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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

1860-1861 Events

• Republican Abraham Lincoln is elected president.

• South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union. Federal forces seize the merchant ship Erie with a cargo of 890 slaves. Her captain, Nathaniel Gordon, is hanged in 1862.

• According to the census, 4,441,830 black people live in the U.S., which represents 14.1 percent of the total U.S. population. Of this number, 488,070 are free and 3,953,760 are held in slavery.

• The seven southern states that have seceded from the Union form the Confederate States of America. Four more states—Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee—will join the Confederacy after the outbreak of the Civil War.

• The Confederates attack Fort Sumter; the Civil War begins.

• Thousands of slaves flee to Union lines and join the Union cause.

• Union forces take possession of Port Royal Sound, South Carolina. The federal occupation means freedom for several thousand slaves.

• Freedmen's aid and relief organizations form in major cities all over the North to assist newly freed slaves.

• Congress admits Kansas into the Union under its state constitution prohibiting slavery.

• Slavery is banned in the Nebraska Territory.

• The Confiscation Act emancipates slaves within Union Army lines in Confederate territory.

Facts on File

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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