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Ch 11: After the Civil War: Reconstruction

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn about Reconstruction and federal efforts to reunite the country after the Civil War. These easy-to-follow lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

After the Civil War: Reconstruction - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Reconstruction refers to a period of United States history that began with the end of the Civil War in 1865 and lasted until 1877. It was a tumultuous time, during which the federal government attempted to economically, politically and socially rehabilitate the Southern states and restore order to the Union. In this chapter, you'll learn about some of the dramatic events that took place during Reconstruction, including election fraud, government scandals, a presidential impeachment and Southern opposition to the plan.

Key lessons will cover the constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, established citizenship and provided African-American men with the right to vote. You'll also learn about the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws that were used to maintain white supremacy in the South, as well as the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. When you've finished watching the videos, you should be able to decide for yourself if Reconstruction was a success or a failure. Topics in this chapter include:

  • The purpose of Reconstruction, including objectives and implementation
  • The presidencies of Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant, including achievements and challenges
  • Constitutional amendments during Reconstruction and their relationship to individual rights
  • Paramilitary and political efforts to restrict the rights of African Americans in the South
  • The Transcontinental Railroad and its relationship to Western migration and women's suffrage
  • The Indian Wars, including land conflicts and outcomes

VideoObjective
President Lincoln's Legacy: Plans for a Reconstructed Union Provide an overview of President Lincoln's plan to rehabilitate the South.
President Andrew Johnson: Attempts to Continue Lincoln's Reconstruction PlanDescribe continuing reconstruction efforts under President Andrew Johnson.
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Conflict between President and CongressIdentify the events that led up to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.
President Ulysses S. Grant: Election, Successes and CorruptionDescribe the legislative successes and government scandals that occurred during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant.
The Reconstruction Amendments: The 13th, 14th and 15th AmendmentsSummarize the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution.
Reconstruction's Effects on African Americans: Politics, Education and EconomyDiscuss the educational, economical and political impact of Reconstruction on African Americans.
Life in the South after the Civil WarDescribe efforts to restrict the rights of African Americans in the South.
Transcontinental Railroad, Homestead Act and Women's SuffrageExplain the cumulative effects of the Homestead Act, the Transcontinental Railroad and women's suffrage on the Western United States.
The Indian Wars: Struggle between Native Americans and SettlersDescribe the land and resource conflicts between Native Americans and settlers in the West.
The End of Reconstruction and the Election of 1876Discuss the disputed presidential election of 1876 and the formal end of Reconstruction.
Reconstruction Period: Goals, Success and FailuresSummarize the Reconstruction period in terms of how well the plan was able to achieve its goals.

11 Lessons in Chapter 11: After the Civil War: Reconstruction
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
President Lincoln's Legacy: Plans for a Reconstructed Union

1. President Lincoln's Legacy: Plans for a Reconstructed Union

Before the guns of the American Civil War fell silent, President Abraham Lincoln was making plans for the reconstruction of the South. In this lesson, learn what his plans involved and the controversy surrounding them.

President Andrew Johnson: Attempts to Continue Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan

2. President Andrew Johnson: Attempts to Continue Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan

When President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the task of Reconstruction fell to President Andrew Johnson. He was soon at odds with many different factions in the nation. While Johnson was not successful in domestic policy, his administration had a few foreign successes.

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Conflict Between President and Congress

3. The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Conflict Between President and Congress

Congressional Reconstruction, guided by Radical Republicans, aggressively pursued political equality for African Americans as defined by several pieces of legislation and the 14th Amendment. Conflict between Congress and President Andrew Johnson escalated until he was impeached.

President Ulysses S. Grant: Election, Successes and Corruption

4. President Ulysses S. Grant: Election, Successes and Corruption

Ulysses S. Grant, the Union hero of the Civil War, was elected in 1868, the last U.S. president to have been a slave owner. Despite his popularity, the nation faced social, economic and political difficulties, and his administration was shrouded in corruption.

The Reconstruction Amendments: The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments

5. The Reconstruction Amendments: The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments

Between 1865 and 1870, during the historical era known as Reconstruction, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified to establish political equality for all Americans. Together, they are known as the Reconstruction Amendments.

Reconstruction's Effects on African Americans: Politics, Education and Economy

6. Reconstruction's Effects on African Americans: Politics, Education and Economy

The era in U.S. history known as Reconstruction presented many new opportunities to African Americans, especially in the South. For the first time, freedmen were free to pursue economic independence, education, religion and politics. These pursuits are embodied in the accomplishments of four men: Alonzo Herndon, Booker T. Washington, Jonathan Gibbs and Hiram Revels.

Life in the South After the Civil War

7. Life in the South After the Civil War

Following the Civil War, the era of Reconstruction was a difficult time for Southerners. Their land was destroyed, their political institutions were overrun by outsiders, the economy was in transition and their society was in upheaval. It was in this climate that the Ku Klux Klan was born and the Redeemers sought to reestablish the Old South.

Transcontinental Railroad, Homestead Act and Women's Suffrage

8. Transcontinental Railroad, Homestead Act and Women's Suffrage

In light of slavery and the issues related to it, several consequential events are often overlooked in the mid- to late-1800s: the Homestead Act, completion of the the transcontinental railroad and the push for women's suffrage.

The Indian Wars: Struggle Between Native Americans and Settlers

9. The Indian Wars: Struggle Between Native Americans and Settlers

As America expanded into the West, whites often encroached on Indian land and resources. Many Native Americans defended their territory, leading to a series of conflicts known as the Indian Wars.

The End of Reconstruction and the Election of 1876

10. The End of Reconstruction and the Election of 1876

Since the end of the Civil War in 1865, Republicans had tried to Reconstruct the South and secure equal rights for African American men. But a series of factors convened to bring Reconstruction to an end in 1877.

Reconstruction Period: Goals, Success and Failures

11. Reconstruction Period: Goals, Success and Failures

Reconstruction of the South following the American Civil War lasted from 1865-1877 under three presidents. It wasn't welcomed by Southerners, and there were many problems throughout this process. But, was it successful?

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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