Manifest Destiny 1812-1860Many Americans felt that the United States should expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. We did not care who owned the land before us; whether it was the Native Americans or the Mexicans/Spanish. The United States thought that Manifest Destiny meant that they had the God-given right to take the land.
Missouri Compromise 1820-1821Agreement made to keep the balance of slave and free states equal. Missouri was added as a slave state and Maine added as a free state in 1821. Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri was a slave state. The rest of the Louisiana Territory was split into two parts. South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line—except in Missouri—slavery was banned. The president during this time was James Monroe.
Harriet TubmanIn 1849, after Tubman’s owner died, she heard rumors that she was about to be sold. Fearing this possibility, Tubman decided to make a break for freedom and succeeded in reaching Philadelphia. Shortly after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, Tubman resolved to become a conductor on the Underground Railroad. In all, she made 19 trips back to the South and is said to have helped 300 slaves—including her own parents—flee to freedom.
Santa Fe TrailThe settlers and traders who made the trek west used a series of old Native American trails as well as new routes. The Santa Fe Trail stretched 780 miles from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe in the Mexican province of New Mexico.Each spring from 1821 through the 1860s, American traders loaded their covered wagons with goods and set off toward Santa Fe.After a few days of trading, they loaded their wagons with goods, restocked their animals, and headed back to Missouri.
San Felipe de AustinThe main settlement of the colony was named San Felipe de Austin, in Stephen’s honor. By 1825, Austin had issued 297 land grants to the group that later became known as Texas’s Old Three Hundred. Each family received either 177 very inexpensive acres of farmland, or 4,428 acres for stock grazing, as well as a 10-year exemption from paying taxes. “I am convinced,” Austin said, “that I could take on fifteen hundred families as easily as three hundred if permitted to do so.”
Mexico abolishes slaveryDespite peaceful cooperation between Anglos and Tejanos, differences over cultural issues intensified between Anglos and the Mexican government. The overwhelmingly Protestant Anglo settlers spoke English instead of Spanish. Furthermore, many of the settlers were Southerners, who had brought slaves with them to Texas. Mexico, which had abolished slavery in 1829, insisted in vain that the Texans free their slaves.
Underground RailroadThe system of escape routes they used became known as the Underground Railroad. “Conductors” on the routes hid fugitives in secret tunnels and false cupboards, provided them with food and clothing, and escorted or directed them to the next “station.” Once fugitives reached the North, many chose to remain there. Others journeyed to Canada to be completely out of reach of their “owners.”
The LiberatorThe most radical white abolitionist was a young editor named William Lloyd Garrison. Active in religious reform movements in Massachusetts, Garrison became the editor of an antislavery paper in 1828. Three years later he established his own paper, The Liberator, to deliver an uncompromising demand: immediate emancipation.
Nat Turner's RebellionSome slaves rebelled against their condition of bondage. One of the most prominent rebellions was led by Virginia slave Nat Turner. In August 1831, Turner and more than 50 followers attacked four plantations and killed about 60 whites. Whites eventually captured and executed many members of the group, including Turner.
Stephen F. Austin goes to jail1834 opened with the arrest of Stephen F. Austin for treason as a result of an inflammatory letter he had written in October 1833 while in Mexico City petitioning the federal government on behalf of the Texan colonists.
Oregon TrailStretched from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon. It was blazed in 1836 by two Methodist missionaries named Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. By driving their wagon as far as Fort Boise , they proved that wagons could travel on the Oregon Trail. Following the Whitmans’ lead, many pioneers migrated west on the Oregon Trail. Most walked, however, pushing handcarts loaded with a few precious possessions, food, and other supplies.The trip took months, even if all went well.
Texas RevolutionAfter Santa Anna suspended local powers in Texas and other Mexican states, several rebellions broke out, including one that would be known as the Texas Revolution. When Austin returned to Texas in 1835, he was convinced that war was its “only resource.” Determined to force Texas to obey Mexican law, Santa Anna marched his army toward San Antonio. At the same time, Austin and his followers issued a call for Texans to arm themselves.
Texas Enters the United Statest became its own country, called the Republic of Texas, from 1836 until it agreed to join the United States in 1845. Sixteen years later, it seceded along with 10 other states to form the Confederacy. In 1844, Congress finally agreed to annex the territory of Texas. On December 29, 1845, Texas entered the United States as a slave state, broadening the irrepressible differences in the United States over the issue of slavery and setting off the Mexican-American War.
