Missouri Compromisea series of agreements passed by Congress in 1820-1821 to maintain the balance of power between slave states and free states. Maine: free state and Missouri: a slave state
Abolitionthe movement to abolish
slavery, became the most important of a series of reform movements in America.
Harriet TubmanOne of the most famous conductors, was called
“Moses” by those
escape on the
Santa Fe Trailstretched 780 miles from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe in the Mexican province of New Mexico.
San Felipe de AustinThe main settlement of the colony established by Stephen F. Austin. He obtained permission first from Spain and then from Mexico after it had won independence, to carry out his father's project.
Mexico abolishes slaveryMany of the Southerners settlers had brought slaves with them to Texas. Mexico, who had abolished slavery, insisted in vain that the Texans free their slaves.
Nat Turner's RebellionTurner 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.
The Liberatoran antislavery paper delivering an uncompromising
demand: immediate emancipation of slaves.
Stephen F. Autin goes to jailAustin traveled to Mexico to present petitions to Mexican president antonio Lopez de Santa Anna for greater self-government for Texas. Santa Anna had Austin imprisoned for inciting revolution.
Oregon Trailstretched from Independence to Oregon City. It was blazed by two Methodist missionaries named Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. They proved thsat wagons could travel on Oregon Trail.
Texas Revolutionrebellion in which Texas gained its independence from Mexico.
Manifest Destintyexpressed the belief that the United States was ordained to expand to the Pacific Ocean and into Mexican and Native American territory.
Texas enters United StatesU.S presdidential campaign focused on westward expansion. James K. Polk firmly favored the annexation of Texas.
Mexican-American WarTexas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836. Initially, the United States declined to incorporate it into the union, largely because northern political interests were against the addition of a new slave state. The Mexican government was also encouraging border raids and warning that any attempt at annexation would lead to war.
The North StarFrederick Douglass's antislavery newspaper, named it The North Star, after the star that
guided runaway slaves to freedom.
Treaty of Guadalupe HidalgoThe treaty ending the U.S war with Mexico, in which Mexico ceded California and New Mexico to the United States.
Compromise of 1850Henry Clay worked to shape a compromise that both the North
and the South could accept. After obtaining support of the powerful
Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster, Clay presented to the Senate a series of resolutions
later called the Compromise of 1850. To please the North, the compromise provided that California be admitted to the Union as a free state. To please the South, the compromise proposed
a new and more effective fugitive slave law.
Fugitive Slave ActUnder 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.
Underground RailroadAs time went on, free African Americans and white abolitionists developed a
secret network of people who would, at great risk to themselves, hide fugitive
slaves. The system of escape routes they used became known as the
Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet
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. The book stirred Northern abolitionists to
increase their protests against the Fugitive Slave Act, while Southerners criticized the book as an
attack on the South.
Kansas-Nebraska ActDouglas 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. The bill
would repeal the Missouri Compromise
and establish popular sovereignty for both territories.
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. The Supreme Court ruled that African Americans were not and could never be
citizens. Thus, Dred Scott had no right even to file a lawsuit and remained enslaved.
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas DebatesNeither wanted slavery in the territories,
but they disagreed on how to keep it out. Douglas believed deeply in
popular sovereignty. Lincoln, on the other hand, believed that slavery
was immoral. However, he did not expect individuals to give up
slavery unless Congress abolished slavery with an amendment. Douglas won the Senate seat.
John Brown’s raid/Harpers FerryBrown 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). His aim was to seize the federal arsenal there
and start a general slave uprising.
Abraham Lincoln becomes presidentLincoln 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 ConfederacyMississippi soon followed South Carolina’s lead, as did
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. 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. The most important
difference was that it “protected and recognized” slavery
in new territories.
The Confederates then elected Jefferson Davis as president.
Attack on Fort SumterAn island in Charleston harbor. Lincoln decided to neither abandon Fort Sumter nor reinforce it. He would
merely send in “food for hungry men.” 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 GettysburgConfederate soldiers led by A. P. Hill encountered
several brigades of Union cavalry under the command of John Buford. The 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 AntietamThe 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
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. Confederate
reinforcements helped win the first Southern victory. Fortunately for the Union,
the Confederates were too exhausted to follow up their victory with an attack on
Washington. Still, Confederate morale soared.
Emancipation Proclamationhe 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.
Conscriptiona draft that forced men to serve in the army
Income Taxa tax that takes a specified percentage of an individual’s income.
Battle at VicksburgUnion general Ulysses S. Grant
fought to take Vicksburg, one of the two remaining Confederate strongholds on
the Mississippi River. Vicksburg itself was particularly important because it rested
on bluffs above the river from which guns could control all water traffic. The Confederate command of Vicksburg asked Grant for terms of surrender.
The city fell on July 4. The Union had achieved another
of its major military objectives, and the Confederacy was cut in two.
Gettysburg addressa ceremony was held to dedicate
a cemetery in Gettysburg. The speech helped the country to realize that it was not just a collection
of individual states; it was one unified nation.
Sherman’s MarchSherman 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. By mid-November he had burned most of Atlanta. After reaching the ocean,
Sherman’s forces—followed by 25,000 former slaves—turned north to help Grant
“wipe out Lee.”
Surrender at Appomattox Court HouseLee and
Grant met at a private home to arrange a Confederate surrender. At Lincoln’s
request, the terms were generous. Grant paroled Lee’s soldiers and sent them
home with their possessions and three days’ worth of rations. Officers were
permitted to keep their side arms. Within a month all remaining Confederate
resistance collapsed. After four long years, the Civil War was over.
Assassination of Abraham Lincolnthe
assassin, John Wilkes Booth—a 26-year-old actor and Southern sympathizer—
then leaped down from the presidential box to the stage and escaped. Twelve days
later, Union cavalry trapped him in a Virginia tobacco shed and shot him dead.
Thirteenth AmendmentThe 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.”