Civil War Timeline

Timeline created by Swimmerrory
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    Behind the leadership of Henry Clay, Congress passed a series of agreements in 1820–1821 known as the Missouri Compromise. Under these agreements, Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. The rest of the Louisiana Territory was split into two parts. The dividing line was set at 36°30 ́ north latitude. South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line—except in Missouri—slavery was banned.
  • The Liberator

    The Liberator
    The most radical white abolitionist was a young editor named William Lloyd Garrison. Active in religious reform movements in Massachusetts, Garrison became the editor of an antislavery paper in 1828. Three years later he established his own paper, The Liberator, to deliver an uncom- promising demand: immediate emancipation.
  • Underground Railroad

    Underground Railroad
    Free African Americans and white abolitionists developed a secret network of people who would hide fugitive slaves. The system of escape routes they used became known as the Underground Railroad. "Conductors" on this route hid fugitives in secret tunnels, hidden cupboards, provided them with food and clothing, and directed them to the next “station. Most famous of the conductors was Harriet Tubman. She made 19 trips back to the South and helped 300 slaves, including her own parents.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion

    Nat Turner's Rebellion
    Some slaves rebelled against their condition of bondage. One of the most prominent rebellions was led by Virginia slave Nat Turner. In August 1831, Turner and more than 50 followers attacked four plantations and killed about 60 whites. Whites eventually captured and executed many members of the group, including Turner.
  • The North Star

    The North Star
    One of those eager readers was Frederick Douglass, who escaped from bondage to become an eloquent and outspoken critic of slavery. Garrison heard him speak and was so impressed that he sponsored Douglass to speak for various anti-slavery organizations. In 1847, Douglass began his own antislavery newspaper. He named it The North Star, after the star that guided runaway slaves to freedom.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    They had assumed that because most of California lay south of the Missouri Compromise line the state would be open to slavery. Southerners wanted the 1820 compromise to apply to territories west of the Louisiana Purchase, thus ensuring that California would become a slave state. The slave state of Texas claimed the eastern half of the New Mexico Territory, where the issue of slavery had not yet been settled.Clay presented to the Senate a series of resolutions later called the Compromise of 1850.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    The Fugitive Slave Act surprised many people. Under the law, alleged fugitive slaves were not entitled to a trial by jury. In addition, anyone convicted of helping a fugitive was liable for a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months. Infuriated by the Fugitive Slave Act, some Northerners resisted it by organizing “vigilance committees” to send endangered African Americans to safety in Canada.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which stressed that slavery was not just a political contest, but also a great moral struggle. As a young girl, Stowe had watched boats filled with people on their way to be sold at slave markets. Uncle Tom’s Cabin expressed her lifetime hatred of slavery. The book stirred Northern abolitionists to increase their protests against the Fugitive Slave Act, while Southerners criticized the book as an attack on the South.
  • Kansas-Nebraska act

    Kansas-Nebraska act
    Douglas introduced a bill in Congress on January 23, 1854, that would divide the area into two territories: Nebraska in the north and Kansas in the south. If passed, the bill would repeal the Missouri Compromise and establish popular sovereignty for both territories. Congressional debate was bitter. Some Northern congressmen saw the bill as part of a plot to turn the territories into slave states. Southerners strongly defended the proposed legislation. The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law in 1854.
  • Formation of the Confederacy

    Formation of the Confederacy
    Mississippi soon followed South Carolina’s lead, as did Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. In February 1861, delegates from the secessionist states met in Montgomery, Alabama, where they formed the Confederate States of America, or Confederacy.The Confederates then unanimously elected former senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as president.
  • Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter
    Months earlier, as soon as the Confederacy was formed, Confederate soldiers in each secessionist state began seizing federal installations especially forts. The most important was Fort Sumter, on an island in Charleston harbor. Lincoln decided to neither abandon Fort Sumter nor reinforce it. He would merely send in “food for hungry men.” At 4:30 A.M. on April 12, Confederate batteries began thundering away to the cheers of Charleston’s citizens.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    Lincoln found a way to use his constitutional war powers to end slavery. Lincoln’s powers as commander in chief allowed him to order his troops to seize enemy resources. Therefore, he decided that just as he could order the Union army to take Confederate supplies he could also authorize the army to emancipate slaves. Emancipation was not just a moral issue; it became a weapon of war.On January 1,1863, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.The following portion captured national attention.
  • Surrender at Appomattox Court house

    Surrender at Appomattox Court house
    On April 3, 1865, Union troops con- quered Richmond, the Confederate capital. . On April 9, 1865, in a Virginia town called Appomattox Court House, Lee and Grant met at a private home to arrange a Confederate surrender. At Lincoln’s request, the terms were generous. Grant paroled Lee’s soldiers and sent them home with their possessions and three days’ worth of rations. After four long years, the Civil War was over.
  • Thirteenth amendment

    After some political maneuvering, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified at the end of 1865. The U.S. Constitution now stated, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly con- victed, shall exist within the United States.”
  • John Brown's/ Harper's Ferry

    John Brown's/ Harper's Ferry
    John Brown believed that the time was ripe for similar uprisings in the United States. Brown secretly obtained financial backing from several prominent Northern abolitionists. On the night of October 16, he led a band of 21 men, black and white, into Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His aim was to seize the federal arsenal there and start a general slave uprising. No such uprising occurred, however. Instead, troops put down the rebellion. Later, authorities tried Brown and put him to death.