angeles Times Book Award, Francis Parkman Prize, and Lionel Trilling Prize.


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This book, an abridged version of his masterpiece "Reconstruction, Americas Unfinished Revolution" , is the most comprehensive and best analysis of it's period. All true students of American history who want to understand both this period and the where we are as a nation after the Civil War can ill afford not to include this in their bibliography. In my humble opinion, Professor Foner takes his place among other historical giants of Americal history like Hofstedder, Leuchtenberg, C. Vann Woodward and others who have mastered their craft.
His one sentence at the end of his chapter on, "The Making of Radical Reconstruction", actually sums up the consequences of the failure of our political system where Constitutional responsiblities were abandoned for both the majorities political, and economic gain. "And the end of Reconstruction would come not because propertyless blacks succumbed to economic coercion, but because a politically tenacious black community, abandoned by the nation, fell victim to violence and fraud."
For all of the suffering and death, for all of the sacrifices and struggles endured by the nation through the Civil War, I believe this one man tells us what those consequences wrought.


The World the War Made
Rehearsals for Reconstruction
The Meaning of Freedom
Ambiguities of Free Labor
The Failure of Presidential Reconstruction
The Making of Radical Reconstruction
Blueprints for a Republican South
Political and Economic
The Challenge of Enforcement
The Reconstruction of the North
The Politics of Depression
Redemption and After
The River Has Its Bend
Suggestions for Further Reading

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Page 23 - I barely suggest for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in — as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks.
Page 212 - Think of Patrick and Sambo and Hans and Yung Tung, who do not know the difference between a monarchy and a republic, who can not read the Declaration of Independence or Webster's spelling-book, making laws for Lucretia Mott, Ernestine L. Rose, and Anna E. Dickinson.
Page 116 - How can republican institutions, free schools, free churches, free social intercourse exist in a mingled community of nabobs and serfs; of the owners of twenty-thousand acre manors with lordly palaces, and the occupants of narrow huts inhabited by low white trash'?
Page 34 - It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers.
Page 129 - Union, but government, the strong arm of power, outstretched from the central authority here in Washington, making it safe for the freedmen of the South, safe for her loyal white men, safe for emigrants from the Old World and from the Northern States to go and dwell there; safe for Northern capital and labor, Northern energy and enterprise...
Page 255 - The whole public are tired out with these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South, and the great majority are ready now to condemn any interference on the part of the Government.
Page 269 - There is an obvious distinction between a cropper and a tenant. One has a possession of the premises, exclusive of the landlord, the other has not. The one has a right for a fixed time, the other has only a right to go on the land to plant, work and gather the crop.
Page 42 - A man in this State cannot do his whole duty as a minister except he looks out for the political interests of his people. They are like a ship out at sea, and they must have somebody to guide them ; and it is natural that they should get their best informed men to lead them.
Page 266 - States, and when they were called upon to protect the lives of negroes — as much citizens under the Constitution as if their skins were white — the country was scarcely large enough to hold the sound of indignation belched forth by them for some years. Now, however, there is no hesitation about exhausting the whole power of the government to suppress a strike on the slightest intimation that danger threatens.

About the author (2010)

Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and the author of several books. In 2006 he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University. He has served as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society of American Historians. He lives in New York City.