Reconstruction's First Election: Various Interpretations of the Lasting Significance of a Grant Victory
This paper was completed during the Spring of 2018 for my ASI 120 course. The assignment was a multi-phased historiography paper centering around the topic of Reconstruction. To begin preparing for the writing of the historiography and to gain a better understanding of the historical context and political unrest surrounding the task of Reconstruction, I read Eric Foner’s A Short History of Reconstruction. Foner’s book provided me with the knowledge to begin writing my topic proposal and introduced me to the influential event of the Election of 1868. I was interested in exploring the consequences and effects of the Election of 1868 as I felt (and feel) that they still have relevance today pertaining to issues of continued racism—which necessitates movements such as Black Lives Matter in current culture. With this first phase complete, I next gathered scholarly sources that represented a range of varying interpretations and views related to the Election of 1868 and its societal significance. In combing through sources, consistent groupings of interpretation began to emerge and designated how attitudes surrounding the event of the Election of 1868 were shaped by the passage of time and the changing social environment. This leads to the next phase of the historiography assignment in which I wrote an annotated bibliography which summarized the opinions of these various historians and reflected the distinct groupings of interpretation. The historiography assignment culminated in a final paper in which the completed annotated bibliography served as the backbone of the paper’s structure. We were also tasked with selecting the grouping of interpretation that we felt to be most compelling and presented the strongest argument. Upon completion of this draft of the historiography paper, I then had my paper reviewed by Core Write Place consultants, fellow Core students, and my professor, Dr. William Trollinger. After the editing process, I submitted my final paper which examined the Election of 1868 through a historiographical lens.
Editor's note: For this paper, the author received the Barbara Farrelly Award for Best Writing of the Issue ($200 prize).
The Barbara Farrelly Award for Best Writing of the Issue
Stanforth, Shannon M.
"Reconstruction's First Election: Various Interpretations of the Lasting Significance of a Grant Victory,"
Line by Line: A Journal of Beginning Student Writing: Vol. 5:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/lxl/vol5/iss2/6
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