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Chapter 17 Wrap Up

Chapter 17 Wrap Up - Chapter 17 Wrap Up Ultimately...

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Chapter 17 Wrap Up: Ultimately Reconstruction personified the opportunity for America to finally live up to the goals set out for it in the Declaration of Independence: that all men are created equal (sorry ladies), and that all are guaranteed the natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Most historians describe Reconstruction as a failure because the opportunity was there to guarantee equality to blacks, but it never materialized. But freedmen and women did make major gains. The following is an outline I normally give in a lecture format class. I will fill in some of the most important general points I want students to walk away with. Specifics can be found in the text. Reconstruction I. Ideas and Practice a. A note about Political Parties i. Different than today 1. the political parties of the Civil War era were somewhat inverted from today’s parties. When thinking of political parties, I like to think about how they viewed a. the constitution b. role of the central government c. foreign policy 2. there is usually a more “conservative” party that interprets the constitution strictly, and sees the role of the central(federal) government as being invasive. Often that party focuses more on the state’s right to make decisions 3. the more “liberal” party often believes the constitution can be interpreted loosely, believes that the federal government is more important than state governments and it is significant in guaranteeing rights of all citizens. ii. Democrats 1. in the 1800s the Democrats were the more “conservative” party – they distrusted the federal government and were the party of “state’s rights” iii. Republicans 1. in the 1800s the Republicans were the more “liberal” party, believing that it was the federal government’s responsibility to protect freedmen 2. therefore when Republicans today say they are the party of Lincoln, it is in name only, because most Republicans believe less government is better, and states should make decisions b. The main purpose of Reconstruction i. Of course physical reconstruction of the devastated South was
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