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Reconstruction was the attempt from 1865 to 1877 in U.S. history to resolve the issues of the American Civil War when both the Confederacy and slavery were destroyed. Reconstruction addressed the return of the Southern states that had seceded, the status of ex-Confederate leaders, and the Constitutional and legal status of the African-American Freedmen. Violent controversy arose over how to accomplish those tasks, and by the late 1870s Reconstruction had failed to equally integrate the Freedmen into the legal, political, economic and social system. "Reconstruction" is also the common name for the entire history of the era 1865 to 1877.
Reconstruction came in three phases. Presidential Reconstruction 1863-66 was controlled by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, with the goal of speedily reuniting the country. Their moderate programs were opposed by the Radical Republicans, a political faction that gained power after the 1866 elections and began Radical Reconstruction, 1866-1873 emphasizing civil rights and voting rights for the Freedmen. A Republican coalition of Freedmen, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags controlled most of the southern states. In the so-called Redemption, 1873-77, white supremacist Southerners (calling themselves "Redeemers") defeated the Republicans and took control of each southern state, marking the end of Reconstruction.
Radical Republican Charles Sumner argued that secession had destroyed statehood alone but the Constitution still extended its authority and its protection over individuals, as in the territories. Thaddeus Stevens and his followers viewed secession as having left the states in a status like newly conquered territory.
Congress rejected Johnson's argument that he had the war power to decide what to do, since the war was now over. Congress decided it had the primary authority to decide because the Constitution said the Congress had to guarantee each state a republican form of government; the issue became how republicanism should operate in the South.
 Policy Issues
Republican leaders agreed that slavery and the Slave Power had to be permanently destroyed, and that all forms of Confederate nationalism had to be suppressed. Moderates said this could be easily accomplished as soon as Confederate armies surrendered and the Southern states repealed secession and ratified the 13th Amendment—all of which happened by September 1865.
President Abraham Lincoln was the leader of the moderate Republicans and wanted to speed up Reconstruction and reunite the nation as soon as possible. Lincoln formally began Reconstruction in late 1863 with his Ten percent plan, which went into operation in several states but which Radicals opposed. Lincoln vetoed the Radical plan, the Wade-Davis Bill of 1864. The opposing faction of Radical Republicans were much more skeptical of Southern intentions and demanded far more stringent federal action. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner led the Radical Republicans. After Lincoln's assassination, President Andrew Johnson switched from the Radical to the moderate camp. He too favored voting rights for veterans of the United States Colored Troops. By 1866, however, Johnson, with no party affiliation, broke with the moderate Republicans and aligned himself more with the Democrats who opposed equality and the Fourteenth Amendment. Radicals attacked the policies of Johnson, especially his veto of the Civil Rights Bill for the Freedmen.
The election of 1866 decisively changed the balance of power, giving the Radicals control of Congress and enough votes to overcome Johnson's vetoes and even to impeach him. Johnson was acquitted by one vote, but he remained almost powerless regarding Reconstruction policy. Radicals used the Army to take over the South and give the vote to black men, and they took the vote away from an estimated 10,000 or 15,000 white men who had been Confederate officials or senior officers. The Radical stage lasted for varying lengths in the different states, where a Republican coalition of Freedmen, Scalawags, and Carpetbaggers took control and promoted modernization through railroads and public schools. They were charged with corruption by their opponents, the conservative–Democratic coalition, calling themselves "Redeemers" after 1870. Violence sponsored by the Ku Klux Klan was overcome by federal intervention.
By 1877, however, Redeemers regained control of every state, and President Rutherford Hayes withdrew federal troops, causing the collapse of the remaining three Republican state governments. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were permanent legacies. Bitterness from the heated partisanship of the era lasted well into the 20th century.
 Loyalty issue
A loyalty issue emerged in the debates over the Wade-Davis Bill of 1864. Wade-Davis required voters to take the "Ironclad Oath," swearing that in the past they never had supported the Confederacy or been one of its soldiers. Lincoln ignored the past and asked voters to swear that in the future they would support the Union. The Radicals lost support following Lincoln's pocket veto, but they regained strength in the mood of vengeance that followed Lincoln's assassination in April 1865.
 Suffrage issue
Suffrage for ex-Confederates was one of two main issues. First, both sides tried to keep the other from voting. It was a question of allowing some or all ex-Confederates to vote. The moderates wanted virtually all of them to vote, but the Radicals repeatedly tried to impose the Ironclad oath, which would allow none to vote. Thaddeus Stevens proposed, unsuccessfully, that all ex-Confederates lose the vote for five years. The compromise that was reached disenfranchised many ex-Confederate civil and military leaders; no one knew how many temporarily lost the vote, but one estimate was 10,000 to 15,000.
Second was the issue of whether blacks should vote. Northern states that had referenda on the subject rejected allowing their own small number of blacks to vote, but that was not the issue. More germane was the issue of creating a loyally pro-American electorate in the South. Radicals said that the ex-Confederates could not be trusted. Conservatives (including most white Southerners, Northern Democrats, and some Northern Republicans) opposed black voting. Lincoln and Johnson took a middle position that would allow some black men to vote, especially army veterans. Lincoln proposed giving the vote to "the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks", while, in 1864, Governor Johnson said, "The better class of them will go to work and sustain themselves, and that class ought to be allowed to vote, on the ground that a loyal negro is more worthy than a disloyal white man". As President in 1865, Johnson wrote to the man he appointed as governor of Mississippi, recommending, "If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the Constitution in English and write their names, and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty dollars, and pay taxes thereon, you would completely disarm the adversary [Radicals in Congress], and set an example the other states will follow."
Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts and Representative Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, leaders of the Radical Republicans, were initially hesitant to enfranchise the largely illiterate ex-slave population. However, Sumner and Stevens finally decided it was necessary for blacks to vote for three reasons:
- for their own protection;
- for the protection of white Unionists (scalawags);
- for the peace of the country.
The Radicals said the only way to get experience was to get the vote first, and they passed laws allowing all male freedmen to vote. In 1867, black men voted for the first time and, over the course of Reconstruction, more than 1,500 African Americans held public office in the South. (The question of women's suffrage was also debated but was rejected.)
The South's postwar white leaders renounced secession and slavery, but they were angered in 1867 when their state governments were ousted by federal military forces and replaced by Republican lawmakers elected by blacks, Scalawags and Carpetbaggers.
