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Reconstruction was the extended process of returning the ex-Confederate states into the Union in the wake of the American Civil War. The Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1865, but the reconstruction of the South was already under way by 1863 as Union authorities considered the fate of the occupied portions of the Confederacy. Reconstruction formally concluded in 1877 with the removal of the last federal soldiers and the restoration of the Democratic Party’s control in all of the former Confederate states. Key issues of Reconstruction included disagreements among Unionists regarding plans for the South, conflicts between Black and White Southerners’ postwar expectations, and the political struggle of Republicans to build a party in the South and maintain their momentum in the North. The use ...

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