In 1585 sir Walter Raleigh brought a fleet of five ships and 100 colonists(mostly military men or Raleigh's personal servants) to Roanoke island. It was partly to help in raids on spanish shipping. However they abandoned the confiscation attempt after a year. Later that same year colonists consisting of families were sent. However they disappeared and their what happened to them is unknown.



This was the first permanent English settlement in the new world. The voyage here was sponsored by the Virginia company. Because the goal of the voyage wasn't to stay and was to exploit the lands rare minerals and leave, most of the colonists were men such as indentured servants and second or third sons looking to make money. However, the new world lacked rare minerals and the colonists barely survived because Jamestown had a lack of freshwater and the good land was taken by natives. John smith was one of the first leaders and helped negotiate trade with the natives, allowing some colonists to survive the harsh winter.

House of Burgesses


they first convened in 1618 and was end first elected assembly in conical America. However, only landowners could vote and the appointed governor could nullify any decisions made by the landowners.

Great Migration

1630 - 1640

In the 1630s thousands of English settlers came to the new world. These settlers established the basis for a new stable and thriving society. Some of the people that made up the settlers were merchants, second or third sons, and indentured servants. People came to the new world for plots of land, economic betterment, and religious freedom. The settlers who migrated during the great migration to new england tended to be more prosperous than the settlers in Virginia or Maryland because more families came and as a result the sex ratio was more balanced. In addition the settlers in New England came looking for a permanent place to live while the settlers in places such as Jamestown had originally come mainly to look for precious metals. The number of settlers coming over started to slow down by the 1640s. what led to the high numbers of migrants?

Pequot War


Initially the natives in New England wanted to ally with the settlers but as the settlers towns and population grew, conflict was impossible to avoid. In addition, the news of the massacre of Jamestown in 1622 had spread and gave Native Americans a bad reputation with the settlers. In 1637 a fur trader was killed by the Pequots. In retaliation the settlers lit the main Pequot village on fire and killed anyone who tried to escape. This attack wiped out most of the Pequot and scared other natives in that area because the Pequot tribe had been one of the more powerful tribes in the area. The puritans justified this attack by saying they were wiping out savages for the lord.


1650 - 1776

In the mid seventeenth century, mercantilism became England's new economic policy because England felt that they should benefit from the rest of the English empire. It is a theory that the government should control economic activity in ways that would benefit the nation's power. Especially important, was making sure that exports exceeded imports so that money would flow into the country and not out. Colonies served well in keeping the money flowing into the mother country because raw materials and manufactured goods could be more cheaply acquired from the colonies than from foreign countries.

halfway covenant


King Phillip's War


This was the bloodiest war in southern New England. It was led by the Wampanoag leader Metacom, also known as King Phillip to the colonists, in 1675. Several Native American tribes allied under Metacom and attacked New England towns because the colonists were encroaching on Native American land. However, by this time the number of settlers far outnumbered the Native Americans and the settlers also had the Iroquois tribe on their side. In the middle of 1676, the colonists and Iroquois devastated the rebels and the survivors from the Native American alliance fled to Canada or New York. This war caused the English to think of all Native Americans as violent savages and needed extermination because 4000 white men were killed.

Bacon's Rebellion


In 1676 Nathaniel Bacon led the rebellion against Governor William Berkeley. Bacon had arrived in 1673 and disliked the governors corrupt system which gave most of the land to a handful of tobacco planters who were favored by the governor. This made smaller farmers unhappy because they didn't have enough land and heavy tobacco production also raised tobacco taxes and while also lowering tobacco prices, reducing smaller farmers' profits. The smaller farmers wanted to take Indian land so that they could farm it, however the governor didn't want to do that because he wanted to keep good relations with the Native Americans so that he could continue profiting from the fur trade with them. Nathaniel Bacon called for an end to the corrupt system, the lowering of taxes, and the removal of all Native Americans from the colony. Because of that, many small farmers, indentured servants, and even some Africans sided with him. In 1676, Bacon pulled together an armed force and burned Jamestown down. As a result, the governor fled and Bacon came into control. However, England sent a squadron of warships which restored order and had twenty three of Bacon's supporters hanged. What was the longer term significance?

Pueblo Revolt


This was an uprising in 1680 in which the pueblo Indians temporarily drove Spanish colonists out of what is now new Mexico. The pope led the uprising in Spanish because the Indians spoke six different language amongst themselves and spanish was the only language in common. About 2000 warriors killed 400 colonists. They surrounded Santa fe and forced the Spanish to abandon the town. This was the most complete victory for the native Americans against the Europeans.

Glorious Revolution


In 1688, parliament's supremacy was established and the protestant succession to the throne was secured. The revolution was a coup led by small group of aristocrats allied with a Dutch prince, William of Orange. When William of Orange arrived in England with an army, James II fled and the revolution was complete. As a result, Governor Andros was removed and the colonies became colonies again instead of the Dominion of New England. In addition, protestants started becoming more powerful in the colonies such as the replacement of some Catholics in government with Protestants.

Leisler's Rebellion

1689 - 1691

one of the wealthiest merchants in New York. He was a Calvinist who believed that James II would reduce England to popery and slavery. In 1689 he seized control of Southern New York. His rule resulted in ethnic and economic divides in the colony, partly because under Leisler the government was not dominated by the wealthy and instead attempted to distribute money to the poor. William of Orange refused to acknowledge Leisler's authority and appointed a new governor backed with troops from England.

Salem Witch Trials


In 1691, young girls began having fits and nightmares which the elders blamed on use of witchcraft. The only way to avoid prosecution was to name other "witches", resulting in the snowballing of accusations. Some people also accused others to settle old scores. Many of the accused were women and included persons of all ages. Towards the end of 1692, the governor of Massachusetts ended the Salem court and released the those who were being held. These trials discredited the traditional way of prosecuting witches and led colonists to try to find scientific explanations for natural events like comets and illnesses. Explain a bit more here.

