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Danielle, Kassra, Wyatt, and True (otherwise known as Watermelon, Grape, Lime, and Strawberry Jello, respectively)

THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE OLD SOUTH

The Reconstruction of the United States of America is an impossibly difficult task. Not only did the greatest political minds of the era fail miserably, but both of the popular viewpoints of those great minds failed miserably. How can we, students of the Class of 2011, be expected to solve the unsolvable and defeat the indefatigable? Is this some sick experiment devised by Mr. Geib and Mr. Barich to test our stereotypes and incite intranational conflict? Or is it simply a project designed to further our understanding of the Era of Reconstruction while defining our cross cultural similarities and differences?

Whatever the case, this project, malignant or benign, has been assigned to us, and we must complete it. One of the foremost goals of this project is surely to teach us that Reconstruction was at the least a daunting task and at the most downright hopeless. We, Team Jello, feel that we have penetrated the defenses of the problem that is Reconstruction. You see, history has taught us that neither the lenient nor the restrictive (southern and northern, respectively) policies can be effective in such a tumultuous period. Both were attempted; both failed. However, no one ever thought to try the incredibly corrupt version of Reconstruction. Like Captain James T. Kirk, we know that this is a no-win scenario; that is, if you play by the rules. We do not plan to. I will now expound our devious plan with little detail: the rest will be covered in following paragraphs. After the war ends, we will first put ex-Confederates on trial, but ensure that they be acquitted. We will then propose a federal income tax, the revenue of which will be used to industrialize and rebuild the South, as well as to build black schools. Our final and most drastic action will be to borrow $10 million from Russia, with the promise that we will buy Alaska once we have paid off our debt to them. We will use that $10 million to bribe the Mexicans into invading the South. The South, whose population was decimated, will be unable to fend the Mexicans off, until the Union army comes to their aid. After Mexico is defeated, we will demand $10 million from their coffers; the Mexicans will have no choice but to comply, as their other option is invasion. We will then pay back Russia and purchase Alaska as a unified country. Most of this will be completely secret and quite illegal; however, ‘extremis malis extrema remedia,’ or, the desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy. Our ‘remedy’ may seem at first to be volatile or even caustic, but upon closer examination it reveals itself to be a brilliantly conceived, immaculate model of perfection in the effort to reunify the United States of America.
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Kassra is impressed with himself!


The Ex-Confederate leaders must be dealt with quickly, efficiently, and in a manner that not only pleases the north’s thirst for revenge, but the south's devotion to their heroes. To resolve this complex and controversial issue, a trial is in order. The mere trial of these ‘enemies of the state’ will indeed appease the northern masses; the north became angry when the traitors were simply pardoned, and as far as they know, a trial may well warrant a conviction. However, the conviction of southern idols such as Jefferson Davis, Joseph E. Johnston, George W. Randolph, and most importantly, Robert E. Lee, would not only cripple the south's morale in this desperate time, but infuriate them beyond measure. Therefore, the trials will be held in southern military courts soon after all of the civilian courts are forcefully shut down (illegally) by the Union army. And as if a trial in a southern military court wouldn't be enough to ensure acquittal, the charges for indictment would be set ludicrously high. The requirement for conviction would be as follows: The presiding judge must determine whether or not the Defendant is guilty of treason against his country. Because of the fact that secession was not technically illegal, the judge would have to consider the Confederacy to have been an independent country at the time of its ‘invasion’. Their actions, therefore, would be considered no more maligned than an American Revolutionary militiaman in the eyes of the law. Inevitably, because of this, all of the defendants would be acquitted. The final of this series of trials would be the trial of Robert E. Lee. And, in another attempt to appease northern emotions, as well quell Southern hatred of the negro, Lee would be tried alongside a black attorney. After the trials have concluded, the southern leaders would emerge victorious, and more importantly, Lee would emerge a free man through the defense of what may well have been a former slave. This act would ultimately soften the hatred between the two races, as Lee was indeed the South's most adored hero. And, in order to make sure this will never happen again, secession would be made illegal through a constitutional amendment.

The American Civil War, though supposedly a war solely aimed at the reunification of a country in shambles, ultimately deviated into a war for the black population of the South. Starting with Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, the war quickly switched gears from one of political justification to one of impassioned morality. Now, with virtually an ocean of blood spilled for this righteous cause, something must be done to ensure said cause was not fought for in vain. So, military actions will indeed be taken to ensure the freedmen's rights as given to them in the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. They will be given full rights as citizens; including the right to vote. To make sure these rights are not stolen away from the black population, the Union forces that are already stationed in the southern states will remain there until a) The governor of the state takes an oath to serve, protect, and uphold the constitution of the United States and b) The constitutional amendments to make slavery illegal and grant civil rights to African Americans are passed and the states are readmitted. Segregation, however unfortunately, will be present in a free post-Civil War South. One cannot please every demand of every person; therefore, the north will be ensured Negro rights, and the south will be ensured segregation. Now is not the time for radical change; it is a time for reunification.

