Though the outcome of the Civil War cemented the Union, the years that followed plunged the nation into dramatic social and economic changes. While African Americans obtained their liberty and southern society was transformed, Reconstruction involved a redefinition of social, economic, and political relationships between the North and South, as well as between the races.
The Reconstruction plans of both Presidents Lincoln and Johnson focused on pardoning the Confederate states and restoring the Union quickly.
Using the links below, research a Freedmen's Bureau project and create a poster to inform freedmen about the project.
As Southern states moved to limit freedmen's rights, Congress took over Reconstruction and passed new laws to protect the freedom of African Americans. This led to the enactment of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments.
A major focus of Reconstruction was the rebuilding of southern cities and the extension of southern railroads. The end of slavery brought about new patterns of agriculture in the South, while expansion of cities and industry led to limited economic growth.
Visit the Levi Jordan Plantation in Brazoria County, Texas and learn how freed African Americans working on this plantation adapted to life as tenant farmers and sharecroppers after the Civil War.
In the 1870s, white Democrats regained power in the South, and public interest in Reconstruction declined. The Supreme Court narrowly interpreted the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments and placed the control of Americans' basic civil rights in the hands of states.