Name: Unit 4- reconstruction Document Based Question Essential Question

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Unit 4- Reconstruction Document Based Question

Essential Question: Did Reconstruction successfully solve the problems caused by slavery and the Civil War?

The period of Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877, and involved putting the country back together after the Civil War. The Civil War was fought and won by the North and the United States was preserved; but a number of new problems were created. Four million slaves were suddenly freed, but did not have jobs, an education, places to live, or a guarantee of basic civil rights. Northerners and Southerners, who had just spent five years slaughtering each other by the thousands, bitterly resented one another and were now forced to share the country once again. Many Southern whites had their land or families destroyed during the Civil War, and had to rebuild their lives from scratch. Those who survived still held many of the same racist attitudes and resentments towards blacks, and did not want to include them in society.

The Assignment

Your task for this unit will be to determine if Reconstruction successfully solved the problems caused by slavery and the Civil War. You will do this by reading and viewing documents from both the Reconstruction period and our society today. Then, you will write an essay that evaluates how well the country was rebuilt. How will you do this?

  1. Identify the problems that have been caused by the Civil War.

  2. Organize your research!

    1. You will be presented with twenty (20) sources that are mostly primary.

    2. You must make sense of why they are important and what they will mean to your essay

  3. Analyze your primary and secondary documents

    1. You must determine HOW each source relates to an overarching issue that Reconstruction is seeking to address.

    2. What is the issue? How is it being solved?

  4. Evaluate the strength in each side of the argument that addresses your question.

  5. Construct an argumentative essay.

Part I: Document Analysis

Please read, view, or interpret the documents inside each collection. When you are finished, explain how each set of documents shows whether Reconstruction was successful or unsuccessful in 3-5 sentences. Use evidence from the documents to support your interpretations. The more you write in this section, the easier it will be to write a complete essay later.

***Hint: In order to make sure you provide evidence, use “for example” in your writing and rephrase an example you found in one or all of the sources.

Document Collection 1: Incorporating Former Slaves into American Society

Based on the documents in this collection, did Reconstruction successfully solve the issue of incorporating former slaves into American society?










Document Collection 2: Protecting the Civil Rights of Former Slaves

Based on the documents in this collection, did Reconstruction successfully solve the issue of protecting the civil rights of former slaves?








Document Collection 3: Healing the Divisions between North and South

Based on the documents in this collection, did Reconstruction successfully solve the issue of division between the North and South?








Document Collection 4: Integration

Based on the documents in this collection, did Reconstruction successfully solve the issue of integration?








Document Collection 5: Racism Part II (Hate Groups)

Based on the documents in this collection, did Reconstruction successfully solve the issue of racism and the growth of hate groups?







_____________________________________________________________________ Document Collection 1: Incorporating Former Slaves into American Society

One of the most difficult challenges the nation faced following the Civil War involved creating jobs and homes for four million former slaves. The answer for many was called sharecropping, or renting out land to freed slaves and allowing them to pay their rent by selling the crops produced on it. Often these small pieces of land did not produce much, or the contracts were extremely biased against blacks, and so many found freedmen found themselves owing money to their former masters---and spending the rest of their lives in poverty to pay it off.

Source 1: Excerpt from Senate Report 693, 46th Congress, 2nd Session (1880).
Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, former slave Henry Adams testified before the U.S. Senate fifteen years later about the early days of his freedom, describing the process of sharecropping.

The white men read a paper to all of us colored people telling us that we were free and could go where we pleased and work for who we pleased. The man I belonged to told me it was best to stay with him. He said, “The bad white men was mad with the Negroes because they were free and they would kill you all for fun.” He said, stay where we are living and we could get protection from our old masters.

I told him I thought that every man, when he was free, could have his rights and protect themselves. He said, “The colored people could never protect themselves among the white people. So you had all better stay with the white people who raised you and make contracts with them to work by the year for one-fifth of all you make. And next year you can get one-third, and the next you maybe work for one-half you make. We have contracts for you all to sign, to work for one-twentieth you make from now until the crop is ended, and then next year you all can make another crop and get more of it.”

I told him I would not sign anything. I said, “I might sign to be killed. I believe the white people is trying to fool us.” But he said again, “Sign this contract so I can take it to the Yankees and have it recorded.” All our colored people signed it but myself and a boy named Samuel Jefferson. All who lived on the place was about sixty, young and old.

