The period of American history between 1865 and 1877 is commonly referred to as the Reconstruction Era. This period was marked by significant events that shaped the course of American history.
The Reconstruction Era followed the end of the Civil War, which ended on April 9, 1865, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The war had lasted four years and had resulted in the deaths of over 600,000 Americans.
Goals of Reconstruction
The primary goal of Reconstruction was to rebuild the country after the devastation caused by the Civil War. However, there were also political goals, such as restoring the Union and ensuring that African Americans were granted equal rights under the law.
Challenges Faced During Reconstruction
Reconstruction faced several challenges, including resistance from Southern whites who did not want to accept African Americans as equals. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a white supremacist group, emerged during this period and used violence and intimidation to prevent African Americans from exercising their rights.
Another challenge was President Andrew Johnson’s opposition to granting equal rights to African Americans. Johnson vetoed several bills passed by Congress aimed at protecting African American rights.
Successes During Reconstruction
Despite these challenges, there were also successes during Reconstruction. The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in December 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States. In addition, three new Constitutional Amendments were added that granted citizenship and equal protection under law for all persons born or naturalized in the United States regardless of race or color; protected male citizens’ right to vote; and prohibited denying suffrage on account of race or color.
End of Reconstruction
Reconstruction officially ended in 1877 when federal troops were withdrawn from the Southern states. This led to the rise of Jim Crow laws in the South, which enforced segregation and denied African Americans their rights.
In conclusion, the period of American history between 1865 and 1877 was a tumultuous time marked by significant changes. While Reconstruction faced several challenges, there were also successes that had lasting impacts on American society. It is important to understand this period in order to fully appreciate the struggles and progress made towards achieving equality for all Americans.