Timeline: Citizenship, Civil Rights, and Reform 1865-1905


Ellis Island Italian Madonna
  • 1865
  • Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States, is passed by Congress and ratified
  • In Ex Parte Milligan the Supreme Court rules that civilians may not be tried in military courts and circumscribes the jurisdiction of such courts
  • Southern state governments pass harsh Black Codes that restrict black rights, prompting Northern Republican response (1865-1866)
  • 1866
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founded
  • 1867
  • Patrons of Husbandry (The Grange) founded in Washington, DC
  • 1868
  • John Muir settles in Yosemite Valley


Ellis Island Italian Madonna, 1903/1905, Lewis W. Hine (American, 1874-1940). Gelatin silver print. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. Gift of Alverta Van Dusen Lewis, class of 1938, in memory of her husband C. McKenzie Lewis, Jr., 1998.9.2

  • 1869
  • Congress passes the Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing US citizens the right to vote irrespective of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Ratified 1870.
  • Women gain full suffrage in Wyoming Territory
  • Women’s suffrage movement splits; American Woman Suffrage Association and National Woman Suffrage Association created
  • Prohibition Party founded in Chicago
  • The Prohibition Movement. - The Drug Store of the Future.
  • Puck, Sept. 1882, p.48.
  • 1870
  • Women gain full suffrage in Utah Territory
  • In the “KKK Act,” Congress authorizes federal force against those who violate civil and political rights of citizens; resulting use of armed force quells Klan violence in the South and forces the Klan underground (1870-1871)
  • 1872
  • First Lonngley Community (communist cooperative) formed in Dallas County, Missouri
  • 1873
  • In Slaughterhouse cases, Supreme Court undermines Fourteenth Amendment protections of US citizens’ rights
  • 1874
  • Woman’s Christian Temperance Union founded in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Social Freedom colony founded in Chesterfield County, Virginia
  • 1875
  • Congress passes second Civil Rights Act forbidding racial discrimination in public transportation, hotels, and entertainment venues
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children founded
  • 1877
  • American Humane Association founded
  • New York Farmers’ Alliance created in Rochester; Knights of Reliance, later the Farmers’ Alliance, founded in Lampasas County, Texas
  • 1879
  • Henry George, Progress and Poverty
  • 1880
  • Farmers’ Alliance founded in Cook Couinty, Illinois; becomes the basis for National Farmers Alliance
  • Charles Loring Brace, The Dangerous Classes of New York
  • 1881
  • American Red Cross founded
  • Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor
  • Tennessee segregates railroad cars
  • 1883
  • Congresses passes Pendleton Act, establishing Civil Service Commission and designating some federal offices as meri-based.
  • Sara Winnemucca, Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims
  • In Ex Parte Crow Dog Supreme Court rules that state and federal courts have no jurisdiction over Indian lands
  • US Supreme Court strikes down Civil Rights Act of 1875
Blind to His Own Interests


Blind to His Own Interests. Puck, Feb. 1883, p.410.

  • 1884
  • Ladies’ Health Protective Association formed in New York to combat pollution and poor urban sanitation
  • 1885
  • George Washington Cable, The Silent South
  • Laurence Gronlund, The Cooperative Commonwealth
  • Albert Kimsey Owen, Integral Cooperation
  • Kaweah Colony (Socialist) founded in California
  • Topolobampo Colony founded in Sinaloa, Mexico
  • 1886
  • First settlement house in United States established in New York
  • Nehalem Valley Cooperative Colony founded in Oregon
  • US v. Kagama
  • Yick Wo v. Hopkins strikes down California laws that discriminate against Chinese
  • 1887
  • American Protective Association, an anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant organization, is founded
  • Florida segregates railroad cars
  • Puget Sound Cooperative Colony (Socialist) founded in Washington
  • 1888
  • National Colored Farmers’ Alliance and Cooperative Union founded
  • Boone and Crockett Club, a hunters’ organization dedicated to preserving game animals, founded in New York
  • Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887
  • Columbia Cooperative Colony founded in Oregon
  • Mississippi segregates railroad cars
Anti-Poverty Radiator. Cold, Bitter Cold!


Anti-Poverty Radiator. Cold, Bitter Cold! Puck, Jan. 1888, p.337.

