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Civil War

  • Missouri Compromise 1820-1821 (James Monroe)

    In 1818 settlers in Missouri requested admission to the Union, and northerners and southerners disagreed. Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state.
  • San Felipe de Austin (David G. Burnet)

    Stephen obtained permission, first from Spain and then from Mexico after it had won its independence, to carry out his father’s project. Austin’s father, Moses Austin, had received a land grant from Spain to establish a colony between the Brazos and Colorado rivers but died. In 1821 he established a colony where “no drunkard, no gambler, no profane swearer, and no idler” would be allowed.
  • Mexico abolished slavery

    The overwhelmingly Protestant Anglo settlers spoke English instead of Spanish. 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. Meanwhile, Mexican politics had become increasingly unstable.
  • The Liberator (Andrew Jackson)

    The Liberator, to deliver an uncompromising demand: immediate emancipation. The 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. Garrison enjoyed widespread black support; three out of four early subscribers to The Liberator were African Americans.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion (Andrew Jackson)

    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. The Turner rebellion frightened and outraged slaveholders.
  • Stephen F. Austin goes to jail (Andrew Jackson)

    He have suffered a long persecution and imprisonment. Texas needs peace, and a local government; its inhabitants are farmers, and they need a calm and quiet life. [But] my efforts to serve Texas involved me in the labyrinth of Mexican politics.
  • Oregon Trail

    The Oregon Trail stretched from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon. It was blazed in 1836 by two. By driving their wagon as far as Fort Boise, they proved that wagons could travel on the Oregon Trail. The Whitmans’ lead, many pioneers migrated
    west on the Oregon Trail. Some bought wooden-wheeled wagons covered with sailcloth. Most walked, however, pushing handcarts loaded with a few possessions, food, and other supplies. The trip took months, even if all went well.
  • Texas Revolution (Andrew Jackson)

    The 1836 rebellion in which Texas gained its independence from Mexico.
  • Manifest Destiny (James K. Polk)

    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.
  • Texas enters the United States (James K. Polk)

    In March 1845, angered by U.S.-Texas negotiation on annexation, the Mexican government recalled its ambassador from Washington. On December 29, 1845, Texas entered the Union. Events moved quickly toward war.
  • Mexican-American War (James K. Polk)

    Causes of the Mexican-American War. Texas 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 North Star (James K. Polk)

    One of those eager readers was Frederick Douglass, who escaped from bondage to become an eloquent and outspoken critic of slavery. 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 (James K. Polk)

    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. Along with the settlement of the Oregon boundary and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Gadsden Purchase established the current borders of the contiguous 48 states.
  • Underground Railroad (Zachary Taylor)

    Harriet Tubman, 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. Attempting to escape from slavery was a dangerous process. It meant traveling on foot at night without any sense of distance or direction, except for the North Star and other natural signs. It meant avoiding patrols of armed men on horseback and struggling through forests and across rivers. Often it meant going without food for days at a time.
  • Harriet Tubman (Zachary Taylor)

    One of the most famous conductors was Harriet Tubman, 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.
  • Fugitive Slave Act (Henry Clay)

    The 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.
  • Compromise of 1850 (Henry Clay)

    As the 31st Congress opened in December 1849, the question of statehood for California topped the agenda. Clay’s compromise contained provisions to appease Northerners as well as Southerners. 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. , the Compromise of 1850 became law.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin (Millard Fillmore)

    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. Uncle Tom’s Cabin 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.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act (Franklin Pierce)

    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. The Republicans were united in opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act and in keeping slavery out of the territories.
  • Dread Scott v. Sandford (James Buchanan)

    A major Supreme Court decision was brought about by Dred Scott, a slave whose owner took him from the slave state of Missouri to free territory in Illinois and Wisconsin and back to Missouri. The case was in court for years. Finally, on March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott. According to the ruling, Scott lacked any legal standing to sue in federal court because he was not, and never could be, a citizen.
  • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debates (James Buchanan)

    Several months after the Dred Scott decision, one of Illinois’s greatest political contests got underway: the 1858 race for the U.S. Senate between Democratic incumbent Stephen Douglas and Republican challenger Congressman Abraham Lincoln. Douglas believed deeply in popular sovereignty. Lincoln, on the other hand, believed that slavery was immoral. Douglas won the Senate seat, but his response had widened the split in the Democratic Party.
  • John Brown's raid/Harpers Ferry (James Buchanan)

    While politicians debated the slavery issue, the abolitionist John Brown was studying the slave uprisings that had occurred in ancient Rome and, the French island of Haiti. He believed that the time was ripe for similar uprisings in the U.S. Brown secretly obtained financial backing from several prominent Northern abolitionists. On the night of October 16, 1859, he led a band of 21, into Harpers Ferry. His aim was to seize the federal arsenal there and start a general slave uprising.
  • Santa Fe Trail (William Becknell)

    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.
  • Abraham Lincoln becomes president

    As 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. Vice-President John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. John Bell of Tennessee
  • Formation of the Confederacy (James Buchanan)

    Mississippi soon followed South Carolina’s lead, as did Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. In 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.
  • Attack on Fort Sumter (James Buchanan)

    Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until the quarters were entirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire. The most important was Fort Sumter, on an 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 of Bull Run (James Buchanan)

    The first bloodshed on the battlefield occurred about three months
    after Fort Sumter fell, near the little creek of Bull Run. Lincoln responded to the defeat at Bull Run by stepping up enlistments. He also appointed General George McClellan to lead the Union forces encamped near Washington. While McClellan drilled his troops, the
    Union forces in the west began the fight for control of the Mississippi River.
  • Battle at Antietam (Abraham Lincoln)

    McClellan ordered his men to pursue Lee, and the two sides fought on September 17 near a creek called the Antietam (Bn-tCPtEm). The clash proved to be the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with casualties totaling more than 26,000. As a result, Lincoln removed him from command
  • Emancipation Proclamation (Abraham Lincoln)

    On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The following portion captured national attention. “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within these said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
  • Abolition (Abraham Lincoln)

    Abolition, the movement to abolish slavery, became the most important of a series of reform movements in America. The movement to free African Americans from slavery had taken hold. Other abolitionists, however, demanded that African Americans remain in the United States as free citizens.
  • Income Tax (Woodrow Wilson)

    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.
  • Conscription (Woodrow Wilson)

    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.
  • Battle at Gettysburg (Lyndon B. Johnson)

    In southern Pennsylvania, the most decisive battle of the war was fought. 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.