The scholarly interpretation or historiography of Reconstruction has swung back and forth several times. Nearly all historians, however, have concluded it was a failure.  Northern historians first took an approach of how the Civil War and Reconstruction preserved the Union and destroyed slavery. After 1900 Southern historians emphasized the corruption that spoiled whatever good there was, and emphasized the blacks werepawns in the hands of Carpetbaggers. In recent years historians have adopted a Neoabolitionist pro-black perspective, that sees the failure in not fully guaranteeing genuine freedom and civil rights for blacks.
- 1 1865-1890
- 2 Black views
- 3 Southern whites: popular white
- 4 Dunning School
- 5 Revisionism
- 6 Neoabolitionists
- 7 Recent studies
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 Primary Sources
- 10 Freedman's Bureau
- 11 Compromise of 1877 and end of Reconstruction
In the 1865-75 period, most writers took the view that the ex-Confederates were traitors and Johnson was their ally who threatened to undo the Union's Constitutional achievements. In the 1870s and 1880s many writers argued that Johnson and his allies were not traitors but blundered badly in rejecting the 14th Amendment and setting the stage for Radical Reconstruction. 
Among black scholars Booker T. Washington, who grew up in West Virginia during Reconstruction, concluded that, "the Reconstruction experiment in racial democracy failed because it began at the wrong end, emphasizing political means and civil rights acts rather than economic means and self-determination." His solution was to concentrate on building the economic infrastructure of the black community.
Southern whites: popular white
In popular literature two novels by Thomas Dixon—The Clansman and The Leopard's Spots: A Romance of the White Man's Burden — 1865–1900—romanticized white resistance to Northern/black coercion, hailing vigilante action by the Ku Klux Klan. Other authors romanticized the benevolence of slavery and the happy world of the antebellum plantation. These sentiments were expressed on the screen in D.W. Griffith's anti-Republican 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation.
The Dunning School of scholars based at the history department of Columbia University analyzed Reconstruction as a failure, at least after 1866, for quite different reasons. They claimed that it took freedoms and rights from qualified whites and gave them to unqualified blacks who were being duped by corrupt carpetbaggers and scalawags. As one scholar notes, "Reconstruction was a battle between two extremes: the Democrats, as the group which included the vast majority of the whites, standing for decent government and racial supremacy, versus the Republicans, the Negroes, alien carpetbaggers, and renegade scalawags, standing for dishonest government and alien ideals. These historians wrote literally in terms of white and black."
In the 1930s, "revisionism" became popular among scholars. As disciples of Charles A. Beard, revisionists focused on economics, downplaying politics and constitutional issues. They argued that the Radical rhetoric of equal rights was mostly a smokescreen hiding the true motivation of Reconstruction's real backers. While conceding that a few men like Stevens and Sumner were thoroughly idealistic, Howard Beale argued Reconstruction was primarily a successful attempt by financiers, railroad builders and industrialists in the Northeast, using the Republican Party, to control the national government for its own selfish economic ends. Those ends were to continue the wartime high protective tariff, the new network of national banks, and to guarantee a "sound" currency. To succeed the business class had to remove the old ruling agrarian class of Southern planters and Midwestern farmers. This it did by inaugurating Reconstruction, which made the South Republican, and by selling its policies to the voters wrapped up in such attractive vote-getting packages as northern patriotism or the bloody shirt. Historian William Hesseltine added the point that the Northeastern businessmen wanted to control the South economically, which they did through ownership of the railroads. However, historians in the 1950s and 1960s refuted Beale's economic causation by demonstrating that Northern businessmen were widely divergent on monetary or tariff policy, and seldom paid attention to Reconstruction issues.
In the 1960s, neoabolitionist historians emerged, led by John Hope Franklin, Kenneth Stampp and Eric Foner. Strongly aligned with the Civil Rights Movement, they rejected the Dunning school and found a great deal to praise in Radical Reconstruction. Foner, the primary advocate of this view, argued that it was never truly completed, and that a Second Reconstruction was needed in the late 20th century to complete the goal of full equality for African-Americans. The neo-abolitionists followed the revisionists in minimizing the corruption and waste created by Republican state governments, saying it was no worse than Boss Tweed's ring in New York City. Instead they emphasized that poor treatment of Freedmen was a worse scandal and a grave corruption of America's republican ideals. They argued that the real tragedy of Reconstruction was not that it failed because blacks were incapable of governing, but that it failed because the civil rights and equalities granted during this period were but a passing, temporary development. These rights were suspended in the South from the 1880s through 1964, but were restored by the Civil Rights Movement that is sometimes referred to as the "Second Reconstruction."
