History Timeline

  • Jun 15, 1215

    The Magna Carta was Signed

    The Magna Carta was Signed
    The Magna Carta was presented to King John by his barons, who wanted to protect their rights and property against a king ruling under tyrannical influence. They forced him to sign it to avoid war, but the attempts were unsuccessful. 10 weeks later, England was involved in a civil war.
    The Magna Carta stated two ideas that still exist today: Free men can not be taken away as slaves, and no one can deny another's rights.
  • The Mayflower Compact was Signed

    The Mayflower Compact was Signed
    The Mayflower Compact was written by the Pilgrims. At first, they wanted to settle in Northern Virginia, but then decided to settle in New England. At the time, there was no true government and some of the colonists believed that they should not remain in their colony. The document was created in order to create a temporary government.
  • Formation of the New England Confederation

    Formation of the New England Confederation
    This Confederation was formed by representatives from Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. At first, it was mainly created to improve and coordinate methods of defense and to settle territory and boundary conflicts. It was based on making compromises, but it was difficult to make everyone happy, and it eventually declined. Later, it was brought back and succeeded in breaking the power of the Native Americans in New England during what is referred to as the King Philips War.
  • The Albany Plan of Union was Announced

    The Albany Plan of Union was Announced
    The Albany Plan of Union was created in order to give British North American colonies a centralized government. Representatives from seven of these colonies put the plan into place. It didn't succeed, but it was the first vital step to unite the colonies under one government.
    The plan was first discussed at a meeting called the Albany Congress. Here, the British government tried to negotiate with the Iroquois, especially with the French and Indian war around the corner to accomplish unity.
  • The French and Indian War Begins

    The French and Indian War Begins
    This war started in 1754, though the date on this timeline is not exact because the exact day it began is unknown. It was fought between British and French and Native American soldiers. The Native Americans joined because they didn't want their land taken away by the British. The war ended when British general James Wolfe captured Quebec. As a result, the British got French land in North America and taxed the colonists to pay for war debts.
  • Treaty of Paris

    Treaty of Paris
    The Treaty of Paris declared the end of the French and Indian War, as well as the Seven Years' War. It settled territorial and colonial disputes. It was signed in Paris by representatives from Great Britain, Spain, and France.
  • The Royal Proclamation of 1763

    The Royal Proclamation of 1763
    The Royal Proclamation was issued to King George III after the Seven Years' War to claim British territory in North America. The Proclamation forbade settlers from claiming land that belonged to Aboriginal occupants.
  • The Sugar Act

    The Sugar Act
    The Sugar Act was issued to the British citizens. The British government created a tax on sugar, wine, and other everyday items. They wanted to use the money to give more security to the colonies. It was expensive because of fights with foreign powers. The government hoped that by issuing this Act, colonists would be forced to sell good to Britain instead of selling them to others. It didn't work, because the colonists became angry and boycotted British goods.
  • The Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act
    The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament towards the American colonists. It forced them to pay taxes on every piece of printed paper that they used, including newspapers. A stamp was placed on the paper as a proof that the tax was paid for it.
  • The Stamp Act Congress

    The Stamp Act Congress
    The Stamp Act Congress took place in New York City with 27 delegates from 9 colonies. They approved a 14-point "Declaration of Rights and Grievances." People wanted representation, and this Congress tried to take care of those problems.
  • The Townshend Acts

    The Townshend Acts
    These Acts were first proposed by Charles Townshend and passed by English Parliament after the failure of the Stamp Act. It taxed items such as glass, paint, and tea. Eventually, these taxes were too taken away except for the tax on tea.
  • The Boston Massacre

    The Boston Massacre
    On this day, a group of patriots threw snowballs, sticks, and stones, at a sentry on duty. He called for backup, and in an attempt to contain the patriots, a gun was accidentally fired without consent. This caused the others to fire and eleven people were either killed or wounded. This was not really a massacre because a massacre, by definition, is a mass killing.
  • The Boston Tea Party

    The Boston Tea Party
    The Townshend Acts had been repealed except for the tax on tea. In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which imported tea to the English East India Company in order to avoid bankrupcy. It cost less than the smuggled tea, but the British government thought that the colonists would be happy with the lower prices. On December 16th, the Sons of Liberty went to the Boston Harbor dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped 45 tons of tea overboard.
  • Congress Meets for the First Time

