Reconstruction, 1865-1877

Reconstruction was a period of rebuilding after the War, not so much a physical rebuilding of the war-torn communities but a rebuilding or reconstructing of the Union.  Reconstruction represents the political and legal process of rejoining the states and tying up all the loose ends after the war.  In some ways, Reconstruction continued the war but with political fighting rather than physical fighting.  The federal government had several central questions that remained after the war that needed to be resolved:

Illustration showing the meaning of emancipation to the 4 million freed former slaves

Illustration showing the meaning of emancipation to the 4 million freed former slaves

The Three Main Phases of Reconstruction

There were three main phases of Reconstruction

  • Wartime Reconstruction, 1861-1865
  • Presidential Reconstruction, 1865-1867
  • Congressional or Radical Reconstruction, 1867-1877