SEVENTH ANNUAL ABBEVILLE INSTITUTE SUMMER SCHOOL
"THE MEANING AND LEGACY OF 'RECONSTRUCTION,'" July 19-24, 2009,
St. Christopher Conference Center, Seabrook Island, South Carolina
Up to the late 1960s, historians tended to view "Reconstruction" (1865-1877) as a dark and tragic era. A defeated region, having undergone scorched earth war, was humiliated, punished, and plundered under military rule and by a Congress that showed contempt for Constitutional restraints. After the 1960s, however, a new historiography appeared, inspired by Marxist style analysis. In this view "Reconstruction" was the high point in America's revolutionary goal of building an egalitarian society. But it failed because of Northern lack of will and Southern violence. Reconstruction was not a tragic era but an egalitarian revolution that did not go far enough.
Though it has become the mainline view, the new historiography has not refuted the older one; it simply dismisses it. The goal of the summer school is to recover what is true in the older historiography as well as to introduce new topics for research and writing.
Clyde Wilson, "Reconstruction: An Overview;" "Reconstruction as a Problem in Statesmanship;" and "The History of Reconstruction and Revolutionary Mythology"
John Devanny, "The Economic Cost of Reconstruction" and "The Human Cost of Reconstruction"
Carey Roberts, "The Unwelcome Result: Determining the Number of Black Deaths due to War and Reconstruction"
Eric Richardson, "What was the Construction in 'Reconstruction'" and "The Victor's Definition of Race: How Radical Reconstruction Divided Southern Society Along the Color Line"
Troy Kickler, "Better than Slavery?: Contraband Camps and Abuses at the Hands of Liberators;" "Definitions of a Good American: The Northern Influence on the First Free Generation of African Americans;" and "More Baptist than Black: A History of Black Baptists in Reconstruction"
David Aiken, “William Gilmore Simms on Reconstruction"
Donald Livingston, "Constitutional Reconstruction: The Fourteenth Amendment" and "Constitutional Reconstruction: Texas v. White"
Jack Trotter, "The Lost Cause Movement and the War Against Leviathan"
Unfortunately, lectures from some of the past Summer Schools are no longer available on-line. However, you can purchase a one-year membership for $25 and get access to the lectures. Alternatively, you can buy the 2004-2008 Summer School Lectures on CD, and the 2003 Summer School Lectures on DVD.
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