Timeline of Major Reconstruction Events

Dates: End of Civil War to 1877


Black Codes

1865 - 1867

The Black Codes were laws designed by the Southern states to restrict the freedoms of newly freed Blacks. In contradiction to the 13th Amendment, these laws, that varied from state to state, guaranteed white plantation owners a supply of labor as close as possible to slavery through loop holes. In some states, Blacks were not allowed to vote, serve on a jury, rent or lease land, beg, etc. Because of their past, many former slaves had no choice but to rely on their manual labor in sharecropper farming to earn a living, becoming indentured servants.

Freedmen's Bureau

1865 - 1872

Also known as the "Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands," the Freedmen's Bureau was created by Congress to help with a smooth transition from slavery to freedom and social reconstruction in the South. It pushed for employment opportunities for both Blacks and Whites, redefining their relationship from slave and mater to fellow employees.

Lincoln Assassination

April 14, 1865 - April 15, 1865

13th Amendment Ratified

December 6, 1865

The 13th Amendment made slavery and involuntary servitude illegal, except in the case of punishment for a crime. In response to criticisms that the Emancipation Proclamation would be only a temporary solution to slavery as it did not apply to Northern or border states, the 13th amendment served as a permanent abolishment of slavery in the entire U.S.

Ku Klux Klan Forms


Reconstruction Acts of 1867


The Reconstruction Acts divided the Souther U.S.(except for Tennessee which had ratified the 14th Amendment) into 5 military districts which would be headed by a military official who would have the power to remove and appoint state officials. In addition to this, the acts instated that voter registration must include Black males. Also, the states had to ratify the 14th Amendment.

Johnson nearly removed from office

February 24, 1868

14th Amendment Ratified

July 9, 1868

The 14th Amendment defined citizenship and overruled the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. It dictated that all people born in the U.S. or naturalized are citizens and, therefore, hold the same rights. Each state must also provide equal protection under the law to all of its citizens. Life, liberty, and property are also protected and cannot be deprived without due process.

Grant elected President

March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877


15th Amendment Ratified

February 3, 1870

The 15th Amendement prohibits any government within the U.S. (including states) from denying voting rights to a citizen based on "race, color, or previous conditions of servitude." This amendment was specifically aimed at Southern states' attempts at preventing former slaves (men) from exercising their right to vote.

Depression of 1873

1873 - 1879

Long Depression

Bargain of 1877


The Bargain of 1877, also known as the Compromise of 1877 or the Great Betrayal, was a supposed deal that settled the 1876 Presidential election and, subsequently, the Reconstruction. Under this deal, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes would be awarded the position of President if he would comply with the Democrats in removing troops from the Southern states. This allowed the Democrats to take back control of the South and made many Republicans give up on Reconstruction.