Abraham Lincoln timeline

  • Confederate States of America were organized

    The Confederate States of America is organized by the lower Southern states from South Carolina to Texas. Jefferson Davis is elected president. Davis, a native Mississippian, he served in the Senate as a leading Southern advocate and was Secretary of War for President Franklin Pierce. During the Civil War, Davis will face the conflict between the confederate ideology of states' rights and the need for a strong central government to lead the war against President Abraham Lincoln and the Union.
  • Abraham Lincoln is Inaugurated

    Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the sixteenth President of the United States. Many Southerners view his victory, determined by the free states, as the final blow in decades of sectional conflict. Between the time of Lincoln's election and his inauguration, states from the lower South secede. In his speech, Lincoln attempts to pacify the South by stating that he will not interfere with slavery where it exists but that the secession of states from the Union is illegal.
  • Confederate Congress adopts Confederate Constitution

    The Confederate Congress unanimously adopts the Confederate Constitution, which declares the sovereignty of states and forbids the passage of any bill which outlaws slavery.
  • Fort Sumter

    The American Civil War began at 4:30am on April 12, 1861. Abraham Lincoln's decisive action following the fall of Fort Sumter inaugurated a wartime presidency in which the executive superseded the other two branches. As commander in chief Lincoln was responsible for how the war was conducted, and he transformed the President's role as commander in chief into a powerful new position. he in turned did what ever he could do to save the union.
  • Lincoln calls for end of rebellion

    Following the incident at Fort Sumter, Lincoln calls for 75,000 militiamen to put down the rebellion. He declares that an “insurrection” exists, marking the official beginning of the Civil War. In four and a half years, nearly 5 million American men will serve as soldiers with more than 600,000 of them falling as casualties, making the Civil War the bloodiest war in American history.
  • Virginia secedes

    In response to Lincoln's decision to use force in South Carolina, Virginia secedes from the nation, followed by three other upper Southern states: North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Four border slave states remain in the Union.
  • Lincoln orders blockage

    With only 42 ships and 3550 miles of Confederate coastline to patrol, Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports that will eventually weaken the Confederacy by disrupting the importation of supplies. Meanwhile, the first casualties of the Civil War occur in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Arkansas secedes from the Union

  • North Carolina secedes from the Union.

  • Tennessee secedes from the Union.

  • The Union endorses the use of volunteers for the war and offers a $100 bonus for at least two years of service.

  • McClellan named commander

    Following General Scott's retirement, President Lincoln names George McClellan, a West Point graduate, as new commander of the Union army. McClellan proves to be an extremely cautious general. His inability to win decisive battles will frustrate Lincoln, who will eventually replace him
  • Slavery abolished in D.C.

    Slavery is abolished in District of Columbia.
  • Lincoln's intentions

    Lincoln announces to his cabinet his intention to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. By this point, he believes the border states will remain in the Union. Lincoln decides to wait to address the nation publicly, however, hoping to introduce his proclamation after a more favorable military battle.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Following the Confederate defeat at Antietam, Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, to go into effect on January 1, 1863. In the document, Lincoln frees all slaves in Confederate or contested areas of the South. Slaves in non-Confederate border states and in parts of the Confederacy under Union control are not included. European public opinion sides with Lincoln and the Union.
  • Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect

    President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. With it, he freed all slaves in Confederate or contested areas of the South. However, the Proclamation did not include slaves in non-Confederate border states and in parts of the Confederacy under Union control.
  • Territory of Arizona formed

  • Territory of Idaho created

  • West Virginia becomes a state

    June 20, 1863
  • Gettysburg Address

    Lincoln makes his famous Gettysburg Address -- consisting of three short paragraphs -- on the bloodstained battlefield. Ceremonies take place which include the dedication of a national cemetery.
  • Lincoln offers full pardons

    Lincoln offers a full pardon to Southerners who take the prescribed oath.
  • RNC nominates Lincoln again

    The Republican National Convention nominates President Lincoln for second term. Andrew Johnson is nominated as his new vice president.
  • Horace Greeley negotiations

    Horace Greeley, a radical Republican, is eager for peace. Lincoln opens peace negotiations and tells Greeley that emissaries from Jefferson Davis are in Canada. Without proper authority, however, negotiations at Niagara Falls, New York, fail.
  • Nevada becomes a state

  • Lincoln reelected

    Following decisive Union victories by Admiral Farragut in Alabama and General Sherman in Atlanta, Abraham Lincoln is reelected as President of the United States, with Andrew Johnson as his vice president. Along with 55 percent of the popular vote, Lincoln wins 212 electoral votes to McClellan's 21.
  • 13th amendment

    With Lincoln's influence, the House of Representatives approves the Thirteenth Amendment, which calls for the emancipation of all slaves and no compensation to their owners. The amendment was passed by the Senate in 1864 but failed to receive the necessary votes in the House. By December of 1865, enough states ratify the amendment to make it constitutionally binding.
  • Abraham Lincoln inaugurated

    Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as president for his second term while Andrew Johnson succeeds Hannibal Hamlin as vice-president.
  • Lincoln shot

    Actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., at around 10:15 p.m.
  • Abraham Lincoln dies

    Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 a.m. in the home of William Petersen. Vice President Andrew Johnson is sworn in as the seventeenth President of the United States.