Pbs Reconstruction Timeline Assignment

A Visual Timeline of Reconstruction: 1863-1877

Click an image to jump to that section of the exhbit.


January 1

Emancipation Proclamation issued.
Frees slaves in states in rebellion and authorizes the enlistment of black troops.

November 8 Lincoln reelected president
March 3The Freedmen's Bureauestablished.
Provides assistance to emancipated African Americans. Abolished in 1872.
April 8 Lee surrenders.
Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomatox Court House. Joseph E. Johnston's surrender in North Carolina on April 18 effectively ends the Civil War.
April 15President Abraham Lincoln assassinated.
Vice President Andrew Johnson becomes president.
December 613th Amendment ratified.
Abolishes slavery in the United States.
 Black Codes enacted.
Southern states enact laws restricting rights of African Americans.
April 9 Civil Rights Act of 1866
Confers citizenship on African Americans and guarantees equal rights.
May 1-3Memphis Race Riot
White civilians and police kill 46 African Americans and destroy 90 houses, schools, and four churches in Memphis, Tennessee.
July 30 New Orleans Race Riot
Police kill more than 40 black and white Republicans and wound more than 150.
 Ku Klux Klan
A secret organization to intimidate African Americans and restore white rule is founded in Pulaski, Tennessee.
  Reconstruction Acts
Congress divides the former Confederacy into five military districts and requirs elections in which African American men can vote.
March-MayPresident Johnson's Impeachment Trial
By one vote, the U.S. Senate fails to remove the president from office.
July 21 Fourteenth Amendment ratified.
Guarantees due process and equal protection under the law to African Americans.
November 3Ulysses S. Grant elected President.
The former Union general becomes the 18th president.
  First Redeemer Government
Tennessee is the first state to replace a bi-racial Republican state government with an all-white Democratic government, followed by Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia in 1870.
February 23First black senator elected.
Hiram Revels of Mississippi elected to U. S. Senate as the first black senator.
March 30Fifteenth Amendment ratified.
Extends the vote to all male citizens regardless of racer or previous condition of servitude.
 Forty-second Congress.
Five black members in the House of Representatives: Benjamin S. Turner of Alabama; Josiah T. Walls of Florida; and Robert Brown Elliot, Joseph H. Rainey and Robert Carlos DeLarge of South Carolina.
  Freedmen's Bureau abolished.
  First African American governor.
P. B. S. Pinchback, acting governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872 to January 13, 1873. Pinchback, a black politician, was the first black to serve as a state governor, although due to white resistance, his tenure is extremely short.
 Democrats control the Forty-third Congress
For the first time since before the Civil War, Democrats control both houses of Congress. Robert Smalls, black hero of the Civil War, elected to Congress as representative of South Carolina. Blanche K. Bruce elected to U. S. Senate.
March 1 Civil Rights Act of 1875 enacted by Congress.
Guarantees equal rights to African Americans in public accomodations and jury service. Ruled unconstitutional in 1883.
 Disputed Presidential election
Republicans challenged the validity of the voting in Souh Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.
 Wade Hampton inaugurated as governor of South Carolina.
The election of Hampton, a leader in the Confederacy, confirms fears that the South is not committed to Reconstruction.
  Rutherford B. Hayes inaugurated President.
Electoral Commissoin awards disputed electoral votes tot he republican candidate.
  Reconstruction ends.
President Rutherford Hayes withdraws federal troops from the South protecting the Civil Rights of African Americans.

Grade Level: 7-12

Subject: U.S. History

Grade Level: 6-12

Subject: History and English

Estimated Time of Required: Four class periods. However, activities can be modified to be conducted individually.

Download the Civil War Letters lesson plan (pdf)


In this lesson, students will use one of the major tools of a historian: personal letters. These primary source materials provide firsthand evidence of events and information on the perspective, cognition, values, and attitudes of the person writing the letter. Students will read several letters from individuals who lived during the Civil War and analyze their content. Furthermore, students will formulate a character description of someone who lived during the Civil War and, in pairs of letter-writing correspondents, write one another letters concerning a major event during the war.


  • Analyze what historians can learn from primary source material generated by average citizens.
  • Understand the events critical to the outcome of the Civil War, and the war's meaning in American history.
  • Formulate character descriptions and imagine the perspective of ordinary citizens who experienced the Civil War firsthand.
  • Incorporate factual material into fictional accounts.

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Materials included in Lesson Plan:


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