Freedmen’s Bureau: The Government Tries To Take An Active Role

In 1865, the fighting on Civil War battlefields ended, but the questions were far from over. And new questions had been created during the war. One of the most exciting and most explosive questions of the era was: what did freedom look like and how would full freedom be attained by/for the former slaves?

Attempting to answer that question and solve innumerable problems, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established – originally to provide temporary aid and later re-imagined to a role that this agency never had the power successfully fill. Though the Bureau had good intentions, mixed signals from the government, lack of power/manpower, and an over-arching racism problem throughout the country limited its effectiveness.

Last August a blog reader emailed me and asked me to write specifically about the Freedman’s Bureau and its role in the Reconstruction Era. Thanks for pushing me to dig deeper into this interesting part of the era; hopefully, it will be insightful to you as well. Continue reading

What In The World Happened In 1867?

1867. It’s the historical year of the historical fiction book Lighthouse Loyalty. In chapter eleven, after Uncle Richard’s trip to town, the family reads the news from a newspaper.

Father read about debates on a newly purchased territory of the United States in the far northwest; the paper called it Alaska and said it was just a frozen wasteland. He started to read aloud about Indian fighting on the western plains but then changed to a different column which discussed President Andrew Johnson’s arguments with Congress over Reconstruction – how to rebuild the South after the war. I thought the Indians would’ve been more frightfully exciting than the release of the former Confederate president and increasing tension between the President Johnson and Congress.

Today’s post covers some of the topics they read about and a few other interesting happenings in history during that year. Continue reading

1868: The President On Trial

I’m now ready to write this much-delayed blog post which will conclude August’s series on the Reconstruction Era. Rest assured, I plan to revisit the era in 2018 and address more details. This week’s delay (sorry!) was caused because I was determined to finish the book I was reading about Johnson’s impeachment trial; I wanted to make sure I was sharing accurate information and discovered that I no longer agreed with the source I had intended to reference for facts.

Today’s post is an overview. If you want a more in-depth study, I’d recommend David O. Stewart’s book Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson And The Fight For Lincoln’s Legacy. That was the book I couldn’t stop reading once I got it the study. Continue reading

Reconstruction? The President, Constitution, States, & Congress

The Reconstruction Era is complex. The historical figures, thought processes, opinions, and situations often seem distant and a little unknown to us. The struggles of rebuilding and even re-imaging the United States after the Civil War brought the ideologies from the battlefields to the state capitals, the White House, and the Congressional chambers.

Today we’ll talk about the situation in the very beginning years of Reconstruction, focusing on Andrew Johnson, Constitution interpretations, new state governments, and Congress’s views. Continue reading

10 Things You Should Know About The Reconstruction Era

There’s tons of information about the American Civil War…and somehow it’s easy to sweep the immediate post-war years under the carpet. The Reconstruction Era – as it’s called – was a challenging time in U.S. History. Politics, economy, society, and culture went through upheaval and change. Not all the change was handled well, creating additional conflicts, bitterness, and continued sectional tension.

I’ve found that tough topics are better discussed than ignored. So…for August 2017 we’ll be talking about the Reconstruction every Friday of the month and regularly on Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully, the information will be enlightening and helpful as we try to make sense of the Civil War’s outcomes and how it has effect our modern era.

Here are ten things you should about the Reconstruction Era: Continue reading

1864 Election Artwork

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

In the modern political arena, campaign “branding” has followed the trends of businesses. It just makes sense to have symbols that are bold and easily recognizable. We live in a fast-paced society, so campaign artwork has to be quick to see and remember.

However, during the 19th Century some of the political campaign posters could be considered works of art, using imagery to share the party or candidates platform and goals. Continue reading