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American History

  • The Headright System

    The Headright System
    With the intention to increase the American population and support Britain’s colonies, the Headright System was formed, Settlers that were already residing in Virginia were granted 100 acres of land, and any new settlers that paid their own way into the New World were granted 50 acres of land. Anyone who then paid for the passage of someone else to the New World was also granted an additional 50 acres of land per person.
  • The Albany Plan

    The Albany Plan
    Fighting between France and Britain for land left the colonies in the middle, prompting Benjamin Franklin’s proposal of the Albany Plan. Franklin suggested that the colonies would “fall like dominoes” if they stood by themselves. Ultimately, the plan failed, but those who agreed with Franklin’s ideas formed a network that eventually would form many Revolutionary leaders and thoughts.
  • The Proclamation of 1763

    The Proclamation of 1763
    As benign neglect came to an end, the colonies became more profitable for Britain. The British troops from the Seven Years War remained in the colonies “for their protection” against the Spanish/French/Indians, but truly wanted to enforce colonial acceptance of new laws. The Proclamation of 1763 meant that there could no longer be any colonial expansion past the Appalachian mountains. This deeply angered the colonists, who had just fought a war in order to claim that land.
  • The Sugar Act of 1764

    The Sugar Act of 1764
    The similar Molasses Act in 1733 had failed as colonists bribed each other and continued to avoid paying any taxation. The Sugar Act of 1764 lowered taxes on molasses and sugar, with the intention of cutting out any smuggling and to support British business. The colonists in the black market could be rightened despite their previous smuggling or bribes, but they continued to smuggle in order to avoid giving any money to Britain.
  • Stamp Act of 1765

    Stamp Act of 1765
    With Britain financially struggling following the end of the Seven Years War, they additionally put taxes upon stamps. This act affected the wealthy and middle classes the most, since they had the most influence and the most use out of items that would be stamped. The act put additional taxes on all legal documents, including birth certificates and marriage certificates and licenses.
  • Quartering Act of 1765

    Quartering Act of 1765
    This act gave legality to the remaining Seven Years War soldiers staying and living with the colonists. The act made it so that they had to house and feed them, but it truthfully served a deeper purpose. With the soldiers dispersed throughout the community, colonists could not talk about their frustrations with Britain even in their own homes. This act specifically would prove crucial in the creation of the Constitution and the Third Amendment.
  • The Boston Massacre

    The Boston Massacre
    Despite their constant presence in colonial communities, British soldiers were not allowed to act upon anything that the colonists or crowd were to say to them. In the events of the Boston Massacre, the crowd of colonists that had formed were taunting the soldiers, eventually escalating to the point of throwing snow packed rocks at them in the world’s deadliest snowball fight.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    The group of Revolutionists known as the Sons of Liberty (likely drunk), went onto a cargo ship in the middle of the day dressed in Native American clothing. The lack of attempt to disguise themselves or their actions was quite comical as they dumped $1.8 million of what would have been British tax revenue into the harbor. The Boston Tea Party holds heavy significance because it was the first significant act of defiance by American colonists.
  • The Coercive Acts

    The Coercive Acts
    Britain's anger following the Boston Tea Party is to be expected, and they fought back against the colonies by punishing them through enforcing and passing laws. The Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts, closed the port of Boston, outlawed assemblies, and took total control of the colonial government. Additionally, it made it so that royal officials accused of a crime were tried in England rather than in the colonies.
  • Battle of Lexington and Concord “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”

    Battle of Lexington and Concord “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”
    The British planned to win the Revolutionary War before it had even begun by cutting off the colonists’ access to their weapons, which were stashed in Concord. Additionally, they set out to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were in Concord. However, Paul Revere and two other men quickly alerted that the redcoats were coming.
  • Battle of Lexington and Concord “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” (cont.)

