The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy

Use this rich archive of lessons, videos, and primary sources to teach about one of the most tumultuous periods in US history and its legacy today.

In the wake of the Civil War, Americans were faced with the challenge of rebuilding a society that had been divided by slavery and the political upheaval of war. The study of this period in American history is essential to the understanding of citizenship and democracy in the United States today.

Facing History has produced a series of videos and accompanying lessons that will introduce a rigorous study of the Reconstruction era into American history classrooms. Our video series includes interviews with scholars of the Reconstruction era who provide insight into this complex history and address questions of freedom, justice, equality, and citizenship that are at the heart of the Reconstruction. 

We have also developed a complete unit that offers 16 lessons and many primary source documents. The unit, available in print, ebook, and free PDF, will guide students through a deep exploration of the Reconstruction era while enhancing their ethical decision-making and capacity for emotional growth. 

For further enrichment, we have created writing strategies to help you support students through the essay-writing assignment introduced in the unit.

Why Study Reconstruction?




"[Reconstruction is] a story of how ordinary people facing very difficult odds tried to create a better society, tried to create a functioning democracy, and tried to create a semblance of equality in this country." - Eric Foner​

The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy

Print book,

This resource guides students through a deep exploration of the pivotal era of American history when a nation divided by slavery and war was challenged to rebuild.

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