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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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

We found 148 items that match your search

A Plantation Mistress Decries a "Monstrous System"

Mary Boykin Chestnut was the wife of a wealthy South Carolina planter who kept a diary during the Civil War. Published long after the war, the diary included many insightful and pointed criticisms of slavery, such as this passage, in which she calls [...]

Union Soldiers Condemn Slavery

Although the attitudes of many white Union soldiers toward slavery and emancipation ranged from indifference to outright racial hostility, others viewed the issue as central to their participation in the war. The following quotations, taken from [...]

Virginia Freedmen Resolve to Be "Efficient Citizens of these United States"

After emancipation, former slaves throughout the South articulated their hopes and expectations for full citizenship. In this letter to the newly created Freedmen's Bureau, a group of African-Americans in Virginia list the economic and social needs [...]

Freedpeople Describe the Meanings of Freedom

At the end of the Civil War, Northern officials were not yet sure what exactly freedom would entail for the millions of freedpeople in the South. The following first-person accounts by former slaves and free blacks describe their expectations, [...]

The Stride of a Century

In 1876. the United States marked its centennial (or one hundredth birthday) with a World's Fair held in Philadelpha. The fair celebrated American technological progress and expansion. In this print, created by Currier & Ives, "Brother Jonathan" (a [...]

Across the Continent: 'Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way'

From 1835 to 1907, the Currier & Ives printmaking company produced over a million lithograph illustrations of events, portraits, and scenes from American life. In the era before photography and the widespread use of illustrations in newspapers, [...]

"Union Pacific Announces the Opening of the Transcontinental Railroad"

An 1869 poster announces the grand opening of the first Transcontinental Railroad. In an elaborate ceremony in Promontory Summit, Utah, the Union Pacific met with the Southern Pacific, linking the eastern United States with California for the first [...]

"American Progress"

During the nineteenth century, the U.S. greatly expanded its territory by purchasing land from other countries, taking land from countries it defeated in war, and adding independent territories that wanted to become part of the United States. This [...]

Lincoln in Richmond

This ink-and-wash drawing depicts Lincoln's dramatic entry into Richmond, Virginia on April 4, 1865, only a day after it had fallen to Union troops in the last major battle of the Civil War. The President and his son Tad made the short journey from [...]

"Colored Citizens, To Arms!"

This 1864 poster was used to recruit African-American soldiers for the 20th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment based in New York state. The poster offers the lure of an up-front payment of $375 plus an additional $10 for anyone [...]

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