What were the key events of Reconstruction?


this assignment, please answer the following question in a full 2-page
essay. Your paper should be 12 point font, Times New Roman, 1 inch
margins, and should be double spaced. Include a works cited page, and be
sure to use an in-text citation whenever you give a direct quote.
Question:Address the qustion
in two parts. First, describe andsummarizethe key events of
Reconstruction, and then (second), based on the photos in the digital
database, select two which you think best depicts the era, supporting
your choices with specific examples and evidence.http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/exhibits/reconstruction/index.html


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The period after the Civil War, known as Reconstruction, was a critical time for the United States. The country was in a state of turmoil, trying to rebuild and reestablish itself after the devastating effects of the war. During Reconstruction, significant events took place, including the amendment of the constitution to abolish slavery, the establishment of civil rights, and the integration of the southern states back into the Union. Despite these achievements, Reconstruction ended with many unresolved issues, leaving the country to face continued challenges with regards to race relations.


Part 1: Key events of Reconstruction

Reconstruction was the period of rebuilding and reforming the United States after the Civil War, beginning in 1865 and lasting until 1877. Its primary objective was to re-establish the southern states into the Union and to extend civil rights to freed African Americans.

One of the major legislative achievements of Reconstruction was the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the entire United States. Another significant event during this time was the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including former slaves. Additionally, the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed that the right to vote would not be denied on the basis of race or color.

Reconstruction also saw the establishment of institutions and programs aimed at improving the economic and social lives of African Americans. For instance, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established to provide food, shelter, and medical aid to former slaves. Many African Americans also gained access to education and established schools, such as the Hampton Institute in Virginia and the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Despite these achievements, Reconstruction was also marked by a great deal of violence and conflict. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups terrorized African Americans and sought to undermine their civil rights. Additionally, the implementation of Reconstruction policies often faced significant opposition from the southern states and former Confederates.

Part 2: Depictions of Reconstruction

The digital database provided a range of images depicting various aspects of Reconstruction. Two photographs that best depict the era are “Emancipated Slaves in Virginia” and “Scars of a whipped Mississippi slave (front).”

“Emancipated Slaves in Virginia” is a powerful photograph that captures the joy and hope of newly freed slaves. The photograph shows a group of African American men, women, and children in Virginia. They are dressed in their Sunday best, and their faces are filled with smiles. The photograph gives insight into the lives of freed slaves and the opportunities that they envisioned for themselves after Reconstruction.

In contrast, “Scars of a whipped Mississippi slave (front)” is a sobering photograph that reveals the brutality and inhumanity of slavery. The photograph shows a bare-chested African American man, his back covered in deep scars. The photograph provides evidence of the physical abuse that many slaves endured and highlights the ongoing challenges that African Americans faced in the aftermath of slavery.


In Conclusion, Reconstruction was a critical time in the history of the United States. It saw significant achievements such as the abolition of slavery and the establishment of civil rights for African Americans. However, it also faced many challenges, including opposition from southern states and continued acts of violence and discrimination against African Americans. The photographs “Emancipated Slaves in Virginia” and “Scars of a whipped Mississippi slave (front)” provide a glimpse of the complexities of Reconstruction and the struggles that African Americans faced during this era.

– Students will be able to describe and summarize the key events of Reconstruction.
– Students will be able to analyze primary sources (in this case, historical photographs) and use specific examples and evidence to support their interpretations.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this assignment, students should be able to:
– Understand the main goals and challenges of Reconstruction.
– Identify and explain the significance of at least two primary sources from the Reconstruction era.
– Analyze the social, political, and economic changes that occurred during Reconstruction.
– Develop effective writing skills through the creation of a 2-page essay with proper citation.

Summary of Key Events of Reconstruction:

Reconstruction was a period of major change and conflict in the United States following the Civil War. It began in 1865 and lasted until 1877. One of the main goals of Reconstruction was to rebuild the South and reunite the country. Another goal was to extend civil rights and protections to African Americans, who had been enslaved and then systematically oppressed for centuries. Reconstruction was marked by several key events, including:

– The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, which abolished slavery, granted citizenship to African Americans, and guaranteed voting rights regardless of race or previous condition of servitude.
– The impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, who was seen as obstructing Reconstruction efforts and sympathizing with the Confederacy.
– The rise of sharecropping and other forms of exploitation of African American labor.
– The emergence of organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, which used violence and intimidation to resist Reconstruction and maintain white supremacy.
– The disputed presidential election of 1876, which led to the withdrawal of federal troops from the South and a marked increase in violence and repression against African Americans.

Analysis of Primary Sources:
Out of the many photographs available in the digital database, two stand out as particularly illuminating of the era: “Negro Life at the South” and “Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania.”

“Negro Life at the South” is a photograph taken by Timothy O’Sullivan in 1867. It depicts several African American men and women standing outside several poorly constructed houses. One woman is carrying a child, and several men appear to be holding tools or other equipment. The photograph captures the poverty and struggles of newly freed African Americans during Reconstruction. The fact that these individuals are standing outside makeshift houses suggests they may not yet have access to stable and adequate housing. Additionally, the tools and equipment in the photograph may indicate that these people were working long hours for low pay, possibly as sharecroppers or other forms of exploitative labor. Overall, the photograph highlights the challenges and obstacles faced by African Americans during Reconstruction, despite legal gains such as the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.

“Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania” is a photograph taken in 1869. It depicts four men dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia, including robes and hoods, standing in front of a building. The photograph is significant because it challenges the common assumption that the Klan was primarily a Southern organization. Instead, it suggests that the Klan existed and operated across the country during Reconstruction, using violence and intimidation to resist racial equality and promote white supremacy. Furthermore, the fact that the men are positioned in front of a building could suggest that the Klan had institutional support and legitimacy, rather than being a mere fringe group. Overall, the photograph points to the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equality during Reconstruction, as well as the violent resistance that such efforts faced.