More recent work by Nina Silber, David Blight, Cecelia O'Leary, Laura Edwards, LeeAnn Whites, and Edward J. Blum, has encouraged greater attention to race, religion, and issues of gender while at the same time pushing the "end" of Reconstruction to the end of the nineteenth century, while monographs by Charles Reagan Wilson, Gaines Foster, W. Scott Poole have offered new views of the southern "Lost Cause."
- Brown, Thomas J., ed. Reconstructions: New Perspectives on Postbellum America (2006) essays by 8 scholars excerpt and text search
- Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 (1935), 1998 reprint with introduction by David Levering Lewis ISBN 0-684-85657-3.) Explores the economics and politics of the era from Marxist perspective
- Du Bois, W.E.B. "Reconstruction and its Benefits," American Historical Review, 15 (July, 1910), 781—99 online
- Dunning, William Archibald. Reconstruction: Political & Economic, 1865-1877 (1905). Blames Carpetbaggers for failure of Reconstruction. online edition
- Fitzgerald, Michael W. Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South. (2007). 250 pp.
- Fitzgerald, Miachael W. Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (2007), 224pp; excerpt and text search
- Walter Lynwood Fleming The Sequel of Appomattox, A Chronicle of the Reunion of the States(1918). Popular summary of Dunning School by leading scholar.
- Foner, Eric and Mahoney, Olivia. America's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War. ISBN 0-8071-2234-3, short well-illustrated popular survey
- Foner, Eric. Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction.2005. 268 pp. , short well-illustrated popular survey, chiefly on Reconstruction
- Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988) ISBN 0-06-015851-4. Pulitzer-prize winning history and most detailed synthesis of original and previous scholarship.
- Foner, Eric. "Reconstruction Revisited" in Reviews in American History, Vol. 10, No. 4, The Promise of American History: Progress and Prospects (Dec., 1982), pp. 82-100, review of the historiography, online in Project MUSE
- Ford, Lacy K., ed. A Companion to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Blackwell, 2005. 518 pp.
- Franklin, John Hop]. Reconstruction after the Civil War (1961), , 280 pages. . Short survey by leading black scholar.
- Henry, Robert Selph. The Story of Reconstruction (1938). detailed popular history
- Jenkins, Wilbert L. Climbing up to Glory: A Short History of African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction. SR Books, 2002. 285 pp.
- Litwack, Leon. Been in the Storm So Long (1979). Pulitzer Prize, social history of blacks
- Milton, George Fort. The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals. (1930). online edition, popular history; praises Johnson
- Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson. A History of the United States since the Civil War. Vol 1 and vol 2 (1917). Based on Dunning School vol 1 online
- Perman, Michael. Emancipation and Reconstruction (2003). 144 pp.
- Randall, J. G. The Civil War and Reconstruction (1953). Long the standard survey, with elaborate bibliography
- Rhodes, James G. History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. Volume: 6. (1920). 1865-72; Volume: 7. (1920). 1872-77; Highly detailed narrative by Pulitzer prize winner; argues was a political disaster because it violated the rights of white Southerners. vol 6 1865-1872 online; vol 7 online vol 6 online at Google.books vol 7 in Google.books
- Richardson, Heather Cox. West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War (2007), survey of entire postware era, stressing economic history
- Schouler, James. History of the United States of America: Under the Constitution vol. 7. 1865-1877. The Reconstruction Period (1917) online
- Stalcup, Brenda. ed. Reconstruction: Opposing Viewpoints (1995). uses primary documents to present opposing viewpoints.
- Stampp, Kenneth M. The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (1967); short neo-abolitionist survey;
- Stampp, Kenneth M. and Leon M. Litwack, eds. Reconstruction: An Anthology of Revisionist Writings," (1969), essays by neoabolitionist scholars
- Trefousse, Hans L. Historical Dictionary of Reconstruction Greenwood (1991), 250 entries excerpt and text search
- Williams, T. Harry. "An Analysis of Some Reconstruction Attitudes" The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 12, No. 4. (Nov., 1946), pp. 469-486. in JSTOR
- Wilson, Woodrow. The Reconstruction of the Southern States (1901); interpretive essay by Wilson, written before his election as President in 1912.
