Reconstruction Era (1865-1877)

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“The Exodus to Kensas”, article by The Charleston Courier, Tri-Weekly (1859)


This source is a newspaper in The Charleston Courier, Tri-Weekly, written on June 2nd, 1859 by an unknown author. The audience is to the people who believe moving north, or westward in spite of the Kansas Exodus is the best idea. The key points of this source are that within 10 days 20,000 men had moved in area around Kansas, and it’s becoming crowded. People will feel the hardships of the “digging life” and then wish they never moved. The author then argues that “gold is to be had by working for it”. As a result, this relates to my theme because I will prove how the Kansas Exodus concluded by overcrowding and African Americans regretting moving because the work did not last in economic prosper. In hope for better opportunity, the Kansas Exodus became denounced by white landowner who wanted to keep African Americans tied to their lands, which increased the economic gap and standard of living.


“Cropping the Mississippi” article by Prospero (1877)

This source is an article written by “Prospero” on September 11th, 1877 in Stormville, Bolivar County, Mississippi. The audience is stated as the “numerous readers” of the Georgia Weekly, which the purpose of this source is to imply why sharecropping is crucial to the reconstruction of the south after the Civil War has costed the south insurmountable debt. The main issues of Prospero are the “Big Deer Creek” where he lives in Mississippi- which allows hundreds of acres of arable land and that the southerners must take advantage of through sharecropping. If share cropping succeeds in Prospero’s perspective, Big Deer Creek can maximize profits in farming. This connects to my source’s theme because this shows the ongoing efforts in the south to tie African Americans to the land of white people where they cannot economically grow themselves. “Opportunities to maximize profits” in only a viable scenario for the white southerners who allow sharecropping on their land- which accumulates to the economic inequality in the south. 

Henry Grady and the “New South” 

Henry W. Grady, the “Spokesman of the New South,” served as managing editor for the Atlanta Constitution in the 1880s. He was also a member of the Atlanta Ring of Democratic Political Leaders, where Grady used his office and influence to promote a “New South” program which implied investment from northern states, increase in southern industrial growth, and diversified farming. At this point in time, America was facing reconstruction of the south, post-civil war, and the south was in shambles as far as infrastructure and resources looked. The New South promised prosperity of industrial expansion among all cultural diversification in the south. However, in hindsight, the “New South” ideology was a failure as one historian wrote: “[the New South] a miserable landscape dotted only by a few rich enclaves that cast little or no light upon the poverty surrounding them”. This ideology that was implemented as a strategy to refine the south failed, and as a the economic inequalities between the south and the north were accelerated.