 Presidential Reconstruction, 1863-66
 Lincoln's plan
Planning for Reconstruction began in 1861, at the onset of the war. The Radical Republicans, seeking strict policies, used as their base the Congressional Joint Committee on Reconstruction.
In 1863, Lincoln began the task of restoration. Motivated by a desire to build a strong Republican Party in the South and to end the bitterness engendered by war, on December 8, 1863, he issued a proclamation of amnesty and reconstruction for those areas of the Confederacy occupied by Union armies. It offered pardon, with certain exceptions, to any Confederate who would swear to support the Constitution and the Union. Once a group in any conquered state equal in number to one tenth of that state's total vote in the presidential election of 1860 took the prescribed oath and organized a government that abolished slavery, he would grant that government executive recognition. This was the ten percent plan.
Thus, Lincoln pursued a lenient plan for reconstruction, especially in Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas. However, he was unable to get Congress to support his plans, leaving the situation unsettled at the time of his death. 
Lincoln's 1863 plan aroused the sharp opposition of the radicals in Congress, who believed it would simply restore to power the old planter aristocracy. In July 1864, they passed the Wade-Davis Bill, which required 50% of a state's male voters to take an “ironclad” oath that they had never voluntarily supported the Confederacy. Lincoln's veto kept the Wade-Davis Bill from becoming law, the Radicals lost momentum, and he implemented his own plan. By the end of the war it had been tried, not too successfully, in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia. Congress, however, refused to seat the senators and representatives elected from those states, and by the time of Lincoln's assassination the President and Congress were at a stalemate.
Observers at the time of the Wade-Davis bill—and historians since—agree that probably no state would have qualified, leaving them under military control indefinitely. By vetoing the bill, Lincoln blocked the Radicals from a dominant role in government. (They rose to power again in 1866.) Historian William Gienapp explains Lincoln's veto:
- Lincoln, in contrast, shrank from inaugurating a fundamental upheaval in southern society and mores, and by stressing future over past loyalty, he was willing to allow recanting Rebels to dominate the new southern governments. Moreover, Lincoln believed that the best strategy was to introduce black suffrage in the South by degrees in order to accustom southern whites to blacks voting. How far he was willing to go in extending rights to former slaves remained unclear, but his gradualist approach to social change remained intact, just as when he had tried to get the border states in 1862 to adopt gradual emancipation. Finally, the radicals and Lincoln held quite different views of the relationship of Reconstruction to the war effort. By erecting impossibly high standards that no Southern state could meet, the Wade–Davis bill sought to postpone Reconstruction until the war was over. For Lincoln, in contrast, a lenient program of Reconstruction would encourage Southern whites to abandon the Confederacy and thus was integral to his strategy for winning the war.
Lincoln thus wanted to bring the Southern states back into good standing as soon as possible and with a minimum of vengeance. Insisting, as well, that there be new rights for the Freedmen, he created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands in January 1865, known as the Freedmen's Bureau. In one experiment in the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Freedmen were allowed to farm plantations seized by the Army; they never received ownership.
 Johnson's presidential reconstruction: 1865–66
Northern anger over the assassination of Lincoln and the immense human cost of the war led to demands for harsh policies. Vice President Andrew Johnson had taken a hard line and spoke of hanging rebel Confederates, but when he succeeded Lincoln as President, Johnson took a much softer line, pardoning many Confederate leaders and allowing ex-Confederates to maintain their control of Southern state governments, Southern lands, and black people. Jefferson Davis was held in prison for two years, but not the other Confederate leaders; there were no treason trials. Only one person—Captain Henry Wirz, the commandant of the prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia—was executed for war crimes.
 Black codes
The Johnson governments quickly enacted the restrictive "black codes". They gave freedmen more rights than free blacks had before the war, but they still had only a limited set of second-class civil rights, and no voting rights. Southern plantation owners feared extensive black vagrancy would mean loss of the essential labor force. Many Southern whites feared equality with Southern blacks. Two states had full fledged Black Codes, Mississippi and South Carolina. Among other provisions, they stringently limited blacks' ability to control their own employment. 
 Moderate responses
In response to the Black codes and worrisome signs of Southern recalcitrance, the Radical Republicans blocked the readmission of the ex-rebellious states to the Congress in fall 1865. Congress also renewed the Freedman's Bureau, but Johnson vetoed the Freedmen's Bureau Bill in February 1866. Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, leader of the moderate Republicans, took affront at the black codes. He proposed the first Civil Rights Law, because the abolition of slavery was empty if "laws are to be enacted and enforced depriving persons of African descent of privileges which are essential to freemen.... A law that does not allow a colored person to go from one county to another, and one that does not allow him to hold property, to teach, to preach, are certainly laws in violation of the rights of a freeman....The purpose of this bill is to destroy all these discriminations." 
The key to the bill was the opening section:
- "All persons born in the United States ... are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States; and such citizens of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery ... shall have the same right in every State ...to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to the Contrary notwithstanding."
 Johnson vetoes; Republicans rally against him
Although strongly urged by moderates in Congress to sign the Civil Rights bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27. His veto message objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the Freedmen at a time when eleven out of thirty-six states were unrepresented and attempted to fix by Federal law "a perfect equality of the white and black races in every State of the Union." Johnson said it was an invasion by Federal authority of the rights of the States; it had no warrant in the Constitution and was contrary to all precedents. It was a "stride toward centralization and the concentration of all legislative power in the national government."
The Democratic Party, proclaiming itself the party of white men, north and south, supported Johnson. However the Republicans in Congress overrode his veto (the Senate by the close vote of 33:15, the House by 122:41) and the Civil Rights bill became law. Congress also passed the Freedmen's Bureau Bill over Johnson's veto.
The last moderate proposal was the Fourteenth Amendment, also authored by moderate Trumbull. It was designed to put the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act into the Constitution, but it went much further. It extended citizenship to everyone born in the United States (except visitors and Indians on reservations), penalized states that did not give the vote to Freedmen, and most importantly, created new federal civil rights that could be protected by federal courts. It guaranteed the Federal war debt (and promised the Confederate debt would never be paid). Johnson used his influence to block the amendment in the states since three-fourths of the states were required for ratification. (The amendment was later ratified.) The moderate effort to compromise with Johnson had failed, and a political fight broke out between the Republicans (both Radical and moderate) on one side, and on the other side, Johnson and his allies in the Democratic party in the North, and the conservative groupings (which used different names) in each southern state.
