Reconstruction. There is no part of American history in which what is taught these days is more distorted by false assumptions and assertions. For leftists, Reconstruction can be celebrated as a high point of revolutionary change and egalitarian forward thrust in American history. This interpretation is untrue in the terms in which they portray it, but that is the dominant, indeed only mainstream view today. This is the part of American history, then, that is most in need of honest understanding. You will be getting a lot of that this week. In fact, the scholars gathered here have things to teach about Reconstruction, both old things and new things, that cannot be heard anywhere else in the whole vast apparatus of American education.
First, the term “Reconstruction.” It does not refer to rebuilding.
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