North or South: Who Killed Reconstruction?



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Document E

Source: Heather Cox Richardson, The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001.
In the fall of 1873, even the staunchly (firmly) pro-Grant and pro-freedman Boston Evening Transcript ran a letter ... arguing that "the blacks, as a people, are unfitted for the proper exercise of political duties.... The rising generation of ... blacks needed a period of probation and instruction; a period ... long enough for the black to have forgotten something of his condition as a slave and learned much of the true method of gaining honorable subsistence and of performing the duties of any position to which he might aspire. Northern artist’s portrayal of the South Carolina State Legislature during Reconstruction.



Source: The Cover of Harper’s Weekly, March 14, 1874



  1. According to the letter from the Boston Evening Transcript, why did some people believe blacks were unfit to be government officials? How does this letter show racism exist in the North?




  1. How do this cartoon & letter help explain why Northerners lost interest in Reconstruction?




  1. How does the image above depict black politicians in the South?


Document F







  1. How was it possible that Hayes “won” the election of 1876?




  1. How did this disputed election lead to the end of Reconstruction?

Document G



Source: First Black Legislature in South Carolina 1878



  1. Who are the men that appear in this photograph?




  1. What state are these men from? What important fact from antebellum Civil War has to do with this state?




  1. How were they able to get elected to the state legislature?




  1. Why is this picture significant? Why would this fact be relevant and important in the Reconstruction period?





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