MEDIA
Reconstruction
Original Author: Horatio Bateman, artist; John Lawrence Giles, lithographer
Created: ca. 1867
Medium: Lithograph

Reconstruction

This lithograph, titled Reconstruction, is an allegorical depiction of the reconciliation that supposedly took place between the North and the South after the Civil War. At center, a bald eagle perches on an American flag that is spread across a map of Northern and Southern states. The map forms a canopy atop a pavilion-like structure; a frieze above the canopy shows members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, justices of the Supreme Court, and members of the cabinet. On the ground, workers under the direction of the military rebuild the structure's foundations. Black and white workers are replacing the old columns, which depicted scenes of slavery, with new ones representing justice, liberty, and education. Portraying a new, harmonious society at work, the artist depicts an integrated school at lower right with a sign above the entrance to the school that reads "Universal Education"; at lower left, a group of black and white citizens mingle in front of booths with signs that say "Universal Suffrage." Assembled inside the pavilion are political and military leaders from the North and South—former enemies—who shake hands in reconciliation. Among the figures at center clasping hands are Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy; Northern publisher Horace Greeley; and former generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. In the forground are two infants—one black and one white—sleeping in baskets beneath an eagle that holds the banner "All Men Are Born Free And Equal."

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