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17.7: Critical Thinking Exercises
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- Why did the Lincoln administration’s policies on reconstruction fail? What did the problems encountered in the southern states teach national leaders as they prepared for postwar reconstruction, or what should have those problems taught national leaders?
- Why do you think that the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States, was necessary when the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil Rights Act addressed the same issue? And why was the Fifteenth Amendment necessary when the right to vote had already been mentioned in the Fourteenth Amendment?
- Sherman’s plan for the Sea Islands was a bold move that failed due to political opposition. Do you believe Sherman was right to create the Sea Island homesteads, or Johnson was right to order the properties returned to their original owners?
- What, if anything, could the federal government have done to make white southerners believe that Regulators were not necessary?
- What, in your opinion, should the federal government have done for the newly freed slaves to help ensure their successful transition to life as free people?
- Many historians have been critical of Ulysses S. Grant’s leadership. Do you agree or disagree with their view? Be sure to consider what challenges and limitations Grant faced as president in making your assessment.