Period 5


Election of James K. Polk


The United States presidential election of 1844 saw Democrat James Knox Polk defeat Whig Henry Clay in a close contest that turned on foreign policy, with Polk favoring the annexation of Texas and Clay opposed.During his term in office, he led the nation to war with Mexico and acquired large amounts of territory.

Mexican-American War

1846 - 1848

Conflict after US annexation of Texas; Mexico still considered Texas its own; US won and was granted all land from Texas to California (minus the Gadsden Purchase) in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Compromise of 1850


Fugitive Slave Act was enacted, slave trade was banned in DC, California was admitted as a free state, Texas territory was splitting up, and it also instated popular sovereignty in the Mexican Cession

Fugitive Slave Act


This was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850. This law stated that any slave master can recapture their run away slaves. It also required that slaves be returned no matter where they were.

Know-nothing party organized


An extreme political group seeking to keep power out of the hands of immigrants and Roman Catholics (called nativists).

Ostend Manifesto


a confidential dispatch to the U.S.State Department suggesting that the U.S. would be justified in seizing Cuba if Spain refused to sell it to the U.S.

Kansas-Nebraska Act


A compromise law in 1854 that suspended the Missouri Compromise and left it to voters in Kansas and Nebraska to determine whether they would be slave or free states (popular sovereignty). The law exacerbated sectional tensions between voters over the question of slavery in Kansas.

Republican Party Organized


It was organized in 1854 by antislavery Whigs, Democrats, and Free Soilers in response to the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act; nominated John C. Frémont for president in 1856 and Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Dred Scott Case


Dred Scott was a black slave who sued for freedom based on his long residence with his master on free soil. Supreme Court decision stated three things: Blacks were not citizens and therefore could not sue in federal courts; Because a slave is their master's property, they can be taken into any territory and held there in slavery; Congress had no power to ban slavery from the territories

Bleeding Kansas


A series of violent political confrontations in the United States between 1854 and 1861 involving anti-slavery "Free-Staters" and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian", or "southern" elements in Kansas. Came as a result of Kansas-Nebraska Act (popular sovereignty).