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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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Before-and-After Photograph of an African-American Union Recruit

This Civil War photograph shows Private Hubbard Pryor, an escaped slave from Georgia, before and after his enlistment in the 44th U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment of African-American soldiers. Congress passed legislation allowing some [...]

A Souvenir Photograph Shows Civil War "Contraband"

This stereograph (an early form of the 3-D image) showing three Union soldiers with "contraband" was produced and sold by the E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. company of New York sometime between 1861 and 1865. "Contraband" was the term used to [...]

"Radical members of the first legislature after the war, South Carolina"

Newly enfranchised African Americans in South Carolina, who heavily outnumbered whites, were able to elect a black majority to the state house of representatives for every session but one during the Reconstruction era. Although whites who opposed [...]

"James Hopkinson's Plantation. Planting Sweet Potatoes"

Early in the Civil War, on November 7, 1861, a fleet of Union gunboats bombarded the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. Confederate planters left hastily, ordering their field hands and house servants to accompany them. Most ignored their [...]

"East shakes hands with West at laying last rail"

The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad is celebrated with a handshake, a bottle of champagne, and the laying of a golden railroad spike in Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10th, 1869. After years of speculation, government backing, corporate [...]

A Catholic Clergyman Defends the Church

As Roman Catholic communities grew larger, more established, and more confident toward the end of the nineteenth century, clergymen such as Rev. Stephen Byrne began to mount a defense of the Church's role in America in response to the activities of [...]

President Lincoln Seeks to Reassure the South After His Election

Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President during a time of national crisis. His election had prompted the secession of South Carolina and six other states, and Federal troops were surrounded at Fort Sumter. In his inaugural address, Lincoln sought [...]

The Gettysburg Address

The battle of Gettysburg, which took place in July, 1863, was the deadliest in the Civil War. After three sweltering days, Union forces were victorious but 51,000 soldiers were dead, wounded, or missing; 28,000 of them were Confederates. In [...]

A Visit from the Ku Klux

After the end of slavery, African Americans, particularly those who attempted to exercise their right to vote, were often the victims of harassment, intimidation, and murder at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was a secret society founded by [...]

Who Fought for the Confederacy?

In this activity students compare and contrast a political cartoon and a letter to the editor from 1862 that describe ordinary soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

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