Reconstruction refers to the rebuilding of Governments and Cultures of former Slave-holding States during and after the Civil War. This was one of the most important events in American History, and it's effects are still being felt today.

Reconstruction under Lincoln Edit

  • January 1st 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation. This proclamation declares Slaves in areas of rebel states conquered by Union forces to be free.[1]
  • December 8th 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln issues the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. This proclamation declares that citizens of the Rebellious States may resume their Citizenship and have their property (but not slaves) returned upon taking an oath of Allegiance to the US, and accepting the ending of slavery. The proclamation also states that when 10% of the Citizens of a rebellious State have taken the oath, the State Laws will resume (excepting as regards slavery), and that the State will be readmitted to the Union.[2]
  • July 8th 1864 - Radical Republicans in the House and Senate Pass the Wade-Davis Bill. The Wade Davis Bill attempts to change the Presidents' Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction to exclude all former Rebels from political rights, Strip all Confederate officers and Officials of Citizenship, free all the Slaves, void all Confederate State debts, declare all white men 21 years of age who are resident in a district who have taken an oath of allegiance and all district residents in the Union Army as voters, require approval of 50% of citizens to approve representative government under the Constitution. (Women didn'tget to vote in any part of the United States till the 20th Century.) This bill is pocket vetoed by Lincoln. In his Comments Lincoln expresses his general approval but notes that the plan exceeds Congressional authority. He also urges Congress to seat the Congressmen of the reconstructed governments of Alabama and Louisiana, and urges Congress to submit their plan to the people (probably his acknowledgement that much of the plan is an over-reach of Congresses constituted authority).[3]
  • November 8th 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is re-elected as President of the United States of America under the Banner of the National Union Party with Vice-President Andrew Johnson, formerly a Southern War Democrat.
  • January 15th 1865 - General William Tecumseh Sherman issues Special Field Order 15. This order confiscated land and provided for the army to give it to freed slaves, and prohibited non-military whites from the area (40 acres and a mule).[4] This order was perhaps the most controversial and misunderstood of the war. Certainly the Army had the power to do it, and doing it served to free Sherman's forces from responsibility for the thousands of refugees traveling with the troops and insure the production of the South's most fertile and productive land for the coming year. However, this order helped build unrealistic expectations among the new freemen, and contributed to opposition to Presidential reconstruction after President Johnson returned the land to it's legal owners.
  • January 31st 1865 - Congress Passes the 13th Amendment. The 13th Amendment, which abolishes slavery in the United States except for Penal Slavery goes to the States for ratification.
  • March 3 1865 - Freedman's Bureau and Freedman's Bank are established within the War Department.
  • April 9th 1865 - Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.
  • April 11th 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln delivers a spontaneous address to the public on Reconstruction.[5] Lincoln speaks on the completed reconstruction of the State of Louisiana and urges congressional recognition of Louisiana's Congressmen. Lincoln also advocates extension of political franchise (voting rights) to the wisest African-Americans and those who have served in the military, but stops far short of advocating federal extension of political franchise.
  • April 12th 1865 - Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston meets with the Confederate President Jefferson Davis and members of the Confederate Government and is given authorization to enter negotiations for surrender of forces. Learning that Union General William T. Sherman is receptive to negotiations, a meeting of principals is arranged.
  • April 14th 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is shot.
  • April 15th 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln dies.