American Enlightenment

1715 - 1789

Ideas of the Enlightenment from Europe crossed the Atlantic to America. Some of these ideas were the application of the scientific method's careful investigation based on research and experiment to social and political life. Enlightenment thinkers insisted that everything should b judged by reason. One person who exemplified Enlightenment spirit was Benjamin Franklin, who conducted experiments on electricity and established a debate club, library, and newspaper. One inspiration for the Enlightenment was the bloody religious wars in Europe. Enlightenment thinkers hoped to govern with reason rather than religious enthusiasm. With the Enlightenment came the belief that innate human sinfulness, miracles, and the revealed truth of the Bible as outdated amongst Enlightenment thinkers. Some Enlightenment thinkers adopted Deism, the belief that god withdrew after creating the world, leaving it to work according to scientific laws without intervention.

Great Awakening

1730 - 1740

It was a series of local events in the 1730s united by a commitment to a "religion of the heart", a more emotional and personal form of Christianity than what was offered by existing churches. This was in part a response to the concern that the rationalism of the enlightenment, westward expansion, lack of individual participation in the church and commercial development were undermining religious devotion. One person who helped spark the Great Awakening was George Whitefield. He brought his highly emotional form of preaching to the colonies and preached that rather than having predestined fates, people had the opportunity to save themselves by repenting. However, those who criticized the Great Awakening said that it undermined the existing church and created disorder. Ultimately the Great Awakening created more alternatives for religion and created more independence within the common people because they now believed that if they did well in life they would be rewarded for it in the afterlife.

Trial of Zenger


In 1735, John Peter Zenger was arrested for accusing the governor of corruption, influence peddling, and "tyranny" in his newspaper, the Weekly Journal. Initially the judge told the jurors to only consider whether Zenger had been the one to publish the offending words. However, Zenger's attorney urged the jury to look at whether or not Zenger's words had been correct. Zenger wasn't found guilty and this case sent a warning to prosecutors that libel cases might be more difficult to win than they had previously thought. Zenger's win in this case helped promote the idea that the publishing of the truth should always be allowed, otherwise known as freedom of speech.

Seven Years' War(French and Indian War)


This war was between the British and the French. It began in 1754 when the British tried to dislodge the French from the French's forts in western Pennsylvania. For the first two years of the war, the French seemed to be prevailing and many British soldiers were wounded. However in 1757, Prime Minister William Pitt took office who raised huge sums of money and poured men and naval forces into the war. His strategy was to supply Prussia and Austria with money so they could keep France and its ally Spain distracted in Europe while Britain attacked France's weak point, the French colonies. By 1759, Britain had captured France's pivotal outposts of Forts Duquesne, Ticonderoga, and Louisbourg. Colonial and Indian soldiers had played a major role in the war. By 1760, the last outpost of France, Montreal, was captured. At the end of the war, France was left with a financial crisis and Britain raised taxes in the colonies in an attempt to recoup some of the cost of the war. Now Britain has 2/3 of North America (Spain has the other 1/3) and stop salutary neglect so they can tax the people to help the post war recession and to control and lower their costs in their territories.

Pontiac's Rebellion


After the war, the departure of the French in North America made it much harder for groups like the Iroquois to remain autonomous. The Indians believed that further British expansion was a threat and that the British would enslave them. As a result, the Indians launched an attack against British rule in 1763. Although the revolution was named after an Ottawa war leader, it owed just as much to Neolin, a Delaware religious prophet. He preached to the Indians that they must reject European technology and alcohol, cut their commercial ties with the whites, and drive the British from their land. He also believed in the idea of pan-Indian identity. This was the idea that the Indians were a single people rather than separate tribes. He said that by uniting together they would be able to push the British out. The emergence of pan-Indian identity was helped by the common experience of the loss of land, intertribal communities, and the mixing of Indian warriors in the French armies.

Boston Massacre


Boston Tea Party

December 1773

While the tax on tea was not new, the colonials felt that to pay the tax on the East India Company's tea would be acknowledgement of Britain's right to tax the colonies. As tea shipments arrived, resistance developed in major ports. One famous rebellion was the Boston Tea Party where colonists disguised as Indians boarded British ships and threw hundreds of chests of tea overboard.

First Continental Congress


They wanted to keep relations with England and were trying to petition the king to make a compromise

Lexington and Concord


The British wanted to secretly seize the weapons at Concord to prevent more colonial rebellion. However, the colonials found out and were able to gather militiamen to fight the British.

Olive Branch Petition


Petition to England in an attempt to make a compromise and maintain a relationship with England.

Paine's "Common Sense"


Paine believed that being part of the British empire was a burden on the colonies. He felt that the British had dragged the colonies into conflicts with France and Spain, who had never been the American's enemies. He also criticized the British monarchy and instead supported a more democratic society.

Second Continental Congress


They want independence although not everyone is in agreement about it. Result is Declaration of Independence.

Treaty of Amity and Commerce


Establishes commercial alliance between the US and france

Treaty of Paris


America agrees to treat tories well and give them their land back and England agrees to take their troops out of America. Neither really happens. Also established fishing rights in Nova Scotia. England also agreed to not harass American ships.

Shays's Rebellion


In 1786 and 1787, farmers closed the courts in Weston Massachusetts to prevent the seizure of their land for failure to pay taxes. They called themselves regulators, like the protestors in Carolina backcountry in the 1760s. They used old tactics as using liberty trees and liberty poles as the symbol of their cause. The rebellion was called Shay's rebellion because Daniel Shay was the leader. The rebellion received no sympathy from the governor who sent an army to control the situation. The rebels were dispersed and many were arrested. The rebellion led an influential group of Americans to believe that the national government must be strengthened so that it could develop uniform economic policies and protect property owners from infringements on their right by local minorities. As James Madison said, "private liberty... could be endangered by public liberty". Led people to realize the faults in the Articles of Confederation

The Federalist

1787 - 1788

A collection of eighty five essays that appeared in the New York press in 1787 and 1788 supporting the constitution. It was written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the pseudonym Publius. Hamilton and Madison felt that the Constitution proceed Americans' liberties. Hamilton's essays tried to persuade Americans that government was an expression of freedom and that it's checks and balances would keep it from becoming an oppressive government. Madison believed that the US should extend the sphere and that the size and diversity of the country would help in securing American's rights. He also emphasized the structure of the government and the importance in a balance in the power of government.

