Violations of Civil Liberties Timeline

  • Alien and Sedition Acts

    Alien and Sedition Acts
    These were acts passed by the Federalists majority Congress while Adams was president. They were meant to keep out foreigners because most of them were pro Jefferson. It raised the number of years of residency from five to fourteen needed to become a citizen. They also gave the President power to deport dangerous foreigners in a time of peace and imprison or deport in times of hostilities. The acts angered anti-federalists because they denied cetain constitutional rights.
  • Chesapeake Incident

    Chesapeake Incident
    In 1807 a British frigate demanded that the Chesapeake, a U.S. frigate, surrender four deserters under British impressments. The Chesapeake refused because the British had no right to board another naval vessel under the impressments. At the refusal of the Chesapeake the British opened fired at close range killing three and wounding eighteen aboard the Chesapeake. Then the British came aboard and took the four alleged deserters. This caused strong Anti-British feelings in the United States.
  • Impressments by the British

    Impressments by the British
    This was an act created by the London government to allow British ships to search any merchant ship for British citizens. If the Navy found any people, the they would immediately be enlisted in His Majesty’s navy. The British also impressed American citizens to join the Navy. From 1808 to 1811, 6,000 U.S. citizens were taken by the British and forced to join the navy.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    This act was passed by Congress in 1830. It forced thousands of Native Americans to move West of the Mississippi. One reason for this was that the United States population was growing very large and people needed land. The act also led to the Blackhawk War of 1832. This violated the Indians right to property under the Constitution.
  • Trail of Tears

    Trail of Tears
    This refers to the journey that the Five Civilized Tribes, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole needed to take to follow the Indian Removal act. They were forced to leave the Indian Territory and move west of the Mississippi River. Many Indians died on the way because of bad conditions and this gave it the name “Trail of Tears”.
  • Cherokee Nation v Georgia

    Cherokee Nation v Georgia
    This was a Supreme Court case that took place in 1831 under Chief Justice John Marshall. The Cherokees were forced off there land because gold was found there. Marshall decided that the Cherokees had a right to the land, but could not have their own nation because they needed to follow Georgia state law.
  • Lowell System

    Lowell System
    The Lowell System was the industrial textile system of New England. Under this concept, factories put women to work to weave cotton that came from the south. The women were paid extremely low wages. The women were also forced to work in horrible conditions, and were housed in low quality dormitories provided by the factory. The system overall provided poor working conditions for women in the early 1800s before a real labor movement started.
  • Texas Movement for Independence

    Texas Movement for Independence
    Thousands of Americans had migrated to Texas by 1835. Mexican government which ruled Texas did not offer the same liberties to its citizens as the United States of America. Texans were required to convert to Roman Catholicism. Texans also believed Mexico denied them of their right to property by outlawing slavery. The final straw in Texas’ movement towards independence came when the Mexican dictator eliminated local rights and began raising an army to suppress angry Texans.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    This act was part of the Compromise of 1850. It made stricter enforcement for runaway slaves who entered the North. It made all fugitive slave cases under federal jurisdiction. It also made the only evidence required to extradite a fugitive slave a written affidavit from their master. This caused all accused of being a fugitive slave the denial of trial. This act outraged the North mostly because it forced them to participate in the slavery system.
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    The bleeding of Kansas happened when John Brown led a small army to attack people who were thought to be pro slavery. They butchered the men because they were thought to be pro slavery. This is thought to be the Lexington or Concord event in the Civil War. The event occurred from many factors, but it was the result of the constant separation of the North and South.
  • Dred Scott Case

    Dred Scott Case
    Scott was a slave who for a period lived in Missouri. Scott later moved with his owner to the Wisconsin territory, which at the time banned slavery. He and his owner then moved back the Missouri where he sued for his freedom. He claimed that since he was brought to a free territory he should be free. Missouri found that he should not be freed and the case was repealed to the Supreme Court, which found the same verdict. Scott was not considered a citizen, but property and denied rights.
  • John Brown and Harper’s Ferry