    Battle of Lexington and Concord “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” (cont.)
    By the time the British troops arrived, Adams and Hancock had fled, and 70 militiamen were waiting for the 700 British soldiers. 17 militiamen were killed or wounded with the others fleeing. 25o British soldiers, then, were killed or wounded as the militiamen took their stash of weapons away from Concord and followed the soldiers to Boston. This was a significant step towards independence everywhere, and is often considered to be the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    Following the “shot heard round the world” in Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia. King George III had rejected the Olive Branch Petition made at the First Continental Congress, seeing it as an insult. The delegates of the Second Continental Congress charged Thomas Jefferson (and others) with drafting the Declaration of Independence. This document showed the idea that all men were equal and that the government should intend to serve the people.
  • First Continental Congress / The Olive Branch Petition

    First Continental Congress / The Olive Branch Petition
    he Radicals at the First Continental Congress, following the Coercive Acts, wanted independence while the Conservatives wanted to remain British citizens. The delegates present at the First Continental Congress ultimately agreed that they were willing to remain a part of the British Empire provided that they receive more representation and that the British took more limited taxing authority. They decided to invite England for peace through the Olive Branch Petition.
  • Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

    Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
    Passionate about liberty and fighting for independence. Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense, a recollection of essays that were considered propaganda. He argued through both logic and emotion to persuade his audience. Paine was also significant for putting into words the arguments that colonists had already been making against Great Britain. By putting their frustrations into the common vernacular, Paine was able to make an argument that was able to be read by even an uneducated person.
  • Abigail Adams’ Remember the Ladies

    Abigail Adams’ Remember the Ladies
    Written to her husband John Adams, “Remember the Ladies” was Abigail Adams’ way to remind her husband to keep the women in mind when forming the new government of America. In his reply to his wife’s letter, John Adams treated this sentiment as a joke, demonstrating the limits of revolutionary liberty and the prejudices against women during the time.
  • Battle of Trenton

    Battle of Trenton
    On Christmas Day, General George Washington led his troops across the Delaware to stage a surprise attack on the British and Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey. General George Washington's army ultimately defeated a garrison of Hessian mercenaries at Trenton. The victory set the stage for another success at Princeton a week later and boosted the morale of the American troops. Additionally, the win encouraged people to join the Continental Army.
  • Winter in Valley Forge

    Winter in Valley Forge
    Another Thomas Paine book, the “American Crisis”, was written for the soldiers at Valley Forge with the intention to boost their morale. George Washington approved so much of the book that he had it be read aloud to the troops. Though they were faced with heavy hardships, the Continental Army's transformative experiences at Valley Forge reshaped it into a more unified force capable of defeating the British and winning American independence during the remaining five years of the war.
  • The Battle of Saratoga

    The Battle of Saratoga
    Often referred to as the turning point in the war, the Battle of Saratoga was a great win for the colonists. Britain had four armies, but the Patriots had two bigger groups, making it a 4 v. 2 battle. British General John Burgoyne and his army had plans to attack and meet up with the British armies to close in on the Continental Army. However, the Patriots had a better understanding of the terrain and closed in on the British, forcing them to surrender.
  • The Battle of Saratoga (cont.)

    The Battle of Saratoga (cont.)
    The Battle of Saratoga was specifically significant because Benjamin Franklin was able to officially make France a Patriot ally. France was still bitter about the results of the Seven Years War, but they were reluctant to support the colonists without confidence that they would win the war. The victory at Saratoga gave Benjamin Franklin the leverage that he needed to win France over, and they sent their navy to aid the colonists.
  • The Articles of Confederation

    The Articles of Confederation
    The first governing document in America, the Articles of Confederation, was a reaction to what the colonists had endured during and leading up to the Revolutionary War. The Articles of Confederation stated that there would be no monarch or executive for the country, no taxes for the federal government, little power to the federal government (instead, power would be given to the states), and there would be no standing army.
  • Battle of Yorktown

    Battle of Yorktown
    British General Cornwallis, remembering Valley Forge, changed tactics. He retreated to the coast, and George Washinton followed him. Cornwallis, however, was unaware that the French Navy were waiting for him, and that they had already won a victory over the British Navy. Cornwallis’ surrender ended major fighting in the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Yorktown proved to be the decisive engagement of the American Revolution.
  • The Treaty of Paris

