This is an in class exercise. At the completion, the students have completed three exercise that evaluated three different periods concerning the divisions within the Republican Party as experienced through the eyes of a San Antonio journalist and political leader in the last half of the 19th Century, James P. Newcomb. We have looked at charts, read various materials, and examined primary documents, including personal correspondence between individuals involved. A suggested and an entertaining means of closing this Quest is to divide the class into four groups. There are three periods involved; however, there is one group that lies at the center of all the issues: the African American.
The groups will be:
- The period before Reconstruction
- The period of Reconstruction
- The latter part of the 19th Century
- The African Americans
Each group will examine their questions and focus into only what concerns their time period or their group. They will use the information and charts and construct a picture of what was going on with Newcomb and the nation. They will then complete the analyzing of the information and produce a synopsis as a group to use in a discussion with the other groups. They should take the role of Newcomb’s attitude at the time or the African American attitude as a result of what happened. One group will support his Unionist views and address what happens to him. One will support his Radical Republican opinions and show why he felt as he did and why he did what he did. Remember to keep his feelings and motives involved. Another group will express his feelings as a “White Lily” Republican. The African Americans will express what they see happening to them. Why did they support someone? Why did they not? What did they want? Were they given a fair opportunity from Newcomb and those like him in the other periods? Did they ever achieve what they wanted?
The discussion would close the exercise as well as offering additional insight into the project as the groups role play a discussion about the problems and divisions of the Republican Party. Who do you think was mostly responsible for the division? The white Conservative Republicans? The Radical Republicans? The African Americans? Was their any deception that may have been practiced by one or more of the groups towards another?
An additional assignment can be the exercise of writing a summation on what we have each learned about James Newcomb and the divisions within the Republican Party. This should be a short paper and be used to evaluate what has been retained and whether the students have been able to successfully synthesize the information and evaluate the inferences and evidence they have reviewed. RETURN TO INTRO