APUSH TP5 Timeline

By applegg
  • Oregon Cession

    President James K. Polk signed a border compromise between the US and Britain that gave us Oregon and served as one of the first Manifest Destiny era expansionist decrees.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    An unsuccessful attempt to outlaw slavery in territory gained from Mexico - this was defeated twice in the Senate and bolstered tensions.
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    Mexican-American War

    Desiring to gain Mexican territory, Polk used the attack on a US patrol as justification for a declaration of war. The war was fought mostly on Mexican territory (despite this, Mexico was at a constant disadvantage throughout) and the US eventually took Mexico City. Many considered the war unjust and built on a desire to expand territory and slavery.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    This treaty forced Mexico to cede 55% of its territory to the US, claiming gigantic swaths of territory that would become Utah, California, Nevada, New Mexico, etc. The debate on whether these territories should allow slavery continued.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Increased migration required the West to make a decision about slavery. Henry Clay offered a compromise - California and New Mexico were free, but the rest of Mexican territory would be left up to popular sovereignty (settlers would decide whether slavery was allowed.) The compromise would also bolster the Fugitive Slave Act (helping the South) and outlaw the trade of enslaved people in DC (helping the North.) Helping both sides, however, led to more strife as many enslaved people fled slavery.
  • Ostend Manifesto

    Southern expansionists wished to gain Latin American territory. President Franklin Pierce continued Polk's work by secretly attempting to buy Cuba in Ostend, Belgium. After the plan was leaked, it was dropped due to outcry.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Southerners in 1854 worried that the North eventually planned to destroy their way of life through the abolishment of slavery. Democrat Senator Stephen A. Douglas appeased them by drafting the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would split the Kansas-Nebraska territories in two and instill popular sovereignty in them. As a direct violation of the Missouri compromise, this scared and angered Northerners, and dire conflict was soon to come.
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    Bleeding Kansas

    The period known as Bleeding Kansas encompasses all conflicts inside Kansas and beyond as a result of popular sovereignty arguments. As Northern and Southern settlers both moved to the territories to set up their chosen constitutions, they began fighting and even killing one another. This violence even spread to the Senate floor as one Senator was caned to near death over a debate. Kansas would become an unofficial battleground until the Civil War, where a few official battles would be fought.
  • Election of 1856 and Lecompton Constitution

    The Democrats won the crucial 1856 election by nominating the safe James Buchanan. The Republican Party, a newer party formed from the remnants of many parties, persisting and eliminated, to stop the spread of slavery, was seen as a sectional threat and narrowly lost the popular vote. The first challenge Buchanan faced was his support of Kansas's Lecompton Constitution that allowed slavery, which was shot down by senators from both parties as well as Republican settlers in Kansas.
  • Panic of 1857

    Economic growth due to the Market Revolution would fizzle out as Midwesterners and Northerners fell to an industry crash. Cotton prices meant the South was not hit as hard, and this cemented the superiority of their economy built on enslaved labor.
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford

    Soon after Buchanan reached office, the case of Dred Scott vs. Sanford, an enslaved individual who had lived in a free state and demanded his freedom, reached the Supreme Court. The court ruled in favor of slavery, stating that the laws of the Constitution did not apply to African-Americans. Southerners were delighted and Northerners horrified, as the Missouri Compromise was effectively moot. Many Republicans were elected out of fear of a national conspiracy to maintain slavery.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Douglas ran for reelection in a tumultuous time against unknown former Whig Abraham Lincoln. Despite not being an abolitionist, Lincoln spoke morally against slavery and vowed that the Union "divided against itself" would be destroyed. Douglas maintaining his support of popular sovereignty throughout, alienating radical Southerners by not sticking to the Dred Scott decision. Despite losing, Lincoln gained local ground and rose as a leading Republican candidate.
  • John Brown's Raid

    John Brown, a vehement abolitionist who gained infamy in 'Bleeding Kansas', took matters into his own hands with a plot to destroy slavery. He and his sons gathered a band of followers and marched on Harper's Ferry, intending to lead an army of enslaved people, but he was captured and hanged by Marines after many mishaps. The South panicked at his actions and saw the revolt as proof that the North intended to destroy them. Abolitionists saw him as a martyr, and conflict rekindled.
  • Election of 1860

    Buchanan, a weak president, was on his way out, and the South was angry and ready to blow over. With the Democrats split over slavery and popular sovereignty and other third-parties struggling to gain ground, it was the Republican party's time to salvage the nation. Nominating Lincoln as a more neutral voice, the Republicans won the day as populous free states swept the electoral college. The south, strongly opposed to Lincoln, vowed to secede from the Union - and they did indeed.
  • Crittenden Compromise and Southern Secession

    A last ditch effort by "lame duck" Buchanan to deter the South in the form of the Crittenden Compromise failed. This bill, which would re-establish the bounds of slavery as the Missouri Compromise, was rejected by Lincoln for expanding slavery. The slighted South saw no reason to remain, and they seceded, with states from the Deep South forming the Confederate States of America, a nation built upon slavery. They elected Jefferson Davis as the rest of the nation watched with worry.
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    The Civil War

    Officially kicking off due to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, the Civil War was the bloodiest war in American history. The South, hoping to fight a war of attrition, initially won most of the battles on their soil, exhausting Union morale. However, around 1863, the Union began winning decisive victories like Gettysburg and were further incensed to destroy slavery. The Confederates eventually surrendered in Virginia in 1865, reforming the Union as a country free of slavery.
  • Homestead Act

