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1845

1845 - 1846

U.S. annexes Texas by joint resolution of Congress (March 1). James Polk is inaugurated as the 11th president (March 4). The term “manifest destiny” appears for the first time in a magazine article by John L. O'Sullivan (July–August). It expresses the belief held by many white Americans that the United States is destined to expand across the continent.

1846

1846 - 1847

Oregon Treaty fixes U.S.-Canadian border at 49th parallel; U.S. acquires Oregon territory (June 15).
The Wilmot Proviso, introduced by Democratic representative David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, attempts to ban slavery in territory gained in the Mexican War The proviso is blocked by Southerners, but continues to enflame the debate over slavery.

1847

1847 - 1848

Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in California (Jan. 24); gold rush reaches its height the following year. Women's rights convention is held at Seneca Falls, N.Y. (July 19–20).

1848

1848 - 1849

Zachary Taylor is inaugurated as the 12th president (March 5).
Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated members of the Underground Railroad.

1849

1849 - 1850

Zachary Taylor is inaugurated as the 12th president (March 5).
Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated members of the Underground Railroad.

1850

1850 - 1851

President Taylor dies (July 9) and is succeeded by his vice president, Millard Fillmore.
The continuing debate whether territory gained in the Mexican War should be open to slavery is decided in the Compromise of 1850: California is admitted as a free state, Utah and New Mexico territories are left to be decided by popular sovereignty, and the slave trade in Washington, DC, is prohibited. It also establishes a much stricter fugitive slave law, than the original, passed in 1793.

1852

1852 - 1853

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. It becomes one of the most influential works to stir anti-slavery sentiments.

1853

1853 - 1854

Franklin Pierce is inaugurated as the 14th president (March 4).Gadsden Purchase treaty is signed; U.S. acquires border territory from Mexico for $10 million (Dec. 30).