thesis on “The New View of Reconstruction” thesis written by Eric Foner
The thesis “The New View of Reconstruction”, Eric Foner reviews the constantly changing view on the subject of the Reconstruction. The postwar Reconstruction period has been viewed in many different lights throughout history but one fact remains true, that it was one of the most “violent, dramatic and controversial” times in US’s history (224). In the beginning of his thesis, Eric Foner talks about the way the Reconstruction was though as before the 1960 as a period of intense, corruption and manipulation of the freedman. After mentioning the old way of thinking before the 1960’s, Eric Foner reveals the reason for this train of thought, the ignored testimonials of the black freedman.
People attending schools before 1960’s were learning about certain “unscrupulous carpetbaggers”, “traitorous scalawags”, and the “Radical Republicans”(223).
According to the historians before the event of 1960’s revision, these people are the reason that the “white community of South banded together to overthrow these “black” governments and restore home rule”(223). While this might have been true if it was not for the fact that the “carpetbaggers were former Union soldiers”, “Scalawags emerged as “Old Line” Whig Unionists”(227). Eric Foner wrote the lines in his thesis “The New View of Reconstruction” to show us how completely of target the historians before the 1960’s revision were in their beliefs.
I agree with the Eric Foner’s belief that the Reconstruction was not extreme enough to accomplish what was originally proposed by President Lincoln, complete emancipation of all slaves, complete racial equality, and forty acres and a mule. Instead what happened was that the ex-slaves became tangled in a some sort of no-mans land were they were not slaves anymore but could not be considered really free since the freedman did not receive the “American ideal of equal citizenship”(232). Only after all the movements since the 1960’s did the African-Americans started climbing up the ladder to full equality.