Ch 44: American Reconstruction & the Gilded Age (1865-1877)

About This Chapter

Let us aid in your review of the events and personalities of post-Civil War America. Get information on presidents, life in the South after the war, African-Americans during Reconstruction, America's westward expansion and the conquest of Native Americans.

American Reconstruction & the Gilded Age (1865-1877) - Chapter Summary

Use the lessons in this chapter to refresh your understanding of America after the Civil War. Our instructors look at what Abraham Lincoln had planned for the post-war country and at how his successor tried to follow through. You'll examine the achievements and scandals of Ulysses S. Grant's administration.

Other lessons explore what life was like for the defeated southerners, newly-freed African-Americans and Native Americans who were having their lands overtaken by settlers. After completing this chapter's videos, you should know more about topics including:

  • Lincoln's plans for the union
  • Andrew Johnson's impeachment
  • The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments
  • How African-Americans fared during Reconstruction
  • Westward expansion, including the Homestead Act of 1862 and the transcontinental railroad
  • The Indian Wars
  • Native Americans during the Gilded Age
  • An overview of the achievements and failures of the Reconstruction era

These lessons are short, about five minutes on average, and include multiple-choice quizzes that let you assess your learning. You can watch as your schedule permits, on a computer, smartphone or tablet. It's easy to use the clickable timeline in each lesson to review important points, and if you still have questions, our instructors are available to help.

13 Lessons in Chapter 44: American Reconstruction & the Gilded Age (1865-1877)
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.

Westward Expansion: The Homestead Act of 1862 & the Frontier Thesis

8. Westward Expansion: The Homestead Act of 1862 & the Frontier Thesis

Between the mid-1800s and the turn of the 20th century, the American frontier opened and closed abruptly. What factors influenced this land rush, and how did it help shape American history?

Expanding the Transcontinental Railroad: History and Impact

9. Expanding the Transcontinental Railroad: History and Impact

After decades of wrangling, plans were finalized for construction of a transcontinental railroad during the Civil War. After completion in 1869, the railroad changed many aspects of American life, for better or worse.

The Indian Wars: Struggle Between Native Americans and Settlers

10. 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.

Native Americans: Conflict, Conquest and Assimilation During the Gilded Age

11. Native Americans: Conflict, Conquest and Assimilation During the Gilded Age

In the second half of the 19th century, the federal government attempted to control Native American nations. This led to violent conflicts known together as the Indian Wars. Learn about famous battles, and the attempt to 'civilize' tribes through various policies.

The End of Reconstruction and the Election of 1876

12. 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

13. 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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