The term Reconstruction should convey images of rebuilding Southern buildings, cities, infrastructure, farms, lives, families, and society. In one sense, it did embody those goals. However, in another sense, something else was taking place on a deeper level – a long-standing rivalry between North and South that had not ended just because the cannons had ceased to fire. For a brief decade, the American political scene came to resemble a chess game wherein political figure used Reconstruction and former slaves as pawns in a larger game of dominance. Though the war was over, political battles raged on over the fate of former slaves and Southern culture. This Primary Source Analysis examines historical documents that bring to light the truth about what motivated Reconstruction. Was it About Helping Former Slaves or Was it About Hurting Political Enemies? Examine the evidence and you decide.
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