National politics and Constitutional issues
- Belz, Herman. Emancipation and Equal Rights: Politics and Constitutionalism in the Civil War Era (1978) pro-moderate, by leading conservative historian. online edition
- Belz, Herman. Abraham Lincoln, Constitutionalism, and Equal Rights in the Civil War Era, (1998) 268 pgs. by leading conservative historianonline edition
- Belz, Herman. A New Birth of Freedom: The Republican Party and Freedman's Rights, 1861-1866 (2000) pro-moderate; by leading conservative historian
- Benedict, Michael Les. The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1999), pro-Radical. online edition
- Benedict, Michael Les. A Compromise of Principle: Congressional Republicans and Reconstruction (1974) pro-Radical
- Benedict, Michael Les. "Preserving the Constitution: The Conservative Bases of Radical Reconstruction," Journal of American History vol 61 #1 (1974) pp 65-90, online in JSTOR
- Benedict, Michael Les. "Constitutional History and Constitutional Theory: Reflections on Ackerman, Reconstruction, and the Transformation of the American Constitution." Yale Law Journal Vol: 108. Issue: 8. 1999. pp 2011-2038. online edition
- Blaine, James.Twenty Years of Congress: From Lincoln to Garfield. With a review of the events which led to the political revolution of 1860 (1886). By Republican Congressional leader
- Blight, David. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2000). Examines national memory of Civil War, Reconstruction, and Redemption, North-South reunion, and the retreat from equality for African Americans. online in ACLS E-books
- Blum, Edward J. "Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898" (2005).
- Brandwein, Pamela; "Slavery as an Interpretive Issue in the Reconstruction Congresses" Law & Society Review. Volume: 34. Issue: 2. 2000. pp 315+ shows Democratic party history, grounded on white supremacy was crucial in legitimating the Court's narrow doctrinal interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment. online edition
- Burg, Robert W. "Amnesty, Civil Rights, And The Meaning Of Liberal Republicanism, 1862-1872". American Nineteenth Century History 2003 4(3): 29-60.
- Calhoun, Charles W. Conceiving a New Republic: The Republican Party and the Southern Question, 1869-1900. (2006). 347 pp.
- Cox, LaWanda C. Politics, principle, and prejudice, 1865-1866: dilemma of Reconstruction America (1963) online in ACLS E-books
- Dunning, William A. "The Constitution of the United States in Reconstruction" in Political Science Quarterly Vol. 2, No. 4 (Dec., 1887), pp. 558-602 in JSTOR, by leading conservative historian
- Dunning, William A. "Military Government in the South During Reconstruction" Political Science Quarterly Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sep., 1897), pp. 381-406 in JSTOR, by leading conservative historian
- Dunning, William A. Essays On The Civil War And Reconstruction And Related Topics (1897)
full text online, by leading conservative historian
- Gambill, Edward. Conservative Ordeal: Northern Democrats and Reconstruction, 1865-1868. (1981).
- Gillette, William. Retreat from Reconstruction, 1869-1879. (1979). Traces failure of Reconstruction to the power of Democrats, administrative inefficiencies, racism, and lack of commitment by northern Republicans.
- Harris, William C. With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union (1997) portrays Lincoln as opponent of Radicals; by leading conservative historian
- Hyman; Harold M. A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution (1973) online edition
- Kaczorowski, Robert, The Politics of Judicial Interpretations: The Federal Courts, Department of Justice and Civil Rights, 1866-1876. Justice Department fight against KKK
- McAfee, Ward. Religion, Race, and Reconstruction: The Public School in the Politics of the 1870s (1998); by leading conservative historian
- McLaughlin, Andrew. A Constitutional History of the United States (1935) Pulitzer Prize; ch 45-47 are on Reconstruction online version
- McPherson, James M. The Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP (1975) (ISBN 0-691-10039-X)
- Mantell, Martin E. Johnson, Grant and the Politics of Reconstruction. (1973). online edition
- Nicolay, John and John Hay, "First Plans for Emancipation," Century (Dec 1888): pp 276-94; Online Authors were Lincoln's top aides in the White House
- Nicolay, John and John Hay, "The Wade-Davis Manifesto" Century (July 1889): pp 414-21 online version
- Summers, Mark Wahlgren. The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878 (1994)
National politics: biographies
- Donald, David Herbert. Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (1970), Pulitzer prize winning biography
- Gienapp, William. Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America (2002), short biography online edition
- Hesseltine, William. Ulysses S. Grant: Politician. (1935). online edition.