    The Treaty of Paris
    The Treaty of Paris officially ended the Revolutionary War. The new country of America was given all of the British land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi. As a result of the war, the new country formed an alliance with France. The Treaty of Paris also granted the Northwest Territory to the United States, secured fishing rights to the Grand Banks and other waters off the British-Canadian coastline for American boats, and opened up the Mississippi River.
  • Shays’ Rebellion

    Shays’ Rebellion
    Farmers, following the Revolutionary War, were very deep in debt, resulting in them being sent to prison or losing their farms. Angered by this, the farmers rebelled under the leadership of former soldier Daniel Shays. The farmers took over courthouses and grew their movement towards Boston. Shays’ Rebellion proved just how weak the Articles of Confederation were, since the federal government could do nothing in response to rebellion.
  • The Constitutional Convention (cont.)

    The Constitutional Convention (cont.)
    They favored the Bill of Rights, and the production of state government. The two major results of this convention were primarily the New Jersey Plan and the Connecticut Compromise. The New Jersey Plan stated that every state should have a say in government. The Connecticut Compromise, then, formed the House of Representatives and the senate.
  • The Constitutional Convention

    The Constitutional Convention
    The Constitutional Convention, held following Shays’ Rebellion, set out to make the states more able to govern themselves when faced with a strike or rebellion. The Federalists at the Constitutional Convention were elites that were fearful of mob rule (such as Shays’ Rebellion), and they favored the Constitution and were opposed to the Bill of Rights. The Anti-Federalists were common people (farmers), and they were fearful of big government and opposed to the Constitution.
  • The Northwest Ordinance

    The Northwest Ordinance
    In Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, the Northwest Ordinance was a way for new territories to become states based on population. It also organized towns and schools while outlawing slavery in the territories it pertained to. The Northwest Ordinance holds weight because it established a government for the Northwest Territory, outlined the process for admitting a new state to the Union, and guaranteed that newly created states would be equal to the original thirteen states.
  • The Whiskey Rebellion

    The Whiskey Rebellion
    Pennsylvania farmers refused to pay taxes on alcohol until the army made a move to enforce such a tax. Army involvement in the situation was pushed for by Alexander Hamilton and other Federalists, and ultimately George Washington obliged. Washington, as President, led his troops against the rebels. This was a showcase of the power of the new federal government under its new laws.
  • The Alien and Sedition Acts- The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (cont.)

    The Alien and Sedition Acts- The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (cont.)
    These acts faced lots of backlash from the people, and were followed by the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Infuriated by the laws, Henry Clay and Thomas Jefferson reviewed the acts and officially nullified the laws. The Resolutions stated that the Constitution was a “pact” between the states and the federal government, and that the government making a move to break the pact could result in the states deciding that laws were null and void in their states.
  • The Alien and Sedition Acts- The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

    The Alien and Sedition Acts- The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
    Put into effect by second President John Adams, the Alien Act allowed the President to deport any “alien” or immigrant considered dangerous. The Sedition Act of the same time made it illegal for newspapers to print any material that was critical of the President or of Congress. Additionally, the Naturalization Act increased the amount of time that immigrants had to live in the states before they could officially become citizens.
  • Marbury V. Madison

    Marbury V. Madison
    James Madison (of Thomas Jefferson’s Presidential Cabinet) found a letter granting John Marbury federal judgeship. He chose not to send the letter, which resulted in Marbury suing him. The Supreme Court sided with Madison because they found part of the Judiciary Act unconstitutional and void. The Supreme Court then granted itself the right of judicial review, meaning that it could declare laws unconstitutional and therefore strike them down.
  • The Louisiana Purchase

    The Louisiana Purchase
    Under Thomas Jefferson’s Presidency, there were worries that Jefferson could lose control of New Orleans and access to the Mississippi River. As a result, Jefferson sent James Monroe to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans for $3M. Napoleon declined, but offered to give Jefferson all of Louisiana for $15M.
  • The Louisiana Purchase (cont.)

