Reconstruction Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1865 to 1877

Reconstruction Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1865 to 1877

by Donna L. Dickerson
     
 

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As the sole purveyors of news and opinion, Reconstruction-era newspapers bent and spindled American public opinion with little regard for independent journalism and great regard for party politics. In other words, the newspapers of the Reconstruction era served political rather than social needs. The issues facing the nation were momentous, and opinions on how to

Overview

As the sole purveyors of news and opinion, Reconstruction-era newspapers bent and spindled American public opinion with little regard for independent journalism and great regard for party politics. In other words, the newspapers of the Reconstruction era served political rather than social needs. The issues facing the nation were momentous, and opinions on how to deal with the problems were vigorously presented and defended. Using editorials, letters, essays, and news reports that appeared throughout the country's print media, this book reveals how editors, politicians, and other Americans used the press to influence opinion from 1865 to 1877.

Issues such as civil rights, constitutional amendments, a presidential impeachment, Indian wars, immigration, and political corruption dominated the newspapers and gave journalists opportunities to advance their agendas. Each of the 30 chapters of this book introduces an event or issue and includes news articles representing opposing sides of the issue as it affected Americans. Readers can use the introductory essays and primary source documents to understand how newspapers and magazines presented vital events and issues to Americans of the day. This invaluable reference source presents hard-to-find opinions in the words of those who wrote them.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-These collections feature excerpts from contemporary newspapers-opinion pieces, essays, letters, interviews, and poems-in addition to straightforward reporting. Each covers 26 to 30 key events and issues, with 4 to 12 excerpts for each presented in a pro/con format. Each chapter begins with an overview of the issue/event and brief summary of the documents, and concludes with discussion questions. A few black-and-white illustrations are included. Unfortunately, there are no maps or descriptive lists of persons and incidents mentioned. The absence of glossaries or annotations is a crucial omission. While a few difficult and/or unusual terms, archaic spellings, foreign phrases, and numerous allusions are defined, the vast majority are not and will stymie readers, e.g., phrenzy; "So mote it be!"; Volumnia; "a tournament with windmills"; Sylla; "the pas qui conte"; "-ye fustian declaimers for liberty!" Not all the chapters are balanced. Finally, there is little attempt to identify misinformation in the excerpts. Although no other titles use only newspapers, a few focus on primary documents. Brenda Stalcup's Reconstruction (Greenhaven, 1995) uses a similar format and is thoughtful and readable, with pertinent documents, discussion questions, a chronology, an annotated bibliography, and political cartoons. David F. Burg's The American Revolution (2001) and Joe H. Kirchberger's The Civil War and Reconstruction (1990, both Facts On File) contain historical data, detailed chronologies, and short "eyewitness testimony" arranged chronologically, as well as maps and biographies. Any of these books will be more useful to students than these series titles.-Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313320941
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/30/2003
Series:
Debating Historical Issues in the Media of the Time Series
Pages:
452
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

DONNA L.DICKERSON is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Communication at the University of Texas, Tyler.

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