What were the phases of Reconstruction?

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Reconstruction (1865–1877), which took place after the Civil War, was a long and difficult period in US history. The North and the South had just fought each other in the the country's bloodiest war, and there was a great deal of bitterness and vituperation. Slavery was finished, but the newly-freed blacks faced daunting challenges. Would they be able to own land, support themselves, and vote? The defeated South expected servile obedience from its former slaves. There were ardent defenders of emancipated blacks in the North: the Radical Republicans. How should the leaders of the South be treated? Should they be executed for treason or welcomed back as citizens with all their rights? There were no easy answers to these questions.

The first phase of Reconstruction, from 1865 to 1877, was led by the presidents. Abraham Lincoln had capably led the North through the war, and he hoped to meld it back together. But his assassination ended his dream of national reconciliation. Vice President...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 22, 2020