American History

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta signed

    Magna Carta signed
    Magna Carta Info:
    King John of England signed the Magna Carta, a document outlining rights of the English citizens, such as the right to a trial by a jury of peers. He was unwillingingly made to sign the document by English nobles, who wanted to reduce the power of monarchs. The Magna Carta contained laws that would create a basis for American laws on rights later.
  • Mayflower Compact signed

    Mayflower Compact signed
    Mayflower Compact Info:
    The Mayflower Compact was signed by men arriving on the Mayflower to America in 1620. It detailed laws to be followed in the new land to keep the group civil and united. It also helped to keep Pilgrims and non-Pilgrims from separating in the new country.
  • Formation of the New England Confederation

    Formation of the New England Confederation
    New England Confederation Info:
    During the Pequot War, when other settlers began to threaten the English settlers, the colonies of Massachusetts, New Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven joined to create a set of 12 laws. A committee would settle conflicts between the colonies, and declare wars to protect each other. This encouraged the settlers to work together and create councils like the governmental bodies to be set up by Americans later.
  • The French and Indian War begins

    The French and Indian War begins
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    The French and Indian War began when the colonists wanted land west of the Appalachian Mountains. They were hoping to expand their farmland and industry. The French owned this land, but did not want to give their control up over it, causing war. The colonists lost many times at first, including the battle at Fort Necessity. Both sides were aided by Native Americans.
  • Albany Plan of Union announced

    Albany Plan of Union announced
    Albany Plan of Union Info:Around the time of the French-Indian War with England and France, representatives (including Benjamin Franklin) from the American colonies met with British officials in Albany, NY. They discussed creating a council of Americans that would meet under a British leader. This was to create unity between the colonies, but was never executed due to the power the council leader could gain, and the threat to the British. This event prepared the settlers for a central government later on.
  • Treaty of Paris

    Treaty of Paris
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    The Treaty of Paris signified the end to the French and Indian War. It was signed by leaders of France, Spain, and Britain to determine land ownership. The treaty gave Britain control over some parts of modern-day Canada, as well as almost all of the land east of the Mississippi River. This land had belonged to France previously, and showed Britains expansion of power.
  • Royal Proclamation

    Royal Proclamation
    Click for more infoThe Royal Proclamation was made by Britain, following the French and Indian War. It prevented colonists from settling in the land west of the Appalachian Mountains, which was land they had just fought for. This law pleased the Indians, so they would not be displaced by settlers, but angered the colonists because they had just fought to expand their land. The proclamation also added four new colonies to British control.
  • Sugar Act

    Sugar Act
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    Lord Grenville made the Sugar act to follow up on the Sugar and Molasses Act of 1733. The new act required taxes on imported items like sugar, molasses, and coffee. Though the tax was cheaper, it was carried out more seriously. The act also controlled trade with other nations. The colonists were upset that they had to pay these taxes, and began to rebel.
  • Stamp Act Congress

    Stamp Act Congress
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    The Stamp Act Congress met in New York City in response to the Stamp Act, which placed taxes on paper goods and documents in the colonies, to start in November. Nine states sent delegates to write a Declaration of Rights and Grievances to Parliament. The event showed their anger about the taxation, and their wish to have rights equal to those of British citizens.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
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    In November of 1765, the Stamp Act took place in the colonies. It was one of the first sets of taxes to be placed on goods to pay for the British Army in the colonies. Colonists were taxed for printed items, like books or legal documents.
  • Townshend Acts

    Townshend Acts
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    The Townshend Acts were taxes placed on items like paint, glass, and tea in the colonies. They were written by Charles Townshend. The British government claimed these taxes would pay for the cost of government in the colonies. Colonists were upset by these acts, and began to openly rebel, leading to events like the Boston Massacre. The acts were later repealed to satisfy the colonists.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
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    The Boston Massacre occurred on the evening of March 5th, 1770. Colonists threw snowballs and rocks at the British Regulars, provoking one to fire. The soldiers started shooting at the crowd, killing 3 citizens immediately, fatally wounding 2 others, and wounding 6 people. The colonists used this event as propaganda against the British, helping to spark the Revolutionary War through anger.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Click for more infoThe Boston Tea Party took place on a boat in the Boston Harbor holding tea from the East India Company. After many repeated taxes placed on tea, the colonists relied on tea smuggled from Holland. The cheap English tea was seen as offensive to the colonists, who did not want to buy it due to the taxes. The Sons of Libery disguised themselves and threw 340 boxes of tea into the harbor, demonstrating their anger over taxation.
  • Congress meets for the 1st time

