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Reconstruction Timeline, Digital History ID 2935

1866 The first big cattle drive takes place when cowboys drive 260,000 head from Texas to Kansans, Missouri, and Iowa.

The first Young Woman's Christian Association in the US opens in Boston.

Apr. 9: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act over President Andrew Johnson's veto, granting citizenship and civil rights to all persons born in the United States (except Indians) and providing for the punishment of those who violate those rights.

1867 The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, the first organization of American farmers, is founded.

Mar. 2: The first Reconstruction Act imposes martial law on the southern states, splits them into five military districts, and provides for the restoration of civil government when they ratify the 14th Amendment.

Mar. 2: Congress passes the Tenure of Office Act, which denies the president to remove officials who had been appointed with the Senate's consent.

Mar. 23: The second Reconstruction Act, passed over President Johnson's veto, provides for the registration of all qualified voters.

Mar. 30: "Seward's Icebox." Russia sells Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million, or less than 2 cents an acre.

July 19: The third Reconstruction Act requires the southern states to ratify the 15th Amendment before they are readmitted to the Union.

1868 Feb. 24: The House of Representatives votes to impeach President Andrew Johnson in part for violating the Tenure of Office Act, which forbid him to dismiss a cabinet member without congressional approval. The Senate trial lasted 11 and a half weeks. On the major charges, the Senate voted 35-19 for conviction, one vote short of the 2/3s vote required for removal from office.

June 25: Congress enacts an 8-hour workday for workers employed by the government.

July 28: The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States and guarantees due process and equal protection of the laws. It serves as the basis for applying the rights specified in the US Constitution to the states.

Dec. 25: President Johnson grants amnesty to those who had participated in "insurrection or rebellion" against the United States.

1869 Jan.: When Commanche Chief Toch-a-way informs Gen. Philip H. Sheridan that he is a "good Indian," Sheridan reportedly replied: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."

May 10: A golden spike is driven into a railroad tie at Promontory Point, Utah, completing the transcontinental railroad. Built in just over three years by 20,000 workers, it had 1,775 miles of track. The railroad's promoters received 23 million acres of land and $64 million in loans as an incentive.

1870 US population: 39,818,449.

31-year-old John D. Rockefeller forms Standard Oil of Ohio.

Feb. 25: Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi becomes the first African American to serve in the US Senate. Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the first black Representative.

Mar. 30: The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to vote regardless "of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

1871 P.T. Barnum opens his three-ring circus, hailing it as the "Greatest Show on Earth."

Jan.: Victoria Woodhull petitions Congress demanding that women receive the vote under the 14th Amendment.

Mar. 3: Congress declares that Indian tribes will no longer be treated as independent nations with whom the government must conduct negotiations.

Oct. 8: The Great Chicago Fire claims 250 lives and destroys 17,500 buildings.

1872 Montgomery Ward begins to sell goods to rural customers by mail.

Nov. 5: Susan B. Anthony and other women's suffrage advocates are arrested for attempting to vote in Rochester, N.Y.

1873 Mar. 3: The Comstock Act prohibits the mailing of obscene literature.

Sept. 18: The Financial Panic of 1873 begins. 5,183 business fail.

1874 The introduction of barbed wire provides the first economical way to fence in cattle on the Great Plains.

The discovery of gold leads thousands of prospectors to trespass on Indian lands the Black Hills in Dakota territory.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded.

Mar. 11: 4-years-old Charley Brewster Ross is abducted, the country's first kidnapping for ransom. The child was never found.

Aug. 21: The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, the nation's best-known preacher, is sued by newspaper editor Theodore Tilton for alienation of his wife's affections. The trial resulted in a hung jury.

1875 Mar. 1: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to guarantee equal use of public accommodations and places of public amusement. It also forbids the exclusion of African Americans from jury duty.

1876 Feb. 14: 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.

May: The nation celebrates its centennial by opening an International Exhibition in Philadelphia.

June 25: George A. Custer and 265 officers and enlisted men are killed by Sioux Indians led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Little Horn River in Montana.