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The reconstruction era has two uses; the first covers the entire nation in the period 1865–1877 following the Civil War; the second one, used in this article, covers the transformation of the Southern United states from 1863 to 1877, with the reconstruction of state and society in the former Confederacy. Three amendments to the Constitution affected the entire nation.
In the different states, Reconstruction began and ended at different times; federal Reconstruction policies were finally abandoned with the Compromise of 1877.