Reconstruction (1865–1877) could not go on indefinitely. Northern troops were needed to enforce it, and the North's patience ran out. The South proved that it was more determined than the North over the key issue of Reconstruction: the status of freed blacks. Also, other issues demanded the nation's attention by the mid-1870s.
The Republican party, the guiding force behind Reconstruction, became weaker in the 1870s. The economy entered a severe recession in 1873. There were embarrassing corruption scandals, too. President Ulysses S. Grant was less popular, and the Republicans were badly defeated in the elections of 1874. The Ku Klux Klan prevented blacks from voting, so the Republicans lost control over many state governments in the South. In 1875, Grant refused to send troops to Mississippi to safeguard an election, so the Democrats took over that state. Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, the North's leading Radical Republicans, had both passed away by 1875.
The Supreme Court also...
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