    Congress Meets for the First Time
    The first Continental Congress was held at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia. Twelve out of thirteen colonies sent delegates to participate in the meeting. The Continental Congress wanted to fix the problems they were having instead of leading the pursuit to freedom.
  • Patrick Henry's "Give Me Libery" Speech

    Patrick Henry's "Give Me Libery" Speech
    Patrick Henry's famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech was held at a meeting of the Virginia Convention in St. John's Church. In the speech, he criticized wars and the acts that the British government were doing. He also said that Virginia should fight in order to gain peace.
  • The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

    The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
    Paul Revere was ordered to go on the ride by Dr. Joseph Warren of the Sons of Liberty, to warn Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and the colonists, that the British were coming to Lexington. He and Robert Newman arranged signals by lantern to tell each other when the British were beginning their march.
  • The Battle of Lexington and Concord

    The Battle of Lexington and Concord
    When the British arrived at Lexington Green, minutemen met them to defend their patriot leaders. Unfortunately, they were greatly outnumbered. Paul Revere was captured before he could deliver his message, but others got the warning through to the colonists. The British soldiers continued to Concord, and the inhabitants of Concord moved their ammunition to other hiding places to prepare. As the British retreated to Boston, they were ambushed by the Minutemen.
  • Fort TIconderoga

    Fort TIconderoga
    The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga occurred on May 10th, 1775. Benedict Arnold joined Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont, and attacked the fort, surprising the British, who were still asleep. It was the first American victory of the Revolutionary War.
  • The Second Continental Congress

    The Second Continental Congress
    This is when the delegates of the 13 colonies met again in Philadelphia to discuss previous events. The Battle of Lexington and Concord had just happened, and the Continental Congress established the militia as the Continental Army. It was also this time that they elected George Washington as their army's Commander-in-Chief.
  • The Battle of Bunker Hill

    The Battle of Bunker Hill
    The patriot militia heard that the British were planning to attack Bunker Hill, so they sent 1600 men to defend it. General Howe led 2600 British soldiers to Breed's Hill. The Americans were forced to retreat and the British gained contol of that area.
  • "Common Sense" Published

    "Common Sense" Published
    This work, written by Thomas Paine, was published in 1776. It challenged the power of the British government and the control that it had over the people. He openly asked for independence from Great Britain.
  • The British Evacuate Boston

    The British Evacuate Boston
    After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the patriots had the British blocked off in Boston. On March 4th, cannons were positioned on Dorchester Heights, aimed towards the British. When General Howe of Britain saw them, he gathered his men and ammunition and left the Boston Harbor.
  • Declaration of Independence Announced

    Declaration of Independence Announced
    The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776 and was adopted. Many drafts of it were written before, but it was put into action on this day. It declared independence from Britain and vowed to protect each individual's unalienable rights.
  • "The Crisis" Published

    "The Crisis" Published
    This was the work of Thomas Paine. He thought that the British were trying to take powers that only God himself has. He states that he hopes that the problems with America can quickly and peacefully be resolved.
  • Washington Captures Trenton

    Washington Captures Trenton
    The Americans had previously been driven out of the west bank of Delaware by the British. Washington and his army were faced with the cold, harsh winter. Washington decided to attack the Hessians at Trenton. He decided to cross Delaware with the help of Nathaniel Greene and John Sullivan. Sullivan attacked from the south; the others attacked in the northeast. The Hessians eventually surrendered.
  • The British Defeated at Saratoga

    The British Defeated at Saratoga
    This was the first major American victory of the American Revolution. Continental forces trapped General John Burgoyne's army and forced them to surrender.
  • The Articles of Confederation Signed

    The Articles of Confederation Signed
    The Articles of Confederation were written to provide a legal standard for the colonies that were being established at the time. John Dickinson, who had declined signing the Declaration of Independence eight days earlier, proposed a centralized government, equal representation, and the power to levy taxes. There were many arguments over what the Articles of Confederation should include, and were many drafts of it. Finally, the Continental Congress approved it on November 15th, 1777.
  • Winter at Valley Forge, PA

    Winter at Valley Forge, PA
    General Washington and his troops spent the winter at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. The soldiers didn't have proper clothes to face the cold and it was only in February of 1778 that they finished building huts for them to stay warm. Baron Friedrich von Steuben joined Washington and helped the soldiers with military tactics and arms. It was because of him that the Continental Army emerged from Valley Forge strong.
  • Benedict Arnold's Plans Found Out

