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It is said the South will never submit — that we cannot conquer the rebels — that they will suffer themselves to be slaughtered, and their whole country to be laid waste. Sir, war is a grievous thing at best, and civil war more than any other ; but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested must be resorted to ; if their whole country must be laid waste and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I would rather, Sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country is to be re-peopled by a band of freemen… Thaddeus Stevens

 

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A grand allegory of the reconciliation of North and South through the federal program of Reconstruction. Visionary in its breadth and scale, the work is a remarkable combination of religious and patriotic ideology. In “Bateman’s National Picture” (as the print is termed in a published key) the government is represented as a colossal pavilion-like structure. It has a broad, flattened dome or canopy, on which is drawn a map of the United States, with a shallow drum with a frieze showing the Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, and cabinet. The drum is supported by two systems of slender columns–the straight, outer ones representing the state governments, and the curved inner ones the people. Atop the dome is an eagle with flag and shield. The structure is literally undergoing “reconstruction.” The bases of the columns of the former Confederate states are being replaced with new ones. The old bases are called “Foundations of Slavery.” The new ones represent Justice, Liberty, and Education. Under the watchful supervision of the military, civilians carry the new columns and put them into place. The scene is teeming with other symbols and figures. The sky is filled with a multitude of faces–American statesman, public figures, and other historical characters (among others, Joan of Arc and John Milton). Daniel Webster and John Calhoun are prominently featured. The aerial host surrounds the figure of Christ, who says, “Do to other as you would have them do to you.” Flanking the group are Justice (left) and Liberty (right). Below, beneath the canopy, representatives of the North are reconciled with their Southern counterparts. Union generals Benjamin Butler and Ulysses S. Grant clasp hands with Confederates P. T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee, respectively, and Horace Greeley embraces Jefferson Davis. Below in a small vignette two infants–one black and one white–lie sleeping in their baskets. Above them flies an eagle with a streamer reading “”All men are born free and equal.”

The South as it is : 1865-1866 John Richard Dennett ; edited and with a new introduction by Caroline E. Janney Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, c 2010 Softcover. xiii, 381 p. ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG

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A puzzling caricature, probably dealing with Reconstruction under Andrew Johnson’s administration. The work is quite crudely drawn. An acrobat, with mustache and sideburns and wearing a jester’s cap, holds in each hand a mask, one grinning and one frowning. His legs stretch from the head of Pennsylvania congressman Thaddeus Stevens, who holds a paper labeled “Committee of 15” and is seated on a black man, who crawls on all fours, to the head of an unidentified man (probably Johnson) who holds the U.S. Constitution. The latter’s back is turned to the viewer and several geese, some alive and some dead, appear at his feet. Stevens, an abolitionist, was one of the most prominent members of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, composed of fifteen members of Congress. The fool remarks, “As yet, I have found no difficulty in standing upon my own platform.”

This classic report originally appeared as a series of articles in the Nation between July 8, 1865, and April 11, 1866. Dennett traveled in seven states — Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi — at the very beginning of Reconstruction. His remarkably prophetic account of the recently defeated South is a major source for the history of this transition.

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Two illustrations showing: Slave being sold as punishment for crime, before Emancipation Proclamation; and African-American being whipped as punishment for crime in 1866.

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Views in Fredericksburg, Va., showing destruction of houses by bombardment
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Ruins of Petersburg and Richmond railroad bridge, across the James

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Ruins in Charleston, South Carolina

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 Photograph shows a view of damaged buildings along Carey Street in Richmond, Virginia, with several men standing in the middle distance in front of a heavily damaged building, and a sign further up the street shows “CTURED …CCO”; a telegraph pole and a street lamp are on the right and piles of debris line both sides of the street.

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 Railroad yard ruins, Richmond, Va.

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 Ruins of Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia
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View in the “Burnt District,” Richmond, Va., showing two women dressed in black approaching shell of four-story building, gutted by fire

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 Ruins of Gallego Mills, Richmond, Va.

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 Photograph shows ruins of Circular Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

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  Illustration showing a group of men seated on the remains of the railroad station after its destruction.

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Cartoon showing man with belt buckle “CSA” holding a knife “the lost cause,” a stereotyped Irishman holding club “a vote,” and another man wearing a button “5 Avenue” and holding wallet “capital for votes,” with their feet on an African American soldier sprawled on the ground. In the background, a “colored orphan asylum” and a “southern school” are in flames; African American children have been lynched near the burning buildings.

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 Richmond ladies going to receive government rations. One woman saying to another, “Don’t you think that Yankee must feel like shrinking into his boots before such high-toned Southern ladies as we!,” as they walk by Union soldier and ruins of Richmond.

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