• 1801

    Thomas Jefferson is inaugurated as the third president in Washington, DC.
  • 1803

    Marbury v. Madison case, where the Supreme Courts decision greatly expands the power of the Court by establishing its right to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional. Louisiana Purchase takes place, where the United States agrees to pay France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory, which extends west from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and comprises about 830,000 sq mi. As a result, the U.S. nearly doubles in size.
  • 1804

    Lewis and Clark expedition, where both explorers head out into the unknown West, and attempt to find a clear path to the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1805

    Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific Ocean with the help of Sacagawea.
  • 1809

    James Madison becomes the United States fourth President.
  • 1812

    The War of 1812 is declared on to Britain over British interference with American maritime shipping and westward expansion.
  • 1814

    British captures Washington, DC, and sets fire to the White House and Capitol. Francis Scott Key writes Star-Spangled Banner as he watches British attack on Fort McHenry at Baltimore.
  • 1815

    The Treaty of Ghent is signed and the war is officially over.
  • 1817

    James Monroe is inaugurated as the fifth President of the United States.
  • 1819

    Spain agrees to cede Florida to the United States
  • 1820

    The Missouri Compromise was created, which was an effort to maintain the balance between free and slave states. Maine (formerly part of Massachusetts) is admitted as a free state so that Missouri can be admitted as a slave state; except for Missouri, slavery is prohibited in the Louisiana Purchase lands north of latitude 3630'.
  • 1825

    John Quincy Adams is named the sixth President of the United States.
  • 1829

    Andrew Jackson is inaugurated as seventh President of the United States.
  • 1830

    President Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act, which authorizes the forced removal of Native Americans living in the eastern part of the country to lands west of the Mississippi River. By the late 1830s the Jackson administration has relocated nearly 50,000 Native Americans.
  • 1831

    Nat Turner, an enslaved African American preacher, leads the most significant slave uprising in American history. He and his band of about 80 followers launch a bloody, day-long rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. The militia quells the rebellion, and Turner is eventually hanged. As a consequence, Virginia institutes much stricter slave laws. Meanwhile, William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the Liberator, a weekly paper that advocates the complete abolition of slavery.
  • 1836

    Texan defenders of the Alamo are all killed during siege by the Mexican Army. Texans eventually defeat Mexicans and Texas declares its independence from Mexico.
  • 1837

    Martin Van Buren is inaugurated as the eighth President of the United States.
  • 1838

    More than 15,000 Cherokee Indians are forced to march from Georgia to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Approximately 4,000 die from starvation and disease along the "Trail of Tears."
  • 1841

    William Henry Harrison is inaugurated as the ninth President of the United Staes.
  • 1841 (one month later)

    1841 (one month later)
    William Henry Harrison dies, and is succeeded by his Vice President John Tyler.
  • 1845

    James Polk is inaugurated as the 11th President of the Unites States.
  • 1846 (US/Mexican War)

    1846 (US/Mexican War)
    The Mexican War establishes and the U.S. declares war on Mexico in effort to gain California and other territory in Southwest. The war concludes with signing of Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico soon recognizes the Rio Grande as new boundary with Texas and, for $15 million, agrees to give the territory comprising present-day California, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico and Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.
  • 1846 (Oregon Territory)

    1846 (Oregon Territory)
    Oregon Treaty fixes U.S.-Canadian border at 49th parallel; U.S. acquires Oregon territory.
  • 1848

    Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in California. The gold rush reaches its height the following year.
  • 1849 (Presidency)

    1849 (Presidency)
    Zachary Taylor is inaugurated as the 12th President of the United States.
  • 1849 (Slavery)

    1849 (Slavery)
    Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated members of the Underground Railroad. She guided more than 300 people, including her parents and several siblings, from slavery to freedom, earning the nickname “Moses” for her leadership.
  • 1850

    Zachary Taylor dies, and it succeeded by his Vice President Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States.
  • 1852

    Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. It becomes one of the most influential works to stir anti-slavery sentiments.
  • 1853

    Franklin Pierce is inaugurated as the 14th President of the United Sates.
  • 1855

    Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act, establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. The Legislation repeals the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and renews tensions between anti- and proslavery factions causing "Bleeding Kansas."
  • 1857

    James Buchanan is inaugurated as the 15th President of the United States.
  • 1859

    Abolitionist John Brown and followers, capture a federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
  • 1861 (Presidency)

    1861 (Presidency)
    Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th President of the United States.
  • 1861 (Civil War)

    1861 (Civil War)
    Many Southern states begin to succeed to the Union. Due to this, some Southern states get angry and this causes a breakout of the Civil War; a conflict between the North (the Union) and the South (the Confederacy) over the expansion of slavery into western states.
  • 1863

    Emancipation Proclamation is issued, freeing slaves in the Confederate states.
  • 1863 (Gettysburg Adress)

    1863 (Gettysburg Adress)
    After the Battle of Gettysburg was fought, President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.
  • 1864

    Gen. William T. Sherman captures Atlanta.
  • 1865 (End of Civil War)

    1865 (End of Civil War)
    Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Va. This Marked the end of the Civil War.
  • 1865 (Lincoln)

    1865 (Lincoln)
    Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in Washington, DC, and is succeeded by his vice president, Andrew Johnson.
  • 1865 (Johnson)

    1865 (Johnson)
    Vice President Andrew Johnson takes the place of President Lincoln after the assassination and becomes the 17th President of the United States.
  • 1865 (Slavery)

    1865 (Slavery)
    The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting slavery.
  • 1868

    President Johnson is impeached by the House of Representatives.
  • 1869

    Ulysses S. Grant is inaugurated as the 18th President of the United States.
  • 1870

    Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving blacks the right to vote.
  • 1876

    Lt. Col. George A. Custer's regiment is wiped out by Sioux Indians under Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn River, Mont.