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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877) (x)

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A Southern Planter Argues that "the Negro Will Not Work"

After the Civil War Confederate leaders and planters argued that their lands, taken (confiscated) by the Union army or abandoned during the war, should be returned to them. Those who wanted freedmen to take over and farm the lands pointed to the [...]

Thaddeus Stevens Calls for Redistribution of Confederate Land

On January 6, 1865, General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order #15, which gave millions of acres of land along the Atlantic coast to emancipated slaves, in lots of not more than 40 acres per family. In March 1865, Representative Thaddeus [...]

Southern Democrats Declare "a Dead Radical Is Very Harmless"

In 1876, using the Mississippi Plan as their model, the Democratic Party in South Carolina organized a chilling campaign of violence to steal the election for governor. Their strategy, excerpted below, succeeded with the election of former [...]

List of Murdered and Wounded Freedmen, 1868

Led by the self-styled “best men” of the South—planters, generals, lawyers and doctors—terrorist organizations like the White League and the Ku Klux Klan and paramilitary groups organized with the Democratic Party, led a [...]

Freedmen Defend Their School Against a Mob

The majority of schools for freedmen were established and run by freedmen, not by Northern reformers. Despite great logistical challenges—a scattered population, few resources to draw upon—Freedmen’s Bureau agents reported that emancipated [...]

A Native American Chief Explains the Source of Indian-Settler Conflict

Red Cloud, an Oglala Lakota chief, led a two year war against white settlers and railroad outposts between 1866 and 1868. Red Cloud's War, sometimes called the Powder River War, took place in parts of the Wyoming and Montana territories that were [...]

Federal Agents Offer Solutions for "Solving the Sioux Problem"

Native American warriors in the 19th century attacked the various people and institutions that threatened their way of life on the Great Plains. As these reports from various federal agents, including the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and General [...]

Native American Warriors Describe the Threats to their Way of Life

Native American warriors in the 19th century attacked the various people and institutions that threatened their way of life on the Great Plains. In these speeches to federal agents during the Indian Wars of the 1860s, Indian leaders attempt to [...]

Women Appeal for a Suffrage Amendment

Suffrage activists were disappointed that the 15th Amendment did not explicitly protect women’s right to vote. Susan B. Anthony and others formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, based in Washington, D.C., to pressure Congress to pass an [...]

Women Appeal for a Suffrage Amendment (with text supports)

Suffrage activists were disappointed that the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not include women’s right to vote. Susan B. Anthony and others formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), based in Washington, D.C., to pressure [...]

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