Introduction to the End of Reconstruction

What you’ll learn to do: explain the reasons for the collapse of Reconstruction

A political cartoon featuring President Andrew Johnson digging a hole for the train of the Radical Republican Party with a shovel marked 'veto'. Also Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens (in the cab of the train) and Benj. Butler (in the bottle) was in complete control of Reconstruction. U. S. Grant, Republican candidate for President in 1868 is shown riding the train just in front of the cab.

The efforts launched by Radical Republicans in the late 1860s generated a massive backlash in the South in the 1870s as White people fought against what they considered “negro misrule.” Paramilitary terrorist cells emerged, committing countless atrocities in their effort to “redeem” the South from Black Republican rule. In many cases, these organizations operated as an extension of the Democratic Party. Scandals hobbled the Republican Party, as did a severe economic depression. By 1875, Reconstruction had largely come to an end. The contested presidential election the following year, which was decided in favor of the Republican candidate, and the removal of federal troops from the South only confirmed the obvious: Reconstruction had failed to achieve its primary objective of creating an interracial democracy that provided equal rights to all citizens.