 Radical Reconstruction: 1866–73
 Constitutional amendments
Three new Constitutional amendments were adopted. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and was ratified in 1865. The 14th Amendment was rejected in 1866 but ratified in 1868, guaranteeing citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, except Native Americans, and granting them federal civil rights. The 15th Amendment passed in 1870, decreeing that the right to vote could not be denied because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The amendment did not declare the vote an unconditional right and only prohibited these specific types of discrimination while specific electoral policies were determined within each state. Notably, the 15th Amendment did not mention the right of women to vote.
 Re-admission to the union
- Tennessee - July 24, 1866
- Arkansas - June 22, 1868
- Florida - June 25, 1868
- North Carolina - July 4, 1868
- South Carolina - July 9, 1868
- Louisiana - July 9, 1868
- Alabama - July 13, 1868
- Virginia - January 26, 1870
- Mississippi - February 23, 1870
- Texas - March 30, 1870
- Georgia - July 15, 1870
 Military reconstruction
Because the South remained defiant, it started a pervasive insurgency against free blacks and Union supporters (in few cases, Union veterans). As a retribution against the violence, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act.
The first Reconstruction Act placed ten Confederate states under military control, grouping them into five military districts:
- First Military District: Virginia, under General John Schofield
- Second Military District: The Carolinas, under General Daniel Sickles
- Third Military District: Georgia, Alabama and Florida, under General John Pope
- Fourth Military District: Arkansas and Mississippi, under General Edward Ord
- Fifth Military District: Texas and Louisiana, under Generals Philip Sheridan and Winfield Scott Hancock
Tennessee was not made part of a military district, and therefore federal controls did not apply.
The ten Southern state governments were re-constituted under the direct control of the United States Army. There was little or no fighting, but rather a state of martial law in which the military closely supervised local government, supervised elections, and protected office holders from violence. Blacks whites were enrolled as voters; former Confederate leaders were excluded.[Foner 1988 p 274–5] No one state was representative. Here is what happened in Texas:
- The first critical step … was the registration of voters according to guidelines established by Congress and interpreted by Generals Sheridan and Griffin. The Reconstruction Acts called for registering all adult males, white and black, except those who had ever sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and then engaged in rebellion.… Sheridan interpreted these restrictions stringently, barring from registration not only all pre-1861 officials of state and local governments who had supported the Confederacy but also all city officeholders and even minor functionaries such as sextons of cemeteries. In May Griffin … appointed a three-man board of registrars for each county, making his choices on the advice of known Unionists and local Freedman's Bureau agents. In every county where practicable a freedman served as one of the three registrars.… Final registration amounted to approximately 59,633 whites and 49,479 blacks. It is impossible to say how many whites were rejected or refused to register (estimates vary from 7,500 to 12,000), but blacks, who constituted only about 30 percent of the state's population, were significantly overrepresented at 45 percent of all voters. 
All Southern states were readmitted to the Union by the end of 1870, the last being Georgia. All but 500 top Confederate leaders were pardoned when President Grant signed the Amnesty Act of 1872.
 Black officeholders
Republicans took control of all Southern state governorships and state legislatures, leading to the election of numerous African-Americans to state and national offices, as well as to the installation of African-Americans into other positions of power. About 137 black officeholders lived outside the South before the Civil War.
|Race of delegates to 1867
state constitutional conventions
Source: Rhodes (1920) v 6 p. 199; no report on Arkansas
 Public schools
As modernizers, the Republicans believed that education was a long-term solution to the economic poverty and ignorance of the South. They created a system of public schools, which were segregated by race everywhere except New Orleans. Most blacks approved the segregated schools because they provided jobs for black teachers. In general, elementary and a few secondary schools were built in the cities. But the South had few cities, and in the rural areas the public school was a one-room affair that attracted about half the younger children. The teachers were poorly paid, and their pay was often in arrears. Conservatives contended the rural schools were too expensive and unnecessary for a region where the vast majority of people were cotton or tobacco farmers. One historian found that the schools were not very effective because of "poverty, the inability of the states to collect taxes, and inefficiency and corruption in many places prevented successful operation of the schools."
Numerous private academies and colleges for Freedmen were established by northern missionaries. Every state created state colleges for Freedmen, such as Alcorn State University in Mississippi; in 1890, the black state colleges started receiving federal funds as land grant schools. They received state funds after Reconstruction ended because, as Lynch explains, "there are very many liberal, fair-minded and influential Democrats in the State who are strongly in favor of having the State provide for the liberal education of both races."
 Railroad subsidies and payoffs
Every Southern state subsidized railroads, which modernizers felt could haul the South out of isolation and poverty. Millions of dollars in bonds and subsidies were fraudulently pocketed. One ring in North Carolina spent $200,000 in bribing the legislature and obtained millions in state money for its railroads. Instead of building new track, however, it used the funds to speculate in bonds, reward friends with extravagant fees, and enjoy lavish trips to Europe. Taxes were quadrupled across the South to pay off the railroad bonds and the school costs, leading to intense complaints among taxpayers. Nevertheless thousands of miles of lines were built as the Southern system expanded from 11,000 miles (17,700 km) in 1870 to 29,000 miles (46,700 km) in 1890. The lines were owned and directed overwhelmingly by Northerners. Railroads helped create a mechanically skilled group of craftsmen and indeed broke the isolation of much of the region. Passengers were few, however, and apart from hauling the cotton crop when it was harvested, there was little freight traffic. As Franklin explains, "numerous railroads fed at the public trough by bribing legislators...and through the use and misuse of state funds." The effect, according to one businessman, "was to drive capital from the State, paralyze industry, and demoralize labor."
 Taxpayer revolt
The new spending on schools and especially on railroad subsidies, combined with fraudulent spending and a collapse in state credit because of huge deficits, forced the states to dramatically increase tax rates—up to ten times higher—despite the poverty of the region. Angry taxpayers revolted, and the conservatives shifted their focus away from race to taxes. Former Congressman John Lynch, a black Republican leader from Mississippi, concluded, "The argument made by the taxpayers, however, was plausible and it may be conceded that, upon the whole, they were about right; for no doubt it would have been much easier upon the taxpayers to have increased at that time the interest-bearing debt of the State than to have increased the tax rate. The latter course, however, had been adopted and could not then be changed."
