• Reconstruction: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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    Reconstruction: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The American Civil War ended in 1865. And a new conflict immediately began. The North won the first war. The South won the second. To truly understand American history, one needs to understand how this happened, and why. The years immediately following the end of the Civil War—1865 to 1877—are known in American history as “Reconstruction.” What should have been a glorious chapter in America’s story—the full integration of 3.9 million freed slaves—instead became a shameful one. It began with the assassination of Republican president Abraham Lincoln. One week after the Civil War effectively ended, the one man with the political savvy and shrewdness to have guided Reconstruction was gone.…

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    Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22

    Episode 21: Reconstruction Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. History and huzzah! The Civil War is over! The slaves are free! Huzzah! That one hit me in the head? It’s very dangerous, Crash Course. So when you say, “Don’t aim at a person,” that includes myself? The roller coaster only goes up from here, my friends. Huzzah! Mr. Green, Mr. Green, what about the epic failure of Reconstruction? Oh, right. Stupid Reconstruction always ruining everything intro So after the Civil War ended, the United States had to reintegrate both a formerly slave population and a formerly rebellious population back into the country, which is a challenge that…

  • MOOC | The Fourteenth Amendment | The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1865-1890 | 3.4.1
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    MOOC | The Fourteenth Amendment | The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1865-1890 | 3.4.1

    >>In the spring of 1866, as we saw, an impasse had developed between the Republican majority in Congress and President Andrew Johnson over Reconstruction. And the impasse sort of increased the desire of many Republicans to put into the Constitution their understanding of the consequences of the Civil War — beyond the abolition of slavery, which had already been put into the Constitution — and to make that settlement, you know, beyond the ups and downs of Congressional majorities. The Civil Rights Bill had been passed, but it could be repealed by the next Congress. A piece of legislation is not nearly as permanent as a Constitutional amendment. And all…

  • Kurt Lash: Reconstructing First Principles [NSS 2018]
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    Kurt Lash: Reconstructing First Principles [NSS 2018]

    Federalism, in one sense, was dramatically impacted by the Fourteenth Amendment by expanding the scope of the Bill of Rights and applying those rights against the states. But in another sense, federalism, the basic constitutional structure which declares that the federal government has only limited enumerated power, that principle was not changed by the Fourteenth Amendment. In fact, it was because the drafters and the ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment continued to embrace the principles of federalism and the idea of limited federal power that convinced them to pass an amendment in the first place. Some radical Republicans in 1866 insisted that no amendment was necessary at all. They had…

  • MOOC | Sections of the Fourteenth Amendment | The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1865-1890 | 3.4.2
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    MOOC | Sections of the Fourteenth Amendment | The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1865-1890 | 3.4.2

    >>Alright. Let’s move up to [Section] 4. “The validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned.” That’s very interesting. There’s no jurisprudence about this, but it became an issue last year when Congress, it seemed, was not going to what they call “increase the debt limit,” and the United States was going to default on its public debt if that didn’t happen. And there were some people who said President Obama can use this clause of the 14th Amendment to unilaterally increase the debt limit, because otherwise, the validity of the public debt will be compromised, and the Constitution forbids that. It didn’t come to that.…

  • 22. Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President
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    22. Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

    Professor David Blight: I was in a meeting some months ago of the New York Historical Society’s Board of Trustees; august, wonderful group of people. That’s about thirty-five very rich New Yorkers and two token historians, and I’m one of the token historians. They have us there for window dressing, and other good and useful and noble purposes. And during a discussion of a subject I won’t even go into, one of the very intelligent and very dedicated members of that board–and I’m not being ironic–said that he really wished American history could be about “people of goodwill.” He wished American history wasn’t so full of conflict. In effect, he…

  • MOOC | Impeachment and the Fifteenth Amendment | The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1865-1890 | 3.4.7
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    MOOC | Impeachment and the Fifteenth Amendment | The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1865-1890 | 3.4.7

    >>Now one of the oddities of the Reconstruction Act of 1867 is that it puts the implementation of Reconstruction into the hands of the military. And who is the commander-in-chief of the military? Andrew Johnson, who is completely opposed to this policy and vows to obstruct it in every way he can. So that’s kind of strange. Now, Congress tries to work around this. They pass a law saying that all military orders must be issued through the general-in-chief of the army. That’s Ulysses S. Grant. Grant, by the way, was a pretty shrewd political actor, although a lot of people don’t realize it. He had been cooperative with Johnson…