Unit 1 (1865-1902)

By bdunne1
  • Lincoln signs the Homestead Act of 1862

    Lincoln signs the Homestead Act of 1862
    On this date: "Legislation granting 160 acres to anyone who paid a $10 fee and pledged to live on and cultivate the land for five years. Between 1862 and 1900, nearly 600,000 families claimed homesteads under its provisions" (Brands, G-5)
  • The Civil War Ends

    The Civil War Ends
    On this date: Surrounded by Union forces, General Robert E. Lee surrenders his army to General U. S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse (Brands, 378).
  • Abraham Lincoln Assassinated!

    Abraham Lincoln Assassinated!
    On this date: "John Wilkes Booth, a pro-Confederate actor, assassinated Abraham Lincoln as the president watched a play at Ford's Theater in Washington" (Brands, 378).
  • Thirteenth Amendment Adopted

    Thirteenth Amendment Adopted
    On this date: "it prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude" (Brands, G-10)
  • Congress passes Fourteenth Amendment

    Congress passes Fourteenth Amendment
    On this date: "Ratified in 1868, it provided citizenship to ex-slaves after the Civil War and constitutionally protected equal rights under the law for all citizens. Radical Republicans used it to enact a congressional Reconstruction policy in the former Confederate states" (Brands, G-4)
  • Secretary Seward purchases Alaska

    Secretary Seward purchases Alaska
    On this date: "In 1867, he concluded a treaty with Russia to purchase Alaska (which was promplty labeled 'Seward's Folly,' partly to sandwich western Canada between American territory and lead to its annexation." (Brands, 529)
  • Fifteenth Amendment Proposed

    Fifteenth Amendment Proposed
    On this date: "It prohibits the denial or abridgment of the right to vote by the federal or state governments on the basis of race, color, or prior condition as a slave. It was intended to guarantee African Americans the right to vote in the South." (Brands, G-4)
  • Transcontinental Railroad Completed

    Transcontinental Railroad Completed
    On this date: Beginning simultaneously from Omaha and Sacramento, the two railroad lines (Union Pacific and Central Pacific) "met at Promontory, Utah...hammered in a golden spike...and the dreamed-of connection was made" (Brands, 451-452)
  • Alexander Graham Bell invents telephone

    Alexander Graham Bell invents telephone
    On this date: "Interested in the problems of the deaf, Bell experimented with ways to transmit speech electrically...On March 10, 1876, he transmitted the first sentence over a telephone: 'Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.'" (Brands 457-458)
  • Battle of Little Bighorn

    Battle of Little Bighorn
    On this date: "thinking he had a small band of Native Americans surrounded in their village on banks of the Little Bighorn River in Montana, Custer divided his column and took 265 men toward it. Instead of a small band, he had stumbled on the main Sioux camp, with 2,500 warriors" (Brands, 426)
  • Compromise of 1877

    Compromise of 1877
    On this date: "Compromise struck during the contested presidential election of 1876, in which Democrats accepted the election of Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican) in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South and the end of Reconstruction" (Brands, G-3)
  • Edison invents incadenscent light bulb

    Edison invents incadenscent light bulb
    On this date: "A trial-and-error inventor, he tested 1,600 materials before producing the carbon filament he wanted. Then he devised a complex system of conductors, meters, and generators to distribute electricity to homes and businesses" (Brands, 458)
  • James A. Garfield is Assassinated!

    James A. Garfield is Assassinated!
    On this date: "Garfield planned to leave Washington...for a New England vacation. Walking toward his train, he was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau, a deranged lawyer and disappointed office seeker. Suffering through the summer, Garfield died on September 19, 1881" (Brands, 503)
  • Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute in Alabama

    Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute in Alabama
    On this date: "Washington began Tuskegee with limited funds, four run down buildings, and only 30 students; by 1900, it was a model industrial and agricultural school" (Brands, 486)
  • Samuel Gompers founds American Federation of Labor (AFL)

    Samuel Gompers founds American Federation of Labor (AFL)
    On this date: "the AFL organized skilled workers by craft and worked for specific practical objectives, such as higher wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions. The AFL avoided politics, and while it did not expressly forbid blacks and women from joining, it used exclusionary practices to keep them out" (Brands, G-1)
  • Battle of Wounded Knee (Massacre)

    Battle of Wounded Knee (Massacre)
    On this date: "In December 1890, troopers of the Seventh Cavalry, under orders to stop the Ghost Dance religion among the Sioux, took Chief Big Foot and his followers to a camp on Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. It is uncertain who fired the first shot, but 200 Native Americans were killed" (Brands, G-12)
  • The Pullman Strike Begins

    The Pullman Strike Begins
    On this date: "Beginning in May 1894, this strike at the Pullman Palace Car Company near Chicago was one of the largest strikes in American history. Workers struck to protest wage cuts, high rents for company housing, and layoffs. The American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, joined the strike in June. Extending into 27 states and territories, it paralyzed the western half of the nation." (Brands, G-9)
  • Supreme Court decides on Plessy v. Ferguson

    Supreme Court decides on Plessy v. Ferguson
    On this date: "A Supreme Court case in 1896 that established the doctrine of 'separate but equal.'" (Brands, G-8)
  • The USS Maine explodes in Havana Harbor

    The USS Maine explodes in Havana Harbor
    On this date: "an explosion tore through the hull of the Maine, riding at anchor in Havana harbor. The ship, a trim symbol of the new steel navy, sank quickly; 266 lives were lost...soon there was a new slogan: 'Remember the Maine and to Hell with Spain!'" (Brands, 535)
  • Americans destroy Spanish fleet

    Americans destroy Spanish fleet
    On this date: "Cervera's squadron steamed down the bay and out through the harbor's narrow channel, but the waiting American fleet closed in, and in a few hours every Spanish vessel was destroyed. Two weeks later, Santiago surrendered" (Brands, 541)
  • Assassination of William McKinley

    Assassination of William McKinley
    On this date: "six months after his second inauguration, McKinley stood in a receiving line at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Leon Czolgosz, a 28-year old unemployed laborer and anarchist, moved through the line and, reaching the president, shot him...on September 14, McKinley died" (Brands, 520)
  • Philippine-American War ends

    Philippine-American War ends
    On this date: Although an American victory, the war between the Filipinos and Americans lasted three years and cost 4,300 Americans their lives. The Filipinos would not achieve their independence until the 1940s (Brands, 543-544)