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HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Open Yale Courses - David Blight

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HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877
HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Open Yale Courses - David Blight

34
Followers
568
Plays
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Professor David Blight

Latest Episodes

Lecture 27 - Legacies of the Civil War

Professor Blight finishes his lecture series with a discussion of the legacies of the Civil War. Since the nineteenth century, Blight suggests, there have been three predominant strains of Civil War memory, which Blight defines as reconciliationist, white supremacist, and emancipationist. The war has retained a political currency throughout the years, and the ability to control the memory of the Civil War has been, and continues to be, hotly contested. Transcript Lecture Page

49 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 27 - Legacies of the Civil War

Lecture 26 - Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Having dealt with the role of violence and the Supreme Court in bringing about the end of Reconstruction in his last lecture, Professor Blight now turns to the role of national electoral politics, focusing in particular on the off-year Congressional election of 1874 and the Presidential election of 1876. 1874 saw the return of the Democrats to majority status in the Senate and the House of Representatives, as voters sick of corruption and hurt by the Panic of 1873 fled the Republicans in droves. According to many historians, the contested election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877," which followed it, marked the official end of Reconstruction. After an election tainted by fraud and violence, Republicans and Democrats brokered a deal by which Republican Rutherford B. Hayes took the White House in exchange for restoration of "home rule" for the South. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 26 - Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Lecture 25 - The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877"

This lecture focuses on the role of white southern terrorist violence in brining about the end of Reconstruction. Professor Blight begins with an account the Colfax Massacre. Colfax, Louisiana was the sight of the largest mass murder in U.S. history, when a white mob killed dozens of African Americans in the April of 1873. Two Supreme Court decisions would do in the judicial realm what the Colfax Massacre had done in the political. On the same day as the Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court offered a narrow reading of the 14th Amendment in the Slaughterhouse cases, signaling a judicial retreat from the radicalism of the early Reconstruction years. The Cruikshank case, two years later, would overturn the convictions of the only three men sentenced for their involvement in Colfax, and marked another step away from reconstruction. Professor Blight concludes with the Panic of 1873 and the seemingly innumerable political scandals of the Grant Administration, suggesting the manner in which ...

52 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 25 - The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877"

Lecture 24 - Retreat from Reconstruction: The Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption"

This lecture opens with a discussion of the myriad moments at which historians have declared an "end" to Reconstruction, before shifting to the myth and reality of "Carpetbag rule" in the Reconstruction South. Popularized by Lost Cause apologists and biased historians, this myth suggests that the southern governments of the Reconstruction era were dominated by unscrupulous and criminal Yankees who relied on the ignorant black vote to rob and despoil the innocent South. The reality, of course, diverges widely from this image. Among other accomplishments, the Radical state governments that came into existence after 1868 made important gains in African-American rights and public education. Professor Blight closes the lecture with the passage of the 15th Amendment, the waning radicalism of the Republican party after 1870, and the rise of white political terrorism across the South. Transcript Lecture Page

50 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 24 - Retreat from Reconstruction: The Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption"

Lecture 23 - Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor

Professor Blight begins this lecture in Washington, where the passage of the first Reconstruction Act by Congressional Republicans radically altered the direction of Reconstruction. The Act invalidated the reconstituted Southern legislatures, establishing five military districts in the South and insisting upon black suffrage as a condition to readmission. The eventful year 1868 saw the impeachment of one president (Andrew Johnson) and the election of another (Ulysses S. Grant). Meanwhile, southern African Americans struggle to reap the promises of freedom in the face of economic disempowerment and a committed campaign of white supremacist violence. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 23 - Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor

Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

Professor Blight continues his discussion of the political history of Reconstruction. The central figure in the early phase of Reconstruction was President Andrew Johnson. Under Johnson's stewardship, southern whites held constitutional conventions throughout 1865, drafting new constitutions that outlawed slavery but changed little else. When the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress reassembled late in 1865, they put a stop to Johnson's leniency and inaugurated Radical (or Congressional) Reconstruction, a process that resulted in the immediate passage of the Civil Rights bill and the Fourteenth Amendment, and the eventual passage of four Reconstruction Acts. The Congressional elections in 1866 and Johnson's disastrous "Swing Around the Circle" speaking tour strengthened Radical control over Congress. Each step of the way, Johnson did everything he could to obstruct Congressional Reconstruction, setting the stage for his impeachment in 1868. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