    Benedict Arnold's Plans Found Out
    Benedict Arnold was an extremely brave, accomplished man, untli he betrayed the Continental Army. Washington gave him orders to command the West Point, but Arnold sold it to the British for 20,000 pounds. He did this because he felt under-appreciated. At first, nobody knew it was him, but Washington eventually found out when he recognized his handwriting in a letter. To this day, Benedict Arnold is known as the most famous traitor in American history.
  • John Paul Jones Defeats the Serapis

    John Paul Jones Defeats the Serapis
    This event occurred in a naval battle with the British. Previously, John Paul Jones had captured many British supply ships. Early in the battle, the British took out many weapons on the Bonhomme Richard, Jones' ship. The British eventually surrendered at 10:30 p.m. The British lost 200 ships, while the Americans only used 100.
  • Cornwallis Surrenders

    Cornwallis Surrenders
    Lord Cornwallis, commander of the British forces, was forced to surrender to an army made of up both French and American forces. It led to the gradual ending of British occupation in the colonies.
  • The Newburgh Conspiracy/ The Newburgh Address

    The Newburgh Conspiracy/ The Newburgh Address
    People became upset with late pay, failure to settle food, and lack of helpful action from Congress. Then, on March 10th of 1783, Washington and his officers were called to a meeting, where an anonymous letter was circulated. The document told the officers that if demands were not met, they would not disband when the war ended. At the same time, if the war continued, they would leave to an unsettled country and Congress would not have an army.
  • The Treaty of Paris (1783) Signed

    The Treaty of Paris (1783) Signed
    This was the treaty that officially ended the Revolutionary War. It was signed by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay. The treaty declared that Britain recognized that all the states in the U.S. were independent and agreed to remove its troops. It set up new borders for the U.S. In return, the United States allowed British troops to leave peacefully. They also promised to pay all debts they had towards Great Britain.
  • Spain Closes the Mississippi River

    Spain Closes the Mississippi River
    In 1784, Spain closed part of the Mississippi River. They hoped that western farmers would be lured away from America towards Spanish North America, since the farmers relied on it to transport goods for trading purposes.
  • The Land Ordinance of 1785

    The Land Ordinance of 1785
    This was the law that Congress passed that was a revision of Jefferson's written plan. It surveyed and sold land that was in the Northwest Territory. After a vicious war and an even harsher war debt, this was seen as the solution to the economic issues. Treaties with the Indians had to be resolved because of the Indian inhabitance on that land.
  • The Ordinance of Religious Freedom

    The Ordinance of Religious Freedom
    The Ordinance of Religious Freedom stressed the importance of separation between church and state. It was written by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Virginia General Assembly.
  • Shays Rebellion

    Shays Rebellion
    Farmers overcome with debt petitioned the state senate to stop foreclosing their property. With help from several leaders, including Daniel Shays, they demanded prevention of judgement for their debt. They forced the state supreme court of Springfield to adjourn to their principles. General James Bowdoin ordered an attack on the rebels. The rebels lost several men, separated from each other, and eventually came back together. The rebellion took Bowdoin out of office.
  • Constitutional Convention Opens

    Constitutional Convention Opens
    The Constitutional Convention took place at the State House in Philadelphia. It was in this place that the Declaration of Independence had been signed 11 years prior to this day in history. 55 delegates met here for four months to draft a Constitution that would last and meet all of the necessary needs for a successful lifestyle. These delegates became none other than our founding fathers.
  • The Annapolis Convention

    The Annapolis Convention
    This was the convention called by Virginia to figure out a regulation of commerce. It met in Annapolis, but only 5 of the 13 states were represented. These states were Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Because of this and a weak central government, there could be no full scale discussion about the problems they had been having. However, in the meeting, they decided to have another meeting considering changes to the Articles of Confederation to make the union stronger.
  • The Great Compromise was Agreed to

    The Great Compromise was Agreed to
    The Great Compromise was first proposed by Roger Sherman. There had been much debate about how many representatives each state should have. Larger states favored the Virginia Plan, which gave them more reprentatives. Sherman thought that there should be two branches of government- the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate would have an equal amount of representatives from each state and the House of Representatives would have one for every 30,000 people.
  • The Northwest Ordinance of 1787

