Ric Foner A short history of reconstructionChapers 1-4

In the first four chapters of A Short History of Reconstruction, Eric Foner explores the conditions and the challenges any attempted post-Civil War reconstruction would face. In this homework activity please write a short essay, 300-500 words, that explains why you think Foner wants us to begin our study of Reconstruction and with the problems, challenges, hopes and dreams of all those who entered into the process , rather than, for example, simply beginning the story in the summer of 1865.

In this essay, as part of answering this question of a?why,a please summarize what youave learned from reading Foneras book about what kinds of ideas about freedom, contract, land, race and politics were competing for dominance in the 1860s, and then, in turn, why it matters to an understanding of Reconstruction itself.

Finally, pay some attention to evidence. How does Foner know what he knows, what he writes, about idealized conditions in the US in the 1860s? Is his evidence convincing? Why or why not