US Constitution


Whiskey Rebellion


Backcountry farmers were unhappy with Hamilton's plan because of the whiskey tax. At that time, many farmers would distill their grains into whiskey because it was easier to transport. To them, the tax singled them out unfairly in order to enrich bondholders. In 1794, the whiskey rebellion broke out when backcountry farmers tried to block the collection of the tax on whiskey. They invoked symbols of liberty from 1776 such as the liberty pole. In response, Washington along with 13,000 militia went to Pennsylvania to put down the rebellion. His vigorous responses was to show other controls that America could survive in self government.

Battle of Fallen Timbers


Henry Knox, the secretary of war during Washington's administration, said that the treatment of Indians by Americans had been more destructive to the Indians than the Spain's conduct in Mexico or Peru. Congress then forbade the transfer of Indian lands without federal approval but some states didn't listen. Open warfare continued in the Ohio Valley. In 1794, Anthony Wayne's troops defeated Little Turtle's forces in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. This led to the treaty of Greenville in 1795, in which most of Ohio and Indiana was ceded to the federal government. The treaty also established the annuity system which was yearly grants of federal money to Indian tribes, thereby institutionalizing continued government influence in tribal affairs

XYZ Affair


The XYZ affair refers to the French officials demand for bribes before negotiations for the replacement of the old alliance of 1778. After Adams made this knowledge known to the public the officials were designated as XYZ. This ended relations between America and France.


1798 - 1800

This was an undeclared war between France and the US because France was irritated that the US had yet to pay their debt to France back and also that the US had signed Jay's treaty with Britain.

Lowell System

1800 - 1850

In the Lowell textile mills, female and child labor was heavily relied upon. Many Yankee, unmarried women came to the Lowell mills, where boarding houses and everyday activities were introduced to encourage women to come. Significance: although the incessant supervision over work and personal affairs seems restricting, the mill girls in fact found this new system of work liberating. It was the first time they could leave the house and create a new life for themselves in society. The Lowell system was able to give a greater sense of purpose to many of the young women at the time, and was able to provide a short-term solution to the labor demand. In the Lowell textile mills, female and child labor was heavily relied upon. Many Yankee, unmarried women came to the Lowell mills, where boarding houses and everyday activities were introduced to encourage women to come. Significance: although the incessant supervision over work and personal affairs seems restricting, the mill girls in fact found this new system of work liberating. It was the first time they could leave the house and create a new life for themselves in society. The Lowell system was able to give a greater sense of purpose to many of the young women at the time, and was able to provide a short-term solution to the labor demand.

Louisiana Purchase


Jefferson was worried about American access to the port of New Orleans so he sent envoys to France in hopes of purchasing the city. At the time, Napoleon was having trouble with his colonies because of the slave rebellion of overthrow in Saint Domingue and also needed funds for his plan to conquer Europe. As a result, he offered the entire Louisiana Territory to the US for about $15 million. Although Jefferson was a strict constructionist and the constitution didn't specify whether the president had the power to buy land from foreign countries, he jumped at Napoleon's offer. Jefferson saw this as a way to establish his agrarian ideal in a larger sphere. Ironically, the federalists who were generally loose constructionists opposed the purchase because they felt that the US didn't have enough money and too much land. They also feared that more farmers would settle in the new land and there would be a majority of farmers in the US who would all vote republican.

Embargo ACt


In 1807, Jefferson persuaded Congress to enact the Embargo. He hoped to use trade. A weapon. This was also ironic, because as a republican he was supposed to believe in limited government power and evolvement. The result was not as Jefferson had hoped. The Embargo only slightly affected Britain and France and instead devastated the American economy.

Fort Sumter


Fought in Baltimore Harbor unsuccessfully bombarded by the British in September 1814; Francis Scott Key, a witness to the battle, was moved to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Era of Good Feelings

1817 - 1825

Monroe's two terms in office, from 1817-1825, are called the Era of Good Feelings because there was only one political party in the U.S. at the time. The single political party is viewed as a sign of national unity. However, there was actually quite a bit of political tension during Monroe's presidency, as there were increasing sectional divisions within the Democrat-Republican party.

Bonus Bill


asked for internal improvements fund from the national bank but Madison vetoed it because he felt that the government did not have the power under the constitution to get funds for internal improvements

Panic of 1819


The Second National Bank had the responsibility of issuing paper money, collecting taxes, and paying for the government's debts, along with the very important assignment of regulating the currency and loans issued by local banks. After the War of 1812, the European demand for American cotton and grain boomed. With this boom, there was an expansion to the land in the West; so many people were buying land that the local banks were giving out many loans in paper money (that was losing more and more value as more and more was printed and given out) that the National Bank did not regulate. When the trading bubble burst in early 1819 when European demand returned to normal, the National Bank (as well as local banks) began to ask for payments for the paper money, and farmers and businessmen were unable to pay bank their loans. These men declared bankruptcy and unemployment rose in eastern cities. The panic only lasted a bit more than a year, but it reassured the American distrust of banks.

Adams Onis


Treaty between the US and Spain that gave the US Florida

The Second Great Awakening

1820 - 1840

The Second Great Awakening was driven by religious leaders' desires to increase the significantly low church attendances. The 2nd Great Awakening was most prominent during the 1820s and early 1830s in New York, lead by Reverend Charles Grandison Finny. This religious revival was able to democratize Christianity, putting all Americans on the same level. All sinners including females, males, rich, poor, whites, or blacks had the opportunity to repent. Universal salvation played a central role in Finny's teachings. The Second Great Awakening took advantage of the advancements of the market revolution to spread their message such as transportation (canal/railroad/steamboat), or mass printing. Significance: despite the fact that leaders such as Finney believed the motives of the market revolution brought about selfishness, the preachers in fact encouraged qualities (sobriety, self discipline, individualized focus) that made an individual prosperous during the market society. The Second Great Awakening also led to the significant growth in Methodism and the decline in Deism, which therefore gave Christianity a central role in American society.