    John Brown and Harper’s Ferry
    John Brown was a radical abolitionist. One of his many actions against slavery took place in Harper’s Ferry West Virginia. Brown’s plan was to raid the federal arsenal there to cause a slave uprising. He and other abolitionists conducted the raid, but no slaves joined them as they hoped. Several men on both sides died during the incident. At Brown’s court case it was debated whether or not he was insane. Brown was later hanged for the raid.
  • Lincoln Suspends Habeas Corpus

    Lincoln Suspends Habeas Corpus
    During the Civil War riots broke out in Maryland. Lincoln suspened habeas corpus, the right to not have unlawful imprisonment, and declared martial law in Maryland and Southern Indiana. Lincoln did not want to lose Maryland because Washington D.C. would have been surrounded by the enemy. The alternative, which was proposed by Winfield Scott, was to bombard Maryland. Although Lincoln withheld part of the Bill of Rights from citizens, the alternative was much worse.
  • Martial Law in Kentucky

    Martial Law in Kentucky
    During the Civil War, President Lincoln expanded the power of the executive branch in an unprecedented manner. He instituted new acts that no president had consulted before. He declared martial law in some areas of Kentucky to stop dissenters from voicing their discontent. Lincoln took many efforts to suppress rebel critics. The United States Army also intimidated voters during the Civil War. These were minor setbacks in Lincoln’s legendary presidency.
  • Black Codes

    Black Codes
    Blacks Codes were mostly in the South from 1830 even to 1968. The Codes limited rights for blacks, even ones that were free. Many public places were segregated and blacks were discouraged from doing certain things, such as voting. Blacks also recieved different treatment with store credit and tenent farming. Among others things, the black codes were a way to keep blacks from rightfully being free.
  • Klu Klux Klan Founded

    Klu Klux Klan Founded
    The “Invisible Empire of the South” was created in Tennessee by Southerners who were angry about increasing rights and representation for African-Americans. The group used violent tactics to scare, intimidate, and deter blacks from voting. Concealed by white cloaks, the KKK murdered, tortured, and threatened blacks. The atrocities “kept blacks in their place” for nearly a century. Congress tried to prevent these from happening but the group had spread in America and the damage was already done.
  • Jim Crow Laws

    Jim Crow Laws
    Jim Crow laws allowed for the segregation of African-Americans through separate public facilities for blacks and whites. These included train cars, bathrooms, and schools. These laws also prevented blacks from voting. The Supreme Court case "Plessey v. Ferguson" influenced these laws by ruling that distinct facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional if they were "separate but equal." However, the facilities for blacks were almost always of worse quality than those for whites.
  • Nez Pearcé Indian War

    Nez Pearcé Indian War
    Gold discoveries on Nez Pearcé lands prompted the United States’ government to significantly shrink their peoples’ territory. The Indians tried to escape to Canada but failed. They surrendered and were sent to a reservation in Kansas. Forty percent of the Nez Pearcé Indians died while walking from their lands in Idaho to the Kansas reservations. This and other similar harsh acts done by the United States' government to the Indians during this time crushed their spirits.
  • Compromise of 1877

    Compromise of 1877
    The compromise was an unofficial deal between the states that stayed loyal to the Union and former Confederate states. Rutherford B. Hayes, Republican, was named president over Samuel Tilden. In return Hayes needed to remove Union troops from former Confederate states, appoint at least one democratic cabinent member, improve the railroads in the South, and pass legislation to industrialize the south. This ended reconstruction and therefore allowed blacks to be treated as second class citizens.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act

    Chinese Exclusion Act
    Working Americans in the Gilded Age disliked the Chinese because they kept wages low and competed for jobs. In San Francisco, discontented “Kearnyites” terrorized the Chinese immigrants. Congress responded to this uproar in 1879 by passing a bill restricting the immigration of Chinese immigrants. However, Hayes vetoed this bill. After Hayes left office, congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. This policy prohibited Chinese people from coming to the United States unless they were students.
  • Civil Rights Cases

