The chaotic years after the Civil War are often seen as a time of uniquely American idealism—a revolutionary attempt to rebuild the nation that paved the way for the civil rights movement of the twentieth century. But Adam Fairclough rejects this prevailing view, challenging prominent historians such as Eric Foner and James McPherson. He argues that Reconstruction was, quite simply, a disaster and that the civil rights movement triumphed despite it, not because of it.
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