The Reconstruction Era within U.S. History is (generally) defined as commencing in 1865 and ending in 1877; however, the social, cultural, and political impact of this time in the nation’s history suggests that its ending is less tidy. Those who worked both for and against the progressive goals of Reconstruction continued their efforts beyond 1877. The Federal Elections Bill of 1890 was written with intent by the remaining Reconstruction Republicans to provide federal oversight to elections, which had become a primary target of Democrats in the former Confederate states as they regained their power. Efforts within these states to prevent Black Americans from casting their ballot had undone much of the initial progress they had experienced in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. This paper argues that this piece of legislation - and its brief life within Congress - is the last gasp of Reconstruction and its lost potential to remap the trajectory of civil rights within the United States.
Reconstruction; Voting Rights; Civil Rights; Radical Republicans; Federal Elections Bill of 1890; Force Bill
United States History
United States of America
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The Federal Elections Bill and the End of Reconstruction in 1890.
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