Hush Essay III: The Civil War and Reconstruction

Reform movements have sought to solve many social problems in American society. In your next essay you will consider the Civil war as a reform movement. Choose three issues from the paired list below to drive your thesis. Your essay must discuss the controversy and the points of view held by each individual concerning the issue and specify how each relates to your thesis. Be sure to include specific historical information to support your position.

Writing Prompt: To what extent was the Civil War a Reform Movement?

Before you begin, consider the following quotes:

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. ... I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free." Abe Lincoln

"His zeal in the cause of freedom was infinitely superior to mine... Mine was as the taper light; his was as the burning sun. I could live for the slave; John Brown could die for him."  Frederick Douglas speaking of John Brown

"When secessionists protested in 1861 that they were acting to preserve traditional rights and values, they were correct. They fought to preserve their constitutional liberties against the perceived Northern threat to overthrow them. The South's concept of republicanism had not changed in three-quarters of a century; the North's had.... The ascension to power of the Republican Party, with its ideology of competitive, egalitarian free-labor capitalism, was a signal to the South that the Northern majority had turned irrevocably towards this frightening, revolutionary future."

"Thousands of women at the War's outset left their homes to take care of dying soldiers. At first, many men were angered by this new role, and felt that it was unlady-like for women to care for naked and enlisted men. As the war raged on, however, and casualties were coming in at ever increasing numbers, demand for women nurses skyrocketed, and even those doctors who protested so loudly against women being in the operating rooms with them had to silence themselves."




Women's roles

Abraham Lincoln

Suspension of Habeas Corpus

Emancipation Proclamation

Jefferson Davis


Presidential Reconstruction

Wades-Davis Bill

Congressional Reconstruction/Radical


Frederick Douglas

Black Codes

Ida B. Wells

Lynch Laws

WEB Dubois

B. T. Washington

Andrew Johnson

Force Act of 1870

Freedmanís Bureau

Plantation Owner

Carpet Bagger




Plessey v. Ferguson

Civil Rights Act 0f 1875

Hirem Revels

Compromise of 1877


Transcontinental Railroad




Paper should be 3-5 pages double spaced. MLA format.

Free Response Question Rubric

Numeric Value












Argument: Clear, well-developed thesis; addresses complexity of question

Thesis is well-developed and clearly focused; acknowledges the complexity of the question itself

Thesis must be consistent and controlled; may not be as focused as in top category

Limited or partially developed thesis which addressed question somewhat

Confused, unsupported, poorly developed thesis

No thesis or an irrelevant one

Critical Thought: Analysis clearly supports thesis and main ideas; discussion of conflicting evidence

In-depth analysis clearly supports thesis and main ideas

Strong analysis in most areas; needs more

More descriptive than analytic; may not discuss entire question

Limited understanding of question; ineffective or inaccurate analysis

Inadequate or inaccurate understanding of question

Evidence: Logical and balanced; displays sophisticated knowledge of subject

Substantial use of evidence throughout

Strong use of evidence, may lack balance

Contains some evidence, needs more

Lacks evidence to support main ideas

Facts not specific, relevant, or accurate

Writing Style: Organization; clarity; mechanical skill

Must be well-organized and well-written; cogent

Clearly organized and written; not exceptional but logical

Acceptable organization and writing

Weak organization and writing

Disorganized and poorly written