    Congress meets for the 1st time
    1st Congress Info:
    Congress met for the first time in Philadelphia. Elected representatives from every state except Georgia attended. They were supposed to discuss issues and show strength to England. The representatives did not share the same goals and ideas at first, but the meetings started to develop communications.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
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    The first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to discuss issues with the British government in the colonies, such as the taxes. The delegates no longer wanted to trade with England, and desired to show their unity to Britain, resolving to meet again later.
  • Patrick Henry "Give Me Liberty"

    Patrick Henry "Give Me Liberty"
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    Patrick Henry was a supporter of the American Revolution. While attending the Second Virginia Convention, Henry made a speech which called the colonists to raise an army and fight against the British. The most famous line of his speech is "Give me liberty, or give me death!" This quote shows that freedom from Britain is the most important thing for the colonists.
  • Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

    Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
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    On the night of April 18th, Paul Revere and other riders rode to Lexington, MA to warn Sam Adams and John Hancock that the British were planning to attack by land. Revere tried to continue on to Concord. The ride was later recorded in a poem, and used as propaganda to glorify Revere.
  • Battles of Lexington and Concord

    Battles of Lexington and Concord
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    The British troops entered the colonies through Boston to attack, marching to Lexington, MA where they fired at the colonists' militia on the green to start the Revolutionary War. They then marched to Concord near the ammunition stores, but were attacked with hit-and-tactics by the colonists, and were forced to retreat to Boston. The colonists won these battles.
  • Second Continental Congress meets

    Second Continental Congress meets
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    The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, PA to discuss the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The colonists did not yet want to break off from England, and wrote the Olive Branch Petition, which offered to compromise with the king or else start a war. The king refused to read the petition. The congress also formed an official army under Washington to fight against the British army.
  • Fort Ticonderoga

    Fort Ticonderoga
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    During the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the British troops had control over Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. A group of colonists from Vermont, led by Ethan Allen, attacked the fort by surprise. This was an important victory for the colonists, as it allowed them to take cannons and other weapons from the fort for their use.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    Battle of Bunker Hill
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    The night before the 17th, the colonists' militias had gathered on Bunker and Breed's Hills. The next morning, the Americans had the advantage of height and attacked the British by surprise. The British troops were struggling, but decided to use their strong navy. Eventually, the colonists ran out of ammunition and had to retreat, causing the British to technically win the battle, though they had more losses.
  • "Common Sense" Published

    "Common Sense" Published
    Click for more info"Common Sense" was a pamphlet published by a colonist, Thomas Paine. It promoted the revolutionary efforts to break free from the English government and taxation. The pamphlet encouraged the colonists to join in rebelling against the British government.
  • British evacuate Boston

    British evacuate Boston
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    After the Battle of Bunker Hill, the colonists laid siege to Boston, where the British troops were stationed. The British did not have enough supplies. On March 4, Washington's army began firing at the British ships, forcing them to evacuate Boston by sea.
  • Declaration of Independence announced

    Declaration of Independence announced
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    On July 4th, a version of the Declaration of Independence was printed by John Dunlap. This document exposed to the public that the colonies were ready to become separate from England. These printed copies were read to the colonists over the next few days, explaining why it was time for freedom and preparing Americans for revolution.
  • "The Crisis" published

    "The Crisis" published
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    "The Crisis" was a series of articles written by Thomas Paine. They called Americans to fight for freedom, even though the Revolutionary War was difficult and long. General Washington read the first of these articles to his army during the winter at Valley Forge to motivate them to fight for their colonies. "The Crisis" was a major factor in encouraging Americans to support the Revolution.
  • Washington captures Trenton

    Washington captures Trenton
    Click for more infoThe colonists' army had been losing many battles. General Washington decided to attack the Hessian armies stationed in Trenton, NJ, which were made up of German soldiers. The army attacked on Christmas Day after crossing the Delaware River the night before. Battles did not usually take place on holidays, in this way surprising the enemy. Washington's risky move helped the Americans to win a battle, boosting their morales.
  • British defeated at Saratoga

