Reconstruction Era


The American Civil War started in 1861 and ended in 1865. The war was fought between the northern states and the southern states of America. The northern states were called the Union and the southern states were called the Confederacy.

The Confederacy supported slavery and wanted to break away from USA. The northern states were against slavery and didn't want the southern states to secede. This led to the Civil War in which the Union was ultimately victorious. As a result, all southern states once again became a part of USA.

Civil Rights Act 1875

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What was the Reconstruction Era

In 1865, the American Civil War ended. The South had been defeated and had suffered a lot during the war. There was no longer any government in the south, the economy was in jeopardy, the farms and buildings had been destroyed and things were really bad all over. So the North decided to help the South rebuild its economy and infrastructure.

This was known as the Reconstruction Era. The Era lasted from 1865 until 1877. During this time, most of the South was occupied by the federal soldiers while the federal government passed many new laws.

Abraham Lincoln and the Reconstruction Era

President Abraham Lincoln knew that if the North wanted to be united with South once again, the South had to be offered lenient terms after its defeat. So he didn’t take any southern soldiers as prisoners after they surrendered and offered pardon to any southerner who was willing to take an oath of loyalty to the Union.

However, his government required that any state that wanted to be a part of the Union again must outlaw slavery. Before Lincoln could implement his Reconstruction reforms, he was assassinated by a Confederate sympathizer.

Reconstruction under Andrew Johnson

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson became the next President of USA. During his Presidency, the Confederate states started returning to the Union. The first southern states to rejoin the Union was Tennessee which rejoined it in 1866.

Other states soon followed and by 1870, all southern states were once again a part of USA. During Johnson’s reign, the North helped in the construction of important infrastructure and buildings all over the South.

This helped the southern economy get back on track. By 1877, most of the roads and farms in the South had been restored and the Reconstruction Era came to an end. The North finally removed federal troops from the southern states and allowed state governments to take over.

The Issue of Slavery

Slavery and the rights of African-Americans was the most important issue which led to the war between the North and the South. During the Reconstruction Era, the U.S. Congress passed a number of laws to ensure that the rights of African-Americans are protected in the South. These laws gave everyone the right to vote, citizenship and protection by law regardless of their race or color. When the southern states took over their own governance in 1877, they reversed some of these laws.

The Era of Reconstruction 1865-1877 First Edition Edition

Learn More about the Reconstruction Era after the end of the American Civil War at Wikipedia