The Day Dixie Died: Southern Occupation, 1865-1866

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The Day Dixie Died: Southern Occupation, 1865-1866 by Debra and Thomas Goodrich In The Day Dixie Died: Southern Occupation, 1865-1866, Debra and Thomas Goodrich tell the story of the Reconstruction period for the South beginning with the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. The Goodrich’s use personal accounts and pieces of literature of the period for the year following the defeat of the Confederacy to give a sense of what the South endured during this time. Throughout the book they argue that during the Reconstruction, the South experienced much hardship that would have been severely lessened had Abraham Lincoln not been assassinated. The death of Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865 turned what one man thought to be a great deed for his country, to a lamenting point for the North and the rallying cry for the events that would befall the South in the year following. In the April 21st entry in the diary found to be John Wilkes Booth’s, he writes, “And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for, what made Tell a Hero. And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common cutthroat...” (Goodrich 556). His actions would soon lead to acts of violence spread across the entirety of the country and set the tone for the years to follow. Mob violence became commonplace North and South alike where men were beaten for the slightest show of gratitude towards the death of Lincoln. Even at the hands of a policeman a man was clubbed and sentenced to six months in jail for exclaiming, “Old Abe, that son of a bitch, is dead, and he ought to have been killed long ago” (Goodrich 227). While feelings of grief were quite expected in the North for the loss of their beloved president, many in the South were bitter towards the actions that Booth took into his own hands. Former

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