 Views of conservatives in the South
The white Southerners who lost power reformed themselves into "Conservative" parties that battled the Republicans throughout the South. The party names varied, but by the late 1870s, they simply called themselves "Democrats." Historian Walter Lynwood Fleming describes mounting anger of Southern whites: "The Negro troops, even at their best, were everywhere considered offensive by the native whites.... The Negro soldier, impudent by reason of his new freedom, his new uniform, and his new gun, was more than Southern temper could tranquilly bear, and race conflicts were frequent." 
Fleming described the first results of the Ku Klux Klan movement as "good" and the later ones as "both good and bad." According to Fleming (1907) the KKK "quieted the Negroes, made life and property safer, gave protection to women, stopped burnings, forced the Radical leaders to be more moderate, made the Negroes work better, drove the worst of the Radical leaders from the country and started the whites on the way to gain political supremacy." The evil results, Fleming said, was that lawless elements "made use of the organization as a cloak to cover their misdeeds....the lynching habits of today  are due largely to conditions, social and legal, growing out of Reconstruction."
Ellis Oberholtzer (a northern scholar) in 1917 explained:
- Outrages upon the ex-slaves in the South there were in plenty. Their sufferings were many. But white men, too, were victims of lawless violence, and in all portions of the North as well as in the late "rebel" states. Not a political campaign passed without the exchange of bullets, the breaking of skulls with sticks and stones, the firing of rival club-houses. Republican clubs marched the streets of Philadelphia, amid revolver shots and brickbats, to save the negroes from the "rebel" savages in Alabama.... The project to make voters out of black men was not so much for their social elevation as for the further punishment of the Southern white people—for the capture of offices for Radical scamps and the entrenchment of the Radical party in power for a long time to come in the South and in the country at large."
Reaction by conservatives included the formation of violent secret societies, especially the Ku Klux Klan. Violence occurred in cities and in the countryside between white former Confederates, Republicans, African-Americans, representatives of the federal government, and Republican-organized armed Loyal Leagues.
 Redemption 1873-77
 Republicans split nationally: Election of 1872
As early as 1868 Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, a leading Radical during the war, concluded that:
- "Congress was right in not limiting, by its reconstruction acts, the right of suffrage to whites; but wrong in the exclusion from suffrage of certain classes of citizens and all unable to take its prescribed retrospective oath, and wrong also in the establishment of despotic military governments for the States and in authorizing military commissions for the trial of civilians in time of peace. There should have been as little military government as possible; no military commissions; no classes excluded from suffrage; and no oath except one of faithful obedience and support to the Constitution and laws, and of sincere attachment to the constitutional Government of the United States."
By 1872, President Grant had alienated large numbers of leading Republicans, including many Radicals by the wanton corruption of his administration and his use of federal soldiers to prop up Radical state regimes in the South. The opponents, called "Liberal Republicans", included founders of the party who expressed dismay that the party had succumbed to corruption. Leaders included editors of some of the nation's most powerful newspapers. Charles Sumner, embittered by the corruption of the Grant administration, joined the new party, which nominated editor Horace Greeley. The badly disorganized Democratic party also supported Greeley.
Grant made up for the defections by new gains among Union veterans, as well as strong support from the "Stalwart" faction of his party (which depended on his patronage), and the Southern Republican parties. Grant won a smashing landslide, as the Liberal Republican party vanished and many former supporters—even ex-abolitionists—abandoned the cause of Reconstruction.
 Republican coalition splinters in South
In the South, political–racial tensions built up inside the Republican party. In 1868, Georgia Democrats, with support from some Republicans, expelled all 28 black Republican members (arguing blacks were eligible to vote but not to hold office.) In several states the more conservative scalawags fought for control with the more radical carpetbaggers and usually lost. Thus, in Mississippi, the conservative faction led by scalawag James Lusk Alcorn was decisively defeated by the radical faction led by carpetbagger Adelbert Ames. The party lost support steadily as many scalawags left it; few new recruits were acquired. Meanwhile, the Freedmen were demanding a much bigger share of the offices and patronage, thus squeezing out their carpetbagger allies. Finally some of the more prosperous Freedmen were joining the Democrats, angered at the failure of the Republicans to help them acquire land. Although some Marxist historians, especially W.E.B. Du Bois, looked for and celebrated a cross-racial coalition of poor whites and poor blacks, such coalition rarely formed. Congressman Lynch explains that,
- "While the colored men did not look with favor upon a political alliance with the poor whites, it must be admitted that, with very few exceptions, that class of whites did not seek, and did not seem to desire such an alliance."
Lynch explains that poor whites resented the job competition from Freedmen. Furthermore, the poor whites
- "with a few exceptions, were less efficient, less capable, and knew less about matters of state and governmental administration than many of the ex-slaves.… As a rule, therefore, the whites that came into the leadership of the Republican party between 1872 and 1875 were representatives of the most substantial families of the land."
Thus, the poor whites became Democrats and bitterly opposed the black Republicans.
 Democrats try a "New Departure"
By 1870, the Democratic–Conservative leadership across the South decided it had to end its opposition to Reconstruction as well as to black suffrage in order to survive and move on to new issues. The Grant administration had proven by its crackdown on the Ku Klux Klan that it would use as much federal power as necessary to suppress open anti-black violence. The Democrats in the North concurred. They wanted to fight the GOP on economic grounds rather than race. The New Departure offered the chance for a clean slate without having to refight the Civil War every election. Furthermore, many wealthy landowners thought they could control part of the newly enfranchised black electorate to their own advantage.
Not all Democrats agreed; a hard core element wanted to resist Reconstruction no matter what. Eventually, a group called "Redeemers" took control of the party in the states. They formed coalitions with conservative Republicans, including scalawags and carpetbaggers, emphasizing the need for economic modernization. Railroad building was seen as a panacea since northern capital was needed. The new tactics were a success in Virginia where William Mahone built a winning coalition. In Tennessee, the Redeemers formed a coalition with Republican governor DeWitt Senter. Across the South Democrats switched from the race issue to taxes and corruption, charging that Republican governments were corrupt and inefficient, as taxes began squeezing cash-poor farmers who rarely saw $20 in currency a year but had to pay taxes in currency or lose their farm.