    British defeated at Saratoga
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    The battles in Saratoga, NY helped to establish the American army as a strong force. The British army that came down from Canada led by General Burgoyne, was forced to surrender. His army was weak, and easily attacked by the colonists.
  • Articles of Confederation Signed

    Articles of Confederation Signed
    Articles of Confederation Info:
    The Articles of Confederation formed a document of initial laws for the United States. The thirteen articles gave most power to the states, and less power to a weak central government. The Articles of Confederation created a basis for legal documents and American laws later.
  • Winter at Valley Forge, PA

    Winter at Valley Forge, PA
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    Washington's army spent their winter in Valley Forge, PA while they were not fighting the British. This winter was a low point for the soldiers, as they were cold and did not have enough supplies. The army lost many soldiers that died or left. The American army would need motivation to continue fighting in the spring.
  • John Paul Jones defeats the Serapis

    John Paul Jones defeats the Serapis
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    Previously, the American navy had not been as strong as the British navy. John Paul Jones, commander of the American navy, attacked the British naval ship the Serapis. Jones sailed to Europe on the ship, successfully winning a battle at sea for the Americans.
  • Benedict Arnold plans found out

    Benedict Arnold plans found out
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    Benedict Arnold led the colonists' army and was also in control of West Point, a strategically important fort. He felt that the Americans did not appreciate him for his contributions, and in revenge planned to sell West Point to the British troops for 20,000 pounds. When these plans were found out by Washington, Arnold ran away to escape punishment.
  • Cornwallis surrenders

    Cornwallis surrenders
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    The French and American armies were fighting the British army led by Lord Cornwallis in Yorktown, VA. The French navy prevented the British army from getting help from their navy while the armies fought on land. Cornwallis had to surrender to the Americans. This helped the Americans to gain control in the southern colonies and demonstrate strength over the British.
  • Newburgh Conspiracy

    Newburgh Conspiracy
    Newburgh Conspiracy Info:While George Washington was Commander in Chief of the American army during the Revolutionary War, the troops were waiting in Newburgh, NY. The soldiers were not getting paid, and submitted documents demanding payment. They would desert the army if the war continued, and turn on the citizens if the war ended. Washington brought this idea to Congress, so army canceled their address because they were being represented. This event showed some of the problems with the beginning American government.
  • Treaty of Paris

    Treaty of Paris
    Treaty of Paris Info:
    Richard Oswald of Great Britian and Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams of America met in Paris at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. They discussed peace between England and America, eventually signing the Treaty of Paris, which signified the end of the war, as well as showing America as a more independent nation.
  • Land Ordinance of 1785

    Land Ordinance of 1785
    Land Ordinance Info:
    The US government needed a way to assess the Northwest Territory, or new land beyond the 13 states. A surveyor divided the land into "townships" that were 6 square miles. Land would be sold by the square mile for a specified price. This helped the government to expand control over the land and gain money.
  • Ordinance of Religious Freedom

    Ordinance of Religious Freedom
    Religious Freedom Info:
    This law was created by Thomas Jefferson, and is also known as the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It allows people to practice whatever religion they choose, as well as prevents the church and state government from being connected. This law would influence the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights for religious freedom.
  • Annapolis Convention

    Annapolis Convention
    Annapolis Convention Info:
    The Annapolis Convention was held in Maryland, with representatives from 5 states. They discussed how to improve trade and business between American states. Because there were only a few states represented, the topic was to be revisited during the Philadelphia Convention. The development of trade would help states become more cooperative and reliant on each other.
  • Shays' Rebellion

    Shays' Rebellion
    Shays' Rebellion Info:Taxes had to be paid in silver and gold after the Revolutionary War. Farmers could not afford this, and their farms were foreclosed upon. Daniel Shays, a Massachusetts farmer, organized farmers and marched to the armory and courts in Springfield. They blocked the court with weapons from operating so farms would not be foreclosed upon. A militia had to stop the farmers. This event created economic problems and led to the conclusion that the Articles of Confederation needed to be rewritten.
  • Constitutional Convention opens

    Constitutional Convention opens
    Constitutional Convention Info:The Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation because Congress did not have enough power, and the rights of the people needed to be redefined. With George Washington as the leader, delegates from each state met, and started to create laws to make the American government stronger and satisfy the American citizens.
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787

