Reply To: Modern Mainstream Views of Reconstruction



Thanks. William Dunning and his students viewed Reconstruction in the long view, but since they were dubbed racists and historians liked to neatly package Reconstruction as a Southern “problem,” that view quickly evaporated. Progressive historians like Charles Beard also attached the programs of the Reconstruction period to the Gilded Age, and diplomatic historians like Walter Lafeber at least marginally recognized that Reconstruction was a larger issue in regard to foreign relations. Susan Mary Grant’s “North Over South” is a fairly recent study that attempts to show how Northern ideology dominated after the war in all aspects of American policy. It is not bad, but still misses the mark for a comprehensive picture. In other words, no one has put everything together. It needs to be done, and frankly is always one of those projects I have in mind when thinking about another book.

Good question!