In North Carolina, Republican Governor William Woods Holden used state troops against the Klan, but the prisoners were released by federal judges. Holden became the first governor in American history to be impeached and removed from office. Republican political disputes in Georgia split the party and enabled the Redeemers to take over. Violence was a factor in neutralizing Republican leaders in the Deep South, with its larger black Republican population. In the North, a live-and-let-live attitude made elections more like a sporting contest. But in the Deep South, it affected the lives of the citizens. As an Alabama scalawag explained, "Our contest here is for life, for the right to earn our bread...for a decent and respectful consideration as human beings and members of society."
 Panic of 1873 weakens GOP
The Panic of 1873 hit the Southern economy hard and disillusioned many Republicans who had gambled that railroads would pull the South out of its poverty. The price of cotton fell by half; many small landowners, local merchants and cotton factors (wholesalers) went bankrupt. Sharecropping, for both black and white farmers, became more common as a way to spread the risk of owning land. The old abolitionist element in the North was aging away, or had lost interest, and was not replenished. Many carpetbaggers returned to the North or joined the Redeemers. Blacks had an increased voice in the Republican Party, but across the South it was divided by internal bickering and was rapidly losing its cohesion. Many local black leaders started emphasizing individual economic progress in cooperation with white elites, rather than racial political progress in opposition to them, a conservative attitude that foreshadowed Booker T. Washington.
Nationally, President Grant took the blame for the depression; the Republican Party lost 96 seats in all parts of the country in the 1874 elections. The Bourbon Democrats took control of the House and were confident of electing Samuel J. Tilden president in 1876. President Grant was not running for re-election and seemed to be losing interest in the South. States fell to the Redeemers, with only four in Republican hands in 1873, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina; Arkansas then fell after the Brooks-Baxter War in 1874. Political violence was endemic in Louisiana, but efforts to seize the state government were repulsed by federal troops who entered the state legislature and hauled away several Democratic legislators. The violation of tradition embarrassed Grant, and some of his cabinet recommended against further intervention. By now, all Democrats and most northern Republicans agreed that Confederate nationalism and slavery were dead—the war goals were achieved—and further federal military interference was an undemocratic violation of historic Republican values. The victory of Rutherford Hayes in the hotly contested Ohio gubernatorial election of 1875 indicated his "let alone" policy toward the South would become Republican policy, as indeed happened when he won the 1876 GOP nomination for president. The last explosion of violence came in Mississippi's 1875 election, in which Democratic rifle clubs, operating in the open and without disguise, threatened or shot enough Republicans to decide the election for the Redeemers. Republican Governor Adelbert Ames asked Grant for federal troops to fight back; Grant refused, saying public opinion was "tired out" of the perpetual troubles in the South. Ames fled the state as the Democrats took over Mississippi.
 1876 election
Reconstruction continued in South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida until 1877. After Republican Rutherford Hayes won the disputed U.S. Presidential election of 1876, the Compromise of 1877 was reached whereby the white South agreed to accept Hayes's victory if he withdrew the last Federal troops. By this point, everyone had agreed that Reconstruction was finished. However, the African-Americans who wanted their legal rights guaranteed by the Federal government were repeatedly frustrated for another 75 years; they considered Reconstruction a failure.
 Redeemers in the South
The end of Reconstruction marked the beginning of a period, 1877–1900, that saw the steady reduction of many civil and political rights for African-Americans, and ushered in the nadir of American race relations. The process varied by states and towns. In Virginia, the Redeemers gerrymandered cities to minimize Republican seats; reduced the number of polling places in black precincts; made local officials appointees of the state legislature; and did not allow the vote to felons or to people who failed to pay their annual poll tax.
Much of the Reconstruction civil rights legislation was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. Most notably, the court held in the Civil Rights Cases (1883), that the 14th amendment only gave Congress the power to outlaw public, rather than private, discrimination. In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) the court went even further, announcing that state-mandated segregation was legal as long as the law provided for "separate but equal" facilities.
 Legacy and historiography
The interpretation of Reconstruction has swung back and forth several times. Nearly all historians, however, have concluded it was a failure.  In the 1865-75 period, most writers took the view that the ex-Confederates were traitors and Johnson was their ally who threatened to undo the Union's Constitutional achievements. In the 1870s and 1880s many writers argued that Johnson and his allies were not traitors but blundered badly in rejecting the 14th Amendment and setting the stage for Radical Reconstruction. 
Among black scholars Booker T. Washington, who grew up in West Virginia during Reconstruction, concluded that, "the Reconstruction experiment in racial democracy failed because it began at the wrong end, emphasizing political means and civil rights acts rather than economic means and self-determination." His solution was to concentrate on building the economic infrastructure of the black community.
In popular literature two novels by Thomas Dixon—The Clansman and The Leopard's Spots: A Romance of the White Man's Burden — 1865–1900—romanticized white resistance to Northern/black coercion, hailing vigilante action by the Ku Klux Klan. Other authors romanticized the benevolence of slavery and the happy world of the antebellum plantation. These sentiments were expressed on the screen in D.W. Griffith's anti-Republican 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation.
The Dunning School of scholars based at the history department of Columbia University analyzed Reconstruction as a failure, at least after 1866, for quite different reasons. They claimed that it took freedoms and rights from qualified whites and gave them to unqualified blacks who were being duped by corrupt carpetbaggers and scalawags. As one scholar notes, "Reconstruction was a battle between two extremes: the Democrats, as the group which included the vast majority of the whites, standing for decent government and racial supremacy, versus the Republicans, the Negroes, alien carpetbaggers, and renegade scalawags, standing for dishonest government and alien ideals. These historians wrote literally in terms of white and black."
In the 1930s, "revisionism" became popular among scholars. As disciples of Charles A. Beard, revisionists focused on economics, downplaying politics and constitutional issues. They argued that the Radical rhetoric of equal rights was mostly a smokescreen hiding the true motivation of Reconstruction's real backers. While conceding that a few men like Stevens and Sumner were thoroughly idealistic, Howard Beale argued Reconstruction was primarily a successful attempt by financiers, railroad builders and industrialists in the Northeast, using the Republican Party, to control the national government for its own selfish economic ends. Those ends were to continue the wartime high protective tariff, the new network of national banks, and to guarantee a "sound" currency. To succeed the business class had to remove the old ruling agrarian class of Southern planters and Midwestern farmers. This it did by inaugurating Reconstruction, which made the South Republican, and by selling its policies to the voters wrapped up in such attractive vote-getting packages as northern patriotism or the bloody shirt. Historian William Hesseltine added the point that the Northeastern businessmen wanted to control the South economically, which they did through ownership of the railroads. However, historians in the 1950s and 1960s refuted Beale's economic causation by demonstrating that Northern businessmen were widely divergent on monetary or tariff policy, and seldom paid attention to Reconstruction issues.
