Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and the director of Civil War era studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (1999) and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (2004), both of which won the Lincoln Prize, as well as Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America (2008); a volume of essays, Abraham Lincoln as a Man of Ideas (2009); and Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction (2009). Most recently, he is the author of Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction (2012); Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (2013), which won a third Lincoln Prize and the inaugural Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History; Lincoln: An Intimate Portrait (2014); Redeeming the Great Emancipator (2016); and Reconstruction: A Concise History (2018). With Patrick Allitt and Gary W. Gallagher, he team-taught The Teaching Company’s new edition of its American history series; his courses on Abraham Lincoln, American intellectual history, the American Revolution, and great history writers are also available on dvd.
Reconstruction has been variously interpreted as an a reprehensible act of sectional oppression, as a failed experiment in racial egalitarianism, or as an unfinished work of class revolution. Its participants -- those who promoted it and those who opposed it -- saw it in very different terms, as a "pure" bourgeois revolution, in which a free labor economy was to erase a feudal oligarchy. Unhappily, the oligarchy won, pacing the way for eighty years of racial and economic injustice.