Discussion Questions – Unit 5: Civil War and Reconstruction 1. Discuss the respective virtues and failings of Lincoln and Davis as war leaders. How important was this match up to the outcome of the war? 2. It is often assumed that the South had the better military leadership. Might it be argued that the South enjoyed superior military leadership in the East, at least until 1864, but that the North had consistently better leadership in the West? 3. Consider the impact of the draft riots on black citizens in the North. During the New York riots, blacks were beaten and lynched, many homes were destroyed, and the mob burned a black orphanage. Given this and the general racism in the North, is the willingness of blacks to fight for the North surprising? In not, why not? 4. Discuss the impact of technology on the Civil War. Why did generals on both sides fail to adapt quickly? To what extent did this contribute to the massive loss of life on both sides? 5. Why did sectional hostilities abate as quickly as they did? What factors led to the reconciliation between the sections? 6. In evaluating the corruption of Reconstruction governments in the South, it might be useful to compare them not only to urban machines in the North but to the conservative governments that replaced “black Republican” rule. 7. How radical, in economic and political terms, were the Radical Republicans? 8. Why was there no significant redistribution of land in the South after the Civil War? 9. Andrew Johnson’s impeachment was purely political in nature, a bold move to consolidate power in the legislative branch. To what extent is this statement true? 10. The Old South was changing dramatically on the surface, but it was not necessarily overall change. Assess the validity of this statement with respect to the years 1865-1877.