The Reconstruction era was a complex and consequential period in American history. Through the study of primary sources such as photographs, students can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and struggles faced by African Americans during this time, as well as the resistance to racial equality from groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. By analyzing these sources and developing effective writing skills through the creation of a 2-page essay, students can develop a nuanced understanding of Reconstruction and its significance for American society and history.

Solution 1: Key Events of Reconstruction

Reconstruction was a period in United States history that began after the Civil War and lasted from 1865 to 1877. This was a time marked by significant changes as the country worked to rebuild and repair the damage done by the war. Reconstruction was largely aimed at addressing the political, social, and economic issues that arose from the end of slavery and the Civil War.

The key events of Reconstruction include the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which abolished slavery, guaranteed equal protection under the law, and granted voting rights to African American men. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 also played an important role in this period, as it created five military districts in former Confederate states and required new state constitutions to be written and ratified before they could rejoin the Union.

Other significant events during Reconstruction included the impeachment and removal of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870, and the founding of the Ku Klux Klan in 1866. The Freedmen’s Bureau was established to help former slaves transition to freedom, and many schools and universities were founded to provide education to African Americans.

While Reconstruction had many positive outcomes, it was also marked by violence and discrimination, as many white Southerners resisted the changes brought about during this period. The Jim Crow laws were created to restrict the rights of African Americans, and segregation became the norm in many parts of the country.

Solution 2: Photos Depicting the Era

The period of Reconstruction was a time of significant social and political change in the United States, and the photos in the digital database provide valuable insight into this era. Two of the photos that best depict this time period are “Black Legislators in South Carolina” and “Carpetbag Rule in Georgia.”

The photo “Black Legislators in South Carolina” shows a group of African American men who were elected to the state legislature during Reconstruction. This image is significant because it highlights the progress that was made during this time, as African Americans were finally given the right to vote and hold political office. The men in the photo are wearing suits and appear confident and proud, underscoring the significance of their achievements.

The photo “Carpetbag Rule in Georgia” shows a group of white men who are protesting against Reconstruction. The term “carpetbagger” referred to individuals from the North who came to the South to participate in Reconstruction efforts. This photo shows that there was significant opposition to these efforts, as white Southerners resented the perceived interference from Northerners. This image also highlights the violence and tension that marked this era, as the men in the photo are holding weapons and appear ready to fight.

In conclusion, the photos “Black Legislators in South Carolina” and “Carpetbag Rule in Georgia” provide powerful insights into the time period of Reconstruction. While one depicts progress and achievement, the other highlights tension and conflict, underscoring the complex nature of this period in United States history.

Suggested Resources/Books

1. “A Short History of Reconstruction” by Eric Foner: This book provides a concise and comprehensive overview of the Reconstruction era. It covers the major events and figures, as well as the political, social, and economic changes that occurred during that time.

2. “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877” by Eric Foner: This is a more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Reconstruction period. It explores the complexities and contradictions of this era, and argues that despite its shortcomings, Reconstruction was a critical moment in American history.

3. “The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877” by Kenneth M. Stampp: This book analyzes the political, social, and economic dimensions of Reconstruction, and provides an in-depth examination of the challenges and achievements of this period.

4. “Reconstruction: Voices from America’s First Great Struggle for Racial Justice” edited by Brooks D. Simpson: This book offers a collection of primary sources from the Reconstruction era, including speeches, letters, and personal accounts. It provides a firsthand glimpse into the experiences and perspectives of those who lived through this tumultuous time.

5. “Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880” by W. E. B. Du Bois: This classic work of history and sociology provides a critical analysis of the Reconstruction era, with a particular focus on the role of African Americans in shaping the course of events.

Similar Asked Questions

1. What was the impact of the Reconstruction era on American society and politics?

2. How did Reconstruction change the lives of African Americans in the United States?

3. What were the key goals and challenges of Reconstruction, and how were they addressed?

4. Who were the major figures of the Reconstruction era, and what were their contributions to American history?

5. What lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of Reconstruction, and how do they apply to contemporary debates about race and equality in America?

Description and Summary of Key Events during the Reconstruction Era

The Reconstruction era was a tumultuous period in American history that followed the Civil War. It lasted from 1865 to 1877 and was characterized by major political, social, and economic changes. Some of the key events of this period include:

1. The passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, which abolished slavery, granted citizenship rights to African Americans, and gave them the right to vote.

2. The impeachment and trial of President Andrew Johnson, who clashed with the Radical Republicans in Congress over the scope and goals of Reconstruction.

3. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups that sought to overturn the gains of Reconstruction and maintain white supremacy in the South.

4. The implementation of various Reconstruction policies and programs aimed at rebuilding the Southern economy, establishing public education, and providing aid to newly freed slaves.

5. The election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes to the presidency, which marked the end of Reconstruction and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.

Selection of Photos that Best Depict the Reconstruction Era

1. The photo titled “Freedmen’s Bureau Teacher with Students” best depicts the Reconstruction era because it highlights the efforts made to educate newly freed slaves and promote citizenship rights. The photo shows a teacher with a group of African American students, who are eager to learn and drive to succeed despite the challenges they faced. This image captures the resilience and determination of African Americans during a time of significant change and uncertainty.

2. The photo titled “Civil Rights Act of 1866” best depicts the Reconstruction era because it highlights the struggle for equal rights and protections under the law. The photo shows a group of African American men gathered around a document, presumably the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which granted citizenship rights and equal protection under the law to African Americans. This image captures the hope and optimism of African Americans during a time of significant political change and reflects the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equal justice.

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