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Reconstruction is a name often given to the era immediately following the American Civil War. After the Northern states had defeated the Confederacy, the Union government developed policies to reconstruct the nation. Government officials debated how the Southern states that seceded from the United States would be readmitted to the nation. These debates and implementation of the actual policies would take from 1865, the Civil War's end, to 1877, the year that President Rutherford B. Hayes assumed office. In the end, the federal government permitted Southern states to rejoin the Union as equals with the Northern states.
To ensure Hayes's election, Republican leaders negotiated an agreement with Southern Democrats in the House. The Republicans agreed to remove federal troops in the South as soon as Hayes became president. Hayes also agreed to have at least one Southerner appointed to his cabinet. Southern Democrats welcomed this agreement and permitted Hayes to win all of the disputed Electoral votes. With the removal of Northern soldiers from the South, African Americans were denied their rights more easily. Southern Democrats also succeeded in "redeeming" their state governments from Republican control. The "Compromise of 1877" brought Reconstruction to an end.
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