    The Northwest Ordinance of 1787
    This document gave a way to admit new states to the Union. It also listed a bill of rights guaranteed in the territory. The ideas were outlined by Thomas Jefferson, but the probable writers of the Northwest Ordinance were Nathan Dane and Rufus King. It divided the northwest into at most five states. It also provided a three-stage method for putting a new state into the Union and a bill of rights to protect citizens' freedoms.
  • The Constitution Sent to the States to be Ratified

    The Constitution Sent to the States to be Ratified
    The draft of the U.S. Constitution was submitted to thirteen states. In order for the Constitution to go into effect, nine states had to ratify it. Delaware was the first, and New Hampshire was the ninth. The others included Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Carolina. The tenth was Virginia, then New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.
  • Federalist Papers Appear

    Federalist Papers Appear
    The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 essays that tried to promote the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The majority of the essays were published in The New York Packet and the Independent Journal between October and August. The exact date that they first started coming out is approximated.
  • Delaware Ratified the Constitution

    Delaware Ratified the Constitution
    The delegates whom Delaware elected for consideration of ratification met at Battell's Tavern in Dover and made Delaware the first state to ratify the Consitution of the United States.
  • Massachusetts' Ratification of the Constitution

    Massachusetts' Ratification of the Constitution
    Massachusetts was the sixth state to agree to the principles of the Constitution. However, it was the first state to include a list of changes they wanted to make to the Constitution to make it better. Some of these desired changes included the protection of the state and of the people.
  • New Hampshire Ratified the Constitution

    New Hampshire Ratified the Constitution
    New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. Its actions in doing so officially put the Constitution into effect.
  • George Washington Elected President

    George Washington Elected President
    George Washington was admired for his military experience and his leadership skills. He wanted to live a quiet, peaceful life after winning independence for his country, but the Americans could think of no one else that they wanted to elect. He got letters from people begging him to take charge. Washington gained full support from all his electors from the states and he became president with John Adams as his runner up.
  • The Bill of Rights Sent to the States for Ratification

    The Bill of Rights Sent to the States for Ratification
    On this day, the First Federal Congress of the United States introduced the twelve amendments to the Constitution, which became known as the Bill of Rights, to the state legislatures. The first two amendments were not ratified until May 7th, 1992, but articles 3-12 were passed right away. They became the first 10 articles in the Bill of Rights.
  • Anti-Federalist Articles Appear

    Anti-Federalist Articles Appear
    The anti-federalists opposed the ratification of the Constitution because they were worried about the government becoming too powerful. The first articles showing their ideas came out on September 27th, 1789.
  • The Bill of Rights was Ratified

    The Bill of Rights was Ratified
    The anti-Federalists ultimately led to the making of the Bill of Rights. They didn't agree with the ideals of the Constitution, fearing that the president could become hungry enough for power to become the king. They especially feared the fact that the Constitution didn't discuss specifics about a citizen's rights. The anti-Federalists secured an agreement- the Bill of Rights- to provide an extension of the Constitution and secure their rights.
  • Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions Written

    Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions Written
    The first Kentucky resolution was passed on November 16, 1798. It said that when federal government exercized power that wasn't given to it in the Constitution, each state could judge its validity.
    The Virginia resolution was passed by the state legislature on December 24, 1798. It said that states have the right to arrest anybody that performs an act of no good.
  • The Hartford Convention Meets During the War of 1812

    The Hartford Convention Meets During the War of 1812
    This was the meeting called by the Massachusetts federalists against James Madison. Soldiers continued to make sacrifices for the War of 1812, but the results were grim. The contemplated peace from Britain. A declaration was issued as a result of the meeting that provided ammendments to the Constitution.
  • The Missouri Compromise

    The Missouri Compromise
    This was the agreement between the North and the South territories that Henry Clay thought up. The Missouri Compromise stated that all the states north of Louisiana should be free of slavery but Missouri should remain a slave state. Later, the House declared Maine a free state and all territories west of Missouri's southern border were free.
  • The Tariff of Abominations

    The Tariff of Abominations
    The Tariff of Abominations was the tax that increased the cost of imported goods. It protected some of the new industries in the North, but did not benefit the South.
  • South Carolina Tried to Nullify

