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"The Southern View of the Reconstruction Bill," Harper's Weekly Magazine, March 23, 1867.

Legislative Iconic image, U.S. Capitol, 2008

In this lengthy and heated editorial, the Harper's Weekly writer in New York addresses the furious reaction in the Southern press to the passing through the United States Congress of the Reconstruction Act, which placed the defeated South under federal military jurisdiction for the immediate future and set out conditions for a peaceful return to the full benefits and representation within the Union.  Mincing few words, the piece decries newspapers such as the Richmond Times for their evocation of an emerging rhetoric of "the Lost Cause" as "absurd melodrama," stating that this "cause" was a simply a self-serving rebellion against its lawful government in order to preserve the abomination of slavery.  Once the election of Abraham Lincoln made it clear the South could no longer dominate that government, they chose secession. Conceding that the Confederacy fought bravely and that should be honored, the writer states witheringly that this does not excuse treason, the maintenance of human bondage, nor the atrocities of Andersonville and hints that military reconstruction was a mild consequence of these actions and the South should be grateful for the speedy opportunity to rejoin the United States.  (By John Osborne)

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How to Cite This Page: ""The Southern View of the Reconstruction Bill," Harper's Weekly Magazine, March 23, 1867.," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/47739.