    Northwest Ordinance of 1787
    Northwest Ordinance Info:The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was a document made in an effort to add more colonies to the 13 colonies, soon after writing the Constitution. Temporary governments were set up in land to the northwest of the Ohio River, and laws were created to give the settlers rights. The land was also given prices so it could be sold. The Northwest Ordinance helped America expand into the large country it would become later.
  • The Great Compromise agreed to

    The Great Compromise agreed to
    Great Compromise Info:During the Constitutional Convention, delegates discussed the laws about voting and representation. They eventually decided on a two-house bicameral Congress, in which the Senate would be represented proportionally by population and the House of Representatives represented equally. Citizens could vote for representatives, while the states elected senators. This event was also known as the Connecticut Compromise, because compromise helped represent a range of American opinions.
  • Constitution sent to the states for ratification

    Constitution sent to the states for ratification
    Constitution Ratification Info:
    The Constitution was written because the Articles of Confederation were failing in creating the United States. The government was too weak. The document was signed in September of 1787, and then sent to the states to be signed by at least nine. This would change the laws and structure of America.
  • Federalist Papers appears

    Federalist Papers appears
    Federalist Papers Info:
    The Federalist Papers were a collection of 85 essays discussing why the Constitution should be adopted. The collection included essays by Federalists such as George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. They hoped to convince others that the Constitution would bring positive change to America.
  • Anti-Federalist articles appear

    Anti-Federalist articles appear
    Anti-Federalist Articles Info:
    Anti-Federalists did not want the Constitution to be signed because they thought it would compromise the rights of Americans and weaken state governments. Any writing by Anti-Federalists was included in the articles, and showed discontent with the Constitutional ideas.
  • Delaware ratifies

    Delaware ratifies
    Delaware ratifies:
    Delaware was the first state to formally sign the Constitution. This started the period of the new American government, and encouraged the other states to sign the Constitution.
  • Massachusetts ratifies Constitution

    Massachusetts ratifies Constitution
    Massachusetts ratifies Info:
    Massachusetts took longer than most states to sign the Constitution. They had to hold a convention to convice Anti-Federalists that the government would not be too strong. To satisfy Anti-Federalists, Massachusetts suggested amendments and a Bill of Rights for addition. Once Massachusetts ratified the Constitution, many Anti-Federalists became satisfied with the outcome.
  • New Hampshire ratifies Constitution

    New Hampshire ratifies Constitution
    New Hampshire ratifies Info:New Hampshire was the ninth of thirteen states to ratify the Constitution. Because nine out of thirteen states were needed to put a policy into place, New Hampshire's signing guaranteed the adoption of the Constitution. This date signified the start of a new government system and laws for the United States.
  • George Washington elected President

    George Washington elected President
    George Washington Info:
    George Washington was the first president of the United States, elected based on his strong leadership during the Revolutionary War and during the Constitutional Convention. He was elected by the state legislature, as stated in the Constitution. John Adams was elected vice president, with the next greatest number of votes.
  • Bill of Rights sent to the states for ratification

    Bill of Rights sent to the states for ratification
    Bill of Rights Info:
    Americans wanted a Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution to protect their rights. The House of Representatives proposed 17 amendments, 12 of which were accepted by the Senate and sent to the states for approval. This helped citizens feel like they had more rights, even with a strong central government.
  • Bill of Rights ratified

    Bill of Rights ratified
    Bill of Rights Info:
    The state of Virginia was the last to sign the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights then became effective. It took some powers away from the government to protect the rights of Americans, such as freedom in speech and rights about property.
  • Spain closes Mississippi River

    Spain closes Mississippi River
    Mississippi River Info:
    Spain controlled the port of New Orleans, which was important for trade along the Mississippi River. Spain had closed the port and river to trade, so Thomas Pinckney of the United States created a treaty allowing trade and storage of goods. This improved foreign relations as well as prepared Americans for the Louisiana Purchase in that area later on.
  • Virginia & Kentucky Resolutions written

    Virginia & Kentucky Resolutions written
    LinkThe Alien and Sedition Acts gave the government power to relocate immigrants and punish criticism. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Virginia & Kentucky Resolutions in response to these laws that suppressed Republicans. The resolutions opposed the acts and proposed that a state could call a law "unconstitutional" so they would not have to follow it. These laws were passed in the two states, and showed their frustration with the Acts, even if the Resolutions were not used.
  • Hartford Convention meets during War of 1812

