thumbnail of American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; 
     Interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, Historian, Radcliffe Institute for
    Advanced Study, part 1 of 2
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
that is a lie in a sense in essence is redefining nationhood what is adding to the nation and the awkward but i think ken talks about the transition from the united states aren't announce it is so what gives that to be the new definition the nation once the south comes back into and how many of those wartime oh assumptions about how are going to continue our coverage of the centralized agency announced its coming and i think that has implications for interventions because of the corporate questions once the decision and what does it mean to be a citizen in this nation's than trains or and i think this has raised a number of dimensions its response obviously in regard to its limits what does freedom mean until we have one kind
of free in this country or do we have a whole lot of compartmentalize different sorts of freedom where african americans have a freedom with certain kinds of limits that still remain women have a kind of freedom that has certain kinds of limits they still are not permitted to vote there are other kinds of property rights that they don't have in some states of the union and then what about three white males whether they're immigrants how we get income population or we could have one sense of what citizenship means and the one that southerners as white southerners who think that it's come back into the nation will that sometimes of limitations and their citizenship so i think that the larger question of what is the nation has lived in a particular implications of what it mean to be a citizen of this nation as we seek citizenship so transformed and membership in the nation so transformed as a as a result too that
was when congress is struggling when i met him congress is struggling to figure out how much of the revolution it wants to and how much of the revolution was to contain there's a tremendous pressure to get things back to normal though no one knows the normal needs because things have been transformed normal has to be reading so congress is looking at how it's going to bring states back into the nation whether the states have been in some sense out of a nation where they will have been defined by congress as they are separate which assesses acknowledging the right obsession who say they were out there who say that indeed they seceded in the right to see but that political
question has again implications for individuals what about white southerners who were part of a confederacy white southerners who were not active proponents of the confederacy and they insult has become traitors or our very own entitled to the full rights membership in indignation what about slaves and how are we going to recognize that many of them have fought for the union and have in some sense for i'll acknowledge as participants in victory so what does that mean about their place in relationship to the constitution and then there's the interesting question which is one that doesn't necessarily get put at the center of civil war of reconstruction history or which is women's rights in this year as well women have been pushing for changes in their relationship over to the states in the nation before the word bit more let's put this on hold and become loyal supporters of the union
and supporters of the emancipation struggle in hopes at women's an african american rights could be tied together is there any hope that women might be included in some kinds of the expense and expansions efficiency particularly in regard to suffrage so i think congress is trying to find a very basic level just define the parameters of government by saying or what kind of authority over you know it's sort of the southern states are giving military districts which ultimately they become for while under radical reconstruction readmit congressman from the south immediately which is a question that precedes radical reconstruction so they just always these issues about how gun states and how to define who are the governors and sets the vocal participants in both in terms of our age
report understand because extensive clinton's and because she gave us a sense of the texture of the experience during the war and how they work could change people and what kinds of potential for mentioning different change its system of the n word i think we don't understand the impacts of war unless we look at its impact on individual lives and individually we don't understand what might have happened and why what did happen to happen unless we know the emotional and personal context within which all were collecting was taking one's think it still represents a particular class of the south they're very privileged planter class she represents youth in some sense she is in an early twenties she would have a long history in the south after the end of the war so she is an actor for decades after the war ends and everything she has resulted in some way from an extraordinary period in which so much of her early adulthood was
shaken oh oh oh you can't stand it's an important character because she like so many other individuals has given us a picture of what the experience of moralistic and it's been said that war is the great educator and so i think it's important to see what is it that we're taught because energy's like extended the ones who lived for decades beyond the war are the ones who would in the end how the potentialities what that was world might be and so as we look at her and we get a sense of who she was and how her position as a member of a real upper aristocracy of the old south theater and didn't fit for purpose were made her look at the
