Reconstruction - Study Guide

I.  You should be able to identify and state the significance of the following:

  1. Oliver O. Howard

  2. Andrew Johnson

  3. Alexander Stephens

  4. Charles Sumner

  5. Thaddeus Stevens

  6. William Seward

II.  You should be able to describe and state the historical significance of the following:

  1. Freedmen's Bureau

  2. 10 percent plan

  3. Wade-Davis Bill

  4. "conquered provinces"

  5. moderate/radical republicans

  6. Black Codes

  7. sharecropping

  8. Civil Rights Act

  9. Fourteenth Amendment

  10. "swing around the circle"

  11. Military Reconstruction Act

  12. Fifteenth Amendment

  13. Ex parte Milligan

  14. "radical" regimes

  15. Scalawags

  16. carpetbaggers

  17. Ku Klux Klan

  18. Force Acts

  19. Tenure of Office Act

  20. "Seward's Folly"

III.  Discussion Questions:

  1.   Describe the condition of the South in 1865 as a result of the impact of the Civil War.

  2. Compare and contrast the Reconstruction plans of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. 

  3. Assess the Radical southern governments and their accomplishments. 

  4. Explain the policy and viewpoint which Andrew Johnson appeared to follow in regard to southern governments. Why was his plan not successful? 

  5. Discuss the complications of the election of 1876 and explain the basis on which the outcome was decided. 

  6. Assess the significance of the Fourteenth Amendment, discussing why it was needed, its major provisions, and its long-range impact. 

  7. Discuss the impeachment of Andrew Johnson including the charges against the president, the outcome of the proceedings, and the implications of the outcome for the future.

  8. Identify those processes of presidential Reconstruction policy to which Congress objected.  Why did congressional leaders object?

  9. What role did each of the following play in the congressional assumption of control over Reconstruction policy:  B lack Codes, Southern election of former Confederates, President Johnson's personality and actions?

  10. Why was President Johnson impeached?  Why didn't the Senate convict him of "high crimes and misdemeanors?"  What do you think his conviction in the Senate might have meant for our system of government?

  11. How did freed slaves respond to Reconstruction?  How did freedom affect the economic, social, and political life of former slaves?

  12. Radical Republicans have been both credited with having high ideals and accused of crass partisanship as motives for their Reconstruction policies.  Which argument do you find more persuasive?  Why?

  13. With hindsight, it is sometimes claimed that Reconstruction was a failure.  Why?

  14. Assess the achievements and shortcomings of "radical" regimes in the South.  What did they do that is worth admiring and worth condemning?  What else might they have done to better achieve their goals?

  15. Compare and contrast Lincoln's, Johnson's, and Congress's plans for Reconstruction.  Cite what was included and what was omitted?  Which program do you think was the best?  Why?

  16. There are several examples in American history of rapid reconciliation with the defeated foe.  Why didn't the South receive this sympathetic treatment in Reconstruction?  Who or what do you fault for the "harshness" of Southern Reconstruction?  Why?

  17. Had you been present, would you have been a supporter of President Johnson's plan for Reconstruction, a moderate Republican, or a radical Republican.  Why?

  18. It has been wryly observed that "the North won the Civil War, but the South won Reconstruction."  Interpret this statement and assess it's truth.

  19. The Fourteenth Amendment is commonly referred to as one of the most important additions to the Constitution.  Why?

  20. American Pageant claims that the midterm elections of 1866 were "more crucial than some presidential elections.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?

IIIBailey's online practice quiz may help you.