Reconstruction Timeline


Presidential Reconstruction

December 1863

President Abraham Lincoln announces his reconstruction plan.

The Wade-Davis Bill

July 1864

Congress passes its own reconstruction plan, as an alternative to Lincoln's plan.

Presidental Reconstruction

May 1865

President Andrew Johnson implements his reconstruction plan.

Treatment of Freedmen(Black Codes)

November 1865

Southern legislators begin drafting "Black Codes" to re-establish white supremacy.

Reconstruction Amendment 13

December 1865

The Thirteenth Amendment is ratified, prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude.

Reconstruction Amendment 14

July 1866

The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, evoking the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution and creating a new federal category of citizenship.

Congressional Reconstruction

January 1867

Congress grants black male citizens in the District of Columbia the right to vote.

Congressional Reconstruction(also known as Military Reconstruction)

March 1867

Congress passes the first series of Reconstruction Acts. Congressional or "Radical" Reconstruction begins.

Reconstruction Amendment 15

March 1870

The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified, making male suffrage now the law of the land.

Compromise of 1877(End of Reconstruction)


The Compromise of 1877 results in the end of military intervention in the South and marks the fall of the last radical government, restoring "home rule" in the South.

Jim Crow Laws


Tennessee passes the first of the "Jim Crow" segregation laws, segregating state railroads. Similar laws were passed over the next 15 years throughout the Southern states.

Voting Restrictions on African Americans


Southern states restricted African American voting rights in the 1890's by enforcing literacy tests they could not pass and poll taxes they could not pay. They were also intimidated if they voted, with threats of losing their jobs, being physically beaten, or even being lynched.

Plessy v. Ferguson


The U.S. Supreme Court rules that "separate but equal" public facilities for whites and African Americans are legal, and declares that segregation is not necessarily discrimination.

Sharecropping and Tenant Farming


Sharecropping and tenant farming helped African Americans and poor whites to earn a living, but had negative effects. This crop-lien system kept many in an endless cycle of debt and poverty with little chance of owning their own land or resources.