    The Louisiana Purchase (cont.)
    The Constitution said nothing about expansion, and Jefferson was a strict constitutionalist that strongly believed in reading the Constitution directly and precisely without any further judgements or altercations. The Louisiana Purchase, though it went against Jefferson’s views, was highly significant. It doubled the size of the country, and secured both New Orleans and the Mississippi River. 828,000 miles of square land were acquired, making it cost 4 cents per acre.
  • Embargo of 1807

    Embargo of 1807
    As Great Britain and France began to go to war again, the United States were faced with the conflict of picking a country to ally with. Because of the country’s good trade relationship with both of the other countries, they decided to remain neutral. Jefferson imposed an embargo (or ban) on foreign trade. This destroyed the American economy, but it also encouraged the growth of domestic manufacturing and made America more independent rather than depending upon the other countries for trade.
  • The Battle of Thames

    The Battle of Thames
    On October 5, 1813, the British and Indian forces in the War of 1812 were defeated by American forces in Canada. William Henry Harrison pushed up the river Thames into Upper Canada and won a victory notable for the death of Tecumseh, who was serving as a brigadier general in the British army. This battle resulted in no lasting occupation of Canada, but weakened and disheartened the Indians of the Northwest. The death of Tecumseh ended Indian war resistance.
  • The Treaty of Ghent

    The Treaty of Ghent
    Following the Hartford Convention, in which several New England states expressed their fear that the war was lost, there were talks of becoming a separate country. The Treaty of Ghent officially ended the War of 1812, but its signing in Europe resulted in the Americans not knowing that the war was over until the information traveled to the country three months later. In addition to ending the war, the Treaty of Ghent retained all of the pre war borders of the United States.
  • The Battle of New Orleans

    The Battle of New Orleans
    The British attempted to seize control of New Orleans. In response, President Andrew Jackson recruited pirates, farmers, and other misfits that didn’t seem like soldiers. They dug a 10 foot trench and made an artificial high ground with American sharp-shooters laying on the hill to fire at the British. Each sharpshooter had four men behind him to refill his guns, making for an incredible and unstoppable force against British soldiers stuck in the trench.
  • The Battle of New Orleans (cont.)

    The Battle of New Orleans (cont.)
    Though the War of 1812 had already been ended by the Treaty of Ghent, people often associate Andrew Jackson with “winning” the war because of the success of the Battle of New Orleans, which ended with 2,042 British casualties and 71 American casualties.
  • Election of 1824

    Election of 1824
    The Election of 1824 ran between the three candidates Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson. Even though Andrew Jackson ended up getting a majority of the votes, he didn’t really have a majority of the votes (51%). Because of this, there was debate about whether or not his election would be constitutional. The 12th Amendment sent things to the House of Representatives, but Henry Clay, the speaker of the house, could easily have influenced the outcome of the election.
  • Election of 1824 (cont.)

    Election of 1824 (cont.)
    Because of this, Henry Clay chose to drop out of the race. However, he and John Quincy Adams met privately in what Andrew Jackson supporters called a “corrupt bargain”. The day following their private conversation, Henry Clay was publicly supporting Adams, who later appointed Clay as his Secretary of State once he won the election.
  • The 1828 Election

    The 1828 Election
    Andrew Jackson intended to recreate the Jeffersonian coalition of a) northern farmers and artisans, b) southern slave owners, and c) farmers with little land. He created a national committee that oversaw local and state party units. This committee became known as the first political party; the Democrats. The 1828 Election’s significance is in that it was the first “modern” political campaign. It was tactful and targeted around negativity and proving oneself to be greater than one's opponent.
  • The Spoils System

    The Spoils System
    Andrew Jackson, commonly referred to as “king mob”, or the self proclaimed “champion of the common man”, fired many government officials and employees, giving his supporters the government jobs instead. He chose the ordinary American citizens rather than the wealthy elites that often held positions in office because he distrusted the wealthy that primarily voted for Adams. Jackson, in his own defense, argued that the rotation of office holders was preferable to a permanent group of bureaucrats.
  • Tariff of Abominations