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debatesthe 1858 race for the U.S. Senate between
Democratic incumbent Stephen Douglas and Republican
challenger Congressman Abraham Lincoln. To many outsiders it must have seemed like an uneven match. Douglas
was a well-known two-term senator with an outstanding
record and a large campaign chest, while Lincoln was a self educated man who had been elected to one term in Congress
Mexican-American WarThe Mexican army attacked them. The main cause of the war was the westward expansion of the United States. All through the 19th century Americans believed it was their right to expand westward. At the time they believed they could conquer the people already living on the land and take it for the United States. Mexico claimed the Nueces River as its northeastern border, while the U.S. claimed the Rio Grande River, and the day that both troops met at the Rio Grande and the Mexican army opened fire
The North StarFrederick Douglass escaped from bondage to become an eloquent and outspoken critic of slavery. Garrison heard him speak and was so impressed that he sponsored Douglass to speak for various anti-slavery organizations. Douglass broke with Garrison, who believed that abolition justified whatever means were necessary to achieve it. In 1847, Douglass began his own antislavery newspaper. He named it The North Star, after the star that guided runaway slaves to freedom.
Treaty of Guadalupe HidalgoOn February 2, 1848, the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico agreed to the Rio Grande as the border between Texas and Mexico and ceded the New Mexico and California territories to the United States. The United States agreed to pay $15 million for the Mexican cession, which included present day California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, most of Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.
Compromise of 1850The United States Senate, A.D. 1850. ... Senator Henry Clay introduced a series of resolutions on January 29, 1850, in an attempt to seek a compromise and avert a crisis between North and South. As part of the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was amended and the slave trade in Washington, D.C., was abolished. The Compromise of 1850 overturned the Missouri Compromise and left the overall issue of slavery unsettled.
Fugitive ActThe harsh terms of the Fugitive Slave Act surprised many people. Under the law, alleged fugitive slaves were not entitled to a trial by jury. In addition, anyone convicted of helping a fugitive was liable for a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months. Infuriated by the Fugitive Slave Act, some Northerners resisted it by organizing “vigilance committees” to send endangered African Americans to safety in Canada. Others resorted to violence to rescue fugitive slaves.
Uncle Tom's CabinAnother woman brought the horrors of slavery into the homes of a great many Americans. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which stressed that slavery was not just a political contest, but also a great moral struggle. As a young girl, Stowe had watched boats filled with people on their way to be sold at slave markets. Uncle Tom’s Cabin expressed her lifetime hatred of slavery.
Kansas-Nebraska ActKansas and Nebraska territory lay
north of the Missouri Compromise
line of 36°30’ and therefore was legally
closed to slavery. Douglas introduced a
bill in Congress on January 23, 1854,
that would divide the area into two
territories: Nebraska in the north and
Kansas in the south. If passed, the bill
would repeal the Missouri Compromise
and establish popular sovereignty for
Dread Scott v. SandfordDred Scott’s slave master had brought him from the slave state
of Missouri to live for a time in free territory and in the free state of Illinois. Eventually
they returned to Missouri. Scott believed that because he had lived in free territory, he
should be free. In 1854 he sued in federal court for his freedom. The court ruled against
him, and he appealed to the Supreme Court.
John Brown's raid/Harpers FerryWhile politicians debated the slavery issue, the
abolitionist John Brown was studying the slave uprisings that had
occurred in ancient Rome and, more recently, on the French island of
Haiti. He believed that the time was ripe for similar uprisings in the
United States. Brown secretly obtained financial backing from several
prominent Northern abolitionists. On the night of October 16, 1859,
he led a band of 21 men, black and white, into Harpers Ferry, Virginia
(now West Virginia).
Abraham Lincoln becomes presidentAs the 1860 presidential election approached,
the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln appeared to be moderate
in his views. Although he pledged to halt the further spread of slavery, he also
tried to reassure Southerners that a Republican administration would not “interfere with their slaves, or with them, about their slaves.” Nonetheless, many
Southerners viewed him as an enemy
Formation of the ConfederacyIn February 1861, delegates from the secessionist states met in
Montgomery, Alabama, where they formed the Confederate
States of America, or Confederacy. They also drew up a
constitution that closely resembled that of the United
States, but with a few notable differences. The most important difference was that it “protected and recognized” slavery in new territories
Battle of Bull RunThe first bloodshed on the battlefield occurred about three months
after Fort Sumter fell, near the little creek of Bull Run, just 25 miles from
Washington, D.C. The battle was a seesaw affair. In the morning the Union army
gained the upper hand, but the Confederates held firm, inspired by General
Thomas J. Jackson
Attack on Fort SumterMonths earlier, as soon as the Confederacy was formed, Confederate soldiers
in each secessionist state began seizing federal installations—especially forts. By
the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, only four Southern forts
remained in Union hands The most important was Fort Sumter, on an island in Charleston harbor. At 4:30 A.M. on April 12, Confederate batteries began thundering away to the cheers of Charleston’s citizens.The deadly struggle between North and South was under way.