In the 1960s, neoabolitionist historians emerged, led by John Hope Franklin, Kenneth Stampp and Eric Foner. Strongly aligned with the Civil Rights Movement, they rejected the Dunning school and found a great deal to praise in Radical Reconstruction. Foner, the primary advocate of this view, argued that it was never truly completed, and that a Second Reconstruction was needed in the late 20th century to complete the goal of full equality for African-Americans. The neo-abolitionists followed the revisionists in minimizing the corruption and waste created by Republican state governments, saying it was no worse than Boss Tweed's ring in New York City. Instead they emphasized that poor treatment of Freedmen was a worse scandal and a grave corruption of America's republican ideals. They argued that the real tragedy of Reconstruction was not that it failed because blacks were incapable of governing, but that it failed because the civil rights and equalities granted during this period were but a passing, temporary development. These rights were suspended in the South from the 1880s through 1964, but were restored by the Civil Rights Movement that is sometimes referred to as the "Second Reconstruction."
More recent work by Nina Silber, David Blight, Cecelia O'Leary, Laura Edwards, LeeAnn Whites, and Edward J. Blum, has encouraged greater attention to race, religion, and issues of gender while at the same time pushing the "end" of Reconstruction to the end of the nineteenth century, while monographs by Charles Reagan Wilson, Gaines Foster, W. Scott Poole have offered new views of the southern "Lost Cause."
 Significant dates
|State||Seceded from Union||Joined Confederacy||Readmitted into Union||Democratic Party Establishes Control|
|South Carolina||December 20, 1860||February 4, 1861||July 9, 1868||April 11, 1877|
|Mississippi||January 9, 1861||February 4, 1861||February 23, 1870||January 4, 1876|
|Florida||January 10, 1861||February 4, 1861||June 25, 1868||January 2, 1877|
|Alabama||January 11, 1861||February 4, 1861||July 14, 1868||November 16, 1874|
|Georgia||January 19, 1861||February 4, 1861||July 15, 1870||November 1, 1871|
|Louisiana||January 26, 1861||February 4, 1861||June 25 or July 9, 1868||January 2, 1877|
|Texas||February 1, 1861||March 2, 1861||March 30, 1870||January 14, 1873|
|Virginia||April 17, 1861||May 7, 1861||January 26, 1870||October 5, 1869|
|Arkansas||May 6, 1861||May 18, 1861||June 22, 1868||November 10, 1874|
|North Carolina||May 21, 1861||May 16, 1861||July 4, 1868||November 28, 1876|
|Tennessee||June 8, 1861||May 16, 1861||July 24, 1866||October 4, 1869|
 See also
- African-American Officeholders During Reconstruction
- Dunning School
- Freedmen's Bureau
- History of the Southern United States
- Jim Crow law
- Redemption (U.S. history)
- Radical Republican
- Second Reconstruction
- Second Redemption
- Third Party System
- Matthew C. Butler-reported involved in Hamburg Massacre of 1876.
- Ben Tillman-reported involved in Hamburg Massacre of 1876.
- Andrew Jackson Houston-organized the Travis Rifles to "protect" post Reconstrction Texas Democrat Government.
- ^ Foner 1988 pp 273-6
- ^ William Gienapp, Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America (2002), p. 155
- ^ Patton p126
- ^ Johnson to Gov. William L. Sharkey, August 1865 quoted in Franklin (1961), p. 42
- ^ Randall and Donald p. 581
- ^ Harris 1997
- ^ William Gienapp, Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America (2002), p167
- ^ Rose 1967
- ^ Trefousse c1989
- ^ Oberholtzer 1:128–9
- ^ Donald (2001) p. 527
- ^ Rhodes, History 6:65-66
- ^ Rhodes, History 6:68
- ^ See  based America's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War, by Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney. Online source is: 
- ^ Trefousse 1989
- ^ Foner 1988 ch 6
- ^ Foner 1988, ch 6–7
- ^ Randolph Campbell, Gone to Texas 2003 p. 276.
- ^ Rhodes (1920) v 6 p. 199
- ^ Foner 1988 ch 7; Foner, Freedom's Lawmakers, introduction.
- ^ Foner 365–8
- ^ Franklin 139
- ^ McAfee 1998
- ^ Lynch 1913
- ^ Foner 387
- ^ Franklin p141-48; Summers 1984
- ^ Stover 1955
- ^ Franklin p147–8
- ^ Foner 415–16
- ^ Lynch 1913
- ^ Fleming online at 
- ^ Walter Lynwood Fleming, Documentary History of the Reconstruction (Cleveland, 1907), II, p. 328-9
- ^ Oberholtzer, vol 1 p 485
- ^ J. W. Schuckers, The Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase, (1874). p. 585; letter of May 30, 1868 to August Belmont
- ^ McPherson 1975
- ^ Foner 537-41
- ^ Foner 374-5
- ^ Lynch 1915
- ^ Perman 1984, ch 3
- ^ Foner, ch 9
- ^ Foner p 443
- ^ Foner p545–7
- ^ Foner 555–56
- ^ Foner ch 11
- ^ Foner 604
- ^ McPherson 1965
- ^ Fletcher M. Green, "Walter Lynwood Fleming: Historian of Reconstruction," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 2, No. 4. (Nov., 1936), pp. 497-521.
- ^ Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington in Perspective (1988) p. 164; A. A. Taylor, "Historians of the Reconstruction," The Journal of Negro History Vol. 23, No. 1. (Jan., 1938), pp. 16-34.
- ^ Williams 1946 p. 473; Green (1936).
- ^ Williams 1946 p470
- ^ Foner 1982; Montgomery, vii–ix)
- ^ Williams, 469; Foner p. xxii
- Barnes, William H., ed. History of the Thirty-ninth Congress of the United States. (1868) useful summary of Congressional activity.
