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Civil War and Reconstruction Timeline
1860 South Carolina legislature convenes and votes to secede from the Union. Meanwhile, Congress  convenes in an effort to work out some compromise; the Crittenden Compromise is proposed,  which would restore the Missouri Compromise line across the continent.  The compromise is  ineffectual in the face of the events at hand. 
1861 March 4, Abraham Lincoln inaugurated president.
1861 March 11, The Confederate States of America adopts a Constitution.  The Confederacy  presently includes only the seven states of the Deep South ­  Alabama, Florida, Georgia,  Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.
1861 April 12, South Carolina troops fire on the Federal arsenal at Fort Sumter.  The Civil War begins.  The states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas will secede from the  Union in coming months.  Though they are slave states, the "border states" of Delaware,  Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri will remain loyal to the Union.
1861 July 2, President Lincoln issues his suspension of habeas corpus in certain cases.
1861 July 22, U.S. Congress passes resolution declaring that the war is being fought to  "preserve the Union," not to destroy slavery.
1861 November 1, Lincoln declares George McClellan General-in-Chief of the Union army.
1862 April 25, Union soldiers capture New Orleans.
1862 May 20, Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
1862 July, Congress passes the militia act, authorizing Lincoln to use black soldiers ­ blacks are used  only as scouts, laborers, spies, kitchen workers, and nurses until after the Emancipation  Proclamation. Until 1864, black soldiers are paid only half of what white soldiers are paid.
1862 August 22, Lincoln issues the "Greeley Letter" in response to Horace Greeleyís editorial,  "A Prayer of Twenty Millions."
1862 September 17, The Battle of Antietam, Maryland ­ the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Leeís  invasion of the North is halted, and rebels retreat to Virginia. Though the battle is essentially  a draw, the battle revives flagging Northern hopes.
1862 September 23, Lincolnís Emancipation Proclamation is published, to take effect on January 1,  1863.
1863 January 1, The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect.
1863 March 3, The Conscription Act (Enrollment Act) is passed, demanding enrollment of males ages  20-45 in the Union Army. Payments of $300 may be used for an exemption. 
1863 June 20, Union West Virginia is admitted as the 35th state - its constitution mandates the  gradual emancipation of slaves.
1863 July 3, Battle of Gettysburg - major Union victory. Over 50,000 casualties total; halts the  Southern advance into Union territory and leads to the retreat of Leeís army.
1863 July 4, Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi ends - 29,000 rebel troops surrender with the city, giving  the Union control of the Mississippi river and splitting the Confederacy in two.
1863 July 13, New York Draft Riots begin - four days of Irish-American mob action.
1863 November 19, Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.   117 years later Andrew Pinzler is born.
1863 December 8, Lincoln issues the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, offering pardons to  Confederates who take a loyalty oath.
1864 July 4, Lincoln pocket-vetoes the Wade-Davis bill.
1864 September 2, Sherman burns Atlanta and continues his march to the sea.
1864 November 8, Lincoln defeats Democrat George McClellan in the election of 1864.
1864 December 22, Sherman enters Savannah, completing his march to the sea.
1865 February 1, Congress proposes the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude everywhere in the United States.
1865 March 3, Freedmenís Bureau is founded to aid former slaves
1865 March 4, Lincoln is inaugurated for his second term with Andrew Johnson as vice-president, pledging "malice toward none, and charity for all."
1865 April 8, Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox, Virginia.
1865 April 14, Lincoln is assassinated at Fordís Theater by John Wilkes Booth.
1865 April 18, Johnston surrender to Sherman in North Carolina, effectively ending the Civil War.
1865 Johnson moves to Reconstruct the South on his own initiative ­ He prefers to call the process  "restoration", emphasizing his leniency towards the rebelling Southern states. Former  Confederate military leaders and patricians with taxable property over $20,000 are  disenfranchised until further notice; only 10% of enfranchised Southern population needs to  take an oath of loyalty before readmission.