    One of the few major non-union related acts signed by Lincoln, this act motivated settlers to move out west with the allocation of land to anyone who would farm it for a period of time. Many settlers were enticed by this promise post-Civil War.
  • Pacific Railway Act

    The Pacific Railway Act was also passed, designating the 32nd parallel as an initial transcontinental route to be furnished to the fullest extent after wartime. Government bonds and land grants were provided for this purpose.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Lincoln drafted this document to signify the end of all slavery in all rebellious Confederate states. He did not, however, officially outlaw it in the crucial border states, where a rebellion could mean close access to Washington. Most notably, the document allowed and encouraged former enslaved as well as free black men to take part in the Civil War to free slaves - bolstering Union numbers and making the war a much more personal one.
  • Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction (1863) and Wade-Davis Bill (1864)

    Initially, Lincoln attempted to set up a simple process for political reconstruction, allowing for states with 10% of loyalty or more to swear off slavery and rejoin the union. Republicans objected, pressuring Congress to pass the far-stricter Wade-Davis Bill in 1864 with a higher loyalty threshold and disallowing of Confederates from voting. Lincoln vetoed this bill, but these served as the first ideas for a Reconstruction that would sweep the South.
  • Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction Policies

    Lincoln did not live to see any major reconstruction policies implemented, as he was assassinated only weeks after the war ended by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate. Many Republicans in Congress supported the former vice president Andrew Johnson's ascent, but he laced his reconstruction policy with the unprecedented ability to pardon specific Confederates, which he used very often - this made sure that Confederate influence remained very present in the South.
  • Freedmen's Bureau

    Congress created this bureau in March soon before the war ended, serving as a welfare agency during Reconstruction for African-Americans as well as poor white people due to the war. There were multiple efforts to resettle African-Americans on confiscated Confederate farmland, but after later President Andrew Johnson's pardoning of Confederate owners, the Bureau's work became much harder and they struggled to gain much more ground - besides in education, where thousands of schools were founded.
  • 13th Amendment

    Officiating the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment officially outlawed slavery in all territories belonging to the newly whole Union. However, importantly, it still maintained slavery-like conditions as punishment for a crime as legitimate, setting the stage for an oppressive prison system that targeted minorities.
  • Black Codes

    Republicans further became disillusioned as Southern legislatures adopted Black Codes that heavily restricted the rights of formerly enslaved people. Johnson later vetoed a bill nullifying these codes, causing unhappiness to boil over into anger in Republican Congress.
  • Radical Republicans and the Civil Rights Act of 1866

    By spring, Republican members of Congress implemented a second round of Reconstruction that was harsher on Southerners and more protective towards African Americans. "Radical Republicans," as they were called, rose in presence during the Johnson era as worry of higher Southern representation in Congress increased, and they overrode Johnson's veto of the Civil Rights Act which proclaimed Americans to be citizens and provided a shield against Black Codes - later morphing into the 14th Amendment.
  • Reconstruction Acts

    The Radical Republican Reconstruction Acts of 1867 fully transformed the South for a short time. The most relevant action they took was to divide the South into five military districts, each under Republican control and manned by federal troops. They also forced Confederate states to ratify the 14th Amendment and place guarantees for granting the right to vote to all males.
  • 14th Amendment

    Proposed in 1866, this Amendment declared the equal rights of all citizens regardless of skin color and promised everyone equal protection under the law - requiring states to uphold this tenet as well, having mixed results at the time but making waves decades later as suffrage and civil rights movements arose most prevalently. Other parts of the 14th Amendment applied specifically to Radical Republican Reconstruction, such as disqualifying Confederate leaders from holding office.
  • 15th Amendment

    After Andrew Johnson's continued belligerence resulted in a controversial impeachment, war hero Ulysses Grant was elected. Able to act with more impunity, Congress passed the Fifteenth amendment, preventing a state from denying a citizen's right to vote on account of race - kicking off black suffrage. The right to vote for African Americans, however, would still be restricted locally in many areas until the 1960s.
  • Amnesty Act

    Marking the beginning of the end of Reconstruction, the Amnesty Act signified many Northerners' willingness to forgive and forget, removing many restrictions on ex-Confederates besides the top brass - allowing Southern confederates to vote to retake control of state governments.
  • Panic of 1873

    After Grant's election to a second term, an economic disaster struck, rendering thousands of Northerners out of work and homeless. This increased reliance on hard money like gold compared to "greenbacks", but it also drove the previously scandal-plagued Grant administration deeper into contempt, lowering faith in Republican leadership and weakening Republican hold on the South,
  • Election of 1876

    As Reconstruction slowly chipped away, only three Southern states remained under military control, with the Democrats keeping power in the others. Republicans, looking for someone untouched by the drama of the Grant administration, nominated Rutherford B. Hayes. The Democrats' Tilden won the popular vote, but the electoral vote was contested in the three controlled Southern states. An electoral commission ceded the votes to Hayes with a winning margin of one, provoking Democrats to filibuster.
  • Compromise of 1877 and Aftermath

    Working out an informal deal, the Democrats allowed Hayes to become president in return for the end of Republican support in the South, effectively ending Reconstruction. Hayes agreed and withdrew federal troops, giving the Democrats free rein to strike down one Reconstruction law after another and restarting the discrimination of black Americans. Southerners saw a lack of development post-Reconstruction, and many remained poor - especially disparaged and disenfranchised black people.