So many of the issues at the heart of the Reconstruction era are also central to the entire sweep of American history, and many are still being debated today. Centered on The Legacies of Reconstruction, Part Six of Facing History's video series about the Reconstruction, and enhanced with activities and readings, this lesson will help to illuminate the echoes of Reconstruction throughout history. By watching the video and reading and analyzing primary source documents, students will reflect on the idea of democracy as a continuous process rather than a fixed achievement. They will also consider how they can best participate in the ongoing work of strengthening our democracy, and what responsibilities and opportunities they have for creating a better society.
This lesson is part of Facing History's work on the Reconstruction era, and part of a series of video-based web lessons. Use this lesson at the end of a unit about Reconstruction to engage students in a conversation about America’s ongoing struggle for a stronger democracy. In addition to the suggestions below, see Lesson 16 in The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy for additional resources and background information about the legacies of Reconstruction.