    Tariff of Abominations
    John Quincy Adams, after his election, received lots of opposition and backlash. Some believed that he allowed too much political power to be held by the elites. Under his presidency was the Tariff Debate of 1828, in which foreign goods had become more expensive. As a result, people bought more U.S. goods. The northern states profited from this increase in business, but the southern states were enraged as their economy suffered from less European purchase of their cotton.
  • Indian Removal Act (cont.)

    Indian Removal Act (cont.)
    Over the next five years, American diplomatic pressure and military power forced more Native Americans to move west. 14,000 Cherokee people, led by General Winfield Scott, were forced to march 1,200 miles; a journey that became known as the Trail of Tears. Along the way, 3,000 Native American people died of starvation and exposure. John Marshall called the Indian Removal Act unconstitutional, but Jackson defied the Supreme Court by threatening them to allow him to enforce it.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    The Indian Removal Act was an act that directed the mandatory relocation of eastern Native American tribes to territory west of the Mississippi. Jackson insisted that his goal was to “save” the Native Americans and their culture. They resisted this act, but were forced to comply in the end. When there was still resistance, the U.S. Army pursued Black Hawk, an Indian leader, and began the eight-hour Bad Axe Massacre, where 850 of his 1,000 warriors were killed.
  • The Nullification Crisis and The Nullification Ordinance

    The Nullification Crisis and The Nullification Ordinance
    In 1831, the South (still enraged by the Tariff of Abominations) threatened to nullify the law. John C. Calhoun, a southerner, believed that the tariff was unconstitutional because it favored the north, and encouraged the states to declare the law null and void. Jackson agreed and recommended for Congress to reduce the tariff, resulting in a lower tariff in 1832. South Carolina, however, was still unhappy about the new tariff, resulting in them passing the Nullification Ordinance in 1832.
  • The Force Bill and the Compromise Tariff

    The Force Bill and the Compromise Tariff
    Jackson, in response to South Carolina’s threat of secession, claimed that secession from the United States was treason. He chastised South Carolina for violating the federal law, and asked Congress to grant him the ability to use military force to compel South Carolina to accept and follow the law. This ability to use brute military force became known as the Force Bill, which some considered to be a King George-like approach to submission and power.
  • The Force Bill and the Compromise Tariff (cont.)

    The Force Bill and the Compromise Tariff (cont.)
    Henry Clay, following the Force Bill, proposed another tariff that would reduce cost significantly over the next ten years known as the Compromise Tariff. Both the Force Bill and the Compromise Tariff were passed in 1833, and South Carolina repealed its ordinance.
  • The Siege of the Alamo

    The Siege of the Alamo
    As Texas (then Mexico) became populated by more American people, more rules and regulations were put in place. Specifically, slavery was outlawed, taxes were introduced, and Catholocism was forced upon the new inhabitants of the area. These were all policies that Americans hated, and, in anger, Texas broke free from Mexico to become an independent nation.
  • The Siege of the Alamo (cont.)

    The Siege of the Alamo (cont.)
    The American people moved to defend Texas (though the American government refused to become involved), and the U.S. Senator Davy Crockett specifically had influence. He went to the Alamo at the same time Mexican soldiers did, greatly outnumbering the Texans. Every American and Texan present at the Alamo was killed, and the Alamo building became a symbol of the Texan belief of “fighting until the very end”.
  • Panic of 1837

    Panic of 1837
    Andrew Jackson had a severe distrust of the influential bank in America because most of its workers (who were wealthy) had voted against him during the election. As a result, he claimed “the bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it”. Triggered by a sharp reduction in English credit and capital, the cash shortage caused a panic, and the collapse of credit then led to a depression that lasted from 1837-1843.
  • The Dred Scott Case (cont.)

