Radical Reconstruction was a period in American history during the post-Civil War era. It began with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery and provided civil rights for African Americans. The goal of Radical Reconstruction was to ensure that newly freed slaves were given full citizenship rights and could participate fully in society without fear or discrimination.
The period of Radical Reconstruction saw many changes enacted by Congress, such as extending voting rights to all male citizens regardless of race, establishing public schools throughout the South for both white and black children, creating new state governments based on majority rule rather than minority control, protecting property rights from seizure by former slaveholders, and enforcing labor contracts between employers and workers. In addition to these measures, federal troops were sent into Southern states to protect African Americans' political participation from violence perpetrated by whites who sought to maintain their traditional power structure. While some strides toward racial equality were made during this time period—such as giving African Americans access to education through public school systems—the effects of Radical Reconstruction did not last long; within just a few years after it ended, most gains had been rolled back due largely to violent opposition from Southern whites determined not only to preserve white supremacy but also economic inequality among races.