Reconstruction continued in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida until 1877.
Interpretations of Reconstruction have varied widely, yet nearly all historians have concluded that the federal effort to resolve the divisions of war and the social integration of freedmen was a failure.
By erecting impossibly high standards that no Southern state could meet, the Wade–Davis bill sought to postpone Reconstruction until the war was over.
Their moderate programs were opposed by the Radical Republicans, a political faction that gained power after the 1866 elections and began Radical Reconstruction, from 1866-1873, emphasizing civil rights and voting rights for the Freedmen.
By 1870, the Democratic–Conservative leadership across the South decided it had to end its opposition to Reconstruction as well as to black suffrage in order to survive and move on to new issues.
Planning for Reconstruction began as early as 1861, at the onset of secession, with little premonition in the administration of what would prove to be the extent or duration of the Civil War.
Every state created state colleges for Freedmen, and in 1890, after Reconstruction ended, black state colleges started receiving federal funds as land grant schools because many fair-minded Democrats supported the liberal education of both races.
Strongly aligned with the Civil Rights Movement, they found a great deal to praise in Radical Reconstruction.
Not all Democrats agreed; a hard core element wanted to resist Reconstruction at all costs.
Grant won a smashing landslide, as the Liberal Republican party vanished and many former supporters—even ex-abolitionists—abandoned the cause of Reconstruction.
Reconstruction addressed the return of the Southern states that had seceded, the status of ex-Confederate leaders, and the Constitutional and legal status of the African-American Freedmen.
Johnson was a Tennessee senator who opposed secession yet was a defender of slavery and thus played an anomalous role during Reconstruction.
Reconstruction following Lincoln's assassination followed a more radical path.
On April 11, 1865, Lincoln delivered his last public address, in which he continued to uphold a lenient reconstruction policy.
President Lincoln's objectives in war, first to preserve the Union and later to eradicate slavery, which he saw as a stain on the nation's ideals, were also the guiding principles of Lincoln's Reconstruction policies.
The end of Reconstruction marked the beginning of a period, 1877–1900, that saw the steady reduction of many civil and political rights for African-Americans, and ushered in the nadir of American race relations.
Much of the Reconstruction civil rights legislation was overturned by the United States Supreme Court.
Foner, the primary advocate of this view, argued that it was never truly completed, and that a Second Reconstruction was needed in the late twentieth century to complete the goal of full equality for African-Americans.
Finally, the radicals and Lincoln held quite different views of the relationship of Reconstruction to the war effort.
Violent controversy arose when a Republican coalition of freedmen, northern reformers, and white southern supporters of Reconstruction assumed control of most of the southern states.
Over the course of Reconstruction, more than 1,500 African Americans held public office in the South.