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Was Reconstruction a Failure?

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The period after the Civil War, known as Reconstruction, had lofty goals for reuniting the nation and preserving the new rights given to African-Americans. For a time, these goals were achieved and three important amendments were made to the Constitution. However, by 1876 Reconstruction was considered over and much of the progress that had been made was undone. This collection of detailed prints and cartoons highlight many different aspects of Reconstruction and asks students to consider the overall result of Reconstruction. Students can analyze each one using the embedded questions.

Reconstruction of the South

National Portrait Gallery

Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction

National Portrait Gallery

1860-1870, from Harper's Weekly, January 8, 1870

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Fifteenth Amendment. Celebrated May 19th 1870

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Patience on a Monument

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Tilden or Blood Compromise - Indeed!

National Portrait Gallery