Lecture 21 - Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction

In this lecture, Professor Blight begins his engagement with Reconstruction. Reconstruction, Blight suggests, might best be understood as an extended referendum on the meaning of the Civil War. Even before the war's end, various constituencies in the North attempted to control the shape of the post-war Reconstruction of the South. In late 1863, President Abraham Lincoln offered his lenient "Ten Percent Plan." Six months later, Congressional Republicans concerned by Lincoln's charity rallied behind the more radical provisions of the Wade-Davis Bill. Despite their struggle for control over Reconstruction, Congressional Radicals and President Lincoln managed to work together on two vital pieces of Reconstruction legislation in the first months of 1865--the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States, and the Freedmen's Bureau bill. Transcript Lecture Page

50 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 21 - Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction

Lecture 20 - Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic

This lecture begins with a central, if often overlooked, turning point in the Civil War--the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Although the concerted efforts of northern Peace Democrats and a palpable war weariness among the electorate made Lincoln's victory uncertain, timely Union victories in Atlanta and Mobile in September of 1864 secured Lincoln's re-election in November. This lecture concludes Professor Blight's section on the war, following Lee and Grant to Appomattox Courthouse, and describing the surrender of Confederate forces. The nature of Reconstruction and the future of the South, however, remained open questions in April of 1865. Transcript Lecture Page

48 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 20 - Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic

Lecture 19 - To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings

Professor Blight uses Herman Melville's poem "On the Slain Collegians" to introduce the horrifying slaughter of 1864. The architect of the strategy that would eventually lead to Union victory, but at a staggering human cost, was Ulysses S. Grant, brought East to assume control of all Union armies in 1864. Professor Blight narrates the campaigns of 1864, including the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, and the siege of Petersburg. While Robert E. Lee battled Grant to a stalemate in Virginia, however, William Tecumseh Sherman's Union forces took Atlanta before beginning their March to the Sea, destroying Confederate morale and fighting power from the inside. Professor Blight closes his lecture with a description of the first Memorial Day, celebrated by African Americans in Charleston, SC 1865. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 19 - To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings

Lecture 18 - "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad

This lecture probes the reasons for confederate defeat and union victory. Professor Blight begins with an elucidation of the loss-of-will thesis, which suggests that it was a lack of conviction on the home front that assured confederate defeat, before offering another of other popular explanations for northern victory: industrial capacity, political leadership, military leadership, international diplomacy, a pre-existing political culture, and emancipation. Blight warns, however, that we cannot forget the battlefield, and, to this end, concludes his lecture with a discussion of the decisive Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July of 1863. Transcript Lecture Page

50 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 18 - "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad

Latest Episodes

Lecture 27 - Legacies of the Civil War

Professor Blight finishes his lecture series with a discussion of the legacies of the Civil War. Since the nineteenth century, Blight suggests, there have been three predominant strains of Civil War memory, which Blight defines as reconciliationist, white supremacist, and emancipationist. The war has retained a political currency throughout the years, and the ability to control the memory of the Civil War has been, and continues to be, hotly contested. Transcript Lecture Page

49 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 27 - Legacies of the Civil War

Lecture 26 - Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Having dealt with the role of violence and the Supreme Court in bringing about the end of Reconstruction in his last lecture, Professor Blight now turns to the role of national electoral politics, focusing in particular on the off-year Congressional election of 1874 and the Presidential election of 1876. 1874 saw the return of the Democrats to majority status in the Senate and the House of Representatives, as voters sick of corruption and hurt by the Panic of 1873 fled the Republicans in droves. According to many historians, the contested election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877," which followed it, marked the official end of Reconstruction. After an election tainted by fraud and violence, Republicans and Democrats brokered a deal by which Republican Rutherford B. Hayes took the White House in exchange for restoration of "home rule" for the South. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 26 - Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Lecture 25 - The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877"

This lecture focuses on the role of white southern terrorist violence in brining about the end of Reconstruction. Professor Blight begins with an account the Colfax Massacre. Colfax, Louisiana was the sight of the largest mass murder in U.S. history, when a white mob killed dozens of African Americans in the April of 1873. Two Supreme Court decisions would do in the judicial realm what the Colfax Massacre had done in the political. On the same day as the Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court offered a narrow reading of the 14th Amendment in the Slaughterhouse cases, signaling a judicial retreat from the radicalism of the early Reconstruction years. The Cruikshank case, two years later, would overturn the convictions of the only three men sentenced for their involvement in Colfax, and marked another step away from reconstruction. Professor Blight concludes with the Panic of 1873 and the seemingly innumerable political scandals of the Grant Administration, suggesting the manner in which ...

