Civil War

  • Fugitve Slave Act

    The Fugitive Slave Acts were a pair of laws that allowed for the capture and return of runaway slaves within the United States. Enacted by Congress in 1793, the first Fugitive Slave Act authorized local governments to seize and return escaped slaves to their owners and imposed penalties on anyone who aided in their flight. The Fugitive Slave Acts were among the most controversial laws of the early 19th century.
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    The Missouri Compromise

    settlers in Missouri requested admission to the Union but Northerners & Southerners disagreed on Missouri being admitted as a state. Under leadership of Henry Clay, Congress passed agreements known as the Missouri Compromise. Under this, Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri, a slave state. The rest of the Louisiana Territory was split in 2. The dividing line was set at 36°30´ north latitude. South of the line slavery was legal. North of the line, except Missouri, slavery was banned.
  • San Felipe De Austin

    Many Americans tried to buy cheap land in Texas so the population of English-speaking settlers from the United States exceeded the population of Mexican settlers. Among these settlers was Stephen Austin. Austin’s father had received a land grant to establish a colony between the Brazos & Colorado rivers but died, having Stephen obtaining permission first from Spain and then from Mexico after it had won independence, to carry out his father’s project. He later established San Felipe de Austin.
  • Santa Fe Trail

    The Santa Fe Trail essentially was America’s first highway. Traders established the trail—connecting Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico, covering over 900 miles of the Great Plains—in 1821. Before its end due to the Santa Fe railroad, the Santa Fe Trail served as a roadway for many traders, pioneers & The American military, playing a crucial role in America’s westward expansion.
  • Mexico abolishes slavery

    Despite the peaceful cooperation between the Anglos and
    Tejanos, clashing opinions over culture issues intensified between The Anglos & the Mexican government. With many of the settlers were Southerners, bringing slaves with them to Texas. Mexico, which had abolished slavery in 1829, to no purpose insisted that the Texans free their slaves.
  • Nat Turner's rebellion

    Some slaves rebelled against bondage. One of the most prominent rebellions was led by Virginia slave Nat Turner. In August 1831, Turner & 50 or so followers attacked 4 plantations and killed about 60 whites. Whites eventually captured and executed many members of the group, including Turner himself.
  • The Liberator

    The most radical white abolitionist was a young editor named William Lloyd Garrison. Active in religious reform movements in Massachusetts, later he established his own paper, The Liberator, to deliver an uncompromising demand: emancipation. Whites who opposed abolition hated Garrison however Garrison enjoyed widespread black support; three out of four early subscribers to The Liberator were African American.
  • Underground Railroad

    The Underground Railroad was a network of people offering shelter and aid to escaped slaves from the South. It developed as a convergence of several different clandestine efforts. It operated from the late 18th century to the Civil War, at which point its efforts continued to undermine the Confederacy in a less-secretive fashion.
  • Stephen F Austin goes to jail

    A group of colonial leaders met to draft a constitution that would create a new state of Texas by splitting away from the Coahuila region. The colonists hoped that by decreasing the influence of Mexicans, they could argue for western reforms. Once they had created a new constitution, the colonial leaders had Austin travel to Mexico City to present it to the government. President Santa Ana refused to grant Texas separate status and threw Austin in prison due to suspicion of inciting insurrection.
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    Texas Revolution

    also called the War of Texas Independence, The Texas Revolution lasted from October 1835 to April 1836 between Mexico and Texas colonists,resulting in Texas’s independence from Mexico and the founding of the Republic of Texas.
  • The Oregon Trail

    The Oregon Trail stretched from Missouri to Oregon. It was created in 1836 by 2 Methodist preachers named Marcus & Narcissa
    Whitman. By driving their wagon to Fort Boise (near
    what is now Boise, Idaho), they proved that wagons could
    travel along the Oregon Trail
  • Manifest Destiny

    Manifest Destiny is a phrase coined in 1845 that expressed the philosophy that drove 19th-century U.S. expansion. Manifest Destiny held that the United States was destined by God to expand and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.
  • Texas enters the United States

    After gaining independence from Spain, Mexico welcomed foreign settlers to Texas including a large group of Americans led by Stephen F. Austin settling along the Brazos River. The Americans soon outnumbered the mexican residents, and by the 1830s attempts by the Mexican government to regulate these semi-autonomous American communities led to rebellion. In March 1836, in the midst of armed conflict with the Mexican government, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.
  • Mexican-American War

    in April 1846, Mexican cavalry attacked a group of U.S. soldiers in the disputed zone under the command of General Zachary Taylor, killing about a dozen. They then surrounded an American fort along the Rio Grande. Taylor, with the help of superior rifles and artillery, was able to defeat the Mexicans at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Two days later on May 13, Congress declared war.
  • The North Star

    Hoping that abolition could be achieved without violence, 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 Hidalgo

    After about a year of fighting, Mexico conceded defeat. On 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. 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 1850

    As the 31st Congress opened in 1849, the question of statehood for California topped the agenda along with border disputes where Texas claimed the eastern half of the New Mexico Territory when the issue of slavery hasn't been settled. Threats of Southern secession became more frequent so again, Clay worked on a compromise that the North & South could accept. After obtaining Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster's support, Clay presented a series of resolutions called the Compromise of 1850.
  • Harriet Tubman