- Hyman, Harold M. and Benjamin P. Thomas. Stanton: The Life and Times of Lincoln's Secretary of War. 1962. online edition
- McFeely, William S. Grant: A Biography (1981); Pulitzer Prize. online edition
- McKitrick, Eric L. Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1961) portrays Johnson as weak politician unable to forge coalitions.
- Simpson, Brooks D. Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861-1868 (1991).
- Stryker, Lloyd Paul; Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage 1929. pro-Johnson online edition
- Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography (1989), hostile to Johnsononline edition
- Trefousse, Hans L. Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian (1997)
- Winston, Robert W. Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot. (1928), favorableonline edition
South: regional, state & local studies
- Abbott, Richard H. For Free Press and Equal Rights: Republican Newspapers in the Reconstruction South (2004). 266 pp. online review
- Baggett, James Alex. The Scalawags: Southern Dissenters in the Civil War and Reconstruction. (2003). 323 pp.
- Brown, Canter Jr. Florida's Black Public Officials, 1867-1924
- Campbell. Randolph B. Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880 (1998)
- Coulter, E. Merton. The Civil War and Readjustment in Kentucky (1926)
- Coulter, E. Merton. The South During Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (1947). Dunning School. region-wide history
- DeBlack, Thomas A. With Fire and Sword: Arkansas, 1861-1874. U. of Arkansas Pr., 2003. 307 pp.
- Donald, David H. "The Scalawag in Mississippi Reconstruction," The Journal of Southern History Vol. 10, No. 4 (Nov., 1944), pp. 447-460 JSTOR
- Ebner, David, and Larry Langman, eds. Hollywood's Image of the South: A Century of Southern Films (2001). Ch 9-10 on Reconstruction and KKK.
- Fields, Barbara Jean, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland (1985)
- Fischer, Roger. The Segregation Struggle in Louisiana, 1862-1877. (University of Illinois Press: 1974) Study of free persons of color in New Orleans who provided leadership in the unsuccessful fight against segregation of schools and public accommodations.
- Fitzgerald, Michael W. Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile, 1860–1890. (Louisiana State University Press, 2002. 301 pp.
- Fitzgerald, Michael R. "Radical Republicanism and the White Yeomanry During Alabama Reconstruction, 1865-1868." Journal of Southern History 54 (November 1988): 565-96. Online at JSTOR
- Fleming, Walter L. Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama 1905.
- Foner, Eric. Freedom's Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction (2nd ed. 1996) biographies of more than 1,500 officeholders.
- Garner, James Wilford. Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901), Dunning School online edition
- Hahn, Steven. A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration (2003)
- Hamilton, Peter Joseph. The Reconstruction Period (1906), full length history of era; Dunning School approach; 570 pp; chapters on each state
- Harris, William C. The Day of the Carpetbagger: Republican Reconstruction in Mississippi (1979) online edition
- Holt, Thomas. Black over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina During Reconstruction. (1977). Black elected officials, their divisions, and battles with white governors who controlled patronage and their ultimate failure. online in ACLS E-books
- Kolchin, Peter. First Freedom: The Responses of Alabama's Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction. (1972) Explores black migration, labor, and social structure in the first five years of Reconstruction.
- Middleton, Stephen, ed. Black Congressmen during Reconstruction: A Documentary Sourcebook. (2002). 444 pp.
- Moneyhon, Carl H. Texas after the Civil War: The Struggle of Reconstruction. (2004). 237 pp.
- Olsen, Otto H. ed., Reconstruction and Redemption in the South (1980), state by state, neoabolitionist
- Patton; James Welch. Unionism and Reconstruction in Tennessee, 1860-1869 1934 online edition
- Perman, Michael. The Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869-1879 (1984). detailed state-by-state narrative of Conservatives online edition
- Rabinowitz, Howard N. editor. Southern Black Leaders of the Reconstruction Era (1982)
- Ramsdell, Charles W., "Presidential Reconstruction in Texas ", Southwestern Historical Quarterly, (1907) v.11#4 277 - 317.