"Corrupt bargain"


In the election of 1824 Andrew Jackson received 153,544 of the votes. He did not win the presidency; however, due to the fact that there were three other candidates running, and none of them received the majority of the electoral votes. Henry Clay was in fourth, and as stated in the Constitution. The House of Representatives was left to vote on the remaining three candidates: Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and William H. Crawford. Clay believed that Adams would make the better president and gave his support to him. Clay aided in the election of Adams due to this, and Clay was accused of making a "corrupt bargain," bartering for critical votes in the presidential election (he was especially criticized due to the fact that he was later made Adam's secretary of state). The alliance between Clay and Adams was the root of the Whig Party of the 1830s, and the supporter so Crawford and Jackson formed the new Democratic Party.

Erie Canal


In 1825, the 363 mile Erie Canal was completed. The canal allowed goods to flow between the Great Lakes and New York. It caused many farmers to migrate from New England, giving birth to many cities along the canal's path. The canal gave New York primacy over competing ports in access to trade with the Old Northwest. The Erie Canal was financed by the state government, typifying the financing for developing transportation infrastructure. States spent about ten times as much as the federal government did on infrastructure improvements. Many states followed New York's example in building the Erie Canal, however they fell into bankruptcy from over borrowing. However, the ultimate result was a large network linking the Atlantic states with the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and a rustic ally reduced cost of transportation.

Temperance Movement

1826 - 1850

Reform was becoming a badge of respectability in the North's emerging middle class culture because it meant that the individual had taken control of their life and become a morally accountable person. In 1826, the American Temperance Society was founded. They focused their efforts on not only reforming the habitual drunkards but also the occasional drinker. By the 1840s, the consumption of liquor had fallen to less than half the level of a decade earlier. During that time, the Washingtonian Society would gather reformed drinkers in "experience meetings" where they offered public testimonies about their previous sins. This movement and other reform movements aroused a lot of hostility because those who did not reformed did not see themselves as any less moral than those who had.

Eaton Affair


John C. Calhoun was Vice President under President Jackson during his first term (as well as serving under President John Quincy Adams four years prior). Vice President Calhoun grew out of favor in the Jackson Administration, and this was especially highlighted by the Eaton Affair, in which Calhoun and his wife socially ostracized the wife of Secretary of State Martin Van Buren, a man who was quickly becoming the president's closest advisor. Van Buren defended his own wife, who was known to be the daughter of a tavern-keeper and thought of as a woman of "easy virtue". President Jackson defended her as well, for he empathized with what was transpiring, given the abuse his own wife had incurred during the 1828 election. The rift between Jackson and Calhoun extended even further, with Calhoun believing states to be sovereign, while Jackson held the Democratic view of a somewhat stronger federal government.Calhoun defended southern sectionalism, drafting Exposition and Protest in which the South Carolina legislature justified nullification, while Jackson disagreed, backed by Senate member Daniel Webster who called nullification illegal, unconstitutional and treasonous and spoke about the importance of "Liberty and Union".

Dred Scott decision


During the 1830s, Scott had accompanied his owner to a free state. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued for his freedom, claiming that residence on free soil had made him free. In March of 1857, the justices decided that only white persons could be citizens of the S and that lacks had no rights that the white man was bound to respect. They stated that as blacks were descended from different ancestors who lacked a history of freedom, blacks would never be a part of the nation's political family. As Scott lacked the rights of a citizen, he did not have the right to sue. The Court also determined that congress had no power under the constitution to bar slavery from a territory. Their decisions reverted all blacks to a state of slavery again by stripping them of any rights they might have acquired.


1830 - 1850

Originally based on the thinking of a group of New England intellectuals known as the transcendentalists, who insisted on "the primacy of individual judgement over existing social traditions and institutions." Transcendentalism was borne in a restless, highly competitive world where the identification of American freedom with the absence of restraints "on self-directed individuals seeking economic advancement and personal development." Most famous for the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalism effectively offered a new value for the private man and gave an opportunity for personal growth as well as a new, updated version of Jefferson's pursuit of happiness.

Bank War


Benefits of Bank of the United States: Expansion of banking helped to finance the nation's economic development. Fears about/ Cons of Bank of the United States:Many Americans, including Jackson distrusted bankers as "nonproducers" who contributed nothing to the nation's wealth but profited from the labor of others. Tendency of banks to over issue paper money caused it to deteriorate in value and reduced the real income of wage earners. Philadelphia aristocrat Nicholas Biddle (who had created a stable currency through out the nation in 1832) headed the Bank and possessed a huge amount of power as well as an unwillingness to relinquish it. Democrats wondered whether any institutions, public or private, ought to possess such power. In 1832, Biddle's allies persuaded Congress to approve a bill extending the institution's charter for an extra twenty years. Jackson saw the tactic as a form of blackmail: if he did not sign the bill, the Bank would use its considerable resources to oppose his reelection. Jackson insisted that it was unacceptable for Congress to create a source of concentrated power and economic privilege unaccountable to the people. Effects/Response:Jackson defended lower class Americans like farmers, mechanics and laborers, using the veto power as major weapon for the first time and to appeal directly to the people for political support, over the head of Congress. His effective appeal to democratic sentiments helped him achieve reelection in 1832 over Whig candidate, Henry Clay. Whigs denounced Jackson for denouncing for usurping the power of the legislature. Jackson's victory in the Bank War ensured the death of the Bank of the United States. Jackson was criticized by some, namely Whigs, for using his veto power, as it was seen to enhance the executive power and decrease that of the legislature.



In 1839, fifty three slaves took control of the Amistad a ship transporting them from one port in Cuba to another. The slaves forced the navigator to steer the ship to Africa. However, they were seized by an American vessel off he coast of Long Island. President Van Buren was in favor of sending the slaves back to Cuba. However, abolitionists brought the case to the Supreme Court, where former president John Quincy Adams argued that since they should be freed since they had recently been brought illegally from Africa. The Court accepted Adams' reasoning and most of the slaves returned free to Africa. Although the case had no legal bearing on slaves in the US, it may have inspired a similar revelation in 1841 when slaves took control of the ship Creole and sailed for Nassau in the British Bahamas were they we're given refuge.

