After the Civil War, the United States had to recover from war, handle western expansion, and grapple with very new economic forms. However, its greatest issues would revolve around the legacies of slavery and increasing diversity in the decades after the Civil War. Reconstruction was partly a period of military occupation of the south by the northern victors. Former slaves now had freedom and new opportunities but faced old prejudices and rapidly forming new barriers. Immigrants from Europe and Asia came in large numbers but then faced political and social restrictions. Women continued to seek rights. Yet, on the whole, America became increasingly diverse by the 1920s. Consider developments, policies, and laws in that period from 1865 to the 1920s. Take one of the positions as suggested below, draw from the sources listed, and present a paper with specific examples and arguments to demonstrate the validity of your position.
Possible position—in each case you can take the pro or con position:
- The Lost Cause narrative of the South effectively sabotaged and influenced racial policy in the US for most of the post-Civil War period. (or you can take the position that it did not)
- Political policies in the decades after the Civil War generally promoted diversity and “the melting pot” despite the strong prejudices of a few. (or you can take the position that political policies did not)
- Reform movements between 1865 and 1930, like the Progressives and the agrarian populists, generally led the way to increased democracy. (or you can take the position that these movements did not)
After giving general consideration to your readings so far and any general research, select one of the positions above as your position—your thesis. (Sometimes after doing more thorough research, you might choose the reverse position. This happens with critical thinking and inquiry. Your final paper might end up taking a different position than you originally envisioned.). Organize your paper as follows, handling these issues:
- The position you choose (from the list above)—or something close to it—will be the thesis statement in your opening paragraph.
- To support your position, use three specific examples from different decades between 1865 and 1930. You may narrowly focus on race or gender or immigrant status, or you may use examples relevant to all categories.
- Explain why the opposing view is weak in comparison to yours.
- Consider your life today: In what way does the history you have shown shape or impact issues in your workplace or desired profession?
Source List for Assignment 1:
Be sure to use the Schultz text as a source. Use at least two of the other sources listed here. Some sources are “primary” sources from the time period being studied. Some sources below can be accessed via direct link or through the primary sources link on Blackboard. Each week has a different list of primary sources. For others, they are accessible through the Library tab to the left of the screen in Blackboard—once in there, you may do a “keyword” search of the article title.
APA Reference for the textbook – Schultz, Kevin M. (2018). HIST5: Volume 2: U.S. History Since 1865 (Student edition). Boston: Cengage.
Choose sources relevant to the topic and position you are taking:
- Abu-Laban, Y., & Lamont, V. (1997). Crossing borders: Interdisciplinary, immigration and the melting pot in the American cultural imaginary. Canadian Review of American Studies, 27(2), 23-43.
- Black Testimony on the aftermath of enslavement. (1866). Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction.
- Chinese Exclusion Act. (1882).
- Davis, J. C. Bancroft. (1896). Plessy vs. Ferguson.
- Fitzgerald, M. W. (2018, Jan.). Terrorism and racial coexistence in Alabama’s Reconstruction. Alabama Review, 71(1), 7-24. [accessible through Library tab; keyword search the article title; get the .pdf file of the article]
- Foster, G. M. (2002, Feb. 24). The Lost Cause. Shotgun’s Home of the Civil War.
- Harjo, S. S. (1996). Now and then: native peoples in the United States. Dissent (00123846).
- Meacham, J. (2017). Our historical ambivalence about immigrants is a great American paradox. Time, 189(5), 23.
- The Lost Cause. Civil War Journeys.
- Mississippi Black code. (n.d.).
- Moody, W. G. (1883). Bonanza Farming and its impact.
- Parsons, E. F. (2011, Feb.). Klan Skepticism and denial in Reconstruction-Era public discourse.
- Journal of Southern History, 77(1), 53-90. [accessible through Library tab; keyword search the article title; get the .pdf file of the article]
- Populist Party Platform. (1896).
- Schultz, Kevin M. (2014) HIST: Volume 2: U.S. history since 1865 (3rd ed.).
- Sinclair, Upton. (1906). Attack on the Meatpackers.
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