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Reconstruction Collapses. The Main Idea A variety of events and forces led to the end of Reconstruction, which left a mixed legacy for the nation. Reading Focus What problems caused support for Reconstruction to decline? What events brought Reconstruction to an end?

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reconstruction collapses
Reconstruction Collapses
  • The Main Idea
  • A variety of events and forces led to the end of Reconstruction, which left a mixed legacy for the nation.
  • Reading Focus
  • What problems caused support for Reconstruction to decline?
  • What events brought Reconstruction to an end?
  • What was Reconstruction’s legacy for the South and for the rest of the nation?
bell ringer
Bell Ringer
  • “We were born slaves. Now that we’re free, we work the same land and get a portion of the landowner’s crop.”
  • “We came from the North to help rebuild the South.”
  • “We never owned slaves and now support Reconstruction. Other southerners have a nasty name for us.”
  • “I took the Senate seat once held by Jefferson Davis.”
problems with reconstruction
Terrorist Groups

Reconstruction brought violent opposition throughout the South.

The KKK and similar organizations wanted to restore the old political order.

Their methods included threats, house burnings, and killings against not only blacks but whites as well.

State governments were unable to control violence.

Enforcement Acts

Three Enforcement Acts were passed, setting heavy penalties for anyone attempting to prevent a qualified person from voting.

They gave the army and federal courts power to capture and punish KKK members.

While the KKK was soon brought under control, other groups continued to operate.

Problems with Reconstruction
problems with reconstruction1
Support declines

White southerners felt the Acts threatened individual freedoms.

Northerners were dismayed that the army was still needed to keep the peace in the South.

State governments were seen as ineffective.

There was widespread poverty and lack of land reform for African Americans.

Lost faith

Costly building programs raised taxes and put state governments in debt.

Liberal Republicans helped the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.

Economic factors came into play, with the depression that began in 1873 taking more attention.

Problems with Reconstruction
the end of reconstruction
The End of Reconstruction

Three Supreme Court decisions seriously weakened the goals and operations of Reconstruction. The Slaughterhouse Cases, United States v. Cruikshank, and United States v. Reese served to limit the impact of the 14th and 15th Amendments.

Supreme Court decisions

Violence increased, and southern Democrats grew stronger and bolder. Grant refused assistance since the northern public was “tired out” by South’s continuing problems. By 1876 Redeemers had won back almost all of the states.

Redeeming the South

The presidential election was disputed with charges of massive voting fraud. With the Compromise of 1877 Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops in the South, and in return, Rutherford B. Hayes became president.

The election of 1876

reconstruction s legacy
Reconstruction’s Legacy

The 14th and 15th Amendments began permanent changes across the United States. Former slaves were now citizens with voting rights.

The New South was becoming industrial, but in many ways it remained the same. White southerners deeply resented that the federal government controlled their states.

For a century after Reconstruction ended, the South was know as the Solid South, always voting Democratic. It was not until the 1970s that the Republican Party was able to gain ground in the South.

success and failures of reconstruction

Union restored and South rebuilt

14th and 15th amendments guaranteed African Americans equal protection under the law

Freedman’s Bureau helped many black families get housing, jobs, and schooling

South adopted mandatory tax-supported education for blacks


Blacks remained in cycle of poverty

KKK kept blacks from voting

Racist attitudes remained

Long lasting bitterness in South towards Republicans and the North

South economy continued to emphasize agriculture

Did not address concerns of other groups such as women

Success and Failures of Reconstruction