American Politics and History 1865 to the Present

This guide helps students and researchers navigate the assortment of websites available on American politics and history.


The period of reconstruction, 1863-1877, was the attempt of a war torn nation to heal itself after the end of the Civil War. Civil Rights legislation was passed, but in reality very little was accomplished. The Gilded Age which followed was a period of excess for a new class of wealthy industrialists. A new political philosophy was born with the dawn of the Progressive Era, when there were political, social and economic reforms, as well as the modernization of many areas of government. The United States emerged as a world power, influencing foreign affairs from Europe to Asia. Our entry into WWI was the biggest foreign committment that the nation had yet made, and 4 million Americans participated in the conflict.

William Howard Taft 1909-1913

Political Climate

Andrew Johnson taking the oath of office in the small parlor of the Kirkwood House [Hotel], Washington, [April 15, 1865]
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 
(Library of Congress)

Chester Arthur 1881-1885