    Civil Rights Cases
    The Supreme Court's ruling of the Civil Rights Cases declared that much of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which provided for equality of blacks was unconstitutional. The court proclaimed that citizens were only protected by government violations of civil rights, and not violations of civil rights by individuals. This allows for the discrimination of targeted groups such as African Americans.
  • Federal Government Outlaws Indian Sun Dance

    Federal Government Outlaws Indian Sun Dance
    Whites tried to convince Indians to assimilate to white society. Whites occaisionally did so via force and even cut off Indians' food supply on reservations. These Indian culture reformers teamed up with the military in 1884 and persuaded the federal government to outlaw the Indians' cultural "Sun Dance."
  • The Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee

    The Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee
    Native Americans throughout the west took part in the "Ghost Dance" in attempt to raise their dreary spirits. The federal government became anxious over the Indian idea in the dance to rid their ancestral lands of the white men. Federal troops stamped the dance out at the Battle of Wounded Knee where they massacred unarmed Sioux Indians. This was the final armed conflict between the whites and the Indians.
  • Cuban Revolt

    Cuban Revolt
    Cubans rose against their Spanish government due to oppression and economic problems. The Cubans endured brutal treatment by their government. Spanish General “Butcher” Weyler attempted to crush the rebellion by herding civilians into reconcentration camps. The conditions in such camps were horrid and victims “died like dogs” in the unsanitary cages where they were kept. The yellow journalism used in exploiting these acts influenced the start of the Spanish American War.
  • Philippine American War

    Philippine American War
    The Filipinos revolted against America out of frustration because they (unlike the Cubans) were not granted freedom when the Spanish American war ended. They fought a prolonged three year war lead by Emilio Aguinaldo. The United States military used brutal tactics in the war such as reconcentration camps and “water cure” torture. The irony of this situation is that America was trying to liberate the Filipinos but the government actually oppressed them.
  • Espionage Act

    Espionage Act
    The Espionage Act illustrates America’s fears of Germans and antiwar Americans. The act prohibited the support of America’s enemies, interference with the draft, and the promotion or act of interfering with American military operations. The government used this act to attempt to quiet the people who had annoyed the American government. Among these groups were Socialist and IWW leaders. The Supreme Court Case Schenck v U.S. upheld this act. The United States repealed the act on March 3, 1921.
  • Picketing Women Suffragists Arrested In Front of White House

    Picketing Women Suffragists Arrested In Front of White House
    Women’s suffragists picketed outside the White House in attempt to influence the passing of a Constitutional Amendment for women’s suffrage. These women were part of the National Women’s Party. In attempt to stop this insubordination, the government arrested the women for obstructing traffic. These and many other protesting women were wrongly convicted and sentenced to jail terms at Occoquan work house. The publicity of this helped pass the Amendment for women’s suffrage.
  • Sedition Act

    Sedition Act
    The United States enacted the Sedition Act during World War One to suppress people who spoke out against America. The law prohibits people from speaking out against the American flag, military, or government. The Sedition Act also allowed the Postmaster General to refuse delivering mail which violated the act. Around 1900 prosecutions took place under this act and the Espionage Act of 1917. The United States’ government repealed this act on December 13, 1920.
  • Schenck v United States of America

    Schenck v United States of America
    Charles Schenck was a prominent socialist during World War One and was arrested for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Schenck appealed to the Supreme Court because the arrest violated his first amendment rights. This resulted in the case Schenck v the United States. Supreme Court justice Holmes delivered the unanimous decision that freedom of speech was not protected when it posed “clear and present danger.” This case upheld the Espionage Act of 1917.
  • Emergency Quota Act of 1921

    Emergency Quota Act of 1921
    The Emergency Quota Act restricted the immigration of some European countries to three percent of the people of that nationality who had been living in America in 1910. The act was targeted at the poor European Immigrants who were flooding into the United States. This unjustly prohibited immigrants from moving to the United States. The act illustrates the isolationist sentiment of the 1920s.
  • Sacco Vanzetti Case

