The History of Reconstruction Period


The Reconstruction Period was experienced in the United States during the last half of the 19th century. The main “purpose of the Reconstruction was to make every Southern State part of the Union” (Hoffman and Gjerde 18). The Reconstruction Period was aimed at supporting the demands of these Southern States. However, most of the targeted goals were never realized. This fact explains why Eric Foner believes strongly that “the Reconstruction Era was an unfinished revolution” (Hoffman and Gjerde 47). Foner presents this argument because the Reconstruction failed to achieve most of its goals. The Reconstruction Era changed several things in the United States. It also produced new challenges such as racism, inequality, and discrimination.

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According to Hoffman and Gjerde (49), “social restructuring and legislation became part of the Reconstruction Period”. For instance, The Thirteenth Amendment was relevant because it dealt with the issue of slavery. The “Sixteenth Amendment made it easier for many American citizens to take part in the country’s politics” (Olson and Roberts 25). The Fifteenth Amendment supported the rights of every American man.

The American President also introduced new laws to support the South. The “Presidential Reconstruction was another critical change that redefined the future of this era” (Hoffman and Gjerde 64). The Republicans managed to gain power during the period. The Republicans “dictated the quality of life in every Southern State” (Hoffman and Gjerde 52).

The Reconstruction Period changed the history of the United States completely. To begin with, the Southern States became part of the Union. Abraham Lincoln embraced better ideas in order to support every slave in the South. Lincoln also wanted to produce better racial relationships in the country (Olson and Roberts 42). The Republicans forced every Southern State to depend on cotton. This development affected the future economy of the region. Poverty and inequality became common in the South. The Democrats “also monopolized the country’s political system” (Hoffman and Gjerde 74).

The above developments were unacceptable to many individuals in the South. These individuals wanted to achieve most of their goals. They also continued to fight for their rights and liberties. However, these efforts produced “new tensions between the South and the North” (Hoffman and Gjerde 76). This conflict made it impossible for many African Americans to realize their objectives. The Whites continued to oppress every minority group in the country.

These “fruits of the Reconstruction Period affected the future of the nation” (Hoffman and Gjerde 76). This discussion explains how the Reconstruction Era redefined the history of the United States. This discussion also explains why “the Reconstruction Period was an incomplete revolution in the country” (Olson and Roberts 94).


Americans can use different movies, videos, comedies, and songs in order to understand the facts of the Reconstruction Period. According to Hoffman and Gjerde (89), “many painters, artists, and film producers have portrayed this era in the country’s popular culture”. The film “The Birth of a Nation” examines the major roles and duties executed by different citizens during the Reconstruction Period. For instance, the film describes how society punished different African Americans.

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Such individuals “were victimized and forced to work as slaves” (Hoffman and Gjerde 127). Different films have also explored the difficulties faced by many soldiers and civilians during the period. The above film also depicts the assassination of great leaders such as Abraham Lincoln. Different films and artworks have informed more people about the issues associated with this period.

Works Cited

Hoffman, Cobbs, and John Gjerde. Major Problems in American History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Print.

Olson, James, and Randy Roberts. My Lai: A Brief History with Documents. St. Martins: Bedford Series in History and Culture, 1998. Print.

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