APUSH timeline

Major Events


George Washington

1789 - 1797
  • Congress adopts the Bill of Rights in 1789 and establishes an army.
  • The Bill of Rights is ratified 1791.
  • Congress passes the 11th Amendment-
  • Whiskey Rebellion
  • Treaty of Paris 1783 (2nd)
  • First Formation of Political Parties - Federalists and Republicans
  • Cabinet (Jefferson, Knox, Hamilton, Randolph)
  • Genet Affair 1793: French/American Bond weakened
  • Indian Problems: Treaty of Greenville 1795
  • Jay Treaty with Great Britain 1795 (It allowed for increased trade with Britain in exchange for the British giving up their forts on the Great Lakes. People thought it was good for Britain but bad for the US)
  • Pinckney Treaty with Spain 1796: established intentions of friendship between the United States and Spain. It also defined the boundaries of the United States with the Spanish colonies and guaranteed the United States navigation rights on the Mississippi River
  • Republicans form; Jefferson resigns 1793
  • Washington's Farewell Address 1796: condemnation of parties, isolation, dangers of foreign entanglements

John Adams (Federalist)

1797 - 1801
  • The 11th Amendment is added to the Constitution in 1798. The amendment recognizes that states have a certain degree of sovereign immunity
  • Washington D.C. becomes America's official capitol in 1800.
  • He was responsible for passing the Alien and Sedition Acts. (Four internal security laws passed by the U.S. Congress, restricting aliens and curtailing the excesses of an unrestrained press, in anticipation of an expected war with France.)
  • Prevented all out war with France after the XYZ Affair. (nearly involved the United States and France in war. President Adams wanted to avoid a war with France, so he sent officials to France to solve the problem. However, French officials would not meet with the Americans, and they insisted that America give a loan to France and pay a bribe.)
  • His passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts severely hurt the popularity of the Federalist party and himself
  • Main issue during election was French Revolution
  • Vice President is Jefferson (Republican)
  • Quasi War with France caused formation of Navy
  • Government places large taxes on stamps and houses
  • Virginia and Kentucky Resolves - Jefferson and Madison (measures passed by the legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky as a protest against the Federalist Alien and Sedition Acts. maintained that the states had the power to pass upon the constitutionality of federal legislation.)

Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican)

1801 - 1809
  • Louisianna Purchase in 1803. (western half of the Mississippi River basin purchased in 1803 from France by the United States; at less than three cents per acre. greatest land bargain in US history. doubled the size of the country.)
  • In 1803 the 12th Amendment is approved by Congress and added to the Constitution in 1804. (providing for election of the president and vice president by the electoral college: should there be no majority vote for one person, the House of Representatives (one vote per state) chooses the president and the Senate the vice president.)
  • Lewis and Clark begin exploring the Lousianna Territory in 1804, returning in 1809.
  • First secretary of state.
  • Took up the cause of strict constructionists and the Republican Party, advocating limited federal government.
  • Organized the national government by Thomas Jefferson Republican ideals, doubled the size of the nation, and struggled to maintain American neutrality.
  • Four new states
  • Jefferson's No Pomp, aristocratic clothing
  • Early Foreign Policy: peace with UK and FR, Cut Army and Navy
  • Marbury V. Madison (established the precedent of Judicial Review — reviewing an act of Congress and judging whether or not it is unconstitutional. Adams appointed a lot of Federalists to the Supreme Court to keep Jefferson from changing to much during his term)
  • Chesapeake-Leopard 1807: One of the events leading to the War of 1812 occurred about 40 miles east of Chesapeake Bay. The US frigate Chesapeake was fired upon and boarded by the crew of the British man-of-war Leopard
  • Jefferson responds to the Chesapeake-Leopard with the Embargo Act 1808 (law that prohibited United States vessels from trading with European nations during the Napoleonic Wars. Passed by Congress in December 1807 over Federalist opposition and at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson, the Embargo Act was a response to restrictive measures imposed on American neutrality by France and Great Britain, at war with each other) and the Non-Intercourse Act (This Act lifted all embargoes on American shipping except for those bound for British or French ports. The intent was to damage the economies of the United Kingdom and France. Like its predecessor, the Embargo Act, it was mostly ineffective, and contributed to the coming of the War of 1812.)

James Madison (Democratic-Republican)

