Reconstruction is one of the most complicated, poorly understood, and most significant periods in American history. After the Civil War, the U.S. government faced the enormous question of how to usher the states of the former Confederacy back into the United States of America. It was a pivotal period in which four million African Americans, newly freed from bondage, sought to establish schools and communities and in which white Southerners faced the challenge of both wartime defeat and slavery’s abolition.
Reconstruction’s big questions—about democracy, race, war, and religion—give it lasting importance today. This book contains insightful essays written by noted scholars and historians and dozens of historic photographs and colorful illustrations.
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