On the day after all had signed the contracts, we went to cutting oats. I asked the boss, “Could we get any of the oats?” He said, “No; the oats were made before you were free.” After that he told us to get timber to build a sugar-mill to make molasses. We did so. On the 13th day of July 1865 we started to pull fodder. I asked the boss would he make a bargain to give us half of all the fodder we would pull. He said we may pull two or three stacks and then we could have all the other. I told him we wanted half, so if we only pulled two or three stacks we would get half of that. He said, “All right.” We got that and part of the corn we made. We made five bales of cotton but we did not get a pound of that. We made two or three hundred gallons of molasses and only got what we could eat. We made about eight-hundred bushel of potatoes; we got a few to eat. We split rails three or four weeks and got not a cent for that.

  1. Based on the above account, what did the former slave owner suggest to the freedman? Why would he suggest that?

  1. Explain the terms of the “contract.”

  1. How many people signed the contract? Who did not sign the contract?

  1. What actually occurred on the plantation after the freedman decided to stay and work?

Source 2: Department of Labor and Statistics, United States Census 2010

The following chart shows the unemployment rates in the United States broken down by race.

  1. What years are covered in this graph?

  1. What group of people has had a higher unemployment rate over these years?

  1. What does unemployment mean?

Source 3: Photo: “Help Wanted: Whites Only” 1873

  1. What is the message of this photograph?

Source 4: Department of Housing and Urban Development (2010)

  1. How many families in America lived in poverty in 2010?

  2. How many white families lived in poverty in 2010?

  3. How many black families lived in poverty in 2010?

  4. What is poverty?

Document Collection 2: Protecting the Civil Rights of Former Slaves

In addition to finding jobs and homes, Reconstruction aimed to protect the freedom and civil rights of newly freed slaves. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution aimed to ensure the equality of all people in the United States.

Source 1: The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

Amendment 13 (1865):

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or and place subject to their jurisdiction.....

Amendment 14 (1868):

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws....

Amendment 15 (1870):

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous conditions of servitude...

  1. What is outlawed with the 13th Amendment?

  1. What does the 14th Amendment essential do for the African Americans?

  1. What right is given with the 15th Amendment?

  1. Why do you think these Amendments would be important following the Civil War?

Source 2: Harper’s Weekly, October 21, 1876.

First white man: “Of course he wants to vote for the democratic ticket!”

Second white man: “You’re as free as air, ain’t you? Say you are, or I’ll blow your black head off!”

  1. During the Civil War, what political party was associated with Emancipation? What political party did Lincoln belong to?

  1. What are the white men persuading the freedman to do? How are they persuading him?

Source 3: Abram Colby, testimony to a joint House and Senate Committee in 1872.

Note: Colby was a former slave who was elected to the Georgia State legislature during Reconstruction.

Colby: On the 29th of October 1869, [the Klansmen] broke my door open, took me out of bed, took me to the woods and whipped me three hours or more and left me for dead. They said to me, "Do you think you will ever vote another damned Radical ticket?" I said, "If there was an election tomorrow, I would vote the Radical ticket." They set in and whipped me a thousand licks more, with sticks and straps that had buckles on the ends of them.

Question: What is the character of those men who were engaged in whipping you?

Colby: Some are first-class men in our town. One is a lawyer, one a doctor, and some are farmers… They said I had voted for Grant and had carried the Negroes against them. About two days before they whipped me they offered me $5,000 to go with them and said they would pay me $2,500 in cash if I would let another man go to the legislature in my place. I told them that I would not do it if they would give me all the county was worth… No man can make a free speech in my county. I do not believe it can be done anywhere in Georgia.

  1. Describe the events that took place on Oct. 29th to Abram Colby?

  1. What political party would be considered “radical” in the south?

  1. Who were the men that assaulted Abram?

  1. What were the Klansmen trying to accomplish before they whipped Abram?

Document Collection 3: Healing the Divisions between North and South

The Civil War created many divisions between the Northern and Southern United States, which included divides along racial and political party lines.