1809 - 1817
  • The War of 1812, the US declares war on Great Britain.
  • In 1814, the British (technically the Canadians) set fire to the Capitol.
  • The Treaty of Ghent ends the war in 1814: Status Quo Antebellum. (signed by British and American representatives at Ghent, Belgium, ending the War of 1812. By terms of the treaty, all conquered territory was to be returned, and commissions were planned to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada.)
  • A member of the Continental Congress (1780-1783) and the Constitutional Convention (1787),
  • He strongly supported ratification of the Constitution and was a contributor to The Federalist Papers (1787-1788), which argued the effectiveness of the proposed constitution.
  • Favored strict interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Macon Bill #2 (was intended to motivate Britain and France to stop seizing American vessels during the Napoleonic Wars.)
  • War Hawks push Madison into war. They were confident in beating British, taking Canada, and ensuring freedom of the seas
  • Battle of Tippecanoe - was fought on November 7, 1811 on the Tippcanoe River in Indiana between the Shawnee Indians and U.S. forces. Neither side won, but the U.S. General William Henry Harrison and his men burned the Indians' villages. Then the U.S. declares war and starts the War of 1812.
  • Lack of Success in Sea
  • Hartford Convention: Demise of the Federalists. Meeting of New England Federalists at Hartford. The purpose was to express grievances against President James Madison's administration and against the war, and to safeguard the interests of New England against the South and West. Its proceedings were conducted in secret.
  • Battle of New Orleans and Rise of Jackson: the last major battle of the War of 1812. troops led by General Andrew Jackson. Jackson defeated the British just 30 minutes, halting their plans to attack New Orleans and establishing himself as a national military hero. The Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war, had been signed two weeks before the battle but the news had not yet crossed the Atlantic.
  • Fletcher v. Peck: decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1810, involving the Yazoo land fraud. The court ruled that an act of the Georgia legislature rescinding a land grant was unconstitutional because it revoked rights previously granted by contract. The decision was the first to declare a state legislative act unconstitutional.

James Monroe (Democratic-Republican)

1817 - 1825
  • His administration was marked by the acquisition of Florida (1819); the Missouri Compromise (1820), in which Missouri was declared a slave state; and the profession of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), declaring U.S. opposition to European interference in the Americas
  • Era of Good Feelings
  • McCulloch v. Maryland 1815 (Second National bank was constitutional and the state of Maryland could not tax its activities)
  • Rush-Bagot Treaty: treaty between US and Britain that limited naval armaments on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain following the War of 1812
  • Transcontinental Treaty/Adam-Onis 1819: treaty between US and spain that gave Florida to the US and set out a boundary between the US and New Spain (now Mexico)
  • Second National Bank
  • Panic of 1819 - first major financial cris
  • Russo-American Treaty 1824 - gave Russian claims on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America south of parallel 54°40′ north over what Americans know as the Oregon Country to the United States.
  • Tariff of 1824: Further heightening of rates. Growing opposition from the South.
  • Dartmouth v. Woodwawrd 181: the legislature of a state shall pass no act impairing the obligation of contracts. new hampshire could not turn Dartmouth into a state school
  • Gibbons v. Ogden 1823: gave Congress power to control commerce

John Quincy Adams (Democratic-Republican)

1825 - 1829
  • End of Virginia Dynasty
  • Secretary of State under Monroe.
  • Skilled diplomat as evidenced by the Adams-Onis Treaty and the Treaty of Ghent.
  • Wrote the Monroe Doctrine for Monroe.
  • Accused of winning the presidency with a "corrupt bargain" with Clay.
  • Repealed the Gag Rule in 1845 (barred discussion or referral to committee of antislavery petitions)
  • Election of 1824; Corrupt Bargain: no one got a majority of electoral votes, house of representatives was required to select the president, Clay was the speaker of the house and swung votes in favor of Adams and then Clay was appointed secretary of state
  • Tariff of Abominations 1828: 55% tax. a protective tariff passed by the U.S. Congress that came to be known as the "Tariff of Abominations" to its Southern detractors because of the effects it had on the Antebellum Southern economy; it was the highest tariff in U.S. peacetime and its goal was to protect industry in the northern United States from competing European goods by increasing the prices of European products. Attempt to keep the American system running.

Andrew Jackson (Democrat)

1829 - 1837
  • Indian removal act - Allowed the President to move Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the Mississippi.
  • Nullification crisis - leaders of South Carolina advanced the idea that a state did not have to follow a federal law and could, in effect, "nullify" the law
  • Old Hickory," first southern/ western president,"
  • Jacksonian Democracy: Equality of common man, social equality, elitism attacked, institutions that support inequality attacked
  • Pet banks - After winning reelection in 1832, Jackson had to deal with the economic consequences of his decision to oppose the Bank of the United States . Jackson "killed" the national bank not only by vetoing its recharter but also by withdrawing all federal funds. Aided by secretary of the treasury Roger Taney, he transferred the funds to various state banks, which Jackson's critics called "pet banks"
  • Spoils system - the name given to the practice of hiring and firing federal workers when presidential administrations changed in the 19th century.
  • Specie circular - required for payment for government land to be in gold and silver. also carried out by Van Buren. reaction to a large portion of buyers used paper money from state banks not backed by hard money.
  • Trail of tears - a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830
  • Jackson was against Clay's American System (Banks, Tariffs, and Internal Improvements)
  • Kitchen Cabinet: the collection of Jackson's unofficial advisers
  • Second Formation of Political Parties: Democrats (Jacksonian) and Whigs (anti jackson)
  • Inflation explodes in west

Martin Van Buren (Democrat)

1837 - 1841

John Tyler (Whig)

1841 - 1845

William Henry Harrison (Whig)

  • Election of 1840 based on personality
  • Dies from pneumonia after one month

James Knox Polk (Democrat)

