Summary Objective 21

Students will examine the impact of the Compromise of 1877 and the removal of federal troops from the former Confederacy. Maps to Key Concepts 2, 8, & 10


What else should my students know?

21.A The Compromise of 1877 emerged from the contested presidential election of 1876. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was given the presidency in exchange for the formal end of Reconstruction, including the removal of the last federal troops from the South.

21.B After the end of Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan and local and state governments attacked African-American political participation, leading to the return of white Democratic rule in the former Confederacy. 

21.C White Democratic governments across the South used Jim Crow legal codes to enforce new ways of controlling black labor and black bodies.

21D. A sustained campaign of racial terrorism, including public lynchings of thousands of African Americans, enforced white supremacy after slavery itself was ended.


How can I teach this?

  • Debt peonage and convict leasing emerged as legal ways to extract labor from a free black population. The PBS documentary Slavery By Another Name covers this period well.
  • States imposed literacy tests and the grandfather clause, which were designed to disqualify African Americans from voting. Literacy tests were unfairly administered to the black population. The grandfather clause, which obviously targeted African Americans, provided exemptions from these tests and from poll taxes only for voters-—or descendants of voters up to grandchildren—who had voted prior to 1867.
  • From producers Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, An Outrage is a short documentary on lynching in the American South. Use this film and the accompanying viewer’s guide to teach about the rise of white Democratic rule in the post-Reconstruction era and how African Americans resisted racial terror, in part by joining The Great Migration.

Return to the Teaching Hard History Framework Page