Social Studies - 2019-20

USII.3b - Impact of Reconstruction Policies

The student will apply social science skills to understand the effects of Reconstruction on American life by

b) describing the impact of Reconstruction policies on the South and North;

Adopted: 2015


Following the U.S. Civil War, the United States entered a period of Reconstruction. Federal policies revolving around economic and political reform resulted in expansion of the economy, as well as an expansion of constitutional rights.  However, those rights were undermined, and issues of inequality continued for African Americans, women, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Chinese immigrants. 

Is there one American experience?


The Reconstruction policies were harsh and created problems in the South.

Reconstruction attempted to define the means by which all Southerners could live together equally.


Reconstruction policies and problems

 Southern military leaders could not hold office.

 African Americans could hold public office.

 African Americans gained equal rights as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which also authorized the use of federal troops comprised mainly of Northern soldiers for its enforcement.

 Southern states adopted Black Codes to limit the economic and physical freedom of former slaves.

 Federal troops supervised the South.

 The Freedmen’s Bureau was established to aid former enslaved African Americans in the South.

 Southerners resented Northern “carpetbaggers,” some of whom took advantage of the South during Reconstruction.

End of Reconstruction and its impact

 Reconstruction ended in 1877 as a result of a compromise over the outcome of the election of 1876.

 Federal troops were removed from the South.

 Rights that African Americans had gained were lost through “Jim Crow” laws.

 “Jim Crow” laws affected the rights of American Indians.


Updated: Jul 02, 2019