    The Dred Scott Case (cont.)
    This prompted the idea that there was no such thing as a slave free state, with the Supreme Court ruling and testifying that black people did not and could not have the same level of rights as white people did. Roger Taney, the Supreme Court Justice, declared that black people were an “inferior race”. This case further instilled the racism in America and heightened the hold that slavery had over the people.
  • The Dred Scott Case

    The Dred Scott Case
    Often known as the Supreme Court’s worst decision, the Dred Scott Case was a case in which Dred Scott, a slave, argued that his master moving him and himself to an anti-slavery state meant that he should no longer be a slave. He went to court to sue his master, but the Supreme Court ultimately declared that Dred Scott was still a slave even if he was in a slave-free state.
  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (cont.)

    The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (cont.)
    Following the Mexican American War, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo stated that the Rio Grande was the border of Texas, and it additionally gave the United States the Mexican Cession (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado). The United States gained the West Coast, officially making it a bi-coastal country.
  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    Following the events at the Alamo, there was lots of debate upon the border of Texas, which was joining the United States. The space between the Colorado River and the Rio Grande River became disputed territory. President James K. Polk sent a small group of soldiers to the disputed territory, essentially to their deaths... using this as a way to initiate war between the United States and Mexico.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    There were many tensions about what to do with the newly gained territories in the United States… should slavery be legal in them, or should it be abolished? Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850 as a means of saving the nation from the tensions and disputes. The Compromise of 1850 stated that a) California would enter the Union as a free state, b) the slave trade (but not slavery as a whole) would be abolished in Washington, D.C.,
  • Compromise of 1850 (cont.)

    Compromise of 1850 (cont.)
    c) strict fugitive state laws would be enacted, and d) territories applying for statehood would be governed by the concept of popular sovereignty. The Fugitive Slave Laws said that any runaway slave would be captured and returned to their owners. This proved highly dangerous for lots of African Americans who had attempted to escape slavery, or had been free men (and were turned in as slaves despite being born free).
  • Senator Preston Brooks vs Senator Charles Sumner (cont.)

    Senator Preston Brooks vs Senator Charles Sumner (cont.)
    They also stuffed the ballot box, casting a number of fraudulent pro-slavery votes. In the Senate, there was a debate about what to be done following the events of “Bleeding Kansas”. Upset by the abolitionist and anti-Southern views presented by Senator Charles Sumner, Senator Preston Brooks beat Sumner almost to death with his cane in the U.S. Senate.
  • Senator Preston Brooks vs Senator Charles Sumner

    Senator Preston Brooks vs Senator Charles Sumner
    In order to apply for statehood, the state of Kansas had to hold an election to decide if they would enter the Union as a free state or a slave state. Both the North and the South attempted to convince people to migrate to Kansas to sway the vote of popular sovereignty, and “border ruffians” moved from Missouri to Kansas to rig the election. On election day, they (armed with rifles and a cannon) burned down the printing press for publishing abolitionist papers.
  • Pottawatomie Massacre

    Pottawatomie Massacre
    Kansas was ultimately admitted into the Union as a slave state, and a man named John Brown found issue with this. He believed that God had given him a mission to be the one to end slavery, and he had gathered many followers by preaching his ideas of abolition. Brown and a group of his followers went to Kansas and hacked multiple pro-slavery families to death with swords in what became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation

    The Emancipation Proclamation
    Following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam (the single bloodiest battle in the United States), Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation stated that abolition was given to Southern states and that the only legal slave states were the border states. Under the Emancipation Proclamation, Southern states were ordered to release their slaves, otherwise the Union would conquer their state and would force them to release their slaves.
  • Lincoln’s 10% Plan (Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction)

    Lincoln’s 10% Plan (Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction)
    Abraham Lincoln believed that the nation, following the Civil War, could be unified again if the feelings of animosity went away. He offered pardons would be given to any Confederate leader who swore an oath to the Union, and that any state would be readmitted to the Union once at least 10% of its voters had sworn loyalty to the Union. Additionally, it stated that states had to form new state constitutions that outlawed slavery.
  • Wade-Davis Bill

