By: Matthew Perez B10
The first steam-powered machine was built by Thomas Savery in 1698. The most important improvement in steam engine design was made James Watt. Watt added a separate condenser to prevent heating and cooling the cylinder with each stroke. Soon after, he came up with a new engine that rotated a shaft instead of the traditional up-down motion of the pump and along with that, added other improvements to make a power plant. The improvement of the steam engine helped to develop railways and steamboats.
Thomas Jefferson proposed a way to include western territories into the United States, but congress feared the plan and never passed it. The Northwest Ordinance proposed that 3-5 new states should be created from the territory in the northwest. Each territory was given an appointed governor, regardless of the population count. When the population of the territory was 5000, the people were then able to elect their own assembly. When the territory reached 60,000, the people could draft a constitution and petition for full statehood. Slavery was not allowed in the territory of the Northwest Ordinance, but they provided civil liberties and public education.
The National Road was authorized to be built in 1806 by Congress during the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson. This was the first highway that was 100% built with federal funds. The National Road began to be built in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811, but took a while to end in Wheeling, Virginia due to the War of 1812. It then expanded to Vandalia, Illinois in the 1830's where it officially ended because there was a lack of funds. Settlers eagerly used the National Road to drive their wagons more and more westward.
Spain lost its hold on the Colonial Empire in South America. The colonies of Spain began to revolt and so Spain was looking forward to selling the weakened state of Florida. Americans wanted to gain Florida because it was a refuge for many Afrians who had escaped from slavery. In 1818, Andrew Jackson and 3,000 soldiers went to Florida. Spain was not looking for a fight, so in the end, John Quincy Adams made a peace treaty with Spain. This treaty made Spain give Florida to the United States in return for $5 million.
The Hudson River School was founded by Thomas Cole in 1825. The artists of the Hudson River School acquired fame due to their romantic landscape paintings that were inspired by the beautiful Hudson River Valley in New York and the Adirondack / Catskill Mountains. Their paintings played a key role in changing the Americans' view on nature. Artists of the Hudson River School included: The artists' landscapes had nature as a priority and they were said to have encouraged further westward expansion.
The American Temperance Society was formed in 1826. Many Americans disliked the idea of drinking alcoholic beverages because it caused many negative outcomes. These outcomes included ruining people's health and leading to unemployment. The main goal of this society changed from only a limited amount of alcohol consumption to absolutely no alcohol consumption. Maine was the 1st state to not allow the drinking of alcohol in 1851.
Andrew Jackson was President from March 4, 1829 to March 4, 1837. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson showed that the common man could have power in the government. His presidency marked a historical shift for the United States. Jackson was known as a "War Hero" when he defeated the British in New Orleans. Many people favored him because he was a direct representative of the common man and he was a man who would not give up without a fight.
One of Andrew Jackson's first act when he became president, was proposing the Indian Removal Act. There were two options stated in the Indian Removal Act that the Native Americans could choose from. The first option stated that the Native Americans can integrate into American society, but they would have to pay taxes and become citizens. The other option stated that the Native Americans could move West of the Mississippi River. If they did this, then they would receive 1-2 years compensation/money, land, and guns. Andrew Jackson thought that opening this new land to white settlements would provide valuable recources that could helf the United States' ecnomy. Jackson also thought that Native Americans were a threat to the United States. Jackson finally thought that this removal was the only way that the Native Americans could preserve their traditions and a separate identity.
In 1830, Georgia passed a law which said that if any white person who lived with Native Americans without a license that allowed them to do so, would be sent to jail. This happened to Samuel Worchester, who was a missionary and was sentenced to 4 years in jail. He sued for his freedom and was granted a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1832. John Marshall led the Supreme Court, freed Worchester, and said that Georgia's acts were against the United States Constitution. It was declared that individual states had no control over Native American incidents.
Anglo-Americans of Texas held a series of conventions demanding their repeal because they objected the ban on further immigration. War broke out when Mexican troops tried to take a cannon at Gonzales. Volunteers of Texas prepared for war in San Antonio. These included: Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and Lieutenant William B. Travis. Santa Anna marched a very large army to the Alamo and Goliad and killed very many Texans. This was because that the Texans were out-numbered and lacked supplies. The Texans had held up for 13 days until they eventually came to a defeat, but the Mexican army spared some Texans including Susanna Dickinson. Anglo-American Texans were inspired to declare their independence from Mexico after they found out the news of what had happened at the Alamo and Goliad.
The Texans wanted revenge after the fall of the Alamo. More volunteers joined Texan forces because Mexican troops killed hundreds of soldiers at Goliad. On April 21, 1836, The Texans, led by Sam Houston, surprised their enemies and charged into battle crying "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" at the Battle of San Jacinto. This battle only lasted 18 minutes and the Texans successfully captured Santa Anna. In order for Santa Anna to regain his freedom, he signed a treaty which recognized Texas as an independent republic.
It was the executive branch's job to enforce the ruling of the Supreme Court case. Andrew Jackson told John Marshall to enforce his decision, after he heard about the decision of the Worchester v. Georgia case. The decision was ignored and the Cherokees were forced to relocate. About 16,000 Cherokees were escorted to present-day Oklahoma in 1837, but one-fourth of them died from exposure, starvation and fevers, during this 800-mile long journey. This journey was known as the Trail of Tears.
