The Reconstruction Era Video Series

Facing History has produced the video series available on this website to serve as an introduction for learning and teaching about the Reconstruction era of American history. Featuring interviews with scholars of the Reconstruction era, these 7 videos can be used independently but are best watched in sequence as they offer a narrative history of the Reconstruction.

Each video focuses on a particular element of the Reconstruction era, and is intended to be shared in a classroom. Educators can find corresponding Reconstruction era lessons for each video to enhance student understanding of this history.

Introduction: A Contested History

Scholars discuss how and why the history of Reconstruction is so contested.

Part One: The World the War Made

Scholars discuss the effects that the changes brought about by the Civil War had on the identities of American citizens.

Part Two: Defining Freedom

Scholars discuss the evolution of the definition of freedom for emancipated slaves after the Civil War.

Part Three: The Political Struggle, 1865-1866

Scholars discuss the different visions for Reconstruction held by Congress and President Johnson.

Part Four: Interracial Democracy

Scholars discuss how African Americans and whites initially worked together within Reconstruction governments.


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Looking for more lessons and primary source documents to teach the Reconstruction era? Get our complete unit on this important history, available in print, ebook, and free PDF.

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