Social Studies - 2018-19

VUS.7e - Economic and Political Effects from the Civil War and Reconstruction

The student will apply social science skills to understand the Civil War and Reconstruction eras and their significance as major turning points in American history by

e) evaluating and explaining the political and economic impact of the war and Reconstruction, including the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States

Adopted: 2015


Unit Themes

Unit Essential Questions


Is there one American Experience?

Economic Systems 

To what extent does the American economy shape the American experience? 

Reform Movements 

How do people affect change in their society?


The United States Constitution was permanently altered as a result of the Civil War era.

A new wave of economic expansion and migration in the North and West resulted from the Civil War era while the South maintained an agricultural economy.


Political effects 

 The three “Civil War Amendments” to the Constitution were added.

o 13th Amendment: Slavery was abolished permanently in the United States.

o 14th Amendment: States were prohibited from denying equal rights under the law to any American and citizenship was redefined.

o 15th Amendment: Voting rights were guaranteed regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (former slaves). 

 Following the end of Reconstruction, former Confederates regained political power in the South. This led to the installation of the era of Jim Crow and the restriction of civil liberties for African Americans in the South.

Economic impact 

 The Southern states were left embittered and devastated by the war. Farms, railroads, and factories had been destroyed throughout the South. Confederate money was worthless. Many towns and cities such as Richmond and Atlanta lay in ruins, and the source of labor was greatly changed due to the loss of life during the war and the end of slavery. The South would remain an agriculture-based economy and the poorest section of the nation for many decades afterward. 

 The North and Midwest emerged with strong and growing industrial economies, laying the foundation for the sweeping industrialization of the nation (other than the South) in the next half-century and the emergence of the United States as a global economic power by the beginning of the twentieth century. 

 The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad soon after the war ended intensified the westward movement of settlers into the states between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.


Updated: May 18, 2018