- Berlin, Ira, ed. Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867 (1982), 970 pp of archival documents; also Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War ed by Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, and Steven F. Miller (1993)
- Blaine, James.Twenty Years of Congress: From Lincoln to Garfield. With a review of the events which led to the political revolution of 1860 (1886). By Republican Congressional leader
- Fleming, Walter L. Documentary History of Reconstruction: Political, Military, Social, Religious, Educational, and Industrial 2 vol (1906). Uses broad collection of primary sources; vol 1 on national politics; vol 2 on states
- Memoirs of W. W. Holden (1911), North Carolina Scalawag governor
- Hyman, Harold M., ed. The Radical Republicans and Reconstruction, 1861-1870. (1967), collection of long political speeches and pamphlets.
- Lynch, John R. The Facts of Reconstruction. (New York: 1913)Full text online One of first black congressmen during Reconstruction.
- Edward McPherson, The Political History of the United States of America During the Period of Reconstruction (1875), large collection of speeches and primary documents, 1865-1870, complete text online. [The copyright has expired.]
- Palmer, Beverly Wilson and Holly Byers Ochoa, eds. The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens 2 vol (1998), 900pp; his speeches plus and letters to and from Stevens
- Palmer, Beverly Wilson, ed/ The Selected Letters of Charles Sumner 2 vol (1990); vol 2 covers 1859-1874
- Pike, James Shepherd, The prostrate state: South Carolina under negro government (1874)
- Reid, Whitelaw. After the war: a southern tour, May 1, 1865 to May 1, 1866. (1866) by Republican editor
- Charles Sumner, "Our Domestic Relations: or, How to Treat the Rebel States" Atlantic Monthly September 1863, early Radical manifesto
 Newspapers and magazines
- DeBow's Review major Southern conservative magazine; stress on business, economics and statistics
- Harper's Weekly leading New York news magazine; pro-Radical
- Nast, Thomas. magazine cartoons pro-Radical editorial cartoons
- Primary sources from Gilder-Lehrman collection
- The New York Times daily edition online through ProQuest at academic libraries
- for more detailed list see Reconstruction: Bibliography
- Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 (1935), 1998 edition reissued with introduction by David Levering Lewis ISBN 0-684-85657-3.) Counterpoint to Dunning School explores the economics and politics of the era from Marxist perspective
- Du Bois, W.E.B. "Reconstruction and its Benefits," American Historical Review, 15 (July, 1910), 781—99 JSTOR
- Dunning, William Archibald. Reconstruction: Political & Economic, 1865-1877 (1905). Blames Carpetbaggers for failure of Reconstruction.
- Walter Lynwood Fleming The Sequel of Appomattox, A Chronicle of the Reunion of the States(1918). Dunning School
- Foner, Eric and Mahoney, Olivia. America's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War. ISBN 0-8071-2234-3, short well-illustrated survey
- Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988) ISBN 0-06-015851-4. Pulitzer-prize winning history and most detailed synthesis of original and previous scholarship.
- Franklin, John Hope. Reconstruction after the Civil War (1961), University of Chicago Press, 280 pages. ISBN-10: 0226260798. Explores the brevity of the North’s military occupation of the South, limited power of former slaves, influence of moderate southerners, flaws in constitutions drawn by Radical state governments, and reasons for downfall of Reconstruction.
- Litwack, Leon. Been in the Storm So Long (1979). Won Pulitzer Prize for history, based on 1930s interviews with former slaves and diaries and accounts written by former slaveholders, none previously examined by earlier scholars.
- Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson. A History of the United States since the Civil War. Vol 1 and vol 2 (1917). Based on Dunning School
- Perman, Michael. Emancipation and Reconstruction (2003).
- Randall, J. G. The Civil War and Reconstruction (1953).
- Rhodes, James G. History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. Volume: 6. (1920). 1865-72; Highly detailed narrative by Pulitzer prize winner; argues was a political disaster because it violated the rights of white Southerners.
- Schouler, James. History of the United States of America: Under the Constitution vol. 7. 1865-1877. The Reconstruction Period (1917) online
- Stalcup, Brenda. ed. Reconstruction: Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven Press: 1995). Text uses primary documents to present opposing viewpoints.
- Stampp, Kenneth M. The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (1967); short survey
- Trefousse, Hans L. Historical Dictionary of Reconstruction Greenwood (1991), 250 entries
- Williams, T. Harry. "An Analysis of Some Reconstruction Attitudes" The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 12, No. 4. (Nov., 1946), pp. 469-486. JSTOR
 National politics; Constitutional issues
- Belz, Herman. Emancipation and Equal Rights: Politics and Constitutionalism in the Civil War Era (1978) pro-moderate. online edition
- Belz, Herman. A New Birth of Freedom: The Republican Party and Freedman's Rights, 1861-1866 (2000) pro-moderate.
- Benedict, Michael Les. The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1999), pro-Radical. online edition
- Benedict, Michael Les. "Preserving the Constitution: The Conservative Bases of Radical Reconstruction," Journal of American History vol 61 #1 (1974) pp 65-90, online in JSTOR
- Blight, David. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2000). Examines national memory of Civil War, Reconstruction, and Redemption, North-South reunion, and the retreat from equality for African Americans.
- Blum, Edward J. "Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898" (2005).
- Donald, David Herbert. Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (1970), Pulitzer prize winning biography
- Dunning, William A. "The Constitution of the United States in Reconstruction" in Political Science Quarterly Vol. 2, No. 4 (Dec., 1887), pp. 558-602 JSTOR
- Dunning, William A. "Military Government in the South During Reconstruction" Political Science Quarterly Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sep., 1897), pp. 381-406 JSTOR
- Gambill, Edward. Conservative Ordeal: Northern Democrats and Reconstruction, 1865-1868. (1981). Political history of Democratic Party unable to shed its Civil War label of treason and defeatism, even as it successfully blocked a few elements of Radical Reconstruction.
- Gillette, William. Retreat from Reconstruction, 1869-1879. Louisiana State University Press: 1979. Traces failure of Reconstruction to the power of Democrats, administrative inefficiencies, racism, and lack of commitment by northern Republicans.
- Harris, William C. With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union (1997) portrays Lincoln as opponent of Radicals.
- Hyman, Harold M. A More Perfect Union (1975), constitutional history of Civil War & Reconstruction.
