by Edward L. Ayers

In the twelve years after the Civil War—the era of Reconstruction—there were massive changes in American culture, economy, and politics. These were the years of the “Old West,” of cowboys, Indians, and buffalo hunts, of cattle drives, railroads, and ranches. It was also the beginning of the “Gilded Age” in the North, the age of big fortunes, enormous businesses, struggle over labor unions, and the burgeoning of cities filled with immigrants, all of it given an air of desperation by the largest economic depression in United States history beginning in 1873. More »

Featured Primary Sources

Charles Sumner, [One man power versus Congress], c. October 2, 1866 (Gilder Lehr

Charles Sumner on Reconstruction and the South, 1866

Creator: Charles Sumner Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Freedmen’s contract between Isham G. Bailey and freedmen Cooper Hughs and Charl

Sharecropper contract, 1867

Creator: Isham G. Bailey Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
William Henry Seward, [Fifteenth Amendment resolution], February 27, 1869 (Gilde

The Fifteenth Amendment, 1870

Creator: William Henry Seward Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
View All

Teaching Resources

Agriculture in America

Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Birth of a Nation

Curriculum Subjects: Art, Geography, Government and Civics, Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Lincoln’s Reconstruction Plan

Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
View All

Multimedia

Reconstruction and Citizenship

Speaker(s): Eric Foner Duration: 54 minutes 47 seconds

Reconstruction and Its Legacy

Speaker(s): Eric Foner Duration: 4 minutes 41 seconds

The Changing Views of Reconstruction

Speaker(s): Eric Foner Duration: 3 minutes 20 seconds
View All