    South Carolina Tried to Nullify
    South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification as a result of the Tariff of 1832 on this day, threathening to secede if the federal government tried to collect the tariff duties.
  • Abolition of Slavery Act

    Abolition of Slavery Act
    This act declared that all slaves under the age of 6 had to be freed immediately. All others were to remain slaves for four more years to buy freedom. Lastly, the government had to give £20 million to the slave owners who had lost their slaves.
  • Texas Declares Independence from Mexico

    Texas Declares Independence from Mexico
    After much previous fighting, delegates from Texas met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to consider independence.George C. Childress presented a resolution and was appointed to head a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence. The convention voted unanimously to accept it and 58 members signed it, making Texas the Republic of Texas.
  • James Polk was Elected

    James Polk was Elected
    President James Polk was elected as the 11th president on this day. He was Democratic and was not expected to win over Henry Clay. Lots of people didn't even know who he was until he accepted the spot of presidency.
  • The Mexican War

    The Mexican War
    This war occurred between Mexico and the United States. James Polk tried to secure the Mexican agreement to make the Rio Grande the border. The Mexicans refused to negotiate and Polk got frustrated and led an army to the Rio Grande. The Mexicans viewed it as the first step towards war and reacted accordingly. This fight became known as the Mexican War.
  • The Wilmot Proviso

    The Wilmot Proviso
    This was intended to be the final negotiations for the Mexican War. It was proposed by David Wilmot. He said that slavery should no longer be introduced in any territories acquired from Mexico.
  • Formation of Constitutional Union Party

    Formation of Constitutional Union Party
    This originally formed to avoid the issue of slavery. It is also called the Bell-Everett Party, after its presidential and vice presidential candidates, John Bell and Edward Everett. They also vowed not to recognize any political principle other than the Constitution. The day of this formation is unknown.
  • California Enters the Union

    California Enters the Union
    California entered the Union as a free state. In an attempt to make the North allow New Mexico and Utah to organize territories and to free California, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster secured the Compromise of 1850. It didn't give California its freedom right away, but eventually, it entered the Union.
  • Fugitive Slave Law Enacted

    Fugitive Slave Law Enacted
    The Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the U.S. Congress and was part of the group of laws called the Compromise of 1850. In it, California became a free state and slave trade was prohibited in the District of Columbia. The abolitionists hated this law. The Fugitive Slave Law itself said that if slaves ran away, they had to be returned to their work, regardless of where they were found.
  • The Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin

    The Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Uncle Tom's Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe to show people the severity of slavery. In just a month, she had sold over 300,000 copies. Abraham Lincoln referred to it as the cause of the war.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed

    Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed
    This act allowed people in Kansas and Nebraska the decision about whether or not they wanted slavery in their states. This became known as popular sovereignty. The abolitionists in the North hated this act, but the pro-slavery South supported it. After the act was passed, anti slavery settlers held another election, causing "Bleeding Kansas."
  • Formation of the Republican Party

    Formation of the Republican Party
    The exact date for this was unknown, but the formation was caused by the anger of the anti-slavery settlers after the Kansas- Nebraska Act. Public meetings were held in Northern Communities, which used the term "Republican" to describe the people of their party.
  • Border Ruffians Attack Lawrence

    Border Ruffians Attack Lawrence
    Pro-slavery Border Ruffians attacked Lawrence and burned down buildings, ransacked homes, and robbed stores. On May 22, the following day, Senator Charles Sumner was caned by Preston Brooks for criticizing the South. Later, John Brown and others killed 5 pro-slavery men.
  • Charles Sumner Was Attacked

    Charles Sumner Was Attacked
    Charles Sumner was attacked by Preston Brooks in the halls of Congress because Brooks accused him of opposing the southerners. Three days prior to the attack, Sumner had made an anti-slavery speech that the pro-slavery southerners found offensive. Both Sumner and Brooks became heroes of their regions for defending their ideas in slavery.
  • Pottawatomie Creek

    Pottawatomie Creek
    On this night, John Brown and a group of volunteers murdered 5 people along the Pottawatomie Creek in southeastern Kansas. These five people had supported slavery. It led to the eruption of guerilla warfare in Kansas. This is also known as the Pottawatomie Massacre.
  • Dred Scott Decision Announced

