Reconstructing the South: A Role Play

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This role play asks students to imagine themselves as freed people who wrestle with a number of issues about what they needed to ensure genuine “freedom”: ownership of land—and what the land would be used for; the fate of Confederate leaders; voting rights; self-defense; and conditions placed on the former Confederate states prior to being allowed to return to the Union.

The premise is that the end of the war presented people in the U.S. with a key turning point, that there existed at this moment an opportunity to create a society with much greater equality and justice. The role play is followed by chapter 11 of Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution: An Inquiry into the Civil War and Reconstruction (New Press, 1996) with discussion questions.

Lesson Plan Resources