Reconstruction under Johnson Edit

  • April 15th 1865 - Andrew Johnson, a former Democrat, is sworn in and becomes President of The United States of America. The office of Vice-President remains vacant until the next general election in 1868.
  • 1865 - Northern Unionists moved through the Union controlled South Organizing Loyal Leagues (staunchly Republican and Unionist, Largely Radical and occasionally militant Social Clubs) amongst the new freedmen.
  • April 17th 1865 - General William T. Sherman of the Union Army, meets under flag of truce with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and Representatives of the Confederate Civil Government at Bennett's Farmhouse near Durham Station in North Carolina to negotiate terms for surrender of the Confederacy.
  • April 17th to 19th 1865 - Confederates are informed of the assassination of President Lincoln and negotiate terms of surrender of the Confederacy and return to Union Civil Government.
  • April 21st 1865 - The Federal Government, still in considerable disarray following the assassination of Lincoln, learns of proposed terms of surrender. Radical republican Secretary of War and wearer of the finest beard in the cabinet, Edwin Stanton, rejects the terms and dispatches General Ulysses Grant to resume hostilities.
  • April 24th 1865 - U.S. Grant arrives in North Carolina. Rather than assume command and resume hostilities, he allows Sherman to inform the Confederates that hostilities will resume at the end of 48 hours and negotiate a military surrender.
  • April 24-26 1865 - Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston informs Confederate President Jefferson Davis of the Union Demands. Davis urges Johnston to disband the Confederate infantry and flee with the Confederate Cavalry to continue hostilities. Johnston resumes negotiations with Sherman.
  • April 26th 1865 - General Johnston surrenders the forces under his command. This surrender removes the last effective military force in the eastern Confederacy.
  • May 4th 1865 - Lt. General Richard Taylor, son of former US President Zachary Taylor and brother-in-law of Confederate President Jefferson Davis surrenders the Army of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana to Major General E. R. S. Canby at Citronelle Alabama.
  • May 10th 1865 - Early in the Morning, Confederate President Jefferson Davis' camp is surrounded by Union forces. Embarrassingly, it was widely reported that Davis was captured trying to flee the area dressed in his wife's clothing.
  • May 12-13 1865 - Battle of Palmetto Ranch in Texas. Soon after the battle, the victorious Confederates learned of the surrenders of Lee, Johnston and Taylor, and of the capture of Davis. The demoralized Confederates abandoned their posts and went home.
  • May 26th 1865 - Lt. General Simon Buckner, acting for his absent commander, surrendered the Confederate Army of Trans-Mississippi at New Orleans. Lt. General Kirby Smith, commander of the Army of Trans-Mississippi learned of the surrender on his arrival in Houston on May 27th. He was less than pleased, and he and some thousands of his followers retreated to Mexico.
  • May 29th 1865 - President Johnson issues his proclamation amending the requirements for amnesty and pardon set forth by his predecessor. Johnson's requirements are more severe than Lincolns.
  • June 1865 - Confederate veterans begin to arrive at their homes. Many, especially those from border States and long-occupied States find that their homes have been taken for non-payment of taxes and are now occupied by Unionists.
  • June 9th 1865 - State of Missouri passes the Drake Constitution in a surprisingly close vote (written by Radical Republicans, this constitution was so draconian that even with Confederate sympathizers disenfranchised, and all Confederate sympathizers expelled from four Counties the Constitution was passed by only a few votes). This Constitution freed all the slaves of Missouri, denied any Confederate or Confederate sympathizer the vote, and forbid the practice of any profession to Ex-Confederates or Confederate sympathizers.
  • June 23rd 1865 - Brigadier General Stand Watie surrendered the Army of the Indian Territories at Doaksville Oklahoma.
  • June 19, 1865 - Juneteenth! On this date 150 years ago, Union forces reached Galveston Island in Texas and notified the last group of slaves of the Emancipation Proclamation, and that they were free! Get ready for a party!
  • November 6th 1865 - CSS Shenandoah surrenders to British forces near Liverpool.
  • December 2nd 1865- US House of Representatives Republican Caucus meets under leadership of Thaddeus Stevens, and adopts 3 resolutions recommended by Stevens. They resolve to declare reconstruction to be under the exclusive authority of Congress, to declare presidential actions to be purely preliminary and instructive, and declare their intention to refuse to seat members from the formerly rebellious states. Republicans gave many good reasons for this action, but perhaps the most telling point is that they'd realized that emancipation had removed the 3/5 restriction of representation of former slaves, and seating of the new members would end the Republican majority.
  • December 4th 1865 - Federal Congress reconvenes, but refuses to recognize and seat Senators and Representatives of reconstructed States.
  • December 4th 1865 - President Johnson delivers his first Annual Address to Congress (State of the Union Address).[6]
  • December 18h 1865 - Secretary of State Seward certified the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution[7] States ratifying the amendment included the formerly rebellious States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and the border State of Missouri.
  • December 1865 - State of Mississippi adopts "Black Codes".

Radical Reconstruction Edit

Radical Reconstruction was the reconstruction of the State Governments of the formerly rebellious States, under control of the Radical faction of the Republican Party. Many historians date the beginning of Radical reconstruction from the election of 1866, and the subsequent control of US legislature by Radical Republicans. Radical Reconstruction first manifested in the governments of the Border States, and only later gained control of the Federal Government. Radical Reconstruction is noted not only for promoting the civil rights to newly freed slaves, but also for denying civil rights to former Rebels and Rebel supporters, extreme authoritarianism , lack of respect for constitutional law, and general Hyper-partisanship.

  • February 7, 1866 - Congress Passes the Freedman's Bureau extension and expansion Act S60[8]
  • February 19, 1866 - President Andrew Johnson vetoes S. 60[9]
  • March 13, 1866 - Congress passes the Civil Rights Act.
  • March 27, 1866 - President Johnson vetoes the Civil Rights Act, noting that it has passed while a Partisan block of the seating of Southern delegates remains in effect, and warning that it is a massive unconstitutional usurpation of State Rights.
  • April 2, 1866 - Proclamation 153 - Declaring the Insurrection in Certain Southern States to be at an End issued by President Johnson.
  • April 9, 1866 - Congress passes the Civil Rights Act over presidential veto
  • May 1-3, 1866 - Racial tensions erupt into violence in Memphis Tennessee. The Memphis Race Riot of 1866
  • June 18, 1866 - Fearing that President Johnson had been correct in warning that the Civil Rights Act exceeded Congressional authority, Congress passes the 14th Amendment and forwards it to the States for ratification.
  • July 30, 1866 - Radical Republicans in Louisiana call a rump Constitutional Convention to overthrow the Louisiana State Government, to repeal the newly enacted black codes, and to give Freedmen the vote. White officials in New Orleans opposed to the Convention clash with Convention Delegates and their Freedmen supporters. The brutal one sided affair results in the death of 38, and the injury of many more. The New Orleans race riot, following soon after the Memphis Race riot, were used by Radical Republicans to erode support of President Andrew Johnson, and Presidential Reconstruction.


  2. [1]

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