nl en

After the Civil War: Reconstruction and the New South, 1865-1914


Admission requirements

(Voor Geschiedenis studenten): BSA norm en beide propedeuse Themacolleges behaald.


This course examines the aftermath of the American Civil War in the southern states. It focuses on the period of Reconstruction (1865-1877) and the period of the “New South” (1878-1914). During the first period the Republican Party attempted to impose conditions on the defeated Confederates and to protect the safety and civil rights of the freedmen (ex-slaves). After analyzing the failure of this attempt to shape a democratic South in which blacks had equal rights, we examine how southern whites built a system of racial segregation that rested upon depriving blacks of the right to vote. The course also examines how blacks sought land, education, and control of their own churches as they responded to the challenge of freedom, and how, after 1890, they adapted to a “New South” that denied them basic rights and blocked opportunities for advancement. The course offers insight into race relations and illuminates how Reconstruction affected the course of American politics, not only southern politics, from 1865 to the present.

Course objectives

To gain an understanding of the historiographical problems of Reconstruction and the development of the southern states after the American Civil War through discussion, reading of secondary literature, and study of primary sources. The development of research and writing skills through a study of relevant literature on a chosen topic. The development of presentational skills by means of an oral report.


See here.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Long essay of about 5.000 words (75%)

  • Seminar presentation (25%)


Yes. Gives access to syllabus, bibliography, documentary sources, and additional texts.

Reading list

Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow


via uSis.

Contact information

E-mail: Dhr M.L. de Vries