Your cart

Your shopping cart is empty.

Subtotal $0.00
Shipping $0.00


Selected and introduced by Scott E. Yenor

Overview & List of Documents

This volume continues the Ashbrook Center’s collection of primary documents covering major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. It is the third of a planned trilogy on the conflict over slavery. Causes of the Civil War and The Civil War will follow. This volume begins with a letter Lincoln penned in the midst of the Civil War, as Union forces retook territory and the U.S. Government had to decide how to deal with freedmen and former slaveholders in the subdued rebel territory. It concludes with Frederick Douglass’ reflections in 1883 on a nation still divided racially—still, as he saw it, half slave and half free. The intervening documents tell the story of the effort to reunite the country while guaranteeing the rights of the freedmen, as well as of the opposition in the South and North that doomed that effort.

  • President Abraham Lincoln to General Nathaniel Banks, August 5, 1863
  • President Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, December 8, 1863
  • Wade-Davis Bill and President Lincoln’s Pocket Veto Proclamation, July 2 and 8, 1864
  • The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, December 18, 1865
  • President Lincoln's Last Public Address, April 11, 1865
  • President Andrew Johnson, Proclamation on Reorganizing Constitutional Government in Mississippi, June 13, 1865
  • Richard Henry Dana, “Grasp of War”, June 21, 1865
  • Black Codes of Mississippi, October - December, 1865
  • President Andrew Johnson, First Annual Address, December 4, 1865
  • Carl Schurz, Report on the Condition of the South, December 19, 1865
  • Frederick Douglass, Reply of the Colored Delegation to the President, February 7, 1866
  • Alexander Stephens, Address Before the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, February 22, 1866
  • An Act to Protect All Persons in the United States in Their Civil Rights, and Furnish the Means of their Vindication, April 9, 1866
  • Congressional Debate on the 14th Amendment, February - May, 1866
  • Charles Sumner, “The One Man Power vs. Congress!”, October 2, 1866
  • Thaddeus Stevens, Speech on Reconstruction, January 3, 1867
  • Reconstruction Acts, March 2 and 23, and July 19, 1867
  • President Andrew Johnson, Veto of the First Reconstruction Act, March 2, 1867
  •  Thaddeus Stevens, “Damages to Loyal Men”, March 19, 1867
  • Democratic and Republican Party Platforms of 1868, May 20, 1868 and July 4, 1868
  • Executive Documents on State of the Freedmen, November 20, 1868
  • The 15th Amendment, February 2, 1870
  • The Enforcement Acts, 1870, 1871
  • President Ulysses S. Grant, Proclamation on Enforcement of the 14th Amendment, May 3, 1871
  • Charlotte Fowler’s Testimony to Sub-Committee on Reconstruction in Spartanburg, South Carolina, July 6, 1871
  • Senator Carl Schurz, “Plea for Amnesty”, January 30, 1872
  • Associate Justices Samuel Miller and Stephen Field, The Slaughterhouse Cases, The United States Supreme Court, April 14, 1873
  • Colfax Massacre Reports, U.S. Senate and the Committee of 70, 1874 and 1875
  • Chief Justice Morrison Waite, United States v. Cruikshank, The United States Supreme Court, March 27, 1876
  • President Rutherford B. Hayes, Inaugural Address, March 5, 1877
  • Frederick Douglass, “The United States Cannot Remain Half-Slave and Half-Free”, April 16, 1883