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Here are some questions to respond to after reading Chapter 15 in the Foner textbook. You do NOT have to answer all of these and may raise questions or topics of your own. it’s not short answer. at least answer two question.
You will find the reading here, Chapter 15 page 564.
1. Why was Reconstruction necessary?
2. Who were the Radical Republicans and what did they want? Who were the Southern “Redeemers” and what did they want?
3. Do you think it was really possible to create an egalitarian society without racial division in the post-Civil War period? Could government policy actually force people to accept racial equality? Why or why not?
4. Foner and others say that freedom was not enough for African Americans who had been enslaved. They argue that blacks needed more help from the government in order to be equal. People at the time argued about such ideas, with many African Americans themselves entering the debate on one side or the other. Foner implies that if there had been more economic control by the government on behalf of the freed people that Reconstruction would have been more successful. Do you think that land confiscation and redistribution and other economic intervention would have worked? Why or why not?
5. Historians have argued about whether Reconstruction was successful or not, just as people at the time did. Those who say it was a success point out that it was about restoring the defeated Southern states to the Union, guaranteeing the end of slavery, and working out the legal status of the former rebels and the former slaves. They say that all of those things were achieved. Those who say it was a failure argue that the Radical Republican agenda was not fulfilled and that racial equality was not achieved. Based on your reading, was Reconstruction a success or failure? Why?