The major work of Reconstruction involved restoring the membership of the Southern states in the Union.
The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate general Robert E.
Reconstruction officially ended in 1877, when President Rutherford B.
Hayes (1822–1893) withdrew federal troops from the South.
Many former slaves were no longer willing to submit to white rule and wanted equal rights.
At the same time, many Southern whites expressed anger and fear about the changes taking place in their society.They worried that punishing Confederate leaders would only stir up additional anger and resentment in the South.Northern leaders also had to decide how and when the Southern states should be readmitted to the Union.One of the most pressing issues to arise at the end of the Civil War involved race relations.This was particularly true in the South, because slavery was the only sort of black-white relationship that many Southerners had ever known.For example, federal lawmakers had to decide whether to punish the Confederate leaders, what process to use to readmit the Southern states to the Union, and how much assistance to provide in securing equal rights for the freed slaves.Because these complicated issues carried a great deal of importance for the future of the nation, Reconstruction was a time of great political and social turmoil. Congress felt that the president's Reconstruction policies were too lenient (easy) on the South.Some people wanted the North to establish strict conditions for the states to meet before they could rejoin the Union.They felt that this was the only way to ensure the states' loyalty and to protect the rights of former slaves and Union supporters in the South.These feelings intensified after Lincoln was assassinated.Other people in the North just wanted things to return to normal as soon as possible.