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Civil War

  • Missouri Compromise 1820-1821

    (President Andrew Jackson)
    Behind the leadership of Henry Clay, Congress passed a series of agreements known as the Missouri Compromise.
    (Maine - free state & Missouri - slave state)
    The rest of the Louisiana Territory was split into two parts. The dividing line was set at 36°30' north latitude.
    South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line, except in
    Missouri, slavery was banned.
  • Santa Fe Trail

    The settlers and traders who made the trek west used a series of old Native American trails as well as new routes. One of the busiest routes was the Santa Fe Trail, which 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.
  • San Felipe de Austin

    The 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 farmland or 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.” By 1830, there were more than 20,000 Americans in Texas.
  • Mexico abolishes slavery

    Despite 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.
  • The Liberator

    William Lloyd Garrison: the most radical white abolitionist editor
    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. Three out of four early subscribers to The Liberator were African Americans. published from 1831 to 1865. Its circulation never grew beyond 3,000.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion

    Some 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 jail

    Mexican politics had become increasingly unstable. Austin had
    traveled to Mexico City late in 1833 to present petitions to Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna for greater self-government for Texas. While Austin was on his way home, Santa Anna had Austin imprisoned for inciting revolution.
  • Texas Revolution

    The 1836 rebellion in which Texas gained its
    independence from Mexico. After 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.
  • Oregon Trail

    The Oregon Trail stretched from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon. It was blazed by two Methodist missionaries named Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. By driving their wagon as far as Fort Boise (near present-day Boise, Idaho), they proved that wagons could travel on the Oregon Trail.
  • Manifest Destiny

    Americans believed that their movement westward was predestined by God. The phrase “manifest destiny” expressed the belief that the United States was ordained to expand to the Pacific Ocean and into Mexican and Native American territory. Many Americans also believed that this destiny was manifest, or obvious and inevitable.
  • Texas enters the United States

    Texans hoped United States to annex their republic, but U.S. opinion divided. Southerners wanted Texas to extend slavery, which already had been established. Northerners feared that the annexation of more slave territory would tip the uneasy balance in the Senate in favor of slave states and prompt war with Mexico. James K. Polk, a slaveholder, favored the annexation of Texas. In March 1845, the Mexican government recalled its ambassador from Washington. In 1845, Texas entered the Union.
  • Mexican American War

    April 25, 1846 – February 2, 1848
    The 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.
  • The North Star

    Author: Frederick Douglass
    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

    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.
  • Harriet Tubman

    She was born a slave in Maryland in 1820 or 1821. In 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.
  • Underground Railroad

    Free African Americans and white abolitionists developed a secret escape network of people who would, at great risk to themselves, hide fugitive slaves. “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.”
  • Compromise of 1850

    Henry Clay worked to shape a compromise for both North and South. Clay’s compromise contained provisions for both Northerners and Southerners. To please the North, it 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. To placate both sides, a provision allowed popular sovereignty, the right to vote for or against slavery, for residents of the New Mexico and Utah territories.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    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. 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. Still others worked to help slaves escape from slavery.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Slavery was not just a political contest, but also a great moral struggle. Stowe had watched people being sold at slave markets. The book expressed her lifetime hatred of slavery. 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. The furor over Uncle Tom’s Cabin had barely begun to settle when the issue of slavery in the territories surfaced once again.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    To Senator Stephen Douglas, popular sovereignty seemed like an excellent way to decide whether slavery would be allowed in the Nebraska Territory. The Kansas 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.
  • Dread Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott’s slave master brought him from the slave Missouri to live in free territory and in the Illinois(free). 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. The Supreme Court ruled that African Americans were not and could never be citizens. Dred Scott had no right even to file a lawsuit and remained enslaved.
  • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debates

    Debates on the issue of slavery in the territories. Neither wanted slavery in the territories, but they disagreed on how to keep it out. Douglas believed in popular sovereignty. Lincoln believed that slavery was immoral. He did not expect individuals to give up slavery unless Congress abolished it with an amendment. Douglas won the Senate seat, but his response had widened the split in the Democratic Party. As for Lincoln, his attacks on the “vast moral evil” of slavery drew national attention.
  • John Brown's raid/Harpers Ferry

    John Brown led a band of 21 men, black and white, into Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His aim was to seize the federal arsenal there and start a general slave uprising. In the North, bells tolled, guns fired salutes, and huge crowds gathered to hear fiery speakers denounce the South. The response was equally extreme in the South, where mobs assaulted whites who were suspected of holding antislavery views.
  • Abraham Lincoln becomes president

    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 Confederacy

    South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas joined. In February 1861, delegates from the secessionist states met in Montgomery, Alabama, where they formed the Confederate States of America, or Confederacy. President: Abraham Lincoln
  • Attack on Fort Sumter

    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. News of Fort Sumter’s fall united the North.
  • Battle of Bull Run

    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.
  • Battle of Antietam

    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 Proclamation

    The 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.
  • Conscription

    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

    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.
  • Gettysburg Address

    A ceremony was held to dedicate a cemetery in Gettysburg. According to some contemporary historians, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address “remade America.” His speech helped the country to realize that it was not just a collection of individual states; it was one unified nation.
  • Battle of Vicksburg

    Union general Ulysses S. Grant fought to take Vicksburg, one of the two remaining Confederate strongholds on the Mississippi River.
    Five days later Port Hudson, Louisiana, the last Confederate holdout on the Mississippi, also fell. The Union had achieved another of its major military objectives, and the Confederacy was cut in two.
  • Battle at Gettysburg

    The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1 when Confederate soldiers led by A. P. Hill encountered several brigades of Union cavalry under the command of John Buford, an experienced officer from Illinois. 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.
  • Sherman's March

    In the spring of 1864, William Tecumseh 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. 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.”
  • Abolition

    Abolition, the movement to abolish slavery, became the most important of a series of reform movements in America.
    Forten’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.
  • Thirteenth Amendment

    The Emancipation Proclamation freed only slaves who lived in states behind Confederate lines, and not yet under Union control. After 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.”
  • Surrender at Appomattox Court House

    Southerners had abandoned the city the day before, setting it afire to keep the Northerners from taking it. 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. Grant paroled Lee’s soldiers and sent them home with their possessions and three days’ worth of rations. Within a month all remaining Confederate resistance collapsed. After four long years, the Civil War was over.
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    Five days after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Lincoln and his wife went to Ford’s Theatre. During the show's 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. 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. Twelve days later, Union cavalry trapped him in a Virginia tobacco shed.