- the process by which the states that had seceded were reorganized as part of the Union after the Civil War.
- the period during which this took place, 1865–77.
Origin of reconstruction
The period after the Civil War in which the states formerly part of the Confederacy were brought back into the United States. During Reconstruction, the South was divided into military districts for the supervision of elections to set up new state governments. These governments often included carpetbaggers, as former officials of the Confederacy were not allowed to serve in them. The new state governments approved three amendments to the Constitution: the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment, which had a provision keeping some former supporters of the Confederacy out of public office until Congress allowed them to serve; and the Fifteenth Amendment, which guaranteed voting rights for black men. Once a state approved the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, it was to be readmitted to the United States and again represented in Congress. The official end of Reconstruction came in 1877, when the last troops were withdrawn from the South.