The Rise of Nativism

1840 - 1860

The fear of skilled native workers that Irish immigrants were lowering their wages, and taking their jobs. Opposition was rooted in the revival of Catholicism in America, where Protestant societies dominated religion. Stereotypes were created of Irish of criminals, politically corrupt, drunk, or unfit for republican freedom. Many of these stereotypes were attributed to blacks as well. Significance: the rise of nativism in the 1840s and 1850s greatly divided America, and led to many violent anti-immigrant riots in addition to even the election of a nativist candidate in politics.

US-Mexican War

1846 - 1848

A war between the United States and Mexico over America's desire to acquire some Mexican land in 1846-48. Polk approached the Mexican government in attempts to buy California, but Mexico refused to negotiate. The area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande was a disputed area on the boarder between the US and Mexico. Zachary Taylor headed a group of American Soldiers into the region, which provoked Mexico and caused a counter attack. Polk claimed that Mexican troops shed American blood on American soil, and used this as grounds for a declaration of war. In the Battle of Buena Vista, Taylor defeated Santa Anna in February 1847, but the Mexican government still refused to sell the land, even though American insurrectionists claimed that California was free from Mexico in 1846 and named Captain John C. Fr?mont its leader. American troops under Winfield Scott occupied Mexico City. The war ended in February 1848, when both the American and Mexican governments signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Though public opinion of the war was generally favorable, a few notable politicians and figures were opposed to it, such as Henry David Thoreau and Abraham Lincoln. First war largely fought outside the United States. Brought up the questions of whether or not presidents should be able to "make war at pleasure." The war resulted in the annexation of huge amounts of land and has effected US-Mexican relations through present day.

Seneca Falls Convention


Talked about women's legal right and suffrage. Organized by local New York Women.

Gadsden Purchase


A purchase of land from Mexico by America in 1853. The US bought a parcel of land in southern Arizona and New Mexico. With this purchase, the present day boundaries of North America, besides Alaska, were established. Shows the continuation of the America's belief in their manifest destiny and the continuation of acquiring land.

Bleeding Kansas


A sequence of violent acts committed in response to the Kansas-Nebraska act between abolitionists, those who wanted Kansas to enter the union as a free state, and slaveholders, those who wanted Kansas to become a slave state. This took place mostly in Kansas around 1854.

Charles Sumner


In May of 1856, South Carolina representative Preston Brooks beat the antislavery senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a gold tipped cane. Sumner had been delivering a criticism of "The Crime Against Kansas". Many Southerners applauded Brooks for his outburst but it to others, it discredited Douglas' popular sovereignty policy, ultimately aiding the republicans.

John Brown Raid

1856 - 1859

In 1856, Brown brought men into Kansas and killed off five proslavery villages at Pottawatomie Creek. He then traveled through the North and up through Canada to try and raise money for a war against slavery. In 1859, Brown seized Harpers Ferry in Virginia. Unfortunately, his army was then captured by the Virginian government and held on trial. Henry Wise, the governor of Virginia sentenced Brown to death for treason to the state. Many northerners and abolitionists saw John Brown as a martyr who fought against an institution he believed to be immoral.

Lincoln-Douglas debates


These debates were held in seven Illinois towns and were attended by tens of thousands of listeners. Lincoln discussed his belief that freedom meant opposition to slavery. Douglas on the other hand presented his belief that freedom lay in local self-government and individual self-determination. With such a large and diverse nation, Douglas felt that survival depended on respecting the right of each locality to determine its own institutions suited to its individual needs. Lincoln however, argued that popular sovereignty was incompatible with the Dred Scott decision. In response to Lincoln, Douglas said that those who wished to keep slavery out of their area could just refrain from giving slavery protection within their legislature. While campaigning, Douglas emphasized the importance of an individual's beliefs and moral standards. Lincoln emphasized the belief that even blacks were entitled to the unalienable rights stated in the Constitution.

Bull Run


First land engagement of the Civil War took place on July 21, 1861, at Manassas Junction, Virginia, at which Union troops quickly retreated; one year later, on August 29-30, Confederates captured the federal supply depot and forced Union troops back to Washington. Union soldiers, untrained and few in numbers, underestimated the size of confederate forces and McClellan, the army engineer, seemed reluctant to commit his men to battle. Nearly 800 men died at Bull run. this sparked Lincoln to rethink the motivations of the war .. (placing emancipation as a central motivation against the South). The encounter disproved the idea, from both the Union and the Conf., that the war would be a brief and romantic one.

Sea Island Experiment

1862 - 1866

One of the first areas of the country the government used to experiment with reconstruction were the Sea Islands, captured early in the war by the U.S. Navy, and once the white slaveholders fled, occupied only by 10,000 freed slaves. A group known as Gideon's Band, composed of mostly teachers and reformers, came to the island to educate the freed slave population. Along with them came land speculators, treasury agents, and financiers hoping to make a profit on the newly available land. The government divided the island up into even plots of land, and offered each for sale. Some of the plots were bought buy freed slaves, but the majority of the real estate was purchased by land speculators to re-sell later. The majority of the blacks began working for wages in much more humane conditions than under slavery, and the Sea Island experiment was widely held to be a success, but it brought up the question of whether or not the acquisition of land should be a part of reconstruction around the rest of the country.



Lee continued to emerge victorious, until Antietam, the most tragic war; however, Lee was forced to retreat, so the Union finally claimed a victory. One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, fought to a standoff on September 17, 1862, in western Maryland. As technology and propaganda effort to mobilize public opinion rose, more and more pictures, beginning in Antietam, were taken. These pictures brought the tragedies and horrors of death and war back to homes.

The New York Draft Riots

June 1863

A series of riots that broke out in New York City in the summer of 1863. Prior to the riots, the United States was in the heart of its Civil War. Under president Lincoln, the North found itself divided on issues such as whether or not a draft should be enforced to provide more soldiers to fight. When a draft was enforced in 1863 by the federal government, mobs of primarily Irish immigrants rioted and targeted things that they believed to represent the new growing power of the federal government. This included draft offices, mansions of Republican politicians, industrial company buildings, and many black citizens. The riots lasted a total of four days until it was put down by Union soldiers and resulted in over 100 deaths.