post war world and certainly gives us a glimpse of what it was like to be part of that transformation status position and often impossible mr heath it has been keystone is a twenty year old young woman who is the daughter of slave owning family in louisiana her father is dead and so the mother is responsible river management of an enormous plantation in hundred and fifty slaves and thousands of acres of land surveyor won the very most wealthy
southerners there in louisiana which has special meaning because the louisiana warlords falls to federal troops fairly early in the or and that means that she is really on the battlefields i think one of the most distinctive differences among southern white families is how closer to actual general incursion and so she really is cca the troops frequently runs from yankee troops ceaseless on her plantation run away because of the president's own and proximity of freedom as represented by union troops and so she is a young privileged woman but she finds herself essentially on now in and in a very profound sense she liked what he was thinking while i'm struck by how firmly fast she has her writing is
really it's self reflective it's engaged she's obviously extremely sociable she writes about people over time and who she sees and it seems that in a sense what matters to us to the world is those personal interactions because as her life was transformed she quite strikingly says at the end of her diary and eighteen sixty five when she spent a year as a refugee in texas with almost none of the comforts of life that she had grown accustomed to that this is the happiest here and that is such a striking calm infants is it that the possibilities for sociability in interdependence and adventure that the war brought outweighed the tragedy and once for her insolence so i think she's spunky she's interested in the world she's wants to have the impression that to make an impression and she hates the idea of this that's forced upon her at the beginning of the war and then get off to war i'll sit here and says he's looking
for a way to tell how many what what what would she have to expect that she doesn't clearly articulated is a round of courtship in and essentially directed towards marriage and she's at the point in life where i really was getting to be time for her to find the appropriate know to become engaged to becoming young wife to start having children and family and siblings this is the lake where it's not entirely inhibited by war because she does indeed get married at the end of the war to a gentleman whom she meets during the war itself says she is not one of those yes and never marries the kinds of the worst hausler
huge loss of life so that eventually gets it to that position as a very different person from the one she would have been had it all happened at sixty one inmate in sixty two and they've been in the new album walk talk she luckily i think she was an image of her writing is so vivid that you give a sense of her intellectual engagement and her love of language says she was once been a great deal of time reading this was something that many women did in the mid nineteenth century was the hero of women novelists and writers and women were the readers of american fiction novels so she gets into that she also was english rounds of visiting for a long time she did not leave the day a productive life in the sense of producing clothes
are adding to the economy her mother seems to have enormous responsibility for the management plantation did not delegate that much of that to kick it was her mother really was in charge one of the fascinating things i think about kids experience as a figure of her mother who seems to be so strong and so and her trouble and such an important force rookie and in that i think he is sense of security and her ability to get through the war a derisive heart from this character who is super trouble children are older brother is you know she just and do us a lot of strength from that relationship to get a sense of strong ties among the women in this council so i think that's an important part
of the detectives were a decade of enormous prosperity for the south because congress's were high the demand for cotton was an enormous cow is in many ways the essential fuel for the expanding american economy in the early nineteenth century when defenders at this as a continent scheme they right so when the defenders of the south said the county's king day right economically it was essential to the nation as a whole and it was fueling tremendous wealth in the south among those who were growing constantly economy the price of slaves was rising so that the wealth of individuals who own slaves was excelling exponentially in those years and her family wouldn't and profiting from them owning a hundred and fifty slips meant that they were in the absolute upper echelons of southern society
and selling well they were the aristocrats the most prosperous center and is in our phones well many southern planters and we don't really have evidence of whether the stones did this or not because we don't have this i have not done the research to see what the inventories of these statements and so forth but other scientists at this level of wealth would have in many cases trying to display their wealth to show their status through showing a cultured achievements they might travel to europe and indeed the stones were thinking of traveling to europe sicily they reported that through the acquisition of art the directing a leopard houses gordon's surgery and once that suggestion through much of its
