The era known as Reconstruction is one of the unhappiest times in American history. It succeeded in reuniting the nation politically after the Civil War but in little else. Among its chief failures was the inability to chart a progressive course for race relations after the abolition of slavery and rise of Jim Crow. Reconstruction also struggled to successfully manage the Southern resistance towards a Northern, free-labor pattern. But the failures cannot obscure a number of notable accomplishments, with decisive long-term consequences for American life: the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, the election of the first African American representatives to the US Congress, and the avoidance of any renewed outbreak of civil war. Reconstruction suffered from poor leadership and uncertainty of direction, but it also laid the groundwork for renewed struggles for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement.
This Very Short Introduction delves into the constitutional, political, and social issues behind Reconstruction to provide a lucid and original account of a historical moment that left an indelible mark on American social fabric.
Download and start listening now!
About Allen C. Guelzo
Allen C. Guelzo is the dean of the Templeton Honors College at Eastern College, where he is also the Grace F. Kea Professor of American History. A former fellow of the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, he is the author of Edwards on the Will: A Century of American Philosophical Debate, For the Union of Evangelical Christendom: The Irony of the Reformed Episcopalians, and The Crisis of the American Republic: A History of the Civil War and Reconstruction. He is also editor of Holland’s Life of Lincoln and coeditor of Edwards in Our Time: Jonathan Edwards and the Shaping of American Religion.
About Bob Souer
Bob Souer is a full-time professional storyteller, voice actor, and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. He has narrated broadcast and nonbroadcast projects for corporations and ministries across North America. His voice has been heard on PBS, the History Channel, the Military Channel, and many other networks. He has also narrated radio and television programs for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, D. James Kennedy Ministries, SIM, and Compassion International.