Illustration of a man on a dock facing the water

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain
Start Free Trial

What is the historical context of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1884, less than twenty years after the end of the Civil War. In the years immediately after the end of the war, known as the Reconstruction period (1865-1876), the southern states were brought back into the Union with many changes in their...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1884, less than twenty years after the end of the Civil War. In the years immediately after the end of the war, known as the Reconstruction period (1865-1876), the southern states were brought back into the Union with many changes in their circumstances. Laws were passed allowing newly freed former slaves to vote, to acquire property and own businesses, to attend desegregated schools, and to assume the rights of all citizens.

A backlash against all these changes developed among whites whose authority and position was being threatened by the changes enacted during Reconstruction. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan formed to terrorize blacks and proclaim white supremacy, Jim Crow laws were passed in southern states to reestablish segregation, and many of the advances in equal status for blacks were lost during the 1880s and 1890s.

Huck lived in a time period before the Civil War, but Twain did not. He used Huck's evolving opinions and actions to vividly express his own thoughts and opinions about the institution of slavery, the morality of discrimination, and the rights of all people.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team