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The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77

4. The Politics of Reconstruction

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the politics of Reconstruction, focusing in particular on: (i) the reasons that securing voting rights for African-Americans were important to the Republican party; (ii) the resistance in the south to the implementation of the Reconstruction Amendments, especially the 15th Amendment; (iii) the importance of the Black Codes in restricting the promises of the Reconstruction Amendments, and the extent to which further legislation (e.g. 1866 Civil Rights Act, 1867 Reconstruction Act, 1870 Enforcement Act, etc.) was successful in protecting rights for African-Americans; (iv) the successes and failures of Ulysses S. Grant; (v) the impact of the Supreme Court in restricting the rights of African-Americans, especially United States v. Cruikshank (1876); and (vi) the presence of African-Americans in the Senate and the House of Representatives.


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 - The Politics of Reconstruction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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