Poem reflecting on the Civil War, "Six Years Ago," 5 October 1866

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Document Description:

After the end of the Civil War and the fall of the Confederate Government, the city of Columbia was occupied by Union troops.  Reconstruction was underway and many white residents of the city were unhappy with the changes imposed upon them.  This poem, from the Columbia Daily Phoenix, illustrates in rhyme scheme how the world Southerners had known was turned on its head.  The poem presents not only an idealized version of the Old South, but also an alarmed view of the new equality for African Americans, Reconstruction, and Republican dominance of Congress. 


“Six Years Ago.”  Columbia Daily Phoenix, 5 October 1866. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Materials Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.

Indicator 3-4.1 Compare the conditions of daily life for various classes of people in South Carolina, including the elite, the middle class, the lower class, the independent farmers, and the free and the enslaved African Americans.

Indicator 3-4.2 Summarize the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War, including reference to conditions in South Carolina, the invention of the cotton gin, subsequent expansion of slavery, and economic dependence on slavery.

Indicator 3-4.5 Summarize the effects of the Civil War on the daily lives of people of different classes in South Carolina, including the lack of food, clothing, and living essentials and the continuing racial tensions.

Indicator 3-4.6 Explain how the Civil War affected South Carolina’s economy, including destruction of plantations, towns, factories, and transportation systems.

Indicator 3-4.7 Summarize the effects of Reconstruction in South Carolina, including the development of public education, racial advancements and tensions, and economic changes.

Standard 5-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of Reconstruction and its impact on racial relations in the United States.

Indicator 5-1.2 Summarize the provisions of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, including how the amendments protected the rights of African Americans and sought to enhance their political, social, and economic opportunities.

Indicator 5-1.5 Explain the purpose and motivations behind the rise of discriminatory laws and groups and their effect on the rights and opportunities of African Americans in different regions of the United States.

Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.

Indicator 8-3.6 Compare the effects of the Civil War on daily life in South Carolina, including the experiences of plantation owners, women, Confederate and Union soldiers, African Americans, and children.


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