    Dred Scott Decision Announced
    On this day, the Supreme Court announced that the blacks were not, and were never going to be, citizens of the United States. It also declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, allowing slavery in all territories.
  • Lecompton Constitution

    Lecompton Constitution
    This was the second constitution drafted for the Kansas Territory. It was written by supporters of slavery. It allowed slavery, excluded blacks from living in Kansas, and allowed only male citizens in the United States to vote. However, it was rejected by the residents of the Kansas territory.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates
    Lincoln and Douglas went through a series of 7 debates back and forth regarding slavery. Lincoln believed that slavery should be contained to the south, instead of having it spread to the other territories, such as in the north and the west. Douglas believed that slavery should not be contained, but rather each state should decide whether or not they wanted slavery, called popular sovereignty.
  • Raid at Harpers Ferry

    Raid at Harpers Ferry
    The raid at Harpers Ferry was led by abolitionist John Brown and a group of his supporters. He captured citizens and raided the arsenal and armory. He hoped that this would cause the local slaves to join in and he gave them weapons. Unfortunately for Brown, this did not happen. The U.S. Marines arrived and put him on trial, sentencing him to death.
  • Democrats Split in 1860

    Democrats Split in 1860
    The nothern Democrats supported Douglas in the 1860 election, but the southern Democrats did not. They could not agree on which candidate because of the split, allowing Lincoln to win.
  • Election of 1860

    Election of 1860
    The running mates of this particular election were Abraham Lincoln (Republican), John Breckenridge (Southern Democrat), John Bell (Constitutional Union), and Stephen Douglas (Democratic). Abraham Lincoln won, gaining approximately 39% of the overall votes. The split in the democratic party allowed him to win with the minority of the votes.
  • Abraham Lincoln Announces Plans for Reconstruction

    Abraham Lincoln Announces Plans for Reconstruction
    Lincoln said that he would offer pardon to anyone who would swear loyalty to the United States and agree to anti-slavery laws. He also said that the military should not be included and that when one tenth of the voters in a state took the oath, that state could then form a new government with new elected officials.
  • Wade-Davis Bill Receives Pocket Veto

    Wade-Davis Bill Receives Pocket Veto
    Abraham Lincoln vetoed this bill, which proposed a method of Reconstruction written by two Radical Republicans. He thought it would sabotage his own ideas of Reconstruction and slow the process.
  • Lincoln Re-Elected President

    Lincoln Re-Elected President
    Lincoln was re-elected on this day. He was running against George McClellan. Lincoln was the Republican candidate and McClellan was the Democratic candidate.
  • Ratification the 13th Amendment

    Ratification the 13th Amendment
    The 13th Amendment officially ended slavery when it was passed by Congress on this day.
  • Formation of the Freedmen's Bureau

    Formation of the Freedmen's Bureau
    The formation of the Freedmen's Bureau wanted to protect free blacks after the Civil War. It was only to remain for one year. Later, when a bill was presented that wanted to increase its power and extend the continuation of it, it was vetoed by President Johnson.
  • Abraham Lincoln Assassinated

    Abraham Lincoln Assassinated
    Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth while at Ford's Theater. Booth knew the play that Lincoln was watching and knew just when the audience would be laughing the loudest. He took this opportunity to shoot Lincoln without them hearing, then swung down from the balcony onto the stage. He fell awkwardly, having caught his riding spur on a flag, and broke his ankle. He was on the run for a while, but was eventually caught, slowed by the ankle.
  • President Andrew Johnson Announce Plans for Reconstruction

    President Andrew Johnson Announce Plans for Reconstruction
    Johnson was willing to pardon anyone who would swear loyalty to the United States, but no pardons would be offered to Confederate officials with more than $20,000 in property value. Also, the state needed to abolish slavery before being allowed back into the Union. Finally, each state was required to revoke its secession ordinance.
  • Black Codes Created in Mississippi

    Black Codes Created in Mississippi
    The Southern legislature was still trying to restrict the rights and freedoms of black men. With these Black Codes, the blacks were denied access to many public areas and organizations. The Southerners feared political influence that the blacks would have and tried to contain it.
  • Ku Klux Klan Created

    Ku Klux Klan Created
    The Ku Klux Klan, or the KKK, aimed to restrict the power of the blacks. They kidnapped, tortured, and lynched random victims out of nowhere. They were even known to kill people in their sleep. The symbol of the KKK was a burning cross in one's yard.
  • Civil Rights Act (1866) Enacted

