Reconstruction: A Very Short Introduction
Date: September 2020
Duration: 4 hours 41 minutes
The era known as Reconstruction is one of the unhappiest times in American history. It succeeded in reuniting the nation politically after the Civil War but in little else. Among its chief failures was the inability to chart a progressive course for race relations after the abolition of slavery and rise of Jim Crow. Reconstruction also struggled to successfully manage the Southern resistance towards a Northern, free-labor pattern. But the failures cannot obscure a number of notable accomplishments, with decisive long-term consequences for American life: the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, the election of the first African American representatives to the US Congress, and the avoidance of any renewed outbreak of civil war. Reconstruction suffered from poor leadership and uncertainty of direction, but it also laid the groundwork for renewed struggles for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement.
This Very Short Introduction delves into the constitutional, political, and social issues behind Reconstruction to provide a lucid and original account of a historical moment that left an indelible mark on American social fabric.