    Hartford Convention meets during War of 1812
    Click hereDuring the War of 1812 with Great Britain, the Americans in New England would not fund the war. These New Englanders met in Hartford, CT to discuss the control of the government in issues such as war. They influenced later changes to constitutional laws, with ideas like creating a four-year term for presidents, electing presidents from states other than Virginia, and passing of war declarations and trade laws only with a 2/3 majority of Congress in favor of the law.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    Click hereThe Missouri Compromise played a role in the discussion between how many states in the US supported slavery. Until Missouri became a state, there had been 11 states supporting slavery and 11 states against slavery. Missouri would be the twelfth state in support of slavery, so Maine was added against slavery to even out the numbers. The compromise also required that any new state in the Lousiana Purchase area north of Missouri could not support slavery. The compromise was seen as unfair.
  • Tariff of Abominations passed

    Tariff of Abominations passed
    A tariff is a tax. A tariff was passed in the US on imported items to increase the production of American-made products. This helped the North because they received more money for their products. The South now had to pay more for products. Southerners were so upset that they called the tariff an "abomination." This would cause conflict later on.
  • South Carolina tries to nullify

    South Carolina tries to nullify
    LinkTo nullify is to ignore a government law if it is unconstitutional. South Carolina was suffering from the Tariff of 1828 taxes, so they tried to declare the law unconstitutional and ignore it within the state. They claimed the government was taking away their rights. They threatened to break off from the Union. The Force Bill was passed in response, making it easier for the federal government to collect the tariff, even if troops had to be sent in. This angered the president greatly.
  • Abolition of Slavery Act (1833)

    Abolition of Slavery Act (1833)
    LinkThe Abolition of Slavery Act (1833) took place in Britain and most of its territories, except for some islands. The law was passed by British Parliament. Former slaves of a certain age would be gradually phased out of slavery. Masters were paid for their loss of slaves. This showed that the British were ahead of the Americans in fostering freedom and equality in rights.
  • Texas declares independence from Mexico

    Texas declares independence from Mexico
    Texas had been part of Mexico territory. Mexico no longer wanted US citizens living in Texas, so slavery was abolished. Texans rebelled against Mexico, and wrote their own Declaration of Independence. They wanted to join the US as a slave state. Texas was annexed by the US, angering Mexico. This later led to a war with Mexico.
  • James Polk elected

    James Polk elected
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    James Polk was elected president. He ran against Henry Clay of the Whig Party. He was not expected to win the election. At the time, the greatest issues were over slavery and expansion of territories into the west. Because Polk did not want to immediately abolish slavery and wanted to expand land into Texas, his ideas went best with those of the Americans, helping him to be elected.
  • Mexican War

    Mexican War
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    Mexico was not recognizing Texas' independence, but the US wanted territory in Texas and the west. Congress declared war on Mexico. The American troops fought to push the Mexicans out of Texas and California. In 1848, a treaty was signed giving the US new territory as long as they paid Mexico an amount of money that totaled over $15 million.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    Wilmot Proviso
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    David Wilmot did not want slavery to exist in territories gained during the Mexican War. He wrote the Wilmot Proviso as an amendment to a bill over territories conquered during the war. The Senate did not pass the bill, but it showed the growing frustration of northerners that the president favored the South.
  • California enters the Union

    California enters the Union
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    California wanted to join the Union as a state after the Mexican War. At that time, there was a balance in the 30 states between slave states and slave-free states. California wanted to be a slave-free state, and would break this balance. After a while, California became a state through compromises by Congress.
  • Fugitive Slave Law enacted

    Fugitive Slave Law enacted
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    The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted as part of the Compromise of 1850, which concerned laws about slavery. The act stated that any person who found a runaway slave must return them to their owner. They would be fined if they assisted a runaway. This law caused added tension between the slaveholders in the South and abolitionists in the North,
  • Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin
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    "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. She based the novel on the stories of slaves she met while living in Ohio. Stowe wanted to expose how slaves were treated as property and could be sold and mistreated. The book was very popular and taught many Americans about the reality of slavery.
  • Formation of Republican Party

    Formation of Republican Party
    The Republican Party was formed in response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Its members opposed slavery and laws such as the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Fugitive Slave Act. They met first in a Wisconsin schoolhouse, then grew into a stronger, lasting party that sumer.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act passed