Source 1: 1860 Election Map

Source 2: 2012 Election Map

  1. According the election of 1860, what seems to be happening with the country? What observations do you notice?

  1. According the election of 2012, what seems to be happening with the country? What observations do you notice?

  1. What conclusions can you determine by analyzing the maps above?

Source 3: Voting Propaganda (1868)

1. In the pictures above, what is the message that is being said in regards to the two political parties?

Source 4: Secondary Excerpt from “Americans” textbook regarding divisions between the North and South.

To Punish the South or Not

Many people wanted the South to be punished for trying to leave the Union. Other people, however, wanted to forgive the South and let the healing of the nation begin.

Lincoln's Plan for Reconstruction

Abraham Lincoln wanted to be lenient to the South and make it easy for southern states to rejoin the Union. He said that any southerner who took an oath to the Union would be given a pardon. He also said that if 10% of the voters in a state supported the Union, then a state could be readmitted. Under Lincoln's plan, any state that was readmitted must make slavery illegal as part of their constitution.

President Johnson

President Lincoln was assassinated at the end of the Civil War, however, and never had the chance to implement his Reconstruction plan. When Andrew Johnson became president, he was from the South and wanted to be even more lenient to the Confederate States than Lincoln. Congress, however, disagreed and began to pass harsher laws for the Southern states.

  1. What was one of the issues that Americans had to deal with following the Civil War?

  1. In your own words, describe Lincoln’s Plan for Reconstruction?

  1. In your own words, describe Johnson’s Plan for Reconstruction?

Document Collection 4: Integration

The issue of integrating freed slaves into American society involved more than just finding homes and jobs for free blacks, it also meant involving them in every aspect of American life. Despite the protection of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, Southern states created hundreds of laws that kept blacks and whites completely segregated from one another, nicknamed the “Jim Crow Laws.”

Source 1: In the years following the Civil War - throughout the South -state, city, and town governments passed laws to restrict the rights of free African-American men and women. These laws were often called “Black Codes.” The example below of “Black Codes” comes from laws passed in Opelousas, Louisiana immediately after the Civil War.

1. "No negro or freedmen shall be allowed to come within the limits of the town of Opelousas without special permission from his employers. Whoever breaks this law will go to jail and work for two days on the public streets, or pay a fine of five dollars.”

2. “No negro or freedman shall be permitted to rent or keep a house in town under any circumstances. No negro or freedman shall live within the town who does not work for some white person or former owner.”

3. “No public meetings of negroes or freedmen shall be allowed within the town.”

4. “No freedman shall be allowed to carry firearms, or any kind of weapons. No freedman shall sell or exchange any article of merchandise within the limits of Opelousas without permission in writing from his employer.”

5. “Every negro is to be in the service of (work for) some white person, or former owner.”

  1. What are Black Codes?

  1. According to the Black Codes of Opelousas, Louisiana, where were freedman allowed to live? What was the fine for breaking this law?

  1. What is the only way a freedman could live within the town?

  1. What was being prevented in point 3?

  1. What items were being prevented in point #4?

  1. Could a freedman in Opelousas be a business owner? What does the law say in point #5?

Source 2: Images- “Boy Drinking From Colored Water Fountain” Alabama (1933), “No Dogs, Negros, or Mexicans” sign in Texas (1941), & “Waiting room” Atlanta, Georgia (1954)

  1. Following the Civil War, what became the reality for freeman in their everyday lives?

Source 3: Segregation Today (2003)

FromA Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?, a 2003 report from social scientists at Harvard's Civil Rights Project, outlines the nature and scope of contemporary school segregation.
A 2003 report by Harvard's Civil Rights Project outlines the nature and scope of modern school segregation. At the dawn of the 21st century, education for Blacks is more segregated than it was in 1968.
Black students are the most likely racial group to attend what researchers call "apartheid schools," — schools that are virtually all non-white and where poverty, limited resources, social strife and health problems abound. One-sixth of America's black students attend these schools. Whites are the most segregated group in the nation's public schools. Only 14% of white students attend multiracial schools (where three or more racial groups are present). Latino students are the most segregated minority group in U.S. schools. They are segregated by race and poverty; immigrant Latinos also are at risk of experiencing linguistic segregation. Asian American students are the most integrated group in the nation's public schools. Three-fourths of Asian Americans attend multiracial schools.
Racial segregation in schools is strongly linked to segregation by class. Nearly 90% of intensely segregated, black and Latino schools are also schools where at least half of the student body is economically disadvantaged. Residential segregation impacts schools. With the decrease in busing to achieve school integration and the overwhelming return to neighborhood schools, where we live matters.
Today's segregated schools are still unequal. Segregated schools have higher concentrations of poverty, much lower test scores, less experienced teachers and fewer advanced placement courses. Students in integrated schools perform better on tests, possess elevated aspirations for educational and occupational attainment, and lead more integrated lives.