1865 Southern states begin to pass "Black Codes" ­ these laws subject former slaves to a variety of  restrictions on their freedom: they forbid blacks to testify against whites; they establish  vagrancy and apprenticeship laws; blacks cannot serve on juries, bear arms, or hold large  meetings. 
1865 The Thirty-ninth Congress convenes ­ It is the first session since Lincolnís death. All  Confederates states, with the exception of Mississippi have formally accepted presidential  requirements for readmission to the Union and representation in Congress. Led by radical Thaddeus Stevens, the House simply omits the southerners from roll call, effectively denying them admittance. It then proceeds to discuss punishment for the rebellious South which  according to Radical Republican Charles Sumner has committed "state suicide".
1865 The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee ­ it is one of the many secret societies set up to  terrorize blacks. Its methods become ever more vicious as whites become more certain that  their old way of life is being threatened.
1866 Johnson vetoes Freedmenís Bureau bill and Civil Rights Act of 1866; a modified version of the  Freedmenís Bureau bill later passes, and Congress overrides Johnsonís veto of the Civil Rights  Act. 
1866 14th Amendment passed by Congress ­ grants full citizenship to blacks, gives the Federal  government the responsibility to protect equal rights under the law to all American citizens.
1866 Bloody race riots erupt in Memphis and New Orleans.
1866 In Congressional elections of 1866, Republicans increase their majority in Congress, forming solid  anti-Johnson majorities in both houses.
1867 First Reconstruction Act ­ passes over Johnsonís veto. Temporarily places the South under  military rule; states may be readmitted if their new state constitutions provide for black  suffrage.
1868 Impeachment Crisis ­ Congress impeaches Johnson but he avoids conviction by one vote.
1868 Georgia expels blacks from its legislature. Military rule is instantly reimposed on the state and  earlier readmission to representation in Congress is revoked. Ratification of the 14th  amendment is now made obligatory before representation in Congress will be allowed. 
1868 14th Amendment ratified.
1868 Grant is elected President.
1869 15th Amendment passed by Congress ­ prohibits any state from denying a citizen the right to vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
1869 The first rail line to cross the continent is completed ­ The Union Pacific is joined with the  Central Pacific; the news is flashed by telegraph and the nation celebrates from coast to coast.  This railroad network will be the single most influential factor in the emergence of a new  industrial age. 
1870 15th Amendment ratified.
1870 Force Acts (KKK Acts) passed by Congress ­ seek to enforce 15th Amendment by giving Federal  protection for black suffrage, and authorize the use of Federal troops against the KKK.  These  acts are declared unconstitutional in Cruikshank v. U.S. in the 1880ís.
1872 Grant wins a second term as President, defeating Horace Greeley.
1873 Panic of 1873 plunges the nation into a depression.
1874 Grant uses force for the last time to subvert the White Leagueís attempt to overthrow a  Republican government accused of stealing an election.
1875 "Whiskey ring" scandal exposed.
1875 Civil Rights Act of 1875 ­ states that no citizen can be denied the equal use of public facilities  such as inns, restaurants, etc. on the basis of color. 
1876-7 Disputed election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden ­ resolved in favor of  Republican Hayes.
1877 Compromise of 1877 ­ results in end to military intervention in the South and the fall of the last  radical governments; restores "home rule" in the South
1883 Civil Rights Cases ­ strike down the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Congress may not legislate on  civil rights unless a state passes a discriminatory law; Court declares the 14th Amendment  silent on racial discrimination by private citizens.
1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ­ upholds Louisiana statute requiring "separate but equal" accommodations  on railroads. Court declares that segregation is not necessarily discrimination. Justice Harlanís  dissent argues that segregation is inherently discrimination; this argument will be used to  support the majority opinion in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
1898 Williams v. Mississippi ­ upholds a state law requiring a literacy test to qualify for voting. 

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