1860-1877 Timeline

  • South Carolina legislature

    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.
  • Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln inaugurated president.
  • Confederate States

    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.
  • South Carolina Troops

    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.
  • President Lincoln

    President Lincoln issues his suspension of habeas corpus in certain cases.
  • U.S Congress

    U.S. Congress passes resolution declaring that the war is being fought to "preserve the Union," not to destroy slavery.
  • George McClellan

    Lincoln declares George McClellan General-in-Chief of the Union army.
  • Union soldiers

    Union soldiers capture New Orleans.
  • Homestead Act

    Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
  • Militia Act

    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.
  • Greeley Letter

    Lincoln issues the "Greeley Letter" in response to Horace Greeleyís editorial, "A Prayer of Twenty Millions."
  • Battle of Antietam

    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.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation is published, to take effect on January 1, 1863.
  • Emancipation Proclamation takes effect

    The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect.
  • Conscription Act

    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.
  • West Virginia

    Union West Virginia is admitted as the 35th state - its constitution mandates the gradual emancipation of slaves.
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    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.
  • Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

    Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.
  • Lincoln President

    Lincoln defeats Democrat George McClellan in the election of 1864.
  • 13th Amendment

    Congress proposes the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude everywhere in the United States.
  • Lincoln Dead

    Lincoln is assassinated at Fordís Theater by John Wilkes Booth.
  • 14th Amendment

    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.
  • 14th Amendment ratified.

    14th Amendment ratified.
  • Grant is elected President.

    Grant is elected President.
  • 15th Amendment

    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.
  • 15th Amendment ratified.

    15th Amendment ratified.
  • KKK

    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.
  • Grant President Again

    Grant wins a second term as President, defeating Horace Greeley.
  • Panic of 1873

    Panic of 1873 plunges the nation into a depression.
  • Civil Rights Act

    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.
  • Compromise of 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