Who Killed Reconstruction Dbq Answer Key

Who Killed Reconstruction DBQ Answer Key: Understanding the Demise of a Revolutionary Era


The Reconstruction era, which followed the American Civil War, was a transformative period in American history. It aimed to rebuild the nation, integrate freed slaves into society, and ensure their civil rights. However, Reconstruction faced numerous challenges and ultimately failed to accomplish its goals. In this article, we will explore the primary factors that led to the demise of Reconstruction and attempt to answer the question: Who killed Reconstruction?

The Demise of Reconstruction:

1. Southern Resistance:
The Southern states, devastated by the Civil War, resisted the changes brought about by Reconstruction. The implementation of military rule in the South, known as Radical Reconstruction, provoked hostility among the white population. They resented the presence of Union troops, the expansion of civil rights for African Americans, and the loss of their political power. The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups emerged, using violence and intimidation to suppress African American political participation and assert white dominance.

2. Economic Challenges:
Reconstruction faced economic obstacles, as the South struggled to rebuild its infrastructure and economy. The destruction caused by the war, coupled with the loss of slave labor, hampered the region’s recovery. The Reconstruction policies, such as the redistribution of land and the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau, faced opposition from Southern landowners who resisted sharing their property or providing fair wages to former slaves. Economic instability and poverty undermined the progress of Reconstruction.

3. Political Compromises:
Political compromises made during the Reconstruction era also contributed to its demise. The Compromise of 1877, for instance, marked the end of Reconstruction. In exchange for Republican Rutherford B. Hayes winning the presidency, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, effectively ending the enforcement of civil rights legislation. This compromise allowed Southern states to reinstate discriminatory practices, such as Jim Crow laws and poll taxes, which further marginalized African Americans.

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Q: Was Reconstruction a failure?
A: Yes, Reconstruction is widely regarded as a failure. Despite its initial progress in granting civil rights to African Americans, its aims were not fully achieved. The rise of white supremacist groups, economic challenges, and political compromises undermined its effectiveness.

Q: Who opposed Reconstruction?
A: Southern white populations, including former Confederate leaders, strongly opposed Reconstruction. They resisted the changes brought about by Reconstruction policies and sought to reestablish white dominance.

Q: What were some significant achievements of Reconstruction?
A: Reconstruction did achieve some significant milestones. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments were ratified, abolishing slavery, granting citizenship to former slaves, and ensuring the right to vote regardless of race. Reconstruction also established the Freedmen’s Bureau, which provided aid and education to freed slaves.

Q: Could Reconstruction have succeeded?
A: While Reconstruction faced numerous challenges, it is possible that it could have succeeded with stronger federal enforcement of civil rights legislation, sustained economic support, and a longer-term commitment to racial equality. However, the prevailing racism and political compromises of the time ultimately led to its failure.


Reconstruction was a monumental attempt to rebuild and reshape the United States after the Civil War. However, it faced significant opposition from Southern states, economic challenges, and political compromises. These factors ultimately contributed to the failure of Reconstruction. Understanding the demise of Reconstruction is crucial in comprehending the long-lasting consequences it had on African Americans’ struggle for equality and justice in American society.

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