    Sacco Vanzetti Case
    On April 15, 1920, two men committed armed robbery in Braintree, Massachusetts. Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were suspects. These men were draft dodgers, anarchists, and poor English speakers. The judge and jury were prejudiced against the defendants. They had a clear disadvantage and were convicted and sentenced to death. Sacco stated the case was about separation of the classes. The case shows the prejudice against and fear of minority groups such as anarchists during the 1920s.
  • Immigration Act of 1924

    Immigration Act of 1924
    The Immigration Act of 1924 replaced the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and set the quota of European immigrants to two percent of the population of the nationality in the U.S. in 1890. This allowed few Southern European immigrants to come to the U.S. because Southern Europeans had not immigrated to America before 1890. The Act also prohibited all Japanese immigration to the United States except for students. The act marks the nativist sentiment of the 1920s and the end of unrestricted immigration.
  • Japanese invade Manchuria/"Rape of Nanking"

    Japanese invade Manchuria/"Rape of Nanking"
    The Second Sino-Japanese War started when Japan invaded the Chinese territory Manchuria. The Japanese were brutal to civilians during the war. The most notorious acts of brutality by the Japanese are known as the “Rape of Nanking.” Over a period of six weeks after the Japanese captured the city, they ransacked it and committed uncountable acts against civil liberties. An estimated 200,000 civilians and unarmed soldiers were killed. The event stirred up controversy about Japan in the U.S.
  • Smith Act

    Smith Act
    The Smith Act prohibited people from advocating the overthrow of the government. The act violated first Amendment rights to the freedom of speech, press, and right to petition. It reflected the growing fear of communism and was upheld in the case Dennis v U.S. on the basis that freedom of speech was not protected if it advocated overthrowing the government. The act is ironic because America was built upon the principle that the government functions with the consent of the governed.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    The Japanese abruptly ended diplomatic relations with the United States and surprised attacked Pearl Harbor immediately after. The Japanese bombed the unprepared military base, inflicting around three thousand casualties and sinking eight battleships and immobilizing all others. Luckily, the three aircraft carriers were unharmed at sea. The attack infuriated the American public and pushed the United States into World War Two. President Roosevelt marked it as “a day that will live in infamy.”
  • Japanese internment

    Japanese internment
    The fear of a Japanese attack became prominent after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Executive order 9066 was issued. To stop the threat of Japanese espionage, many areas of the Western United States called for all Japanese Americans to be relocated to camps, 120,000 in total. Basic constitutional rights such as liberty were denied. In 1989, President Ronald Reagan formally apologized four decades later and gave reparations of $20,000 to every surviving victim.
  • Bataan Death March

    Bataan Death March
    In the battle on the Philippines 75,000 troops of Americans and Filipinos surrendered on April 9, 1942. The prisoners were forced to march 61 miles. Many prisoners died from dehydration or mistreatment. An estimated 20,000 people died on the march. They were transported onto cramped train cars where thousands more died. This treatment of prisoners was so disturbing that Japanese officers were tried for war crimes, and several were executed.
  • Zoot Suit Riots

    Zoot Suit Riots
    During World War Two, white United States Marines and sailors assaulted “Zoot-Suit” Mexican Americans. The Zoot-Suit Riots erupted in California and other south-west states. The white Americans justified their assaults as self defense. The tensions were created because Mexicans competed for jobs with Americans during the depression and kept wages low. White police and military servicemen injured and arrested hundreds of Mexican Americans.
  • Race Riots (World War Two)

    Race Riots (World War Two)
    Sparked by the Zoot-Suit Riots, race riots broke out throughout the United States. Tensions between blacks and whites escalated to the tipping point in the summer of 1943. Riots broke out in cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New York due to tensions about jobs and housing. Federal troops were needed to stop some of the riots which resulted in around 1800 arrests. The riots illustrate the growing tensions between African and white Americans.
  • Korematsu v US