- McLaughlin, Andrew. A Constitutional History of the United States (1935) Pulitzer Prize; ch 45-47 are on Reconstruction online version
- McKitrick, Eric L. Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1961) portrays Johnson as weak politician unable to forge coalitions.
- McPherson, James M. The Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP (1975) (ISBN 0-691-10039-X)
- Simpson, Brooks D. Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861-1868 (1991).
- Stryker, Lloyd Paul; Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage 1929. pro-Johnson
- Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography (1989)
- Trefousse, Hans L. Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian (1997)
 South: regional, state & local studies
- Brown, Canter Jr. Florida's Black Public Officials, 1867-1924
- Campbell. Randolph B. Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880 (1998)
- Coulter, E. Merton. The Civil War and Readjustment in Kentucky (1926)
- Coulter, E. Merton. The South During Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (1947). Dunning School. region-wide history
- Donald, David H. "The Scalawag in Mississippi Reconstruction," The Journal of Southern History Vol. 10, No. 4 (Nov., 1944), pp. 447-460 JSTOR
- Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt "The Freedmen's Bureau," (1901)
- Ebner, David, and Larry Langman, eds. Hollywood's Image of the South: A Century of Southern Films Greenwood Press. 2001. Ch 9-10 on Reconstruction and KKK.
- Fischer, Roger. The Segregation Struggle in Louisiana, 1862-1877. (University of Illinois Press: 1974) Study of free persons of color in New Orleans who provided leadership in the unsuccessful fight against segregation of schools and public accommodations.
- Fitzgerald, Michael W. Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile, 1860–1890. (Louisiana State University Press, 2002. 301 pp. ISBN 0-8071-2837-6.)
- Fitzgerald, Michael R. "Radical Republicanism and the White Yeomanry During Alabama Reconstruction, 1865-1868." Journal of Southern History 54 (November 1988): 565-96. Online at JSTOR
- Fleming, Walter L. Walter Lynwood Fleming Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama 1905.
- Foner, Eric. Freedom's Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction (Revised edition, LSU Press, 1996) biographies of more than 1,500 officeholders.
- Garner, James Wilford. Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901), Dunning School online edition
- Hamilton, Peter Joseph. The Reconstruction Period (1906), full length history of era; Dunning School approach; 570 pp; chapters on each state
- Harris, William C. The Day of the Carpetbagger: Republican Reconstruction in Mississippi (1979) online edition
- Holt, Thomas. Black over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina During Reconstruction. (University of Illinois Press: 1977). Black elected officials, their divisions, and battles with white governors who controlled patronage and their ultimate failure.
- Kolchin, Peter. First Freedom: The Responses of Alabama's Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction. (Greenwood Press: 1972) Explores black migration, labor, and social structure in the first five years of Reconstruction.
- Morrow, Ralph E. "Northern Methodism in the South during Reconstruction." The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 41, No. 2. (Sep., 1954), pp. 197-218. in JSTOR
- A. B. Moore, "Railroad Building in Alabama During the Reconstruction Period" The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 1, No. 4. (Nov., 1935), pp. 421-441. JSTOR
- Olsen, Otto H. ed., Reconstruction and Redemption in the South (1980), state by state, neoabolitionist
- Perman, Michael. The Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869-1879 University of North Carolina Press. 1984. detailed state-by-state narrative of Conservatives
- Ramsdell, Charles W., "Presidential Reconstruction in Texas ", Southwestern Historical Quarterly, (1907) v.11#4 277 - 317.
- Ramsdell, Charles William. Reconstruction in Texas Columbia University Press, 1910. Dunning school
- Reynolds, John S. Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865—1877, Negro Universities Press, 1969
- Rubin, Hyman III. South Carolina Scalawags (2006)
- Russ, Jr., William A. "The Negro and White Disfranchisement During Radical Reconstruction" The Journal of Negro History Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 1934), pp. 171-192 JSTOR
- Russ, Jr., William A. "Registration and Disfranchisement Under Radical Reconstruction," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 21, No. 2 (Sep., 1934), pp. 163-180 JSTOR
- Simkins, Francis Butler, and Robert Hilliard Woody. South Carolina during Reconstruction (1932), revisionist (Beardian) school
- Stover, John F. The Railroads of the South, 1865-1900: A Study in Finance and Control (1955)
- Summers, Mark Wahlgren. Railroads, Reconstruction, and the Gospel of Prosperity: Aid Under the Radical Republicans, 1865-1877 (1984)
- Taylor, Alrutheus A., Negro in Tennessee 1865-1880 (1974) ISBN 0-87152-165-2
- Taylor, Alrutheus, Negro in South Carolina During the Reconstruction (AMS Press: 1924) ISBN 0-404-00216-1
- Taylor, Alrutheus, The Negro in the Reconstruction Of Virginia (The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History: 1926)
- Taylor, A. A. "The Negro in South Carolina During the Reconstruction" The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 9-11 (1924-1926) (multi-part article) JSTOR full text
- Trelease, Allen W. White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction, (Louisiana State University Press: 1971, 1995). detailed treatment of the Klan, and similar groups.
- Wharton, V. L. "The Race Issue in the Overthrow of Reconstruction in Mississippi," Phylon (1940-1956) Vol. 2, No. 4 (4th Qtr., 1941), pp. 362-370 in JSTOR
- Wiggins, Sarah Woolfolk. The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881 (1991)
- Woody, R. H. "The Labor and Immigration Problem of South Carolina during Reconstruction" The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 18, No. 2 (Sep., 1931), pp. 195-212 JSTOR
 External links
- Reconstruction: The Second Civil War 2004 PBS film and transcript connecting the replacement of Civil Rights with segregation at the end of 19th century Reconstruction with 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
- Guide to Reconstruction History links to primary and secondary sources
- PBS' American Experience: Reconstruction Historians Eric Foner, David Blight, and Ed Ayers discuss "Civil Rights During Reconstruction"
- Lincoln and Freedom: Reconstruction
- Reconstruction in Mississippi by Donald J. Mabry
- "Reconstruction Historiography: A Source of Teaching Ideas" by Robert P. Green, Jr. (1991)
- In-depth timeline of Reconstruction
- W. S. Simkins, "Why the Ku Klux," 4 The Alcalde (June 1916): 735-748. online; Simkins (1842-1929) was an organizer of the KKK in Florida in 1868, and a law professor when he wrote this memoir.
- American Civil War Research and Discussion Group - Fields Of Conflict