One cannot assess the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson without a full understanding of the controversy over Reconstruction that precipitated it. Historians' evalutions of that controversy have differed widely since the 1890s, when the first studies appeared. Bernard Weisberger traces these scholarly disagreements through the 1950s in "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Reconstruction Historiography," Journal of Southern History, XXV (November 1957), 427-47; Harold M. Hyman and Larry George Kincaid have covered some of the same ground and brought the discussion up to date in their respective studies, The Radical Republicans and Reconstruction, 1861-1870 (Indianapolis and New York, 1967), xvii‐ lxviii, and "Victims of Circumstance: An Interpretation of Changing Attitudes Toward Republican Policy Makers and Reconstruction," Journal of American History, LVII (June 1970), 48-66.
The first scholarly assessments of Reconstruction appeared at the turn of the century. James Ford Rhodes, in his History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the Final Restoration of Home Rule at the South in 1877, 7 vols. (New York, 1893‐ 1906), offered a thoroughly nationalistic interpretation of the Civil War era but condemned Republicans' Reconstruction policies in light of "modern" proofs of Negro racial inferiority. William A. Dunning, in his Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction, and