diary of the kind of clothing that she was used to chip in our guts helps she was very interested in fashion she was very attuned to the display of her own person and i feel so lost those opportunities very differently so we can make some guesses that the stones given their wealth and given the behavior many of the other individuals in their echelon of society and given some hints from them about their desire to go to europe they were trying to show themselves to be oh distinguish not simply by their ability to amass wealth but to know how to spend it to spend it in ways that are tasteful in ways that set a certain tone and a certain tone of elegance and refinement in achievement than this sign white southerners thought they were superior to the north there were a culture that was able because of its leisure to leisure provided by the labor slaves to those in the upper echelons of
society to pursue the life of the mind to come to play politics to move beyond the tray of everyday life and then sit back and consider it in ways that nature's fury or to those who recently in ashland lives duly struggles south also wrote often about his religiosity so when the defenders of slavery pointed out that centers for more likely to attend church one defender of slavery even measure the size of churches north and south and showed that many more white southerners were in church every sunday or able to be in church every sunday based on the physical availability of pews for population and so this sense of being more devoted to god were certainly a part of the old celts vision of itself and a part of the confederacy station in its motto your chosen words they open making a being defended by god are vindicated by god explicitly associate
the confederacy as it also didn't confederate constitution that were gardens invoked in the confederate constitution this was a an effort to define herself as particularly religious and surer than the north which did not have such announcements of god and its official statements filled with hay like that if things go wrong when he sings it's like hey remarks about her diary and and this is one of the things that makes her such a vivid observer in valuables of the christian and how her size of the slaves of the surrounding neighborhoods are behaving throughout the war and there's a
moment when she sees slaves on the side of the river trying to escape across the river and i'm trying to go to the union troops and she comments on both her understanding of their desire for freedom and this is not necessarily something every white southerner acknowledges many white southerners say they assume that slaves who want to be signs that because they are seeing these white southerners as inferior beings one of the aspects of superiority times a desire for him and then this white southerners deluding themselves i think to feel better about the slave institution these people don't really want freedom and we don't have to feel so bad that we have denied it she understands why want to go even though she does not think that the union will offer
them anything better than what they have and in fact that union troops they exploit the slaves were mistreated she doesn't think this is necessarily good judgment on the part of science but it's one she can see the motivation worked and i think it's a clear sign the us in this and that as she describes the scenes of interactions with or observations of the sirens and there are moments of decision she says that decision mr nixon case raises a lot of fear throughout the war and it's most often here are slaves rather than fewer troops and i think this is very typical
because what times the world most decidedly upside down for white southerners is to take a group of people who were forbidden to bear arms we're defined as subservient who were forced to the subordinate and that put them in a position of control and to give them arms and i think there's a certain sense of fear of retribution here though it's often not expressed what they do to me given what we have done to this is never said and that in an overtly and yet for a class of people that have beaten and with this latest decision to think well what happens when kids it also i think it's a code in some sense much of that fear expressed by white southern women and slaves part of the logic of the social order the old south was that white women or subordinate
because white and protect them when they're protecting them in one set of letters that i read there's a reference to the harrow of parents i think there's a certain sexual fear here that white men are protecting white women in their purity from assaults by anybody who myself of that but there's a particular fear i think of sexual violation sexual assault while it's from from the slave population and so when the white men will be which three out of four white men of military age do during the civil war when women are left as one wrote to jefferson davis unprotected unafraid the notion that protection has come is key to white women's perceptions of themselves there's a wonderful scene in the diary of marrying me from winchester virginia who was a fearless woman in so many ways during the war she was a woman in middle age who went back and forth we just
changed hands during the war seventy sometimes depending on how you count i went every union troops were there she was acting in a stealthy way in behalf of confederate stealing food protecting confederate prisoners who just completely fearless when armed african american troops going into interest in she writes that was the thing that was most terrifying to her because it's so upended or assumptions about how the world should work and it's so keyed into this notion that the fundamental protection that a white woman and somehow harry lee was able to imagine dealing with any other challenge but this challenge was too much for i think it's too if you look through out her diary what terrifies season is the arrival of unruly and disciplined seemingly threatening african americans who are