The Battle of Gettysburg

July 1863

Perhaps the most famous of American Civil War battles. With the most causalities of any other battle in North American history, this battle proved to be a turning point for the war and successful victory for the North. Led by General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, the Confederate army planned to invade the Northern held city of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is believed that Lee's plan after capturing the city was to then invade nearby capital Washington D.C. However, Lee was met in Gettysburg with the full force of the Union army led by General George G. Meade early July in 1863. The two armies, each consisting of a total of 165,000 men, fought for three days. Lee was surprised to find his army confronted by Union troops fighting from trenches, which made it difficult for him to penetrate the front line. He then made a final decision on July 3rd to send a division, led by Major General George E. Pickett, straight through an open field to the Union troops. Nearly all of Pickett's men were mowed down and the Confederate army was ordered to flee. This battle proved to be the last time the Confederacy invaded the North. The Union's victory helped to rally and unify the North even further and lead them to victory two years later.

Sherman's March


Beginning in 1864, W. Sherman and his army of 60,000 men set out from Atlanta to march to the sea and cut a huge swath of destruction through the Southern heartland in the hopes of speeding the Confederate surrender. Sherman's men pillaged, burned, and destroyed everywhere they went, and while few civilians were actually harmed, the march brought the horrors of modern war to the doorstep of many Americans.


George Washington

1789 - 1797

John Adams

1797 - 1801

Thomas Jefferson

1801 - 1809

James Madison

1809 - 1817

James Monroe

1817 - 1825

John Quincy Adams

1825 - 1829

Andrew Jackson

1829 - 1837

Martin Van Buren

1837 - 1841

John Tyler

1841 - 1845

James K. Polk

1845 - 1849

Zachary Taylor

1849 - 1850

Millard Fillmore

1850 - 1853

Franklin Pierce

1853 - 1857

James Buchanan

1857 - 1861

Abraham Lincoln

1861 - 1865

Legislatures or Policies

Mayflower Compact


the first written frame of government in the new world. It was written by William Bradford in 1620 and was an agreement to follow equal laws set by representatives of their choosing. The compact also agrees to having a civil body politick to form laws to govern the colony in its best interest. The structure of the compact resembles the structure of a church covenant which shows the emphasis that church has on the puritans' lives.

Navigation Acts


The first one was made in 1651. These were made in an attempt to limit the Dutch's ability to trade so that England could gain more control over world trade. The navigation laws limited the most valuable colonial products like tobacco and sugar to be initially sold only in English ports and transported only by English ships. European imports to the colonies also had to come from England which allowed the English government to benefit from taxes rather than letting other countries benefit from the taxes. The navigation acts helped American colonies because their ships and ports were considered English.

Coercive or "Intolerable" Acts


The Coercive or Intolerable Acts were the British responses to the Boston Tea Party. The British government wanted to demonstrate their authority in the colonies, so they closed the port of Boston until the tea was paid for. The Acts also allowed British soldiers to be housed in private homes and authorized the governor to appoint positions in the council that had previously been elected positions.

Albany Plan of Union


It was written by Benjamin Franklin at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. It described the creation of a Grand Council made of delegates representing each colony. The council would have the power to levy taxes and deal with Indian relations and the common defense. It was not adopted because the colonies didn't want to give up their individual powers to a greater power. They felt that it would be too similar to the monarchy and parliament.

Proclamation of 1763

October 1763

In the summer of 1763, a group of Indians besieged Detroit, a major British military outpost, and seized nine other forts. Hundreds of white settlers who had intruded onto Indian lands were killed. Eventually the tribes made peace with the British again. However, this event prompted the government in London to write the Proclamation of 1763. It banned the selling of Indian land to private individuals(only the colonial government could arrange purchases now) and prohibited further settler expansion west of the Appalachian Mountains. This proclamation was written in an attempt to prevent further trouble with the Indians. Despite its intended purpose, the proclamation actually worsened the settler-Indian relations because enraged settlers and speculators ignored the policy. George Washington himself ordered his agents to secretly buy up as much Indian land as possible.

Currency Act


Britain banned colonial paper money because the paper money didn't have a standard value and the British merchants didn't feel comfortable with that system. The British wanted the colonies to have a hard currency based on the pound sterling.

Sugar Act


The British wanted to prevent smuggling of sugar so that they would be able to receive more payments of the sugar tax from the colony so they enforced the sugar act. The sugar act ultimately made the colonists pay more even though it lowered the actual tax because a new system where court cases were heard outside of the colonies made it harder for the colonists to smuggle sugar. This was also part of an effort to strengthen the Navigation Acts.

Stamp Act


The stamp act required a stamp to be bought and put on any printed material such as newspapers, books, land deeds. The purpose was to help Britain to get more money from the colonies to help them pay off their debt from the French Indian War.

Repeal of Stamp Act and Passing of Declaratory Act


Because of pressure from British merchants and manufacturers who were being negatively affected by the boycotts, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in 1766. However they began the Declaratory Act which stated that Parliament had the power to pass laws for the colonies and people of America in all cases.

Townshend Duties


During the opposition of the Stamp Act, Benjamin Franklin had made it seem that the colonies would not object to Britain's raising revenue through the regulation of trade. Townshend, the chancellor of the Exchequer, then devised new taxes on imports to the colonies and a new board of commissioners to collect the taxes and repress smuggling.

Tea Act


Many British merchants, bankers, and other individuals had invested in the East India Company. However the price of stock in the company quickly rose and dropped. To save the investors and the company, the British government gave the company a series of rebates and tax exemptions, allowing them to sell tea cheaply in the colonies.

Quartering Act


The quartering act required colonials to provide room and board for British soldiers in their own homes. One purpose of this act was to save money by having the colonials provide for soldiers' housing. In addition, the presence of the soldiers was intended to quell conspiracy.

Articles of Confederation


They were drafted by Congress in 1777 and were ratified four years later. They were made in an attempt to balance the need for national coordination for the War of Independence with the fear that a centralized political power would infringe on liberty. It declared the new national government a perpetual union. Under the articles of confederation, the government had no president of judiciary, just Congress. This was because the states wanted to retain their individual sovereignty, freedom, and independence. Major decisions needed a 2/3 majority to pass and amendments to the Articles needed a unanimous decision. Congress had no power over taxing or commerce, thus leaving them with little to no revenue. They had to request money from the states and also had no standing army so they couldn't enforce their decisions. There was also no standing army or ability to call an army. One important achievement congress did manage was the establishment of national control over land to the west of the thirteen states and the rules for its settlement.

