Reviews for Reconstruction Essay
Lorendiac chapter 1 . 9/18/2006
Most of this material looked very familiar from my memories of my own American History classes, way back when! But in the name of constructive criticism, I'll just point out a couple of places where I think the meaning was unclear or inaccurate.

* One of the major goals of the K was to stifle political African Americans. *

It's not entirely clear what you mean when you say "political African Americans." I would suggest saying: "One of the major goals of the K was to stifle any significant participation by African-Americans in the political process."

* Along with this, Southern states implemented a Grandfather Clause, which stated that if one's grandfather could vote, then that person could vote. This stopped former slaves from voting because none of their grandparents could vote. Also, states allowed whites certain exceptions, such as if their grandfather could vote, then they would not have to pay the poll tax. Thus, poor whites were able to vote while blacks were not. *

I've heard about the "grandfather clauses" in the context of poll taxes (paying a fee before you could vote) and literacy tests (proving you could read something to an examiner's satisfaction before you could vote). The idea was that white men whose grandfathers had voted were allowed to get waivers and not have to pay a poll tax or pass a literacy test.

But what you also *seem* to be saying in this passage is that some of the Southern states had laws after the Civil War that simply said, "If your grandfather wasn't eligible to vote in this state, then we hereby declare that you don't get to vote in this state either. Period! No matter if you pay a poll tax; no matter if you pass a literacy test; you just don't get to vote!"

As far as I know, *that* never actually happened. I checked a couple of online references and they agree with me that the "grandfather clauses" of that era were used to provide a filter that made it much easier for a poor white Southerner to vote than a poor black Southerner (and I've heard that whites and blacks were sometimes judged very differently in the literacy testing, too), but that seems to have been as far as it went.