The Legacy Of Reconstruction And Reconstruction Essay

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“In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it is perhaps not surprising that historians turned renewed attention to home-grown American terrorism. Recent books on Reconstruction…have infused their subjects with drama by focusing on violent confrontations,” Eric Foner notes in the introduction of the updated edition to his 1988 publication Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. Up until now, Foner’s revisionist historiography of Reconstruction was the only alternative offered to the Dunning School’s account of the important historical era. In recent years a neo-revisionist interpretation of Reconstruction has emerged in works by a younger generation of historians such as Gregory Downs, Carole Emberton, Hannah Rosen, Megan Kate Nelson and Jim downs. This new scholarship pays close attention to violence, the body, language, and gender—how these important themes directly relate to power, struggle, and political status of freedpeople in the postbellum nation—and either rethink or are completely uninterested in Foner’s revisionist narrative of Reconstruction. Scholarly studies of Emancipation and Reconstruction began in the early twentieth century with the William Dunning School of scholars. William Dunning, John Burgess, and their students developed ideas that are still relevant to historians today—such as, slavery was the underlying catalyst for the civil war and Reconstruction politics were shaped, in part, by region and class
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