After the American Civil War for Kids and Teachers - Reconstruction, The Freedmens Bureau Illustration

The Freedmens Bureau

In March 1865, the US Government created a temporary federal agency - the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. This Bureau was formed to help the four (4) million freed slaves to make the transition from slave to free men. The Bureau distributed train loads of free food and clothing to both freed slaves and to Southern refugees. They built hospitals and provided medical care that helped over 1 million people. They built over 1,000 schools attended by African-American children. They founded Howard University in Washington D. C. and other colleges for African-Americans. They helped some former slaves find jobs and to be elected positions in the new government of the South. They wanted to give land to former slaves so they could grow food and take care of themselves. But the Democratic President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, who took over after Lincoln was assassinated, blocked that effort and gave the restoration of abandoned lands to pardoned white Southerners.

The Freedmen's Bureau, as the agency was nicknamed, accomplished a great deal of good. But there were charges of corruption and misappropriation of funds, not by the head of the agency, but by people who worked for the agency. Congress closed down the Freedmen's Bureau in 1872.

Post Civil War: Reconstruction for Kids

Demobilization - Sending soldiers home

Johnson's Reconstruction, Andrew Johnson (Democrat) takes over after Lincoln is assassinated

Congressional Reconstruction

Formation of the Freedmen's Bureau, a temporary federal agency

Reconstruction Act of 1867 - Military Rule in the South

Scalawags (White Southern Republicans) and Carpetbaggers (White Northern Republicans)

Birth of the Ku Klux Klan

14th Amendment (right of African Americans to citizenship), repeal of Black Codes

Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) Takes Over as President

15th Amendment (right of African American males to vote)

End of Reconstruction with election of President Rutherford Hayes, a former Union general

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