Once the Civil War ended and the dust settled, the tumultuous period of Reconstruction began. Reconstruction is the period between 1865 and 1877 in the southern United States, and involved the assassination of a president, the impeachment of a president, the passage of amendments to the Constitution, and countless acts of racial violence.
The most important aspect of Reconstruction involved how best to bring the severed nation back together as one, specifically by figuring out the role of both former Confederates and freed slaves.
Just because the war ended did not mean that the former Confederates would happily abide by the North’s legal proceedings. The Confederates saw their way of life, as it was supported by slavery, destroyed, and their towns and cities annihilated.
Following Lincoln’s assassination, the new president Andrew Johnson was accused of allowing former Confederates too much of a say in the redevelopment of governance in the South, which ultimately ended in his impeachment.
Lincoln’s party, the Republicans, began to take control of southern governance which caused significant tension with the southern electorate which felt the federal government was seizing too much power from their states.
One highly important program was the Freedman’s Bureau, which educated freed slaves in the South and helped them live as free citizens.