Government shall transcend into an era of equality in the newly established Southern state governments after the war is over. Not only shall of the likes of African-American freedmen be able to run for any political office in the recently reunited South, but so shall ex-Confederates who have been acquitted of treason. No restrictions regarding a certain standard of education shall be enforced, but a relatively decent amount of education will be expected when campaigning. If there happen to be any persons who wish to run for any political office, that haven't received any form formal education, dynamic, or at the least, effectual oratory skills are highly recommended. We trust that the voters of America will weed out the imbeciles. Schooling will not be compulsory, but strongly recommended nonetheless.

Southern states shall be restored with full rights and representation socially and politically when returning to the Union. An election will be held, however, to fill the South’s evacuated Senate and House seats. The governor must take an oath to protect the United States, and the state itself must ratify the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th amendments (the sixteenth making secession illegal). Business will proceed as normal after the Southern states are readmitted to the Union.

Due to the destruction of the South, its forthcoming prosperity has nearly irreversibly come to a halt. Even the bare necessities are hard to come by for most folks; therefore we have proposed a solution to this ongoing problem. An income tax is to be enforced by the federal government and for the federal government. All money made from this tax will go to further plans to rebuild the schools, homes and lives of our Southern Americans. The federal government will create federally-run programs, much like FDR’s New Deal, and use the money for building schools, homes, and other necessities that were destroyed because of the war. In return for the payment of this tax, the condition of our country as a whole will begin to unite and prosper within time. With the building of new establishments, comes the need for jobs, hence a new light will be shed on the countless people left without jobs after the war. Slowly but surely the money issues that have constricted the south will ease and become more manageable. Once the gears start to crank we will be in working progress towards a united states with a capital "U" AND a capital "S".

In addition to winning a ‘heroic’ battle against the Mexican ‘invaders’, Union troops will ensure a smooth transformation while returning the South to the United States as soon as secession is declared illegal via a constitutional amendment. Until the South is fully transformed, Union troops will remain within the states. Immediately after the state is readmitted to the Union, the forces will be withdrawn. The goal is to get the Union troops out of the South as quickly and efficiently as possible, making is clear to the South that we are simply there for the unification of the U.S and not to anger them further. Union troops will not play a role in rebuilding the south but rather fulfilling their responsibility of maintaining safety and trust with our fellow Americans.

So, there it is. Our wild, carefully devised, sometimes genius, always ridiculous plan. A great many people may criticize it for the realistic impossibility of fooling so many people; however, the greatest swindles are the ones that we don’t know ever existed. There may well have been greater deceptions in the past, but the thing that makes them great is the fact that we don’t know about them. In the words of the Unusual Suspects, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” With that justification, we can indeed say that we believe our Reconstruction plan could actually work. If everything plays out just right, the United States will come out of Hell more complete than when they entered it.

In response to the Falafel Kings' clarification of Southern stereotypes, I would like to refute (or confirm) a few perceptions that you may have about Southern California:

-- We DO NOT purchase shots of wheatgrass from Starbucks by the bushel; we usually just squeeze our own.

-- We DO say like, like, every other word, like, you know?

-- We DO NOT all know movie stars; some of us have only shaken hands with one.

-- We DO have the best wine, tastiest oranges, and happiest cows in the nation.

-- We DO NOT know what the hell grits are.

-- We DO all surf; or at least that's what we tell people who don't live in Southern California.

-- We DO NOT have an infestation of tree-hugging liberals; Hollywood and San Francisco just skew the stats.

-- We DO have no idea what the South is really like (except for Bill, but who ever listens to him, anyway?).

-- We DO NOT have a competent governor (who other that California would elect the 'Terminator'?).

-- We DO think that our mascot is actually pretty lame. Thanks for the kind word, but really? Dragons? Our school is nerdy enough already.

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RESPONSE(S) TO TEAM PLAN:

First off I’m Brett (No, I was not named after Brett Favre) of Reconstruction Seduction and I have the honor of critiquing your group’s plan for Reconstruction.
I found some of the ideas in this very interesting piece of work to be somewhat odd; for example, a black attorney must represent Robert E. Lee. (I found this rather amusing and very much “out of the box” as Mr. Barich encouraged my class to be when creating our projects) The only difficulty I would have with the idea would be that it would be hard to find a negro both willing to defend Lee at all and willing to defend him fairly. Also, it would be hard to convince said attorney to even go to the South where their is a danger to his or her life. I would make sure the attorney has adequate military protection. I do find it to be a creative idea though. The only other thing that is kind of shaky in my mind is whether the South would actually have a softened opinion. It does seem somewhat logical that, because a black man or woman kept their favorite military hero from jail, that it would make the Southern people think twice about how they treat the race they’ve enslaved for years, but at the same time, why wouldn't you go all out to ensure this change of opinion? If all of the ex-Confederate leaders were defended by black attorney’s, this being that the North could convince some black attorney’s to even go to the South, then perhaps that would be an even bigger shock to some southern systems.