1845 - 1849

Zachary Tyler (Whig)

1849 - 1850

Millard Fillmore (Whig)

1850 - 1853

Franklin Pierce (Democrat)

1853 - 1857

James Buchanan (Democrat)

1857 - 1861

Abraham Lincoln (Republican)

1861 - 1865

Andrew Johnson (Democrat/National Union)

1865 - 1869

Ulysses Simpson Grant (Republican)

1869 - 1877

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (Republican)

1877 - 1881

Chester Alan Arthur (Republican)

1881 - 1885

James Abram Garfield (Republican)


Grover Cleveland (Democrat)

1885 - 1889

William McKinley (Republican)

1897 - 1901

Theodore Roosevelt (Republican)

1901 - 1909

William Howard Taft (Republican)

1909 - 1913

Woodrow Wilson (Democrat)

1913 - 1921

Warren Gamaliel Harding (Republican)

1921 - 1923

Calvin Coolidge (Republican)

1923 - 1929

Herbert Clark Hoover (Republican)

1929 - 1933

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Democrat)

1933 - 1945

Harry S Truman (Democrat)

1945 - 1953

Dwight David Eisenhower (Republican)

1953 - 1961

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (Democrat)

1961 - 1963

Lyndon Baines Johnson (Democrat)

1963 - 1969

Richard Milhous Nixon (Republican)

1969 - 1974

Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr (Republican)

1974 - 1977

James Earl Carter (Democrat)

1977 - 1981

Ronald Wilson Reagan (Republican)

1981 - 1989

George Herbert Walker Bush (Republican)

1989 - 1993

William Jefferson Clinton (Democrat)

1993 - 2001

George W. Bush (Republican)

2001 - 2009

Barack Obama (Democrat)

2009 - 2017

Key Terms

South Carolina Exposition and Protest


By Calhoun, it was a protest against the tariff of abominations. S.C. threatened to secede if the tariff wasn't repealed, and they said a state had the right to reject federal law.

Maysville Veto


a veto by jackson that prevented the maysville road from being funded by federal money since it only benefited kentucky. many believed the veto was personal because jackson had authorized federal spending on similar projects in the past. this was a blow to clay's american system and it irritated the west.

Webster-Hayne Debate


a debate over the sale of public land in the west. The debate was between Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Robert Hayne of South Carolina in what became a classical argument over sectional issues. Hayne argued for states’ rights while Webster claimed states’ rights would leave to Civil War. States' rights (South) vs. nationalism (North).

Nullification Crisis


leaders of South Carolina advanced the idea that a state did not have to follow a federal law and could, in effect, “nullify” the law

Bank War


Bank War, in U.S. history, the struggle between President Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank of the United States, over the continued existence of the only national banking institution in the nation during the second quarter of the 19th century. Jackson believed it concentrated too much economic power in the hands of a small monied elite beyond the public’s control. For support, Biddle turned to the National Republicans—especially Henry Clay and Daniel Webster—turning the issue into a political battle.

Nicholas Biddle and Clay attempt to re-charter the National Bank

Jackson vetoes bank: Unconstitutional, it is foreign monopoly, elitist and undemocratic, hampers western growth

Compromise Tariff of 1832


The Tariff of 1832 was a protectionist tariff in the United States. It was passed as a reduced tariff to remedy the conflict created by the tariff of 1828, but it was still deemed unsatisfactory by southerners and other groups hurt by high tariff rates. Southern opposition to this tariff and its predecessor, the Tariff of Abominations, caused the Nullification Crisis involving South Carolina. The tariff was later lowered down to 35 percent, a reduction of 10 percent, to pacify these objections. This was still not satisfactory, and the Tariff of 1833 resulted.

Force Bill


Andrew Jackson
authorized use of whatever force necessary to enforce Federal tariffs

Texas Revolution


the 1836 rebellion in which Texas gained its independence from Mexico

Colonial America (1492 - 1754)

The American Revolutionary Era (1754-1789)

The New Nation (1789-1824)

The Age of Jackson (1824-1840)

Social and Cultural Movements in Antebellum America

The Gathering Storm (1840-1860)

The Civil War (1861-1865)

Reconstruction and the New South (1865-1900)

The Old West (1865-1900)

Industrial America (1865-1900)

Populism and Progressivism (1890-1917)

Imperialism and World War I (1890-1919)

The Roaring Twenties

The Great Depression and the New Deal (1929-1941)

World War II (1941-1945)

The Cold War (1945-1989)

The Unfinished Fifties

The Tumultuous Sixties

Key Political Events and Demographic Trends, 1969 to the Present

Milestones and Key Figures in African American History

Milestones and Key Figures in Women's History

Milestones in Native American History

Key Supreme Court Cases and Famous Trials

Key Works of Literature, Art, and Music

Key Facts About Labor Unions, Labor Laws, and Labor Strikes

Key Facts About Twenty Acts of Congress

People in Motion: Immigration and Migration

Milestones in U.S. Foreign Policy: Latin America

Milestones in U.S. Foreign Policy: The Vietnam War