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Description de l’éditeur
From the "preeminent historian of Reconstruction" (New York Times Book Review), a newly updated edition of the prize-winning classic work on the post-Civil War period which shaped modern America, with a new introduction from the author.
Eric Foner's "masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history" (New Republic) redefined how the post-Civil War period was viewed.
Reconstruction chronicles the way in which Americans—black and white—responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. It addresses the ways in which the emancipated slaves' quest for economic autonomy and equal citizenship shaped the political agenda of Reconstruction; the remodeling of Southern society and the place of planters, merchants, and small farmers within it; the evolution of racial attitudes and patterns of race relations; and the emergence of a national state possessing vastly expanded authority and committed, for a time, to the principle of equal rights for all Americans.
This "smart book of enormous strengths" (Boston Globe) remains the standard work on the wrenching post-Civil War period—an era whose legacy still reverberates in the United States today.
With the Confederacy's defeat, Reconstruction seemed like the dawn of a new era to blacks and progressive whites, but it was not to be. The Panic of 1873 (called "the Great Depression'' until the 1930s) shattered hopes for a modernized and prosperous Southern economy. By 1870 the Ku Klux Klan had entrenched itself in nearly every Southern state, targeting black schools and churches. Many Northern philanthropists vigorously opposed integration; politicos rose to power by playing upon voters' prejudices; patronage, racism and corruption were rampant. Despite its failures, Reconstruction initiated a massive experiment in interracial democracy, and as Foner demonstrates, blacks, far from being passive victims, helped set the political and economic agenda. This invaluable, definitive history re-creates the post-Civil War period as a pivotal drama in which ordinary people get equal billing with politicians and wheelers and dealers. Foner, who teaches at Columbia, is author of Nothing but Freedom and editor of America's Black Past.