- Ramsdell, Charles William. Reconstruction in Texas Columbia University Press, 1910. Dunning school
- Reynolds, John S. Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865—1877, Negro Universities Press, 1969
- Rose, Willie Lee . Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment (1967) Blacks given land in 1863 in coastal South Carolina online in ACLS E-books
- Rubin, Hyman III. South Carolina Scalawags (2006)
- Russ, Jr., William A. "The Negro and White Disfranchisement During Radical Reconstruction" The Journal of Negro History Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 1934), pp. 171-192 JSTOR
- Russ, Jr., William A. "Registration and Disfranchisement Under Radical Reconstruction," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 21, No. 2 (Sep., 1934), pp. 163-180 JSTOR
- Simkins, Francis Butler, and Robert Hilliard Woody. South Carolina during Reconstruction (1932), revisionist (Beardian) school
- Smallwood, James M., Barry A. Crouch, and Larry Peacock, Murder and Mayhem: The War of Reconstruction in Texas. Texas A. & M. U. Press, 2003. 182 pp. excerpt and text search
- Snay, Mitchell. "Freedom and Progress: the Dilemma of Southern Republican Thought During Radical Reconstruction." American Nineteenth Century History 2004 5(1): 100-114. Issn: 1466-4658 Fulltext: in Ebsco
- Storey, Margaret M. Loyalty and Loss: Alabama's Unionists in the Civil War and Reconstruction. (2004). 296 pp. excerpt and text search
- Taylor, Alrutheus A., Negro in Tennessee 1865-1880 (1974)
- Taylor, Alrutheus, Negro in South Carolina During the Reconstruction (AMS Press: 1924)
- Taylor, Alrutheus, The Negro in the Reconstruction Of Virginia (The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History: 1926)
- Taylor, A. A. "The Negro in South Carolina During the Reconstruction" The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 9-11 (1924-1926) (multi-part article) JSTOR full text
- Trelease, Allen W. White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction, (1971, 1995). detailed treatment of the Klan, and similar groups.
- Wiener, Jonathan M. Social Origins of the New South; Alabama, 1860-1885. (1978) new social history
- Wharton, V. L. "The Race Issue in the Overthrow of Reconstruction in Mississippi," Phylon (1940-1956) Vol. 2, No. 4 (4th Qtr., 1941), pp. 362-370 in JSTOR
- Wiggins, Sarah Woolfolk. The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881 (1991) online edition
Social and economic history
- Ash, Stephen V. A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865. (2002). 289 pp.
- Censer, Jane Turner. The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, 1865-1895. (2003). 316 pp.
- Moore, A. B. "Railroad Building in Alabama During the Reconstruction Period" The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 1, No. 4. (Nov., 1935), pp. 421-441. JSTOR
- Morrow, Ralph E. "Northern Methodism in the South during Reconstruction." The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 41, No. 2. (Sep., 1954), pp. 197-218. in JSTOR
- Ransom, Roger L. and Sutch, Richard. One Kind of Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation. (2d ed. (original publ. 1977). 2001-. 458 pp.
- Saloutos, Theodore. "Southern Agriculture and the Problems of Readjustment: 1865-1877," Agricultural history (April, 1956) Vol 30#2 58-76 online edition
- Stover, John F. The Railroads of the South, 1865-1900: A Study in Finance and Control (1955)
- Summers, Mark Wahlgren. Railroads, Reconstruction, and the Gospel of Prosperity: Aid Under the Radical Republicans, 1865-1877 (1984)
- Whites, LeeAnn. Gender Matters: Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Making of the New South. (2005). 244 pp. excerpt and text search
- Williams, Heather Andrea. Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom U (2006)
- Wilson, Kirt H. The Reconstruction Desegregation Debate: The Politics of Equality and the Rhetoric of Place, 1870-1875. (2002). 276 pp.
- R. H. Woody, "The Labor and Immigration Problem of South Carolina during Reconstruction" The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 18, No. 2 (Sep., 1931), pp. 195-212 JSTOR
- Barnes, William H., ed. History of the Thirty-ninth Congress of the United States. (1868) useful summary of Congressional activity.