challenging a way of life and what's interesting is i think throughout the south how little violence was done of any sort of gets the speech there's so many scenes in gene stansbury where she will be in a situation where african americans are coming into the plantation stealing things out of the house having guns walking along coming after she sitting here with her intimates in the center of la to celebrate its enemies outside a more sensitive because history comes up to her lots of her talks to tears of the innocent they're literally threatening way he's formed she's not warm discuss athletes' untouched and she heinz does business
one really worst they're threatening presence of african americans that were running in and pillaging plantations and stealing not stealing taking things that probably they had worked there bill to create this eat this kind of lack of order lack of control was that the most frightening thing to distance and they felt they had to go to get away from their home in our country it's it is a decreasing as they escape they do in the middle of the night they they can't decide who to trust and not to trust them on their slaves so much of this they have one of those slaves with them with helping them whole thing's cases mother comes across years this tower strike she's yelling at kids can't you have to come get yourself together laura you're coming when he liked to ride horses or not
this is not the norm to be afraid i believe in midnight and activists is the louisiana there in boats they get through the swamp and they send back one of those suppose a trusted slaves i think to get something that one point he disappears this is his moment to run for freedom say they realize that even the one a public trustee at the trust and then there's a scene where they're in boats and palin as fast as they can in union troops come up the side and then they somehow missed out faster if i know that it's the truth about their forces so when they get deep enough in the river the horses start to swim but the boats are more efficient than the swimming horses and so they escape when someone has a new movie it's an achievement because he is a very visual sense and an issue in her family are slipping off in these boats and almost falling out of famine there and standing in the water and the union troops and the horses there are realizing that the river is just to be inconsistent about slipping away in a horse's standing fading into the background
and an era winds price complaints that then finally emerges when she says the rest of this is that you're kind of a milan are terrified of being on a horse so herself in saluting greater courage and in spite of her cadence one of the striking things that as we mentioned that this whole as he'd seen about anymore and her little child wipp is for yourself or the wars and one of the things that's striking threat this entire dairy is how many of the characters are dead it and an aunt were all her courage and beverly for all her sweetness of time in eighteen sixty four so one gets a sense not simply of loss of life in the stone family through the battle deaths of two of her brothers and her uncle this just how our second mother is losing all those family members and canes
losing siblings and an uncle why women in supplies while and it's not clear to me whether this is disease in louisiana which actually worse and a greater heighten in much of the rest of the south louisiana it's not a particularly healthy climate malaria lot of people in this diary have malaria and that's an area but i think that the presence of death and this is something we need to think about is he more of the experience and he often writes about how nolan she's becoming we can see are becoming courageous that the courage of some also suggest numbness and she talks about a year ago those deaths with a different analysis and every letter we get someone's died and her family members are trying to get lawyers to fight
over let's stay on the scene actually faithful will try as well interesting they wink at your family decided to flee they have in some sense prepare themselves by sending a part of their slave force west and away from union troops have kept the house servants that some of the fields are two sides of the oregon had been setting here in order to keep them out of the hands of the yankees this was very typical and texas that slave property taxes increased enormously during the war and southerners from all over the south senseless to texas but they haven't made a provision thinking that they themselves would they haven't sent goods or clothes or other sorts of maternal ahead so subtly they're
leaving and they kind of pack things up and rush out of the war with bare necessities and there is probably the right word they hardly have enough underwear and so for the rest of the war they are struggling simply define the necessities of life and they dont they didn't have the forethought to really plan and leave him in a way that enables and to take on substantial amounts of their property their property stays that person property stays behind a plantation and when its size and what's going on and he sees their former slaves as the phrase goes catering about work that she uses capering about dressed in their masters clothing <unk> and in this case it's the august in using the recruiter was that remain in my house and so their white and speed of a critical mattresses she says out of the main house and take them down to the waters and so unless the slaves have
