Reconstruction-era Readers: an analysis of the social content of American Readers used between 1863 and 1877
Laubner, Eve Lillian
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This is a study of the social content of 50 Readers used in the education of young American students during the Reconstruction Era, 1863-1877. Analyses of social content from every tenth page of text reveal themes that emerge from a framework of nine categories-character, religion, nature, nation, other cultures, family, education, gender/class, adventure/fantasy-that define the nation. In addition to these analyses, the study presents one Reader in its entirety and two Readers written especially for the freedmen. Plentiful selections from the Readers allow users of the study to arrive at their own conclusions about how well or how poorly the Reconstruction-era Readers were guiding future directions. The fundamental finding is that nineteenth-century Americans believed that moral character was the bedrock of the nation and that it needed to be fostered in the young.
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