- Berlin, Ira, ed. Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867 (1982), 970 pp of archival documents; also Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War ed by Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, and Steven F. Miller (1993)
- Blaine, James G. Twenty Years of Congress: From Lincoln to Garfield. With a review of the events which led to the political revolution of 1860 (1886). By Republican Congressional leader
- Fleming, Walter L. Documentary History of Reconstruction: Political, Military, Social, Religious, Educational, and Industrial 2 vol (1906). Uses broad collection of primary sources; vol 1 on national politics; vol 2 on states; volume 1 493 pp online and vol 2 480 pp online
- Memoirs of W. W. Holden (1911), North Carolina Scalawag governor
- Hyman, Harold M., ed. The Radical Republicans and Reconstruction, 1861-1870. (1967), collection of long political speeches and pamphlets.
- Lynch, John R. The Facts of Reconstruction. (New York: 1913)Full text online One of first black congressmen during Reconstruction.
- Edward McPherson, The Political History of the United States of America During the Period of Reconstruction (1875), large collection of speeches and primary documents, 1865-1870, complete text online. [The copyright has expired.]
- Palmer, Beverly Wilson and Holly Byers Ochoa, eds. The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens 2 vol (1998), 900pp; his speeches plus and letters to and from Stevens
- Palmer, Beverly Wilson, ed. The Selected Letters of Charles Sumner 2 vol (1990); vol 2 covers 1859-1874
- Pike, James Shepherd, The prostrate state: South Carolina under negro government (1874)
- Reid, Whitelaw. After the war: a southern tour, May 1, 1865 to May 1, 1866. (1866) by Republican editor
- Charles Sumner, "Our Domestic Relations: or, How to Treat the Rebel States" Atlantic Monthly September 1863, early Radical manifesto
Newspapers and magazines
- DeBow's Review major Southern conservative magazine; stress on business, economics and statistics
- Harper's Weekly leading New York news magazine; pro-Radical
- Nast, Thomas. magazine cartoons pro-Radical editorial cartoons
- Primary sources from Gilder-Lehrman collection
- The New York Times daily edition online through ProQuest at academic libraries
- Berlin, Ira, ed. Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War (1995)
- Minutes of the Freedmen's Convention, Held in the City of Raleigh, [North Carolina ...October, 1866]
- Freedmen's Bureau Online
- Reports and Speeches
- Slave Emancipation Through the Prism of Archives Records (1997) by Joseph P. Reidy
- General Howard's report for 1869: The House of Representatives, Forty-first Congress, second session
- Bentley George R. A History of the Freedmen's Bureau (1955)
- Carpenter, John A.; Sword and Olive Branch: Oliver Otis Howard (1999) full biography of Bureau leader
- Cimbala, Paul A. The Freedmen's Bureau: Reconstructing the American South after the Civil War. (2005). 220 pp., short survey
- Cimbala, Paul A. and Trefousse, Hans L. (eds.) The Freedmen's Bureau: Reconstructing the American South After the Civil War. 2005. essays by scholars
- W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, "The Freedmen's Bureau" (1901)
- McFeely, William S. Yankee Stepfather: General O.O. Howard and the Freedmen. 1994. excerpt and text search
- Anderson, James D. The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (1988) excerpt and text search
- Butchart, Ronald E. Northern Schools, Southern Blacks, and Reconstruction: Freedmen's Education, 1862-1875 (1980)
- Crouch, Barry A. "Black Education in Civil War and Reconstruction Louisiana: George T. Ruby, the Army, and the Freedmen's Bureau" Louisiana History 1997 38(3): 287-308. Issn: 0024-6816
- Goldhaber, Michael. "A Mission Unfulfilled: Freedmen's Education in North Carolina, 1865-1870" Journal of Negro History 1992 77(4): 199-210. Issn: 0022-2992
- Jones, Jacqueline. Soldiers of Light and Love: Northern Teachers and Georgia Blacks, 1865-1873 U of North Carolina Press 1980 excerpt and text search
- Morris, Robert C. Reading, 'Riting, and Reconstruction: The Education of Freedmen in the South, 1861-1870 1981.
