Reconstructing A Dilemma: General Orders No. 40

Since I missed a post for Reconstruction Era last Friday, I owe you an extra one today! How do I wrap-up this month of studies and questions?

I think I’ll leave you with a primary source, a few facts, and some questions. I’ve shared earlier that you’re on the journey with me, studying the Reconstruction Era and it’s been a wild ride looking for the facts and encountering questions and dilemmas that still haunt us in the modern era. Continue reading

Reconstructing Your Bookshelf

In 2017, a blog reader sent me a book recommendation. He was so anxious for me to read this book that he even offered to send me his copy of the book by mail. I appreciated the offer but was able to save everyone the shipping costs by finding the book at the library.

Today, I wanted to share about this insightful book about Reconstruction Era tragedies and also challenge you to consider the books on your shelf about the post-Civil War times. Continue reading

Carpetbaggers & Scalawags: History Behind The Names

Carpetbaggers and Scalawags. They were creatively unkind names used in the South for certain men in society and politics during the Reconstruction Era. I’d heard the historical terms and was familiar with their general definition, but I decided to delve into the connotation and history of these names and see if these men where really the villains, heroes in disguise, suspicious characters, or something else entirely.

This has been quite a research project today (yep, I didn’t pre-write this blog post – hence the late posting time). Earlier in the week, I planned to write about the effects of Reconstruction on the Civil War’s Border States; however, as I dug into the history of the topic – requested by a blog reader – I realized that to do it full justice, I needed some more research time and a particular resource that isn’t readily available. So – being flexible – I changed topics in the middle of the process, and decided to explore the details of these names so closely associated with the Reconstruction Era.

Hopefully, you’ll find some interesting historical details and maybe a new perspective on Northerners going south and Southerners turning Republican.

Please note: the terms “Carpetbagger” and “Scalawag” are used to explain and define since these terms are typically used in history books. In this blog post, they are not meant in the disrespectful, insensitive way; I decided to keep the historical terms to avoid confusion and since these labels are often used in general discussion of this period of history.

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The Complexity of the Reconstruction Era

Prepare yourself. I’m climbing on a soapbox this morning. The Reconstruction Era mystifies many with its complexity. It was an era of positive change and social oppression. An era of anger and reconciliation. And era of hatred and caring sacrifice. An era when American ideals and values were changing, and an era where there was extreme conflict against those changes as the battle for Constitutional interpretation continued. 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