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13th Amendment Proposed

Thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States proposed. The amendment stated that:”Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

13th Amendment Ratified

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, outlawing slavery.

Reconstruction Era Begins

Reconstruction Era begins. It introduces a series of laws, codes, amendments, and acts. Although African Americans received U.S. citizenship with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, America’s Indigenous peoples, aka Native Americans, were not U.S. citizens until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

Confederates Pass Negro Slave Bill

At the recommendation of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Congress signs and passes the Negro Soldier Bill, allowing slave enlistment.

General Lee Surrenders

General Lee surrenders to Union General Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Civil War Ends

The Civil War ends with a northern victory.

Lincoln's Last Public Address

President Lincoln speaks publicly about extending the franchise to black men, particularly “on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers.”

Lincoln Assassinated

Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

Andrew Johnson becomes President

Andrew Johnson becomes President and begins to implement his own Reconstruction Plan that does not require the franchise for black men in the former Confederate states.

Slavery Abolished in Tennessee

Tennessee abolishes slavery.

Mississippi Enacts Black Code

Mississippi enacts a Black Code.

Congress Refuses to Acknowledge States

Congress refuses to acknowledge state governments formed under Johnson’s reconstruction plan.

Congress Establishes Bureau of Refugees

Congress establishes the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (The Freedmen’s Bureau) to assist former slaves in the transition to freedom.

Southern Blacks Seek to Reunite Families

With their freedom, Southern blacks seek to reunite their families torn apart by slavery, as well as acquire education – particularly reading and writing. Many leave the South for the West and North.

Northern States Reject Referendums

Many northern states reject referendums to grant black men in their states the franchise.

Mississippi Enacts Black Codes

Mississippi becomes the first of the former Confederate states to enact Black Codes laws, which severely limited the rights and liberties of blacks. Other Southern states follow with similar legislation.

KKK Formed by Ex-confederates

The Ku Klux Klan is formed by ex-Confederates in Pulaski, Tennessee.

Freedmen's Bureau Established

The Freedmen’s Bureau is established in the War Department. The Bureau supervises all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine. The Bureau also assumes custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, Border States, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory.

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