- Richardson, Joe M. Christian Reconstruction: The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890 (1986)
- Span, Christopher M. "'I Must Learn Now or Not at All': Social and Cultural Capital in the Educational Initiatives of Formerly Enslaved African Americans in Mississippi, 1862-1869," The Journal of African American History, 2002 pp 196-222
- Swint, Henry Lee. The Northern Teacher in the South: 1862-1870 (1967).
- Williams, Heather Andrea; "'Clothing Themselves in Intelligence': The Freedpeople, Schooling, and Northern Teachers, 1861-1871" The Journal of African American History 2002. pp 372+.
- Williams, Heather Andrea. Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom U of North Carolina Press, 2006
- Bethel, Elizabeth . "The Freedmen's Bureau in Alabama," Journal of Southern History Vol. 14, No. 1, Feb., 1948 pp. 49-92 online at JSTOR
- Cimbala, Paul A. "On the Front Line of Freedom: Freedmen's Bureau Officers and Agents in Reconstruction Georgia, 1865-1868". Georgia Historical Quarterly 1992 76(3): 577-611. Issn: 0016-8297.
- Cimbala, Paul A. Under the Guardianship of the Nation: the Freedmen's Bureau and the Reconstruction of Georgia, 1865-1870 U. of Georgia Press, 1997.
- Click, Patricia C. Time Full of Trial: The Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony, 1862-1867 (2001)]
- Crouch, Barry. The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans (1992)
- Crouch; Barry A. "The 'Chords of Love': Legalizing Black Marital and Family Rights in Postwar Texas" The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 79, 1994
- Durrill, Wayne K. "Political Legitimacy and Local Courts: 'Politicks at Such a Rage' in a Southern Community during Reconstruction" in Journal of Southern History, Vol. 70 #3, 2004 pp 577-617
- Farmer-Kaiser, Mary. "’Are They Not in Some Sorts Vagrants?’ Gender and the Efforts of the Freedmen's Bureau to Combat Vagrancy in the Reconstruction South” Georgia Historical Quarterly 2004 88(1): 25-49. Issn: 0016-8297
- Faulkner, Carol. Women's Radical Reconstruction: The Freedmen's Aid Movement. U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. 208 pp.
- Finley, Randy. From Slavery to Uncertain Future: the Freedmen's Bureau in Arkansas, 1865-1869 U. of Arkansas Press, 1996.
- Gerteis, Louis S. From Contraband to Freedmen: Federal Policy toward Southern Blacks, 1861-1865 1973.
- Kolchin, Peter. First Freedom: The Responses of Alabama's Blacks to Emancipation and Reconstruction 1972.
- Lieberman, Robert C. "The Freedmen's Bureau and the Politics of Institutional Structure" Social Science History 1994 18(3): 405-437. Issn: 0145-5532
- Lowe, Richard. "The Freedman's Bureau and Local Black Leadership" Journal of American History 1993 80(3): 989-998. Issn: 0021-8723
- Morrow Ralph Ernst. "The Northern Methodists in Reconstruction". Mississippi Valley Historical Review 41 (September 1954): 197-218. in JSTOR
- May J. Thomas. "Continuity and Change in the Labor Program of the Union Army and the Freedmen's Bureau". Civil War History 17 (September 1971): 245-54.
- Oubre, Claude F. Forty Acres and a Mule: The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Land Ownership 1978.
- Pearson, Reggie L. "'There Are Many Sick, Feeble, and Suffering Freedmen': the Freedmen's Bureau's Health-care Activities During Reconstruction in North Carolina, 1865-1868" North Carolina Historical Review 2002 79(2): 141-181. Issn: 0029-2494 .
- Quarles, Benjamin. The Negro in the Civil War'. Russell & Russell. (1953)
- Richter, William L. Overreached on All Sides: The Freedmen's Bureau Administrators in Texas, 1865-1868 1991.
- Ransom, Roger L. Conflict and Compromise. Cambridge University Press. 1989. economic history
- Oubre, Claude F. Forty Acres and a Mule. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge and London. 1978.
- Rodrigue, John C. "Labor Militancy and Black Grassroots Political Mobilization in the Louisiana Sugar Region, 1865-1868" in Journal of Southern History, Vol. 67 #1, 2001 pp 115-45
- Schwalm, Leslie A. "'Sweet Dreams of Freedom': Freedwomen's Reconstruction of Life and Labor in Lowcountry South Carolina Journal of Women's History, Vol. 9 #1, 1997 pp 9-32
- Smith, Solomon K. "The Freedmen's Bureau in Shreveport: the Struggle for Control of the Red River District" Louisiana History 2000 41(4): 435-465. Issn: 0024-6816
- Williamson, Joel. After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina during Reconstruction, 1861-1877 1965.