    Korematsu v US
    Fred Korematsu was a Japanese American born citizen. To try to avoid Japanese interment, he moved to a nearby town, changed his name, had facial surgery, and claimed to be Mexican. He was discovered and arrested for violating Exclusion Order No. 34. Korematsu showed no disloyalty to the U.S. prior to his arrest. He appealed his arrest to the Supreme Court, but it was upheld. The court ruled that the internment was not discriminating against Japanese; it was protecting the U.S. from its enemy.
  • House Un-American Activities Committee

    House Un-American Activities Committee
    HUAC was a committee of congress that investigated espionage, subversion, and propaganda that attacked the U.S. government. It held grueling hearings to persecute suspected communists who may have posed threats to the government. People who were either persecuted or silent became blacklisted and jobless. Among the persecuted individuals were the Hollywood 10, the Rosenberg spies, and Alger Hiss. The committee illustrates the fear of communists during the Red Scare.
  • Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    The United States dropped the first atomic bomb used in war on Hiroshima, Japan. Dubbed “Little Boy,” the bomb killed over 160,000 people. On August 9, 1945 another atomic bombed called “Fat Man” was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. This bomb killed around 80,000. The bombs caused massive destruction of both cities. The devastation and radiation of the bombs were felt for years after the bombing. The U.S. justified the dropping of the bombs to save millions of lives in a land invasion.
  • Federal Employee Royalty Committee

    Federal Employee Royalty Committee
    The federal employee loyalty program was signed by president Truman to try and find communist in the government and stop potential communists from infiltrating it. Like most programs in the Red Scare it went to far and accused many of being communist. 300 hundred even lost their jobs because the government believed they were communist. This program led to false accusations and the background checks were so extensive that they invaded privacy.
  • CIA Espionage

    CIA Espionage
    Since its creation in 1947 the CIA it has planned or participated in many secret activities. In some cases it has gone too far and invaded the privacy of Americans and done illegal activities for the president and his cabinet without public knowledge. Nixon used ex-CIA agents to break into the Watergate complex and the Reagan administration used the CIA to illegally sell weapons to the Iranians to fund Nicaraguan rebels. It has also spied on domestic U.S. citizens and invaded their privacy.
  • McCarthyism

    Senator Joseph McCarthy enacted McCarthyism by accusing Americans of disloyalty, espionage, communism, and treason with scarce evidence. McCarthyism was widespread during the second Red Scare and emblematic of the communist fear. The government accused alleged communists who may have threatened America’s government. The epidemic resulted in many unfairly convicted “communists” and fell apart when McCarthy attacked military officers with little evidence.
  • McCarran Internal Security Act

    McCarran Internal Security Act
    The act established a board to investigate subversive activities in America, required communist organizations to register with the government, and gave the president gained the power to deport dangerous or disloyal people in a time of danger. The act severely violated first amendment rights and illustrated the ideas in the red scare. President Truman vetoed the bill because it gave the president too much power but congress overrode the veto and passed the act.
  • Kent State and Jackson State Shootings

    Kent State and Jackson State Shootings
    Many Americans were against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. College students especially, voiced their opinions in protest. In two cases at Kent State and Jackson State College law enforcement opened fire at the unarmed protestors. In the Kent State massacre nine were injured and four killed. 10 days after at Jackson State 12 were injured and two were killed. These flagrant disregards for human life caused 6 deaths and the students’ liberties were violated by the excessive use of force.
  • Watergate Scandal

    Watergate Scandal
    Running for his second term, Richard Nixon sent some of his CREEP members to break into the DNC headquarters in the Watergate office complex. The men were arrested and linked to Nixon. Instead of being truthful Nixon lied to the American people and denied any involvement. In behind the scenes cover-ups Nixon and his advisors tried to stop the investigation and pay people off. Nixon took advantage of power and lied to America.