mattresses interesting you can you can really insane author of slate's through the vividness of her descriptions and see one of the things that really meant to them once we get mattresses we're able to take advantage of some of its material wealth with the labor are labor incontinence produced them and now we have access to an opportunity to take advantage of our name is a very typical sort of seen and descriptions ministers former mistresses owned slaves seizing property for women at syracuse in alabama who describes in her diary very vividly standing by the side of the road as she watched a parade obviously the plantation in iran's interest in her clothes it isn't a concentration of people are all about decked out in the flop finally of the house
leaving her favorite we all going out the driveway or going to union lines and she's standing there observing her wealth of human or ciao and her her contacts disappear into port where the fire and manages to do the same thing and syracuse is looking at this procession syracuse is looking at this procession i think she's seen as ceremonial procession this is a ritual in some sense as these slights march off the plantation it's not that it's not done and advice of like there's a lot of symbolism here they are claiming the accoutrements of freedom and
displaying them to their former minister so i think these scenes of departure and of the interactions between slaves and masters at those moments are critical to find moments for african american freedom and african american identity there's a story of a slave who ran away from this i asked to join the union army came back into the south in and sees it as honest as plantation with his regiment and he sees this forum answering since bottom rail on top this time and i think we can see many of these celebrations of freedom by slaves as as a way it's a lot around town that's what the slaves on those ponies moving out of syracuse isp plantation were saying to syracuse that's in some sense worked on the stone slaves are saying as they seize the goods of investors put them on a home activities at a certain voice on iran sometime around and this is a way of convincing both investors and themselves of the
profundity of the change this is wonderful well that's because as a rent to seven women's diaries at the end of the war the last months of the war the beginning months in the new world i am struck by what i think was depression and in many people's lives chameleon of don't in winchester virginia writes about how she thinks shes going man and she can't find any reason to situate yourself in or anyplace to situate yourself in the world and longer
i think for many south white southerners who hear from the realities of the military situation defeat innocent tremendous mistake of thinking he still senses well after they surrender she keeps thinking well maybe somehow we can regroup and keep going is hope that there's something next step to take and so suddenly people find themselves without without the possibility of victory facing defeat and facing this case known as a defeat that has no purpose taken the lives of her brothers and her uncle and so many of them people cheese and so that these lines seem to have been wasted they can't be seen as in a cause because the course is over and the cause has been unsuccessful this leaves people with no explanation for while the sacrifices of material and purses what was this all about why have we done this and i think it also leaves many white southern woman with a question what reason in thinking about and why having done this to us these women are supposed to protect
these are the men who were supposed to be infallible suddenly they have left the entire south as they have created it in ruins so women are down and i think the men are doubting themselves when our kids' oldest brother who is not from war comes that he hardly speaks she says for many months after his return richard thomas says georgia has a person who is clearly in a state confusion and depression after the war he turns out though and i think that alcohol in the postwar sentencing really interesting question that we should explore more fully i think a lot of these veterans to integrate everything that our notions of what happened after vietnam and our understanding of post traumatic stress as a result of vietnam experience thinking about what mr brown and white so this was a civilization in which three out of four men of military age sir they did not serve one year rotations as our soldiers didn't say that
many of them were in the ward for your son and what we'd begun life is thinking back on that experience and how could we not expect that that experience and defeat and slaughter and tragedy would have left and in some secluded a mostly any less gritty and he says but he carried himself to our show it was part of a very religious family
relatives were in the church she regarded slavery in biblical terms she bought into the biblical defenses of slavery that the south had been generating since then large numbers vary is that critically and she saw slavery and something ordained by god and thought that she was ordained by god to take care of these lesser beings these unfortunate means to try to bring them to civilization and that therefore slavery was a benevolent institution an institution that would protect the poor benighted africa and she got better say should be grateful to her for this once she could not imagine to cyprus it and i think i'm awake it still was clear sign of an understanding the desire for freedom in her sights instead barry jones felt that the sleds ought to understand that they were better off in slavery and that intrigued and they might die or be unable to come so that
