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The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77

6. Reconstruction and Redemption

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the end of Reconstruction and it legacy in the United States, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which Reconstruction must be seen against the background of other major changes in America at this time, e.g. the westward expansion and the Plains Wars, mass immigration from Europe, etc.; (ii) the state of the nation in 1876 – a century after the Declaration of Independence and the year of the Battle of the Little Bighorn; (iii) the decline of the US economy in the 1870s; (iv) the controversial election of 1876, in which Samuel Tilden wins the popular vote, but Rutherford B. Hayes wins the electoral college (and thus the presidency); (v) the withdrawal of federal troops from the south and the rise of white supremacist paramilitaries in the south such as the Red Shirts; and (vi) the long-term impact of the failure of Reconstruction on the southern states.


In this course, Professor Susan-Mary Grant (Newcastle University) explores the period in American history known as the Reconstruction Era, 1865-77. In the first module, we provide a brief introduction to what the Reconstruction Era was, when it started and ended, and whether or not it was a success. In the second module, we think about the roots of Reconstruction in Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, before turning in the third module to consider the support offered by the federal government to African-Americans in the years following the end of the Civil War. After that, in the fourth and fifth modules, we think about the resistance to the use efforts in the southern states, including the use of racial violence, before turning in the sixth and final module to think about the end of Reconstruction following the contested election of 1876 and the long-term legacy of its failure in the United States.


Professor Susan-Mary Grant is Professor of American History at Newcastle University. She is the author of North Over South: Northern Nationalism and American Identity in the Antebellum Era (2000), The War for a Nation: The American Civil War (2006) and editor of Legacy of Disunion: The Enduring Significance of the American Civil War (2003) and Themes of the American Civil War: The War Between the States (2010).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Grant, S. (2021, March 17). The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77 - Reconstruction and Redemption [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Grant, S. "The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77 – Reconstruction and Redemption." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Mar 2021,