Few periods in American history have aroused as much debate as the years immediately after the Civil War. The victorious North had to determine how to treat the vanquished South and how to make a nation whole once again. The divisive issues of freedom and civil rights became even more complex than before the War and dominated national politics. Before it was all over, a president was impeached (though not convicted), and a rigorous plan for Reconstruction was enacted, then allowed to fade as white Southerners regained power and instituted repressive Jim Crow governments. This resource provides an overview essay on the period, six essays on various aspects of Reconstruction, a section of biographies of important players, and selected and introduced primary documents.