  1. According to this report, where are black students more likely to attend schools?

  1. Describe the schools that black students attend?

  1. What is the percentage of white students that attend a multi-racial school?

  1. Who is the most segregated school group in the United States? Oppositely, who is the most integrated school group in the United States?

  1. What is the reality for Black and Latino students that are in a racially segregated school? What is the message for students at the end of the 2nd paragraph?

  1. Contrast segregated and integrated schools in America?

Document Collection 5: Racial Violence

Although African Americans had long been the targets of racial violence, the Reconstruction Era brought new waves of brutality to the North and South. Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan spread terror across the nation as the government struggled to contain the hate crimes they committed.

Source 1: Worse Than Slavery (Thomas Nast, 1874)

  1. Why do you think this image is called, Worse than Slavery?

Source 2: Albion Tourgee, Letter on Ku Klux Klan Activities. New York Tribune, May 1870.

Note: Tourgee was a white, Northern soldier who settled in North Carolina after the War. He served as a judge during Reconstruction and wrote this letter to the North Carolina Republican Senator, Joseph Carter Abbott.

It is my mournful duty to inform you that our friend John W. Stephens, State Senator from Caswell, is dead. He was foully murdered by the Ku-Klux in the Grand Jury room of the Court House on Saturday… He was stabbed five or six times, and then hanged on a hook in the Grand Jury room… Another brave, honest Republican citizen has met his fate at the hands of these fiends…

I have very little doubt that I shall be one of the next victims. My steps have been dogged for months, and only a good opportunity has been wanting to secure to me the fate which Stephens has just met… I say to you plainly that any member of Congress who, especially if from the South, does not support, advocate, and urge immediate, active, and thorough measures to put an end to these outrages…is a coward, a traitor, or a fool.

  1. Whom did the KKK murder?

  1. Describe how the KK murdered Stephens?

  1. What political party did Stephens belong to?

  1. Albion Tourgee says in the 2nd paragraph that he fears something. What is it?

  1. What is Tourgee trying to accomplish in this message?

Source 3: KKK Official Mission Statement and Goal (2014)

"There is a race war against whites. But our people - my white brothers and sisters - will stay committed to a non-violent resolution. That resolution must consist of solidarity in white communities around the world. The hatred for our children and their future is growing and is being fueled every single day. Stay firm in your convictions. Keep loving your heritage and keep witnessing to others that there is a better way than a war torn, violent, wicked, socialist, new world order. That way is the Christian way - law and order - love of family - love of nation. These are the principles of western Christian civilization. There is a war to destroy these things. Pray that our people see the error of their ways and regain a sense of loyalty. Repent America! Be faithful my fellow believers. "

The Knights Party as the political PARTY of the future and the Last Hope for America. The Knights Party, realizing that to achieve true security for our people we must achieve political power in the United States, will:

A. Become the leader of the White racialist movement

  • Through a strong organized show of leadership

  • Through a concerted effort of all Klansmen and Klanswomen to carefully follow instructions, suggestions, and guidelines as set by headquarters and to continually strive to be THE BEST

B. Strive to become the representative and driving force behind the White Community

  • Through an aggressive use of television, radio, and print advertising

  • To legally break through the liberal wall that surrounds America’s colleges and universities – to reach and instruct students in the reclaiming of their schools.

C. Organize and direct white people to a level of activism necessary to bring about a political victory.

  • Through the organizing and maintenance of strong local units.

  • Through bold public relations campaigns focusing on two main ideas:

  • The White Christian people have been betrayed by our nations political, economic, educational, and religious leaders

We must take back control of OUR U.S. government. We intend to put Klansmen and Klanswomen in office all the way from the local school board to the White House!

