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Historian Eric Foner argues, "What remains certain is that Reconstruction failed, and that for blacks its failure was a disaster whose magnitude cannot be obscured by the genuine accomplishments that did endure." In the different states Reconstruction began and ended at different times; federal Reconstruction ended with the Compromise of 1877.
The 1866 Congressional elections turned on the issue of Reconstruction, producing a sweeping Republican victory in the North, and providing the Radical Republicans with sufficient control of Congress to override Johnson's vetoes and commence their own "Radical Reconstruction" in 1867.
By fall 1865, the new President Andrew Johnson declared the war goals of national unity and the ending of slavery achieved and reconstruction completed.
Republicans in Congress, refusing to accept Johnson's lenient terms, rejected new members of Congress, some of whom had been high-ranking Confederate officials a few months before.
Johnson's interpretations of Lincoln's policies prevailed until the Congressional elections of 1866.
Those elections followed outbreaks of violence against blacks in the former rebel states, including the Memphis riots of 1866 and the New Orleans riot that same year.