    Also a nurse, a Union spy and a women’s suffrage supporter, Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading slaves to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a novel which showed the severe reality of slavery and is essentially regarded as one of the major causes of the Civil War. The novel was written in 1852 by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe, a teacher at the Hartford Female Academy and a dedicated abolitionist, who was once greeted by Abraham Lincoln as the ‘little lady who started a war.’
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a bill that mandated “popular sovereignty”–allowing settlers of a territory to decide whether slavery would be allowed within a new state’s borders. Proposed by Stephen A. Douglas, the bill overturned the Missouri Compromise’s use of latitude as the boundary between slave and free territory. The conflicts that arose between pro & anti-slavery settlers in the aftermath of the act’s passage led to the period of violence known as Bleeding Kansas,
  • Dread Scott vs Sandford

    Dread Scott vs Sandford was a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that the Constitution was not meant to include citizenship for blacks, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and therefore the rights and privileges americans confer upon don't apply to them. The decision was made in case of Dred Scott, an enslaved black man whose owners had taken him from Missouri, a slave state, into Missouri Territory, most of which had been free by the Missouri Compromise.
  • LIncoln-Douglas debates

    The turmoil in Kansas, combined with the furor over the Dred Scott decision, provided the background for the 1858 senatorial contest in Illinois between Democratic senator Stephen Douglas and Republican hopeful Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and Douglas engaged in seven debates throughout Illinois before huge crowds. Newspapers throughout the United States published their speeches. Whereas Douglas already enjoyed national recognition, Lincoln remained largely unknown before the debates.
  • John Brown Raid

    Abolitionist John Brown lead a small group on a raid against a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an attempt to start an armed slave revolt and destroy the institution of slavery.
  • Lincoln becomes President

    Abraham Lincoln is elected 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency. Lincoln received only 40% of the popular vote but easily defeated the three other candidates: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator for Illinois.
  • Attack on Fort Sumter

    When a ship called the Star of the West arrived in Charleston with over 200 U.S. troops and supplies intended for Fort Sumter. South Carolina militia batteries fired upon the vessel as it neared Charleston Harbor, forcing it to turn back to sea. Major Anderson ignored repeated calls to abandon Fort Sumter, & by March 1861 there were over 3,000 militia troops besieging his garrison.
  • Formation of the Confederacy

    The Confederate States of America was a collection of 11 states that seceded from the United States in 1860 following the election of President Lincoln. Led by Jefferson Davis and existing from 1861 to 1865, the Confederacy struggled for legitimacy and was never recognized as a sovereign nation. After suffering a crushing defeat in the Civil War, the Confederate States of America ceased to exist.
  • Battle at Antietam

    The Battle of Antietam occured September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland. It pitted Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia against Union General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac and was the stem of Lee’s attempt to invade the north. The battle’s outcome would be vital to shaping America’s future, and it remains the deadliest 1-day battle in American military history.
  • Battle of Bull Run

    Union and Confederate armies clashed in Virginia in the first major battle of the American Civil War known as the Battle of Bull Run, it began when 35,000 Union troops marched from the Washington, D.C. to strike a Confederate force of 20,000 along Bull Run. After fighting on the defensive, the rebels rallied and were able to break the Unions right flank, sending Federals into a chaotic retreat towards Washington. The Confederate victory gave the South confidence and shocked the North.
  • Conscription

    The 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 tax

    Overall, the war’s effect on the economy of the North was positive. The economic boom had a dark side, however. Wages did not keep up with prices, and many people’s standard of living declined. When workers went out on strike, employees hired free blacks, immigrants, and women to replace them for lower wages. 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 Gettysburg

    The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the most important engagement of the American Civil War. At the cost of thousands of rebel casualties, Lee was forced to withdraw his battered army toward Virginia on July 4. the battle was a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. Union casualties in the battle numbered 23,000, while the Confederates had lost some 28,000 men–more than a third of Lee’s army. The North rejoiced while the South mourned, hopes for foreign recognition of the Confederacy erased.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    by 1862, Lincoln was convinced that abolition had become a sound military strategy, as well as the morally correct path. On September 22, he issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” While the Emancipation Proclamation didn't free a single slave, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve a nation into a battle for human freedom.
  • Gettysburg Address

    President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the National Cemetery of Gettysburg on site of one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the Civil War, The address would be remembered as one of the most important speeches in US history. He invoked principles of human equality contained in the Declaration of Independence and connected sacrifices of the War with the desire for “new birth of freedom,” as well as the
    preservation of the Union & its ideal of self-government.
  • Battle at VIcksburg

    During the American Civil War, Union forces waged a campaign to take the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi, which lay on the east bank of the Mississippi River, halfway between Memphis to the north and New Orleans to the south. The Battle at Vicksburg divided the Confederacy and proved the military genius of Union General Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85).
  • Sherman's march

    From November 'til December, 1864, Union General Sherman led 60,000 soldiers on a 285-mile march from Atlanta to Savannah. The purpose of Sherman’s March to the Sea was to frighten Georgia’s civilian population into abandoning the Confederate cause. Sherman’s soldiers did not destroy any of the towns in their path, but they stole food and livestock and burned the houses and barns of people who tried to fight back.
  • Thirteenth Amendment

    The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery in the United States. The 13th Amendment states: “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, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    On the evening of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War.
  • Surrender at Appomatox court house

    Lee asked for the terms of surrender, and Grant hurriedly wrote them out. Generously, all officers and men were to be pardoned, and they would be sent home with their private property. Grant told his officers, “The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again.” Although resistance continued for several weeks—the final skirmish of the Civil War occurred on May 12 and 13 at the Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas—for all practical purposes the Civil War had come to an end.