(AP) Reconstruction and the New South p.399-428


Charles Sumner                   Andrew Johnson               Thadeus Stevens

AP Chapter 15 Study Guide

The military aspect of the American Civil War lasted less than five years and ended in April 1865, but it would take another dozen years of Reconstruction to determine what the results of the war would be. The only questions clearly settled by the time of Appomattox were that the nation was indivisible and that slavery must end. The nation faced other issues with far-reaching implications. What would be the place of the freedmen in Southern society? How would the rebellious states be brought back into their "proper relationship" with the Union? The victorious North was in a position to dominate the South, but Northern politicians were not united in either resolve or purpose. For over two years after the fighting stopped, there was no coherent Reconstruction policy. Congress and the president struggled with each other, and various factions in Congress had differing views on politics, race, and union. Congress finally won control and dominated the Reconstruction process until Southern resistance and Northern ambivalence led to the end of Reconstruction in 1877.  Whites who reasserted their economic and political control set out to industrialize the region but with little success. The South remained a troubled agricultural sector. No economic, political, or social issue in the South could escape the race question. The Jim Crow system of the southern establishment succeeded in evading the spirit of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and many African Americans began to wonder just who won the Civil War.  Meanwhile the South continued its colonial relationship with the North and southern plain folk, black and white, found themselves trapped by crop liens in circumstances some felt were almost as bad as slavery.

Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill. 

Reconstruction; 1865-1877

1863 Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln announces his Ten-Percent Plan for Reconstruction.

1864 Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana establish governments.

1865 Freedmen's Bureau created. Thirteenth Amendment ratified.
Lincoln?s assassination. Andrew Johnson launches presidential Reconstruction.

1865-66 Southern states institute Black Codes.

1866 Congress passes Civil Rights Bill over Johnson's veto. Ku Klux Klan founded. Congress approves the Fourteenth Amendment. Tennessee readmitted to Congress. Republicans sweep midterm congressional elections.

1867 Congressional Reconstruction begins with the Military Reconstruction Act. Congress passes Tenure of Office Act. Thaddeus Stevens's land reform proposal defeated.

1867-68 Southern states hold constitutional conventions.

1868 Fourteenth Amendment ratified. House impeaches President Johnson; Senate acquits him. Seven more southern states readmitted to Congress. Ulysses S. Grant elected president.

1869 Congress approves the Fifteenth Amendment. Transcontinental railroad completed. Democratic Redeemers begin to win power in the South.

1870 Fifteenth Amendment ratified. Last three southern states readmitted to Congress.

1870-71 Congress passes the Enforcement Acts.

1872 Credit Mobilier scandal exposed.

1873 Panic of 1873 launches economic depression. Supreme Court decides Slaughterhouse Cases.

1874 Democrats win control of House for first time since 1856.

1875 Civil Rights Act passed. Mississippi Redeemers institute the "Mississippi Plan."

1876 Disputed Hayes-Tilden presidential election produces political crisis.

1877 Compromise of 1877 leads to inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes.
President Hayes withdraws all federal troops from the South.
Last remaining Republican governments in the South fall.

American Diversity:
Reconstruction laid the foundations for a revolutionary change in the relationships of blacks and whites in America. It opened the door for black culture to be preserved and increasingly accepted in American life during the twentieth century.

Economic Transformations:
Two major economic transformations are explored in this chapter. The first is the abolition of slavery and its replacement, albeit imperfect, by a system of "free" labor in the South. The second is the rise of the "New South," which promoted the growth of industrial values and production.

Politics and Citizenship:
In the aftermath of civil war, the nation assumed the authority to define citizenship, and for a brief period created the most equal society in terms of race that America has ever enjoyed until very recently.

Slavery and Its Legacies in North America:
The social effects of slavery were evident in the Reconstruction South. Assumptions of black inferiority, or white superiority, permeated the culture. Because of this unchallenged tenet, justice, despite the Reconstruction amendments, was denied the freedman.

George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide.  McGraw Hill.

Digital History


The twelve years following the Civil War carried vast consequences for the nation's future. Reconstruction helped set the pattern for future race relations and defined the federal government's role in promoting racial equality. This section describes Presidents Lincoln's and Johnson's plans to readmit the Confederate states to the Union as well as the more stringent Congressional plan; it also describes the power struggle between President Andrew Johnson and Congress, including the vote over the president's impeachment. This section also identifies the groups that ruled the southern state governments from 1866 to 1877 and explains why Reconstruction ended in 1877.

Biography of America

Reconstruction (series 12)
Professor Miller begins the program by evoking in word and picture the battlefield after the battle of Gettysburg. With the assassination of President Lincoln, one sad chapter of American history comes to a close. In the fatigue and cynicism of the Civil War's aftermath, Reconstruction becomes a promise unfulfilled.

America at its Centennial (series 13)
As America celebrates its centennial, 5 million people descend on Philadelphia to celebrate America's technological achievements, but some of the early principles of the Republic remain unrealized. Professor Miller and his team of historians examine where America is in 1876 and discuss the question of race.

Lecture Outlines

Reconstruction 1865-1877


Civil War and Reconstruction 1861-1877 

Economic Impact of the Civil War


Student Assignments 

Reconstruction ws 

13th, 14th, 15th amendments ws