Land Ordinance


dictated how land was to be sold

"Virginia's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom"


Thomas Jefferson wrote the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom and presented it to the House of Burgesses in 1779 and it was adopted in 1786. Jefferson was against every form of tyranny over the mind of man and believed that established churches were a form of despotism. Jefferson's bill demonstrates his belief because it eliminates religious requirements for voting and office holding and government financial support for churches, and barred the state from forcing individuals to adopt one or another religious outlook. The religious liberty established in this bill reinforced the idea that America was an asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every nation and religion. It is also an example of the natural rights that the government cannot take away.

Electoral College

1787 - 1789

This was a system chosen for picking the president. The number of electors each state had was determined by adding its allocation of senators and representatives. The electors would then be chosen by the state's legislature or by popular vote. Each elector had one vote and first place became president and second place vice president. If no one had a majority of the vote, the representatives voted for the president with one vote per state. The senate would then elect the vice president. Why was this system chosen?

Northwest Ordinance


This was written in 1787 and allowed the settlements in the old northwest to join the thirteen states as a new state with equal rights and power. This enacted the basic principle of the "empire of liberty". The ordinance also promised that they would treat Indians with good faith and not take Indian land without their consent. Congress decided to try to respect the Indians more because they realized it cost more money to have to pay for constant military conflicts on the frontier. In addition, slavery was also prohibited in the Old Northwest(with the ohio river as the dividing line), although many people still sneaked slaves in.

Three-fifths clause


This clause allowed slaves to count as 3/5 of a person in population counts. This greatly increased the southern states population counts, allowing them to have more southern voters in the House of Representatives. Having more representatives also allowed them to have more southerners in the electoral college.

Virginia Plan


Madison created this plan which proposed a two house legislature with a states population determining it representation in each. This plan was supported by large states because they would have more representation.

New Jersey Plan


This plan was developed for the smaller states. It called for a single house Congress in which each state had one vote. This would have benefited the smaller states because they would have an equal say as to that of the larger states.

Ratification of the Constitution


Hamilton's Program

1790 - 1794

Hamilton's goal was to was to establish financial stability, encourage economic development, and make the US a major commercial and military power. His program had five steps. First he wanted to establish the nation's credibility so that people could buy government bonds and feel confident that their money would be returned. He also suggested that the government pay off all it's debt and also the debts of each of the states. The third part was the creation of a national bank which would serve as the nations main financial agent. Fourth, he proposed a whiskey tax to raise revenue. Lastly he called for the imposition of a tariff in order to promote manufacturing in the country and decrease purchasing foreign products. The program was supported by financiers, manufacturers, and merchants and most opposition came from the south. Jefferson and Hamilton compromised by setting the new capital between Virginia and Maryland.

Tenth Amendment


This amendment was made so that the federal government would not infringe on the state governments. It said that powers now assigned to the federal government or prohibited to the states would continue to be assigned to the states.

Bill of Rights


Madison believes that the checks and balances in the constitution would protect liberty, thus a bill of rights was unneeded and repetitive in his mind. The bill of rights that we know today wasn't added until the first ten amendments were made. However, the people were unhappy because all the state constitutions had a bill of rights. To make the people happy, Madison wrote the basis for what is the bill of rights today. The bill of rights offered a definition of the "unalienable rights" mentioned in the declaration of independence.

Jay's Treaty


Although the US was neither on the French side nor the British side, the British seized hundreds of American ships trading with the French west indies and resumed the practice of impressment. In Jay's Treaty in 1794, the British agreed to abandon their posts in the western frontier which they were supposed to have abandoned in 1783. Nothing, however, was said in the treaty about British concession on impressment of the rights of American shipping. In return for the British abandoning their posts, the US guaranteed favored treatment to British goods, thereby canceling the American-French alliance. Critics were unhappy that the US had sided with monarchical Britain against republican France. Ultimately, the treaty resulted in sharpened political divisions in the US and led directly to the formation do an organized opposition party.

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

1798 - 1799

In response to the alien and sedition acts, Madison wrote the Virginia Resolution which called for the protection of the freedom of speech by the federal court. Jefferson's Kentucky resolution originally said that the states had the power to nullify laws passed by congress if those laws violated the constitution. However, the legislature deleted that passage. Ultimately both resolutions were against assaults on freedom of speech by the federal government. However, they felt that state level punishment was fine. Many Americans were horrified by the idea of state action because they thought it might endanger the union.

Alien and Sedition Acts


The alien act allowed the deportation of people from abroad who seemed dangerous. The sedition act authorized the prosecution of any public assembly or publication critical of the government. The passage of these measures began what Jefferson called a reign of witches. With the sedition act, the federalists were able to target the Republican press. Republicans felt that this was a violation of the first amendment. Some presses ceased publishing but new ones sprang up. This also greatly contributed to Jeffersons election as president in 1800.

Missouri Compromise


In 1819, Missouri, an area made up of land in the Louisiana Purchase, requested that Congress admit it to the Union as a state. In order to become a state, Missouri needed to draft a constitution, but there was disagreement about whether or not Missouri could enter as a slave state; there was concern that Missouri's admittance as a slave state would upset the balance of slave states and free states. In response to the controversy, Illinois senator Jesse Thomas proposed a three-part compromise that was accepted by Congress in 1820. Firstly, Missouri would be able to write a constitution free of restrictions to slavery. Secondly, Maine would be admitted to the Union as a free state to maintain the balance between free states and slave states. Thirdly, slavery would be prohibited in all the remaining land contained in the Louisiana Purchase north of latitude 36° 309. The line drawn between free and enslaved America created a strong divide in the U.S., and it by no means solved the question of slavery.