when they return she is just and she doesn't know how to explain this and she can only respond by looking at congress' ungrateful wretches and be angry with them for not accepting her terms of air support and the ideology in which they were sublimated she thought they ought to understand in the senate and their dissent from that ideology treble strings now well you're at the beginning writing twenties and early nineteen thirties particularly after abolitionists and the wayne lloyd garrison make an anti slavery posture so vocal invisible united states after their
nat turner rebellion a slave uprising in virginia nineteen thirty one white southerners feel that they need to be much more explicit about their differences and my this is less to convince the rest of the world but slippers her and then to give white southerners themselves and understanding their peculiar institution and why they should continue to adhere to and believe in it so there's an outpouring of planes defending slavery that that emerge in the south of the eighteen police and they focused on a whole series of different sorts of defense's scientific religious sociological and so forth but probably record these differences and particularly within the satellites to see itself as so religiously superior and religiously devoted the court hears arguments are christian they make reference to all sorts of parts of the bible old and new testament that defends slavery the israelites were slave holding people
moses was part of the slaveholding civilization and one day there was a kind of industry an intellectual industry defining chapter in person by where slavery would be defended more runaway slaves would be told to go back to their masters then i'll im moving into new testaments a little trickier to find the same sort of justification christ never overly condones slavery these defenders of slavery would say and paul tells a runaway slave to go back to this so there are these differences of citations of the attacks as part of his overall argument offensive slavery but the christian dimensional that it's not simply the vocal talents of course they aren't rich it's justified so silly evangelical that slavery is an evangelical institution in that it brings the knighted africans into christianity it takes here it serves its
benevolent an upward so this is a christian act to be unanswered science and there are all kinds of instructions for being a christian minister and you little contradictions in this for southerners themselves and even white southerners could see some of the difficulties that these arguments that somebody at fifties that's beginning to be an assassin calls for changes in the forms of slavery to make it more of really consistent with christian teachings one of these is that marriage is not legal for slaves in the south and this father's a lot of the elders in the christian churches of the south who begin to say we need to natives like marriage legal and recognized by the state because how can we say this is the christian institution it is if we do not commit these people to marry similarly when perhaps the true but some of them at least read the bible says you have been buying more from
reading this is keeping them from the scriptures so how to me slippery as a christian institution but the energy behind the defense of slavery was such that it had written at the implications for reform we have to defend this institution as a christian institution therefore we have to adjust the institution so that it can have these things essential elements of christianity now of course these defenders of slavery were not talking about slavery his own cruelty and they just simply didn't adjust i mean did not account for those in their consideration of slavery except to say these masters who need to be christianized didn't understand that they're supposed to be benevolent not being their slates not be their slaves christian center
American Experience
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War
Raw Footage
Interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, Historian, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, part 1 of 2
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-5h7br8nc0c).
In the tumultuous years after the Civil War (1863-77), America grappled with how to rebuild itself, how to successfully bring the South back into the Union and how to bring former slaves into the life of the country. Faust talks about the impact of the civil war on women, what citizenship means after the civil war, planter Kate Stone, the cotton economy and slave ownership, fear of armed slaves, Stone family flees the south, denial and confusion after the civil war, southern whites defending slavery, making slavery consistent with Christian teachings
Race and Ethnicity
Politics and Government
American history, African Americans, civil rights, racism, Reconstruction, Confederacy, voting rights, slavery, emancipation
(c) 2004-2017 WGBH Educational Foundation
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Release Agent: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: barcode116338_Faust_01_SALES_ASP_h264 Amex 864x486.mp4 (unknown)
Duration: 0:45:15

Identifier: cpb-aacip-15-5h7br8nc0c.mp4 (mediainfo)
Format: video/mp4
Generation: Proxy
Duration: 00:45:14
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, Historian, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, part 1 of 2 ,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 9, 2020,
MLA: “American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, Historian, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, part 1 of 2 .” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 9, 2020. <>.
APA: American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, Historian, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, part 1 of 2 . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from