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America's History in the Making

Reconstructing a Nation

In the Video

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Historical Perspectives

Historical Perspectives

The Civil War left a great deal of economic devastation and social change in the former Confederate states. Different groups of people wanted different results from the Reconstruction process, and these goals often conflicted. Eventually, Northern interest in Reconstruction waned in the 1870s as Southern opposition remained strong, and Republican leaders became more interested in industrial and western expansion.

Faces of America

Faces of America

Examining how different groups of people accessed and maintained economic and political power during the Reconstruction offers a way to understand the social and political dynamics of the time.

Hiram Rhodes Revels was born a free black in North Carolina. He was elected to the state senate in 1870, and then appointed to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first black United States senator.

Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas was born to a wealthy plantation-owning family in Georgia and was very well educated. Her detailed journals depict how the Civil War and the end of slavery cost families a great deal of their wealth.

Grenville Mellen Dodge was an officer in the Union Army, who became chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad and, therefore, played a critical role in uniting the nation’s economy.

Hands on History

Hands on History

Russell Kracke of the American Theological Library Association preserves religious periodicals, including some by and about African Americans during Reconstruction. Microfilming these newspapers and magazines serves both to keep a record of deteriorating, rare documents and to make them widely available to scholars. Read edited Hands on History interview with Russell Kracke.

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