    Kansas-Nebraska Act passed
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    The Missouri Compromise had outlawed slavery in any new states north of the border of Missouri. The Kansas-Nebraska Act would bypass the compromise when the territories of Kansas and Nebraska were created, which were both west of Missouri. People could choose whether or not to have slaves in this territory. This act angered abolitionists by destroying a law they liked, and pleased Southerners by supporting slavery.
  • "Border Ruffians" attack Lawrence

    "Border Ruffians" attack Lawrence
    Lawrence, Kansas was drawing attention due to its anti-slavery position in the debate over whether Kansas would be a free or slave state. In opposition of this, pro-slavery men rode over the Missouri border into Lawrence and forcefully destroyed homes, newspaper offices, and buildings. This signaled a period of conflict in Kansas.
  • Charles Sumner attacked

    Charles Sumner attacked
    Charles Sumner was a Massachusetts senator who opposed slavery. He had given a speech opposing Senator Butler and Southerners for supporting slavery. This greatly insulted them, causing Butler's nephew, Representative Brooks, to severely beat Sumner with a cane. This act of violence represented the growing conflict between supporters of the abolition and slavery.
  • Pottawatomie Creek

    Pottawatomie Creek
    In response to the pro-slavery destruction at Lawrence, Kansas, John Brown and his followers went to Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas in support of the abolition. They killed five supporters of slavery with swords to demonstrate their anger. This retaliation gave Kansas the name "Bleeding Kansas," representing the violent conflicts over slavery there.
  • Dred Scott decision announced

    Dred Scott decision announced
    Dred Scott went to Supreme Court when he sued his master for enslaving him after he and his wife had lived in free states. Scott did not win the case. He was not considered a citizen, and living in a free state did not change his slave status. The Supreme Court decided that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because people had a right to property, including slaves. Abolitionists could no longer ban slavery in Congress.
  • Lecompton Constitution passed

    Lecompton Constitution passed
    Supporters of slavery in Kansas held a convention to write a constitution that would recognize Kansas as a state. Voters did not pass the constitution, as many were against slavery. President Buchanan supported it in an attempt to end conflicts in Kansas. He had ignored popular sovereignty, so the constitution was voted on again, and again rejected, showing the lack of support for slavery in Kansas.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates
    The seven Lincoln-Douglas Debates occurred in Illinois in 1858 when Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln ran against each other to be elected as senators. Douglas promoted popular sovereignty in contrast to Lincoln's policy of abolition of all slavery. Douglas was elected, but Lincoln gained support to later be elected president.
  • Raid at Harper's Ferry

    Raid at Harper's Ferry
    John Brown, the freesoiler who organized the attack at Pottawatomie Creek, took a group to seize the government-owned store of weapons at Harpers Ferry, VA. He wanted to start a rebellion by gaining support from slaves and other freesoilers. This did not happen, and Brown was captured and hanged. This event created more tension between supporters and opposers of slavery.
  • Democrats split in 1860

    Democrats split in 1860
    LinkAt the Democratic convention, Douglas and Breckinridge both wanted to be the candidate. The Northern and Western Democrats supported Douglas, while the Southern Democrats supported Breckinridge. This developed the conflict between popular sovereignty (Douglas) and total slavery (Breckinridge). The party split into Northern and Southern Democrats, each supporting their own candidate, showing the conflict in 1860.
  • Formation of Constitutional Union Party

    Formation of Constitutional Union Party
    The Constitutional Union Party formed during the 1860 presidential election. Its members did not like the division in the Democratic Party and did not agree with the Republican Party. They supported the Union, and did not want the states to split. John Bell was the candidate for the party. This new party represented the conflicting ideas in the US in 1860.
  • Election of 1860

    Election of 1860
    LinkAbraham Lincoln (Republican), JC Breckinridge (S. Democrat), John Bell (Constitutional Union), and Stephen Douglas (N. Democrat) ran for presidency in 1860. Lincoln won by electoral votes, but lost in popular votes. Because he was elected by mainly Northern free states, the election represented the split between North and South, which would quickly lead to the Civil War.
  • Abraham Lincoln Announces Plans for Reconstruction

    Abraham Lincoln Announces Plans for Reconstruction
    Reconstruction was President Lincoln's plan after the Civil War to repair the South and bring it back into the Union. Plans were announced before the end of the war and focused on freeing all slaves and allowing the Southern states to create new governments as long as 10% of voters supported the Union. The plans caused tension with those who wanted to punish the South, but helped prepare for the time after the war.
  • Wade-Davis Bill Receives Pocket Veto

