In this post for H-CivWar’s Authors’ Blog, David Prior explores the meanings of the term reconstruction during the secession crisis. He asks: has the term always had two valences, one conservative, the other transformative?
One of the goals of my current research is exploring how the term reconstruction became a name for the postbellum, post-abolition moment in the United States. It is a more perplexing and important topic than it may first seem. Scholarly disagreement about the nature of America’s Reconstruction goes beyond the ironic questioning of inherited wisdom. Even as the