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  • Originally published 01/22/2016

    Five myths about Reconstruction

    James W. Loewen

    The United States is entering the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, that period after the Civil War when African Americans briefly enjoyed full civil and political rights. Here are five common fallacies that Americans still tell themselves about this formative period.

  • Originally published 10/27/2015

    What If Reconstruction Hadn’t Failed?

    Annette Gordon-Reed

    The pervasiveness of white-supremacist ideology in academia gave license to Jim Crow efforts for decades after the Civil War.

  • Originally published 09/13/2015

    Ken Burns plans on doing a documentary about Reconstruction by 2020

    Alyssa Rosenberg

    He even knows what the last words of the documentary will be. “They would head, as the poet Langston Hughes wrote, ‘towards the warmth of other suns.’ ” In all the time Burns has been chronicling American history, that dream hasn’t been accomplished. But the journey continues.

  • Originally published 07/03/2015

    The Persistence of Myth in Southern Politics and Life

    Ron Briley

    The notion that the Civil War and Reconstruction were foisted upon a defenseless South by a tyrannical central government retains considerable influence in a Southern ideology of persecution.

  • Originally published 03/29/2015

    Why Reconstruction Matters

    Eric Foner

    The post-Civil War era dealt with many of the same issues we grapple with today.

  • Originally published 07/29/2013

    Henry Louis Gates Jr.: What Was the Colfax Massacre?

    Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    The Roots of White Rage

    Carole Emberton

     In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, white Southerners lashed out with homicidal rage against their former bondsmen. 

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    The Truth Behind '40 Acres and a Mule'

    We've all heard the story of the "40 acres and a mule" promise to former slaves. It's a staple of black history lessons, and it's the name of Spike Lee's film company. The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government's massive confiscation of private property -- some 400,000 acres -- formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves. What most of us haven't heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves....

  • Originally published 01/11/2013

    The Real Origin of America's Gun Culture

    Carole Emberton

    Replica of a Colt 1851 Navy revolver. Credit: Wiki Commons."I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!,” radio host Alex Jones warned British television journalist Piers Morgan on Monday. Leading the charge to have Morgan deported for voicing his opposition to America’s lax gun control laws, which many believe led to the shooting deaths of twenty children and six adults last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Jones attempted to cast Morgan as a modern-day Tory ready to reclaim the United States as Great Britain’s colonial possession. Although Morgan’s Britishness proved an effective prop to Jones’s revolutionary rhetoric, the current debate over gun control owes more to the Civil War Era than the American Revolution.

  • Originally published 10/12/2011

    Welcome Home, General Grant

    Charles Bracelen Flood

    Ulysses S. Grant as president. Credit: Wiki Commons.IThis year of 2011, marking the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, gives us an opportunity to see the difference between history as fact and history as perception.No better example of this exists than the life of Ulysses S. Grant.  He died in 1885; to the end of the nineteenth century, there was one Ulysses S. Grant, based on fact and seen in that light.  During almost all of the twentieth century, he was the subject of various forms of "revisionism."  In recent years he is being restored to his rightful place in our history.

  • Originally published 01/29/2016

    Reconstruction: The Sixth Myth

    Jim Loewen

    This is the Reconstruction myth the Washington Post wouldn't let me debunk on the grounds no one believed it. Then Hillary showed she did!

  • Originally published 07/18/2014

    The Constitutional Havoc of the Income Tax Amendment

    Liberty and Power

    Some days back I offered an interpretation of the motives and political economy behind the adoption of the 16th Amendment, noting at the time that it also caused extreme constitutional havoc by altering the relationship between the tariff system and the generation of federal tax revenue. While it is certainly possible to read this as a statement of political aversion to the modern income tax system, my characterization was actually an intended reference to certain very specific constitutional consequences of the income tax amendment that actually have little to do with any personal preferences regarding the validity of progressive income taxation.