Arkansas/U.S. Civil War Timeline

This timeline compares events in Arkansas during the Civil War to those throughout the country to gain a larger perspective regarding Arkansas Civil War history.


Arkansas in the Civil War

Events in and related to Arkansas during the Civil War

Arkansas is admitted to the Union as a slave state

June 15, 1836

Arkansas Territory becomes a slave state in 1836, with Michigan following as a free state in 1837.

Act 151 expels all free blacks from the state of Arkansas


Act 151 of the Arkansas General Assembly expels all free blacks from the state under pain of slavery. The law effectively demolished the Arkansas free black population, with only a handful of free people of color remaining.

National Civil War events

These Civil War events are of national significance

United States Constitution allows for slavery


The constitution of the United States officially legalizes slavery in the newly-formed nation.

The Missouri Compromise establishes free state/slave state ratio


The Missouri Compromise, in order to preserve balance of power between free states and slave states, institutes a policy of admitting one free state to the Union for every slave state admitted.

Dred Scott decision holds that blacks can not be American citizens


The U.S. Federal Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford held that blacks, slave or free, could not hold citizenship in the United States of America, and therefore had no legal right to sue. The decision also held that the federal government could not regulate slavery in federal territories.

Abraham Lincoln is elected first Republican President of the United States


Lincoln is elected to the presidency despite exclusion on many Southern ballots, causing enormous unrest in Southern states. The election led shortly to the secession of most slave holding states.

South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union

December 20, 1860

South Carolina adopts an ordinance of secession, becoming the first of many states to secede from the Union