I'm writing historical fiction set during Reconstruction in the South.I don't know how to fit these characters into a modern political spectrum. One side is seeking to bring about Jim Crow laws, distort the meaning of the Civil War, and maintain a cheap labor force by denying their civil rights. The other side is essentially paternalistic, viewing it their duty to educate, employ, and rehabilitate the former slaves. Is it possible to discuss any of these people positively with a modern audience?
If it is historical fiction, why would you want to fit them into a modern political spectrum? But yes of course it is possible to discuss anyone positively, but the key I think is to do it honestly.