- Freedmen's Bureau in Texas
- Elaine C. Everly, "Freedmen's Bureau Records: An Overview," Prologue, Summer 1997
- Georgia: Freedmen's Education during Reconstruction
Compromise of 1877 and end of Reconstruction
- Benedict, Michael L. "Southern Democrats in the Crisis of 1876-1877: A Reconsideration of Reunion and Reaction". Journal of Southern History 46 (November 1980): 489-524; Says the Compromise was reached before the Wormley hotel meetings discussed by Woodward (1951); in JSTOR
- DeSantis, Vincent P. "Rutherford B. Hayes and the Removal of the Troops and the End of Reconstruction". In Region, Race and Reconstruction Ed. by Morgan Kousser and James McPherson. (1982). 417-50. Provides a more complex account of Hayes's decision.
- De Santis, Vincent P. "President Hayes's Southern Policy." Journal of Southern History 1955 21(4): 476-494. in Jstor
- Hoogenboom, Ari. The Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes (1988)
- King, Ronald F. "A Most Corrupt Election: Louisiana in 1876." Studies in American Political Development 2001 15(2): 123-137. Issn: 0898-588x Fulltext: online from Cambridge Journals
- Peskin, Allan. "Was There a Compromise of 1877?" Journal of American History (1973) v 60#1, pp 63-75 in JSTOR; Admits that Woodward's interpretation is almost universally accepted but since not all terms were met it should not be called a compromise.
- McPherson, James M. "Coercion or Conciliation? Abolitionists Debate President Hayes's Southern Policy." New England Quarterly 1966 39(4): 474-497. in Jstor. Argues Hayes had been convinced since 1875 that Grant's approach toward the South had to be abandoned and hoped to substitute conciliation for coercion, believing that the good will of Southern upper class whites would provide better protection for Blacks than the hated Federal troops. A majority of abolitionists disagreed, but about 36% of abolitionists supported Hayes, thereby causing a decided division in their ranks.
- Polakoff, Keith Ian. The Politics of Inertia: The Election of 1876 and the End of Reconstruction. (1973). Argues the Compromise reflected decentralized parties and weak national leaders
- Simpson, Brooks D. "Ulysses S. Grant and the Electoral Crisis of 1876-1877." Hayes Historical Journal 1992 11(2): 5-22. Issn: 0364-5924. The compromise kept the White House in GOP control. It ended the promise of Reconstruction, as many scholars have argued, and more importantly it maintained the still fragile Union. Historians mostly ignored Grant's decisive role in engineering the compromise. He was not a lame duck but took a deep interest in the behind-the-scenes negotiations. His apparent inaction stemmed from the very real threat of violence that could once again divide the nation, and ultimately his quiet diplomacy was key to the final peaceful outcome.
- Vazzano, Frank P. "President Hayes, Congress and the Appropriations Riders Vetoes." Congress & the Presidency 1993 20(1): 25-37. Issn: 0734-3469 Fulltext: at Ebsco. Shows Hayes vetoed Democratic bills intended to remove the last remaining Reconstruction-era restraints: federal marshals at Southern polling places and loyalty oaths for jurors.
- Woodward, C. Vann Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction (1951), emphasizes the role of railroads.
- Woodward, C. Vann "Yes, There Was a Compromise of 1877" Journal of American History (1973) v 60#2, pp 215-23. in JSTOR. Rebuts Peskin; the main terms were indeed met.
- McPherson 1965
- Fletcher M. Green, "Walter Lynwood Fleming: Historian of Reconstruction," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 2, No. 4. (Nov., 1936), pp. 497-521. in JSTOR
- Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington in Perspective (1988) p. 164; A. A. Taylor, "Historians of the Reconstruction," The Journal of Negro History Vol. 23, No. 1. (Jan., 1938), pp. 16-34 in JSTOR.
- Williams 1946 p. 473; Green (1936).
- Williams 1946 p470
- Foner 1982; Montgomery, vii–ix)
- Williams, 469; Foner p. xxii