1791, "action or process of reconstructing," noun of action to go with reconstruct. In U.S. history, usually with a capital R-, it has been used from 1865 in reference to the process (lasting until about 1870) by which the states which had seceded were restored to the rights and privileges of the Union. It had been used in the U.S. during the American Civil War in reference to the anticipated reconstitution of the Union. Hence, for a time, in American English, reconstructed "altered by Reconstruction" (1865).
updated on May 21, 2021