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The Reconstruction (1866-1876) was the period after the American Civil War during which the former Confederacy was occupied by Northern troops. In the view of the North, this was to ensure that the Emancipation Proclamation was carried out; in the view of the South, as illustrated in the movie Gone With the Wind, some northern officers abused their power during their prolonged occupation of the South. The term carpetbaggers refers to northerners who migrated to South in order be elected to public office during the occupation.

Equal rights based on race were promoted during this period -- for example, several African Americans were elected to Congress from the South. Reconstruction came to an end when a stalemate in the United States presidential election of 1876 led to the Compromise of 1877, which required the North to end its occupation.

Segregationist Jim Crow laws were subsequently passed in the South, and the Ku Klux Klan's racist influence continued into the 20th century.