Writting essay for American History 1A


WRITING ASSIGNMENT 1A: Reconstruction.  

President Lincoln’s goal for reconstruction remained linked to his goal in the war-preserve the Union. His plan favored leniency, in order to as quickly as possible reintegrate the south, and gain the support of Southern Unionists (mostly former Whigs). Radical Republicans urged a much harsher course, believing that the south was unrepentant and should bear the costs of Reconstruction.


In order to prepare you must complete the following readings:

  • Review the section in Chapter 17 which discusses the Black Codes, and the linked document, taken from the writings of  William A. Dunning .
  • Review the relevant sections of Chapter 18: The Southern Burden and Life in the New South.
  • Review and identify relevant information on the linked PBS American Experience site, Reconstruction The Second Civil War 
  • https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/reconstruction
  • Utilize at least one of the linked sources to support your discussion.
  • Identify and incorporate at least one additional outside source to support your discussion. In addition to the textbook, you may use any material outside of the textbook
  • that is recommended in the Additional Reading section at the end of each chapter. You are also encouraged to do your own research and identify relevant sources. Please keep in mind that WIKIPEDIA is not an acceptable reference.


Write a well-organized essay, a minimum of 700 words (but not limited to), including supporting details from the documents/textbook/other sources in which you analyze and discuss the material that has been assigned by addressing the following question:

  1. In your opinion, were the Radical Republicans correct in their assumptions regarding the South, or could Lincoln’s approach have paved the way for a continuation of the political, social, and economic gains that African Americans had achieved during reconstruction? Support your argument(s) including information from assigned and linked readings


Use Microsoft WORD to write the essays. The acceptable submission file types are , x, and .rtf.

  • Prepare the assignment as a Word Document, double-spaced, and using a standard font of 12 points.
  • Paragraphs in an essay are not numbered. Any questions that are associated with an assigned reading are there to serve as a guide for your discussion.
  • Your discussion should incorporate all of the information from the documents and or textbook, and outside sources as one essay.
  • Students are required to research and incorporate into their discussions additional sources that relate to the content. Recommendations can be found in at the end of the textbook chapter in Additional Reading.
  • All statements must be supported and all sources must be identified and cited, and included in your reference list. This also applies to the textbook. Failure to do so constitutes Plagiarism, and the college has strict policies and penalties for failure to comply. Under the Resources, you will find links to sites that review how to format a paper or essay. I recommend that students use APA or Chicago Style to format their essays. Students should ask their instructor which format style they prefer you to use.
  • Proofread your work. Make sure that you have looked for all of the spelling and grammatical errors and corrected them, and that you have organized your work into coherent paragraphs.
  • Submit via the Dropbox as an ATTACHMENT. Any work that is submitted directly into the box will be graded as a 0.
  • Point Value: 100

    Grading Criteria:

    • Analysis and discussion (60%)
    • Support for discussion (30%)
    • Organization (10%)

    Reminder: All written work must comply with standard English rules, such as proper capitalization, grammar, and spelling. The assignment must be submitted by the deadline listed in the calendar.

    Note: Even though you will see a statement giving you the option of copy/paste or file attachment, please disregard this statement. You are required to attach the assignment in MS Word format.

    Links have been provided to various sites that offer guidance for essay writing, and APA format. This information is located in the “Student Writing Resources Folder” under the “Course Content” menu option,

    WilliamA. Dunning

    To a distrustful northern mind such legislation could very easily take the form of a

    systematic attempt to relegate the freedmen to a subjection only less complete than

    that from which the war had set them free. The radicals sounded a shrill note of

    alarm. “We tell the white men of Mississippi,” said the Chicago Tribune, “that the

    men of the North will convert the state of Mississippi into a frog-pond before they

    will allow any such laws to disgrace one foot of soil over which the flag of

    freedom waves.” In Congress, Wilson, Sumner, and other extremists took up the

    cry, and with superfluous ingenuity distorted the spirit and purpose of both the

    laws and the law-makers of the South. The “black codes” were represented to be

    the expression of a deliberate purpose by the southerners to nullify the result of the

    war and reestablish slavery, and this impression gained wide prevalence in the


    Yet, as a matter of fact, this legislation, far from embodying any spirit of

    defiance towards the North or any purpose to evade the conditions which the

    victors had imposed, was in the main a conscientious and straightforward attempt

    to bring some sort of order out of the social and economic chaos which a full

    acceptance of the results of war and emancipation involved. In its general principle

    it corresponded very closely to the actual facts of the situation. The freedmen were

    not, and in the nature of the case could not for generations be, on the same social,

    moral, and intellectual plane with the whites; and this fact was recognized by

    constituting them a separate class in the civil order. As in general principles, so in

    details, the legislation was faithful on the whole to the actual conditions with

    which it had to deal. The restrictions in respect to bearing arms, testifying in court,

    and keeping labor contracts were justified by well-established traits and habits of

    the negroes; and the vagrancy laws dealt with problems of destitution, idleness,

    and vice of which no one not in the midst of them could appreciate the appalling

    magnitude and complexity.

    William A. Dunning, Reconstruction: Political and Economic, 1865-1877 (1907;
    reprint, New York: Harper & Row [Harper Torchbooks], 1962), pp. 57-58.

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