Battle at AntietamThe plan revealed that Lee’s and
Stonewall Jackson’s armies were separated for the moment.
McClellan ordered his men to pursue Lee, and the two
sides fought on September 17 near a creek called the
Antietam The clash proved to be the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with casualties totaling more than 26,000. The next day, instead of pursuing the battered Confederate army into Virginia and possibly ending the war, McClellan did nothing. As a result,Lincoln removed him from command
Emancipation ProclamationThe proclamation did not free any slaves immediately because it applied only
to areas behind Confederate lines, outside Union control. Nevertheless, for many,
the proclamation gave the war a moral purpose by turning the struggle into a fight
to free the slaves. It also ensured that compromise was no longer possible
ConscriptionThe war led to social upheaval and political unrest in both the North and the
South. As the fighting intensified, heavy casualties and widespread desertions led
each side to impose conscription, a draft that forced men to serve in the army.
In the North, conscription led to draft riots, the most violent of which took place
in New York City. Sweeping changes occurred in the wartime economies of both
sides as well as in the roles played by African Americans and women.
Income TaxOverall, the war’s effect on the economy of the North was much more positive. The army’s need for supplies supported woolen mills, steel foundries, and
many other industries. The economic boom had a dark side, however. Wages did
not keep up with prices, and many people’s standard of living declined. As the Northern economy grew,
Congress decided to help pay for the war by collecting the nation’s first income
tax, a tax that takes a specified percentage of an individual’s income.
Battle at GettysburgThe three-day battle produced staggering losses: 23,000 Union men and 28,000
Confederates were killed or wounded. Total casualties were more than 30 percent.
Despite the devastation, Northerners were enthusiastic about breaking “the
charm of Robert Lee’s invincibility.”
Battle at VicksburgWhile Meade’s Army of the Potomac was
destroying Confederate hopes in Gettysburg, Union general Ulysses S. Grant
fought to take Vicksburg, one of the two remaining Confederate strongholds on
the Mississippi River.
Gettysburg AddressIn November 1863, a ceremony was held to dedicate a cemetery in Gettysburg. There, President Lincoln spoke for a little more
than two minutes.According to some contemporary historians, Lincoln’s
Gettysburg Address “remade America.” Before Lincoln’s speech, people said,
“The United States are . . .” Afterward, they said, “The United States is . . .” In
other words, the speech helped the country to realize that it was not just a collection of individual states; it was one unified nation.
Sherman's MarchIn the
spring of 1864, Sherman began
his march southeast through
Georgia to the sea, creating a
wide path of destruction. His
army burned almost every house
in its path and destroyed livestock and railroads.
Surrender at Appomattox Court HouseOn April 3, 1865, Union troops conquered Richmond, the Confederate capital. Southerners had abandoned the city the
day before, setting it afire to keep the Northerners from taking it. On April 9, 1865,
in a Virginia town called Appomattox Court House, Lee and
Grant met at a private home to arrange a Confederate surrender. At Lincoln’s
request, the terms were generous.
Thirteenth AmendmentAfter some political maneuvering, the
Thirteenth Amendment was ratified at
the end of 1865. The U.S. Constitution now
stated, “Neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude, except as a punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”
Assassination of Abraham LincolnDuring its third act, a man
crept up behind Lincoln and shot the president in the back of his head.
Lincoln, who never regained consciousness, died on April 15. It was the first time a
president of the United States had been assassinated. After the shooting, the
assassin, John Wilkes Booth—a 26-year-old actor and Southern sympathizer—
then leaped down from the presidential box to the stage and escaped.
AbolitionForten’s unwavering belief that he was an American not only led him to oppose colonization—the effort to resettle free blacks in Africa—but also pushed him fervently to oppose slavery. Forten was joined in his opposition to slavery by a growing number of Americans in the 19th century. Abolition, the movement to abolish slavery, became the most important of a series of reform movements in America.