  • 1889
  • Hull House settlement founded in Chicago
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs founded
  • Farmers’ Incorporated Cooperative Society founded in Rockwell, Iowa
  • Texas segregates railroad cars
  • 1890
  • Afro-American League formed in Chicago
  • Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives
  • AWSA and NWSA merge to form NAWSA
  • “Mississippi Plan” uses an array of measures to disfranchise black, poor, and illiterate voters; soon copied by other southern states
  • Louisiana segregates railroad cars
  • 1891
  • National Women’s Alliance founded
  • Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia segregate railroad cars
  • 1892
  • Sierra Club founded in California with leadership of John Muir
  • Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch-Law in All Its Phases
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “The Solitude of Self”
  • Convention of reformers in St. Louis to discuss creation of a People’s Party
  • First national People’s Party convention in Omaha, Nebraska
  • 1893
  • Women gain full suffrage in Colorado
  • Livingston Street Settlement founded in New York City
  • Cooperative Brotherhood of Winters Island (Socialist) founded in California
  • Hiawatha Colony (Socialist) founded in Michigan
  • 1894
  • Commonweal of Christ (Coxey’s Army) marches to Washington, DC, seeking federal jobs for unemployed
  • Alianza Hispano Americana founded in Tucson, Arizona
  • Glennis Cooperative Colony (Bellamy Nationalist) founded in Tacoma, Washington
  • Home Employment Cooperative Colony founded in Missouri
  • William Hope Harvey, Coin’s Financial School
  • William Dean Howells, A Traveler from Altruria
  • Henry Demorest Lloyd, Wealth Against Commonwealth
  • Altruria Colony (Christian Socialist) formed in California
  • Colorado Cooperative Colony (Single-Tax) formed in Colorado
  • 1895
  • Native Sons of the Golden West, a Chinese civil rights group, founded in San Francisco
  • South Carolina adopts disfranchisement legislation
  • Salvation Army denounces lynching
  • Fairhope colony (Single-Tax) formed in Alabama
  • 1896
  • National Association of Colored Women founded
  • First meeting of American Negro Academy in Chicago
  • Atlanta University holds first Conference on Negro Problems
  • Home Colony (Anarchist) founded in Washington
  • 1897
  • National Congress of Mothers founded
  • 1898
  • National Afro-American Council created
  • National Consumers’ League founded
  • Anti-Imperialist League founded
  • In U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, Supreme Court rules that all people born in the United States are US citizens irrespective of race
  • South Carolina segregates railroad cars
  • Louisiana adopts disfranchisement legislation
  • Burley Cooperative Commonwealth (socialist) founded in Washington
  • 1899
  • Harmony Colony (Populist/Socialist) founded in Washington
  • Niksur Cooperative Association (Socialist) founded in Minnesota
  • Straight Edge Industrial Settlement founded in New York City
  • North Carolina segregates railroad cars
  • 1900
  • Arden colony (Single Tax) founded in Delaware
  • Roycrofters colony (semi-communal, craft-oriented) founded in Erie County, New York
  • North Carolina adopts disfranchisement legislation
  • Virginia segregates railroad cars
  • 1901
  • “Scientific Temperance” curriculum mandated in all states by this date
  • Alabama and Virginia adopt disfranchisement legislation
  • Last remaining African-American US Congressman, George H. White of North Carolina, gives up his seat; no black Congressman will serve for the next 28 years, and none from the South until the advent of the civil rights movement
  • President Theodore Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington to dine with him at the White House, the first time a black American has done so; Roosevelt’s action meets a firestorm of criticism from white supremacists
  • Streetcar boycotts undertaken by African-Americans in cities across the South, to protest segregation (1901-1906)
  • 1902
  • Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities
  • Ida Tarbell, History of the Standard Oil Company
  • 1903
  • In Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock the Supreme Court provides wide latitude for federal government to confiscate tribal lands without due process
  • 1904
  • National Child Labor Committee formed to oppose child labor
  • National Tuberculosis Association mobilizes national education and public health campaign
  • Maryland segregates railroad cars
  • Robert Hunter, Poverty
  • 1905
  • African-American reformers and intellectuals, led by W.E.B. DuBois, meet in Ontario, Canada, and create the Niagara Movement for civil rights, culminating four years later in creation of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
  • National Audubon Society founded
  • Dorothy Richardson, The Long Day

© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


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New Spirits
Timelines in US History 1895-1905
Perceptions and Realities: The Victorian Age Inventions of the era Tramps and Millionaires Yellowstone Park Journals of the era White City/1893 Worlds Fair The Civil War President McKinley