    Wade-Davis Bill Receives Pocket Veto
    Congress believed that Lincoln's plans for reuniting the Union did not punish the South enough for the war, so they created a harsher plan called the Wade-Davis Bill. It would make Southerners pledge their future loyalty to the Union along with other strict regulations for the South. Lincoln believed the bill was too harsh, and informally rejected the bill with a pocket veto.
  • Lincoln Re-elected President

    Lincoln Re-elected President
    In the 1864 presidential election, Lincoln of the National Union Party ran with Andrew Johnson (Democrat) against George McClellan of the Democratic party. It did not seem that Lincoln would win the election because of his failures during the Civil War. He did win the election due to the capture of Atlanta, signaling a change in government because Congress and other government positions were now held by mostly Northerners.
  • Formation of the Freedman's Bureau

    Formation of the Freedman's Bureau
    The Freedmen's Bureau was created by Congress after the Civil War to help people in the South adjust to a society in which black people would be free.The program was led by the military department and gave supplies and education to black and white Southerners who had suffered from the war. Though the Bureau did not last, it helped confirm that black people were free and helped prepare them for life with society.
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
    President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a great actor and Confederate. Booth had planned to kidnap Lincoln to bargain for the end of the war, but the war had already ended. He shot Lincoln while he was watching a play. The assassination actually worsened conditions for the Confederacy and altered Lincoln's Reconstruction plans forever.
  • President Andrew Johnson Announces Plans for Reconstruction

    President Andrew Johnson Announces Plans for Reconstruction
    Democrat Andrew Johnson became president after Lincoln's assassination, and therefore took control of Reconstruction. His plans for Presidential Reconstruction were sympathetic towards Southerners who promised loyalty to the Union. He required all states in the South to hold meetings to vote on rejoining the Union. They could not have slavery or secede again. Johnson's plan was very forgiving to Southerners.
  • Ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment

    Ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment
    After Lincoln was re-elected, he found support for abolishing slavery. Congress also agreed with Lincoln. They wrote the Thirteenth Amendment to reflect that, which banned "slavery and involuntary servitude" except for in cases of punishing a crime. This amendment freed millions of slaves in the South.
  • Ku Klux Klan created

    Ku Klux Klan created
    The Ku Klux Klan was a group created by men in Tenessee who were angry that the Union had won the war. They wanted to punish former black slaves for their new freedom. They dressed up as Confederate ghosts in white robes and committed acts of violence against the former slaves. The Klan grew and killed many black people. This group showed that Reconstruction would be hard.
  • Civil Rights Act (1866) Enacted

    Civil Rights Act (1866) Enacted
    The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was the first of its kind, and made all males in the US citizens, even if they were freed slaves or of a different race. Johnson tried to veto the act, but 2/3 majority in Congress stopped him. This Act led to more rights for black people during Reconstruction and also contributed to Johnson's impeachment later,
  • Black Codes created in Mississippi

    Black Codes created in Mississippi
    The Black Codes were a set of laws created during Reconstruction led by Andrew Johnson that restricted the freedoms of slaves, even though they had been freed by President Lincoln. For example, the laws set curfews for black people and regulated where they lived and worked. These laws showed how white Southerners were manipulating the government to return life to the way it was before slavery was abolished.
  • Reconstruction Acts Enacted

    Reconstruction Acts Enacted
    The Reconstruction Acts were the plan of the Radical Republicans for Reconstruction. They were passed over President Johnson's veto. They harshly punished the South. The South would be under military control by Northern generals. There would be elections for new laws in which all males except for Confederates could vote. Equal rights would have to be guaranteed to all.
  • President Andrew Johnson Impeached

    President Andrew Johnson Impeached
    President Johnson followed President Lincoln. He was impeached, or accused of misdemeanor, by the House of Representatives for breaking a law by firing officials. He was put on trial by the Senate in May and avoided being removed from office by one vote. He was the first president to be impeached, and his situation showed that there was tension between the president and the Congress.
  • Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment

    Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment
    The Fourteenth Amendment was made by Congress in response to the Black Codes that deprived freed slaves of their rights. It guaranteed citizenship and the ability to exercise one's rights to anyone born in the US or naturalized into the US. It also included the equal protection clause, which required laws to be written equally for all people. This amendment was almost vetoed. It stopped the writing of racial laws.
  • Ulysses S. Grant elected President