The most important railroad line was the New York Central. The New York Central ran parallel to Erie Canal. This railroad expaned land transportation during the time that the Erie Canal expanded water transportation. The New York Central allowed goods to be transported more efficiently.
Samuel Morse received a license for a new invention known as the telegraph in 1844. The telegraph was a device for sending and stopping electrical impulses. The telegraph's signals were based on a code of dots, dashes, and spaces. This device offered a faster way of communication. The Telegraph did its first demonstration in the Supreme Court Chamber in 1844 and it made instant communication throughout the country a reality, Newspapers were able to publish next-day events, businesses thrived, the commerce and industries benefited, and gave friends/families quick way to communicate.
James K. Polk promised that he would annex Texas and obtain the Oregon Territory to its most northern point during his election campaign of 1844. Polk knew that the people had a desire for westward expansion and so he won the election. He was a Democrat and defeated Henry Clay in a close contest. President Polk declared war on Mexico and succeeded in annexing Texas. Before becoming President, James Polk was the speaker for the House of Representatives and was the Governor of Tennessee.
Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" in 1845. This autobiography talked about his life as an American slave and partially about his time after he escaped from being one. This book was important because it gave the readers insight on how a slave was treated and how he had to deal with his rough times first-hand. This autobiography encouraged abolitionists to pursue their movement toward abolishing slavery. Frederick Douglass also published 2 other important autobiographies and a newspaper directed to slaves during his lifetime. Douglass was an active abolitionist who spoke at many anti-slavery conventions and encouraged many slaves to escape to the North as mentioned in his book.
The Mexican Government prevented settlers from immigrating from Texas to the United States, as the number of Anglo-American settlers increased and they feared that they would lose control of that area in 1830. The annexation of Texas was delayed because if Texas joined, the free and slave states would become unbalanced and Mexico would probably declare war on the U.S. Finally, Congress voted to annex Texas in 1845 after becoming an Independent Republic in 1836. The United States thought that if Texas stayed independent, westward expansion would be blocked. Texas became the 28th state of the United States.
In 1820, US and Britain both claimed the Oregon Territory to own, but President Polk wanted all of Oregon to the 54 parallel. In 1846, the US signed the Treaty of Oregon, which gave the United States the part of Oregon that was under the 49th parallel. In the 1840's thousands of American pioneers went west to settle in Oregon Country along the Oregon Trail. Many people crossed the 2000-mile trail in covered wagons, but more than 20,000 people died along this dangerous trail. When they reached the Oregon territory, they completed Manifest Destiny because they finally reached the Pacific Coast.
The US-Mexican war was caused by a few things. President Polk wanted to expand the United States territory to the Pacific Ocean so he offered $30 million to Mexico for California and New Mexico. Mexico refuses the offer. Next, The United States and Mexico disagreed on what the border was. The US thought it was the Rio Grande, while Mexico thought it was the Nueces River. War is then declared when Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande. The United States had an obvious advantage and claimed New Mexico without a fight. At the Battle of Buena Vista, Zachary Taylor defeats Santa Anna, and Winfred Scott leads US troops to capture Mexico City. Finally, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed which officially ends the war.
The Mormons were founded by Joseph Smith in upstate New York in 1830. This was during the period of the "Second Great Awakening". After being driven out of multiple states due to their unique religious beliefs, Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormons, led them in covered wagons westward. Their Destination was the Great Salt Lake City in Utah, which seemed like a desereted and infertile area in the Great Basin. They found comfort in their isolation, and 125,000 Mormons lived in Utah by 1877 when Brigham Young died.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848. This treaty officially ended the US-Mexican War. This Treaty added 525,000 square miles to the United States. The United States ended up paying Mexico $15 million for the area known as the Mexican Cession. This area included present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Mexico also recognized the Rio Grande as the official southern border.
Some Women thought that the lack of equality between men and women and thought it was a very big problem that needed reform. For example, Women were not allowed to vote or to hold public office. Women reformers, therefore, began to organize themselves and fight for equality. Women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the Seneca Falls Convention in New York, 1848. The Declaration of Sentiments, which told men not to withhold a woman's rights, her property, or her right to vote, was passed by this convention.
Gold was discovered in 1848 in California just while the Us was making peace with Mexico. This gold was found in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and the word spread all around the country. In 1849, thousands and thousands of "Forty-niners" arrived in California in search of gold. Populations in cities increased and saloons were created near mining areas. This Gold rush didn't last long because mining companies took over a few years later, but California became a brand-new place for settlers traveling westward.
The United States completed its southwest expansion in 1853 with the Gadsen Purchase. The US purchased this small area of land from Mexico for $10 million thanks to James Gadsen who was the US minister to Mexico. President Franklin Pierce bought this land anxiously, as he wanted to ensure that this area went to the United States. Southerners, in the business industry, noticed that the railroad connecting the South with the West Coast would expand the trade opportunities. The area of the Gadsen Purchase was thought of to be the practical route for a railroad in the South to get to West Coast.