Monroe Doctrine


The Monroe Doctrine was a section of James Monroe's State of the Union address in 1823 that was drafted by his secretary of state, John Quincy Adams. The Monroe Doctrine was written out of Adams' fear of Spain trying to regain its recently lost colonies. The three principles that the Doctrine addressed were: the USA would oppose any efforts of any European powers trying to colonize the Americas; the US would abstain from all European wars; and finally it warned European powers about further interference in the independent states of Latin America. The Monroe Doctrine claimed the USA as the principle political power in the Western Hemisphere, as well as making an attempt to keep European nations out of economic endeavors in Latin America so they could. The Monroe Doctrine remained as principles in US foreign policy for years to come.

Tariff of 1832


New tariff on imported goods created under Andre Jackson which actually reduced tariff rates. Context: During this this time, South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun emerged as the leading theorist of nullification. According to his theory of the "concurrent majority," each major interest should have a veto over all measures that affected it. Calhoun denied that nullification was a step towards disunion, while President Andrew Jackson saw no large difference between the two and dismissed Calhoun's arguments as ridiculous and out of hand. Effects: (1) Calhoun used the tariff as any opportunity to challenge Jackson and South Carolina declared the tax on imported goods null and void in the state after the following February. (2)IN response, Jackson persuaded Congress to enact a Force Bill authorizing the use of the army and navy to collect customs duties. Despite his firm belief in states' rights and limited government, Jackson offered an example of willingness to go to war, if, necessary, to preserve what he considered the national government's legitimate powers. (3) With Calhoun's assistance, Henry Clay created a new tariff in 1833 which further reduced duties and averted confrontation. (4) South Carolina rescinded the ordinance of nullification, but proceeded to "nullify" the Force Act.

Wilmot Proviso


A resolution presented by David Wilmot to make all the newly acquired states free states in 1846. Completely going against party lines, all northerners voted for it, while all southerners voted against it. The slight northern majority in the House of Representatives got it through, while the even ratio in the Senate killed it. The Compromise of 1850, which let California be accepted into the Union as a free state in return for the Fugitive Slave Act, led to many abandon the Wilmot Proviso. Acted as a very clear representation of the sectional divide in the United States that would eventually lead to the Civil War.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo


The treaty between the United States and Mexico that ended the US-Mexican war and gave large areas of land to American in February 1848. American soldiers occupied Mexico City, nearly forcing the Mexican government to give up land. The treaty gave the United States modern day California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, as well as confirmed the annexation of Texas, in return for America paying the Mexico $15 million. Gave the US 1 million more acres of land and nearly the present day boarders of the North America. Used as an example of America's manifest destiny and the new territory would increase tensions already existing in the country.

Compromise of 1850


An effort to reconcile the disputes between the south and north over whether or not slavery should be banned in the newly aquired territory. The compromise was initially introduced by Henry Clay. There were five parts: california is admitted as free, new mexico and utah use popular sovereignty to decide slavery laws(allows for the possibility of slavery above the missouri compromise line), no slave trade in DC, fugitive slave act(requires anyone with knowledge of an escaped slave to report them and help in catching the slaves, and Texas loses some of its land to New Mexico. The proposal was met with both support and opposition. Many, including John Calhoun criticized it, believing that the governemnt had to take a more concrete say in the matter: protect or abolish the institution. Despite the threat of disunion, Millard Fillmore pushed for the passage of the Compromise and it was adopted in 1850.

Fugitive Slave Act


Acts passed as part of the Compromise of 1850. In return for the annexation of California as a free state, these acts tightened the laws on the national recapture of and legal process behind fugitive slaves. Federal commissioners would judge cases of fugitive slaves without a trial or jury. Local authorities couldn't interfere with the capture of slaves. Citizens would have to help to recapture slaves when requested to by federal agents. Brought federal agents into northern and free states. Though it went against the strong states' rights beliefs that were prevalent in the South, the issue of slavery superseded those as the one that was most important to southern politicians. In the 1850s, 157 fugitive slaves were returned to the south, but the resistance to slavery and these acts grew as well, as shown by the rescue and transport of the fugitive Jerry from a jail in Syracuse, New York to Canada. Thousands of fugitives and free black citizens fld to Canada Displays the contradiction of the idea of "American freedom" while slavery was still in practice.

Kansas-Nebraska Act


Act passed in 1854 that determined the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and allowed the inhabitants of each new state to decide whether or not to ban slavery in their region. The passage of the act influenced a dramatic divide amongst political parties. The democratic vote was split, and the Whigs were unable to develop any consensus. This lead to complete disbandment of the Whig party, influencing many northern Whigs to form the Republican Party. This new party would prioritize the abolition of slavery and the attempt to prevent the institution from spreading.

Lecompton Constitution


One out of four drafts for the constitution of Kansas. It protected the rights of slaveholders and the institution of slavery. This constitution was never submitted to popular vote, and was drafted by southerners. When Kansas was joining the union, President Buchanan tried to enter Kansas as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution, but Douglas was enraged because it was a direct violation of his popular sovereignty theory.

Crittenden Compromise


Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky drafted the most widely popular compromise for whether the southern states should be allowed to secede from the union. He proposed that the states that had slavery would continue the institution, and he also extended the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean. Crittenden was willing to make peace with issues like the return of fugitive slaves with the south, but Lincoln was not willing to compromise on the issue of slavery. The states that wanted to secede from the union rejected the compromise.

The Ten Percent Plan


President Lincoln's policy, announced in 1863 to reincorporate the states that had emancipated. Lincoln's goal of the policy was to reconstruct the nation and finally unify it under a single government. The plan stated that all citizens of the southern states would have a full restoration of their rights under the Constitution who swore an oath to remain loyal to the Union. The other condition of the plan was that once 10 percent of each state's population had taken the oath, that state could then elect a governor. That state would also abolish the institution entirely. Although Lincoln's plan offered many rights to most citizens, it failed to address the free black population. The plan faced much opposition from free blacks and other who thought he was being too generous to those in the South.

The Wade-Davis Bill


Created in 1863 in response to Lincoln's Ten Percent Plan. This bill, written by two prominent Republican congressmen, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Maryland House Representative Henry Winter Davis, required that a majority rather than merely 10 percent of the state should take the oath before they could be recognized as a state and elect a governor. The bill also acknowledged the rights of free blacks and gave them the equal rights under the federal law. However, it did not give blacks the right to vote. The bill passed both the House and Senate, but was then rejected by President Lincoln.