  1. In your own words, describe what does the mission statement of the KKK in 2014 state?

Argumentative Essay: Answer the following question in 5 paragraphs. This essay will be your Unit 4 Test.

Question: Did Reconstruction successfully solve the problems caused by slavery and the Civil War?

Think about:

  1. Lasting impacts on African Americans

  2. Civil Rights Issues

  3. Racism and Discrimination

When constructing your essay, you are limited to the documents within Unit 4 to gather your ideas from. Your essay must include 5 paragraphs; 1 introduction paragraph, 3 body paragraphs, and 1 closing paragraph (5-8 sentences are needed to be considered a paragraph). Your final draft must be typed (class time will be given) in Times New Roman, 12 font, 1” margins all around, and doubled spaced. You do not need to cite your evidence since all of your research is include in the given documents within Unit 4.

How to write an Introduction Paragraph?

First impressions are so important. How many times have you heard that? It is true that the first impression—whether it’s a first meeting with a person or the first sentence of a paper—sets the stage for a lasting opinion. The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or short, should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers.

In a well-constructed first paragraph, that first sentence will lead into three or four sentences that provide details about the subject or your process you will address in the body of your essay. These sentences should also set the stage for your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the subject of much instruction and training. The entirety of your paper hangs on that sentence, which is generally the last sentence of your introductory paragraph.

In summary, your introductory paragraph should contain the following:

  • an attention-grabbing first sentence

  • informative sentences that build to your thesis

  • the thesis statement, which makes a claim or states a view that you will support or build upon (MUST BE THE LAST SENTENCE OF YOUR INTRO PARAGRAPH)


Your First Sentence

To get your paper off to a great start, you should try to have a first sentence that engages your reader. Think of your first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. It is your big chance to be so clever that your reader can’t stop.

As you researched your topic, you probably discovered many interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts. This is exactly the sort of thing you should use for an engaging introduction.

Consider these ideas for creating a strong beginning.

  • Surprising fact: The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.

  • Quotation: Hillary Rodham Clinton once said that “There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard.” In 2006, when Nancy Pelosi became the nation’s first female Speaker of the House, one woman’s voice rang out clear. With this development, democracy grew to its truest level ever in terms of women’s equality. The historical event also paved the way for Senator Clinton as she warmed her own vocal chords in preparation for a presidential race.

 1st Sentence of your Intro: THE HOOK ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2nd-4th Sentences of your Intro: Tell a general story of African Americans in your own words relating to your hook. If your hook focuses on Civil Rights, these sentences should talk about the lack of Civil Rights African Americans may have experienced following the Civil War. Remember: THESE ARE IN YOUR OWN WORDS! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5th Sentence: Your Thesis

Example of Thesis Statement:

This paper argues that Reconstruction did/did not successfully solve the problems of ________________________________________, ________________________________________, and ________________________________________ caused by slavery and the Civil War.

The Concluding Paragraph
Although conclusions generally do not cause students as much trouble as introductions, they are nearly as difficult to get right. Contrary to popular belief, conclusions do not merely restate the thesis. They represent your last chance to say something important to your readers, and can be used for some, or all, of the following tasks:

  • Emphasizing the purpose and importance of your essay

  • Explaining the significance or consequences of your findings

Sample Conclusions

Here are a few ways that some good writers ended their essays:

  • I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought….[O]ne ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase…into the dustbin where it belongs.

—Orwell, "Politics and the English Language"


  • And so, while we are left on shore with the memory of a deflated and stinking carcass and of bullhorns that blared and scattered us like flies, somewhere out beyond the rolled waters and the shining winter sun, the whale sings its own death in matchless, sirenian strains.

—Finch, "Very Like a Whale"

For all we know, occasional viable crosses between humans and chimpanzees are possible. The natural experiment must have been tried very infrequently, at least recently. If such off-spring are ever produced, what will their legal status be? The cognitive abilities of chimpanzees force us, I think, to raise searching questions about the boundaries of the community of beings to which special ethical considerations are due, and can, I hope, help to extend our ethical perspectives downward through the taxa on Earth and upwards to extraterrestrial organisms, if they exist.

—Sagan, "The Abstractions of Beasts"

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