Reconstruction is the name for the time period after the Civil War in which the South was rebuilt, or reconstructed.
Congress passed many laws designed to rebuild the country and bring the southern states back into the Union. It was to be completed using the many resources of the federal government including money, materials, and people.
However, it did not always succeed.
Reconstruction was also a time of policies that were passed to punish the South, while the southerners created laws to segregate, or separate, the African-American population. Many people in the southern states were not happy with the federal government's policies and the fact that northern soldiers were sent to the South to supervise. It also angered them that southern military leaders could not hold office, but African-Americans could. Power was changing hands.
The new President, Andrew Johnson, had been Lincoln's Vice-president. He was chosen largely because he was a southern congressman who had not joined the Confederacy. Because of this, the northerners distrusted him, and the South hated him. Johnson faced much opposition in Congress and was not able to keep the harsh policies from becoming law. There were so many opinions and so much hatred on both sides, Reconstruction was a difficult time for America.
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