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The Reconstruction Era, 1865-77

2. The Roots of Reconstruction

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the limitations of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the problems this created for African-Americans, focusing in particular on: (i) the reasons that the Emancipation Proclamation freed some slaves and not others; (ii) the extent to which the system of slavery in the south had begun to disintegrate almost as soon as the Civil War began; (iii) the Fort Monroe Doctrine and the concept of escaped slaves as "contraband of war"; (iv) Harriet Jacobs' Liberator article (5 September 1862) detailing the experience of escaped slaves in Duff Green Row, Washington DC; and (v) the dreadful state of refugee camps for escaped slaves, and the infamous Camp Nelson expulsion.


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 Roots of Reconstruction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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