    Wade-Davis Bill
    Republicans in Congress believed that Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction (The 10% Plan) was too lenient on the Confederates. They proposed the Wade-Davis Bill, in which 50% of state voters had to swear loyalty to the Union and only non-Confederates would be allowed to vote. Lincoln refused to sign the Wade-Davis Bill, stating that it was too harsh on the South. However, his assassination stopped him from being able to do anything about his opposition towards it.
  • Freedmen's Bureau

    Freedmen's Bureau
    This act helped newly freed black people transition to freedom by a) starting schools, b) negotiating labor contracts, c) securing loans, d) helping find and purchase land, and e) providing legal aid. Primarily, Freedmen’s Bureau was a government organization put in place to aid any displaced black people and other war refugees. It is particularly significant because it was the first federal agency to financially assist those in poverty and to foster social welfare.
  • The 13th Amendment

    The 13th Amendment
    Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. In addition to banning slavery, the amendment outlawed the practice of involuntary servitude and peonage. Involuntary servitude or peonage occurs when a person is coerced to work in order to pay off debts. This marked a turning point in the fight for racial equality that had been present for years and years prior, specifically throughout the Civil War.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866

    The Civil Rights Act of 1866
    The Civil Rights Act of 1866 gave citizenship to African Americans and offered some protection against black codes, which were meant to restrict the freedoms of freed people following the recent Amendments. Black codes stated that black people could not rent or borrow money to purchase land, and made it so that freed men were forced to sign into labor contracts that were illegal to break.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (cont.)

    The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (cont.)
    Additionally, they took away legal rights from African Americans, making it so that they could not testify against white men in court. The Civil Rights Act provided protection against all of this, but there was still a fear of the Democratic Party overturning the act if they gained power in Congress.
  • The Reconstruction Acts of 1867

    The Reconstruction Acts of 1867
    These acts stripped the southern states of their political power and divided them into five military districts which were placed under the Union army. If a southern state wanted to rejoin the Union under the Reconstruction Acts, it had to ratify the 14th Amendment and create a state constitution that gave all men the right to vote. They also limited some former Confederate officials' and military officers' rights to vote and to run for public office.
  • The 14th Amendment

    The 14th Amendment
    In order to protect the Civil Rights Act of 1866 from being overturned by a Democratic majority in Congress, the 14th Amendment was passed. It stated that all people born in the United States and all people that were naturalized were also full citizens. Additionally, it stated that all states were required to protect its citizens with full protection through the laws and legal process, and that a state that denied people their voting rights would lose its representation in Congress.
  • The 15th Amendment

    The 15th Amendment
    This Amendment, incredibly unpopular in the North, prohibited any state from denying any citizen the right to vote, regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”. The 15th Amendment, in simplest terms, guaranteed African-American men the right to vote. Almost immediately after its ratification, African Americans began to take part in running for office and voting. This was extremely significant as this is what the Civil War was fought over.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1875

    Civil Rights Act of 1875
    The unpopularity of the 15th Amendment made the Radical Republicans lose their super majority in Congress. As a result, President Andrew Johnson lost his re-election to Ulysses S. Grant. As president, Grant put forth the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in which he banned discrimination in public accommodations. This act, however, was not enforced by the presidents that followed Grant.
  • 1876 Election Crisis (cont.)

    1876 Election Crisis (cont.)
    The South was then angry, but the Constitution had no solution for this kind of crisis and did not account for any situation similar. An election was then created with 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 5 Supreme Court Justices. Hayes was ultimately named president of the United States, and military oversight in the South was brought to an end (and, with it, Reconstruction).
  • The 1876 Election Crisis

    The 1876 Election Crisis
    The 1876 election was a race between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Following the votes, it seemed that 100% of the South had voted for Tilden. The North, suspicious of this, questioned the validity of this given the Republican intimidation that had occurred prior to the election. A recount was initiated in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida. Following the recount, all of the states went to Hayes.