As for the other sections of this paper I will note that I’m rather confused by the underlined portion of this statement “In addition to winning a ‘heroic’ battle against the Mexican ‘invaders’, Union troops will ensure a smooth transformation while returning the South to the United States as soon as secession is declared illegal via a constitutional amendment.” More than likely I just don’t get it so feel free to think I’m a little slow. More than likely, if somewhat explained it, I would have an “Ooooohhh…” moment, which are far from uncommon.

I feel that your plan is well done overall and very creative and I commend your group on an excellent job. You were very precise, I believe, as to what is to be done and covered all the bases in your plan. So if you were in charge of Reconstruction I would very much hope your plan would work out and that no loopholes or problems with your plan would rear their ugly faces as it was carried out. Good work!!!

With Love,
Brett Finlay from Georgia


Sorry, but I couldn't help but defend my group's work. As for the black attorney, there is no need for the attorney to defend Lee fairly. The trials are held in military courts, and the presiding judge is from the South. In addition, the requirements for conviction are too high for any attorney to overcome. No matter how much the black man may want to sabotage Lee, he will be acquitted. We chose not to use a black attorney for every one of the ex-Confederate leaders in the hope that we would prevent the South from thinking that 'Negro rule' is infesting their society.

As far as that sentence goes, what it basically means is that, in addition to winning a fixed war against the Mexicans (the one we bribed them into), the heroic Union soldiers would ensure a smooth readmittance process by NOT occupying Southern states (that is, after the 16th Amendment is passed).

~True Randall

Ok, in response to your critique on our team, (reconstruction seduction), I would like to clarify some things. First off, I believe that after the war is won by the North, the northern citizens will actually be somewhat understanding of what our countries goals are and I have to believe that they would be willing to pay a little higher taxes to enlarge the country and help the northern economy in the long run. I see it more as an investment rather than a punishment. Second, We never said that we were forcing anyone to leaver their homes. All we said was that we were going to grant these people land in the western states if they wanted to move and have higher opportunity there away from much of the racial bias in the southern states. No I am not saying that there is no racism in the other states, but I do believe it was not as intense or heated as it was in the "deep south". We plan on reintegrating the south through expansion of their economy through raising taxes on the North somewhat and as i said before, I have to believe that would be willing to pay. I think that our monthly stipend might have been a bit high, but you are making inferences when you say that were are giving this amount to every state, and when you all said we were going to make a new trail of tears by forcing blacks to leave southern land, we never said that. that amount was to be divided among the states, not 72 million and we arent forcing anything... I think that your inferences about or plan hurt your critique somewhat, because you assumed things were happening without reading the "fine print".
Reconstruction Seduction


Ok, in response to your response to my response to your project, I would like to clear up some misconceptions that you seem to have about my critique. The first order of business is your gross miscalculation of Northern sentiment. The North is not only fed up with the South, but also fed up with paying taxes to support the war. To suggest that the North would acquiesce to paying taxes for the benefit of the South is preposterous. You may see it as an investment that will "help the northern economy in the long run," but the North will absolutely not see it that way. If your plan is to infuriate the North, than perhaps that is the best course of action. If not, you had better rethink your strategy.

You say that "we never said that we were forcing anyone to leave their homes." I would like to know when I said that you were forcing African Americans to leave their homes. But again, the issue of transportation still remains. How do you propose to help blacks (who were just granted, as I said earlier, more land than some whites have) move themselves, their families, and their belongings to the West?

"The Union government has agreed to reward Southern states, who complete all requirements for entrance back into the Union, a monthly stipend of $500,000, in order to begin reconstruction processes." If you did not mean that each state would be getting $500,000 per month, then why didn't you specify this in your plan? That sentence is ambiguous and can be interpreted several different ways.

Again, to reiterate, I never said that you were forcing blacks to leave their homes and move to the West. I only criticized the impossibility of moving the Freedmen safely and preventing poor whites from becoming enraged. Perhaps before you assume that we are making false inferences, you should take more time to read what I actually wrote. As I said earlier, no hard feelings.

Sincerely,
True Randall, Team Jello


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Don't screw with Team Jello.