    Civil Rights Act (1866) Enacted
    The Civil Rights Act granted citizenship and rights to all citizens, regardless of race, color, and previous condition of servitude. It was passed by a two-thirds majority.
  • Reconstruction Acts Enacted

    Reconstruction Acts Enacted
    The Reconstruction Acts were passed by Congress. They said that five military units had to be present in the seceded states, discluding Tennessee. Each seceded state needed a military official to appoint and remove state officials. Freedmen could vote after taking the loyalty oath to the Union. Constitutional Conventions had to be held to discuss black male suffrage. Finally, states had to ratify the 14th Amendment.
  • President Andrew Johnson Impeached

    President Andrew Johnson Impeached
    Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States. He was impeached because he was accused of unlawfully firing an official. Though he was impeached and brought to a trial, he was proclaimed innocent by one vote and was not removed from office.
  • Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment

    Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment
    The Fourteenth Amendment said that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," including former slaves, were citizens of the United States. It also forbids states to deprive citizens of life, liberty, or property, "without due process of law." States could not deprive citizens of protection.
  • Ulysses S. Grant Elected President

    Ulysses S. Grant Elected President
    This was the date U.S. Grant was officially inaugurated. He had previously been a military leader and soldier in the Civil War. He was the Republican candidate and Horatio Seymour was the Democratic candidate. He became the 18th president of the United States.
  • Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment

    Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment
    This Amendment gave African-American men the right to vote.
  • Hiram Revels Elected to Senate

    Hiram Revels Elected to Senate
    Revels was the first African-American member of the United States Senate. He was elected by a vote of 81 to 15, something that should have been unthinkable at that time. This shows the shift in peoples' beliefs of the African-Americans.
  • Ku Klux Klan Act Enacted

    Ku Klux Klan Act Enacted
    Also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, this act attempted to protect African Americans from the violence the KKK was causing. It provided penalties for any act of violence against them and aimed to conserve the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Freedmen's Bureau Abolished

    Freedmen's Bureau Abolished
    This was the least liked way of Reconstruction. From then on, the remaining actions of the bureau would be carried out by the general of the U.S. army.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1875 Passed

    Civil Rights Act of 1875 Passed
    This was Congress' last effort to guarantee African-Americans' civil rights. It gave everyone, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, the same treatment at public accomodations and entertainment.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes Elected President

    Rutherford B. Hayes Elected President
    This was the date of the actual election that took place in 1876. Hayes was the 19th president of the United States. He was running against Samuel J. Tilden, who got the majority of the electoral votes. However, after a legal and political battle, Hayes was inaugurated.
  • Last National Troops Leave South Carolina

    Last National Troops Leave South Carolina
    The Compromise of 1877, also known as the Great Betrayal, was when Hayes removed troops from South Carolina and ended Reconstruction. (I couldn't find the official date of this, but it occurred right after the election of 1876.)
  • "Jim Crow" Enters the American Cultural Language

    "Jim Crow" Enters the American Cultural Language
    The exact date that Jim Crow first effected Americans with the Jim Crow laws is unknown, but they began in 1877. The Jim Crow laws said that African-Americans were "separate but equal" from different races. Common public places such as schools, cinemas, and restaurants were closed off to races other than the designated race.
  • Civil Rights Act Overturned (1883)

    Civil Rights Act Overturned (1883)
    Congress outlawed the Civil Rights Act of 1875, who said it violated states' rights. The Civil Rights Cases were a group of five cases that were brought to the United States Supreme Court.
  • Case of Plessy vs. Ferguson

    Case of Plessy vs. Ferguson
    This case supported the "separate but equal" doctrine. Plessy, who was 1/8 black, sat in the railroad car that was designated for whites. He was arrested immedaitely and charged him with violating the Separate Car Act. In court, Plessy argued that this went against the 13th and 14th Amendment. Plessy was found guilty and declared the Separate Car Act constitutional.
  • Florida Requires Segregation in Places of Public Accomodation

    Florida Requires Segregation in Places of Public Accomodation
    Exact date unknown. As early as 1904, African-Americans in Florida were struggling for power and equality in their state. Segregation existed in schooling and public accomodations until 1954, when Congress passed anti-segregation laws in Florida.