    Ulysses S. Grant elected President
    Ulysses S. Grant was elected president after Andrew Johnson's term ended. Johnson was a Democrat and did not hold much power at the end of his term. Grant was a Republican, and was elected by Republican voters because they trusted him. This was an important event for the mainly Republican Congress because they were willing to work with Grant.
  • Hiram Revels elected to Senate

    Hiram Revels elected to Senate
    Hiram Rhoades Revels was an African American minister from Mississippi. He was a well-educated man. In 1870, Revels replaced Jefferson Davis in the US Senate. He had gained the support of Republicans in the Mississippi legislature as well as the support of freed slaves, who had gained voting rights during Reconstruction. Revels was the first African American senator, showing the changes after Reconstruction.
  • Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment

    Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment
    The Fifteenth Amendment was implemented by the Radical Republicans in Congress. It ensured the right of all to vote, regardless of their race or if they were previously enslaved. The amendment was an important step in Reconstruction because it gave more power in the government to African Americans and freed slaves.
  • Ku Klux Klan Act Enacted

    Ku Klux Klan Act Enacted
    The KKK Act was part of a series of Enforcement Acts that allowed the federal government to protect the rights of African Americans when the state government did not. Committing violence against black people became a federal crime and President Grant enforced the act with troops. The act targeted the Ku Klux Klan, which terrorized many freed slaves
  • Freedman's Bureau Abolished

    Freedman's Bureau Abolished
    The Freedmen's Bureau was an agency that helped freed slaves to become part of the free white world. Congress did not like the program, and gave it over to the war department. The Secretary of War chose to end the program. The Freedmen's Bureau may have been an unpopular part of Reconstruction, but it was effective in helping African Americans become educated and prepared for a free life.
  • Civil Rights Act (1875) passed

    Civil Rights Act (1875) passed
    The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was made in an attempt to stop segregation in the United States. It gave all citizens the right to go to public places like schools and restaurants despite their race. It also mentioned that citizens had a right to be on juries no matter their race. This Reconstruction law tried to help the nation progress towards racial equality.
  • "Jim Crow" enters the American cultural language

    "Jim Crow" enters the American cultural language
    The term "Jim Crow" referred to cultural etiquette concerning segregation (the separation of black and white people) from the time after the Civil War through part of the 20th century. For example, the laws prevented black and white people from using the same bathrooms and going to the same stores. The laws proved that racism was growing across the entire nation against the recently freed slaves.
  • Last National Troops Leave South Carolina

    Last National Troops Leave South Carolina
    Union troops had occupied the South as part of Reconstruction. As part of the Compromise of 1877, the government was required to remove troops from the South. The last troops left South Carolina. This showed that the South was gaining power again and beginning to manipulate the government.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes elected President

    Rutherford B. Hayes elected President
    Hayes, a Republican, was elected President as part of the Compromise of 1877. He had lost the presidential election in 1876 to a Democrat, but argued that the electoral votes were incorrect. The Democrats allowed Hayes to become president as long as he aided the Democratic South by getting rid of the troops. His election was the end of Reconstruction and allowed the Democrats to gain power through the compromise.
  • Civil Rights Act Overturned (1883)

    Civil Rights Act Overturned (1883)
    The Civil Rights Act was created in 1875 to ensure that African Americans could go to any public place, regardless of their race. During the Civil Rights Cases in 1883, Congress found the act to be unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment did not authorize the federal government to make decisions concerning businesses. The overturning of the Civil Rights Act was a major loss in rights for freed slaves.
  • Florida Requires Segregation in Places of Public Accomodation

    Florida Requires Segregation in Places of Public Accomodation
    Florida was the first state to require segregation in public places. It required black and white people to be separated in places such as schools, buses, and public restrooms and drinking fountains. These laws were part of Florida's Constitution of 1885. The implementation of segregation in Florida led to segregation laws in many other Southern states and multiple civil rights court cases.
  • Case of Plessy v. Ferguson

    Case of Plessy v. Ferguson
    Homer Plessy, an African American man, brought his case to Supreme Court to address the lack of equality for whites and blacks. Plessy had been arrested for sitting in the white section on a train that offered "separate but equal" accommodations for black and white people. Plessy lost the case and it was determined that segregation was fine, as long as it was equal. The idea of "separate but equal" was now allowed.