52 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 25 - The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877"

Lecture 24 - Retreat from Reconstruction: The Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption"

This lecture opens with a discussion of the myriad moments at which historians have declared an "end" to Reconstruction, before shifting to the myth and reality of "Carpetbag rule" in the Reconstruction South. Popularized by Lost Cause apologists and biased historians, this myth suggests that the southern governments of the Reconstruction era were dominated by unscrupulous and criminal Yankees who relied on the ignorant black vote to rob and despoil the innocent South. The reality, of course, diverges widely from this image. Among other accomplishments, the Radical state governments that came into existence after 1868 made important gains in African-American rights and public education. Professor Blight closes the lecture with the passage of the 15th Amendment, the waning radicalism of the Republican party after 1870, and the rise of white political terrorism across the South. Transcript Lecture Page

50 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 24 - Retreat from Reconstruction: The Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption"

Lecture 23 - Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor

Professor Blight begins this lecture in Washington, where the passage of the first Reconstruction Act by Congressional Republicans radically altered the direction of Reconstruction. The Act invalidated the reconstituted Southern legislatures, establishing five military districts in the South and insisting upon black suffrage as a condition to readmission. The eventful year 1868 saw the impeachment of one president (Andrew Johnson) and the election of another (Ulysses S. Grant). Meanwhile, southern African Americans struggle to reap the promises of freedom in the face of economic disempowerment and a committed campaign of white supremacist violence. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 23 - Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor

Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

Professor Blight continues his discussion of the political history of Reconstruction. The central figure in the early phase of Reconstruction was President Andrew Johnson. Under Johnson's stewardship, southern whites held constitutional conventions throughout 1865, drafting new constitutions that outlawed slavery but changed little else. When the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress reassembled late in 1865, they put a stop to Johnson's leniency and inaugurated Radical (or Congressional) Reconstruction, a process that resulted in the immediate passage of the Civil Rights bill and the Fourteenth Amendment, and the eventual passage of four Reconstruction Acts. The Congressional elections in 1866 and Johnson's disastrous "Swing Around the Circle" speaking tour strengthened Radical control over Congress. Each step of the way, Johnson did everything he could to obstruct Congressional Reconstruction, setting the stage for his impeachment in 1868. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

Lecture 21 - Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction

In this lecture, Professor Blight begins his engagement with Reconstruction. Reconstruction, Blight suggests, might best be understood as an extended referendum on the meaning of the Civil War. Even before the war's end, various constituencies in the North attempted to control the shape of the post-war Reconstruction of the South. In late 1863, President Abraham Lincoln offered his lenient "Ten Percent Plan." Six months later, Congressional Republicans concerned by Lincoln's charity rallied behind the more radical provisions of the Wade-Davis Bill. Despite their struggle for control over Reconstruction, Congressional Radicals and President Lincoln managed to work together on two vital pieces of Reconstruction legislation in the first months of 1865--the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States, and the Freedmen's Bureau bill. Transcript Lecture Page

50 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 21 - Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction

Lecture 20 - Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic

This lecture begins with a central, if often overlooked, turning point in the Civil War--the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Although the concerted efforts of northern Peace Democrats and a palpable war weariness among the electorate made Lincoln's victory uncertain, timely Union victories in Atlanta and Mobile in September of 1864 secured Lincoln's re-election in November. This lecture concludes Professor Blight's section on the war, following Lee and Grant to Appomattox Courthouse, and describing the surrender of Confederate forces. The nature of Reconstruction and the future of the South, however, remained open questions in April of 1865. Transcript Lecture Page

48 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 20 - Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic

Lecture 19 - To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings

Professor Blight uses Herman Melville's poem "On the Slain Collegians" to introduce the horrifying slaughter of 1864. The architect of the strategy that would eventually lead to Union victory, but at a staggering human cost, was Ulysses S. Grant, brought East to assume control of all Union armies in 1864. Professor Blight narrates the campaigns of 1864, including the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, and the siege of Petersburg. While Robert E. Lee battled Grant to a stalemate in Virginia, however, William Tecumseh Sherman's Union forces took Atlanta before beginning their March to the Sea, destroying Confederate morale and fighting power from the inside. Professor Blight closes his lecture with a description of the first Memorial Day, celebrated by African Americans in Charleston, SC 1865. Transcript Lecture Page

51 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 19 - To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings

Lecture 18 - "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad

This lecture probes the reasons for confederate defeat and union victory. Professor Blight begins with an elucidation of the loss-of-will thesis, which suggests that it was a lack of conviction on the home front that assured confederate defeat, before offering another of other popular explanations for northern victory: industrial capacity, political leadership, military leadership, international diplomacy, a pre-existing political culture, and emancipation. Blight warns, however, that we cannot forget the battlefield, and, to this end, concludes his lecture with a discussion of the decisive Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July of 1863. Transcript Lecture Page

50 MIN2017 AUG 25
Comments
Lecture 18 - "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad