USA 1820-77


James Monroe

March 4, 1817 - March 4, 1825

John Quincy Adams

March 4, 1825 - March 4, 1829

Andrew Jackson

March 4, 1829 - March 4, 1837

Martin Van Buren

March 4, 1837 - March 4, 1841

Mostly carried out the policies of Jackson, while trying to sort out the mess that the Bank War had left.

William Henry Harrison

March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841

Died a month after inauguration of a chill that he caught on inauguration day.

John Tyler

April 4, 1841 - March 4, 1845

'His Accidency'... 'The Executive Ass'...

John Tyler commanded little respect from congress and as such achieved very little in his presidency.

James K. Polk

March 4, 1845 - March 4, 1849

Seen in many ways as little more than a war monger, Polk actively incited the Mexican War in the hope that it would increase his political prowess and impress his sponsors.

His presidency was key in the rise of the Slave Power theory.

Zach Taylor

March 4, 1849 - July 9, 1850

Elected as War hero, there was little expected of Zach Taylor other than to win the election. Despite being very honest, he was prone to over-simplify complex issues and this was proved through his actions over California and New Mexico.

Millard Fillmore

July 9, 1850 - March 4, 1853

Despite being similarly ineffective to John Tyler while President, his backing for the 1850 Compromise was important in its passage through Congress.

Franklin Pierce

March 4, 1853 - March 4, 1857

Associated with Filibustering and elected on a expansionist platform, Pierce was to prove himself weak and irresolute despite having a strong Democrat Majority in both houses of Congress.

As a Northerner, he was sympathetic to the South and in many ways endorsed the notion that a Latin-American Slave empire could become a reality.

James Buchanan

March 4, 1857 - March 4, 1861

Abraham Lincoln

March 4, 1861 - April 15, 1865

Andrew Johnson

April 15, 1865 - March 4, 1869

Ulysses S. Grant

March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877

Rutherford B. Hayes

March 4, 1877 - March 4, 1881


Missouri Compromise


This Drew a line across the continent at 36' 30' and prohibited slavery in the Louisianna Territory north of this line.

Johnson vs. M'Intosh


Indians not owners of the land but entitled to a right of occupancy.

The Corrupt Bargain


John Quincy Adams was elected president of the United States after Henry Clay, a severe critic of Andrew Jackson, had donated his votes to JQA in return for the position of Secretary of State in his government and the possible promise of secured election in four years time.

Jackson was outraged and this quite possibly fueled his landslide victory in 1828, while Clay's chances of ever becoming president were dashed by the label of the 'Corrupt Bargain' that he failed to shake.

Tariff of Abominations


The tariff protected industry in the Northern United States and damaged the international appeal of Southern Cotton.

Led to the Nullification Crisis. Also important to note that it was enacted in the Presidency of John Quincy Adams.

Petticoat Affair (Peggy Eaton Affair)

1830 - 1831

After Peggy Timberlake became a widower in 1828, Timberlake and John Henry Eaton, a member of Jackson's cabinet, were married. Washington Wives united against the marriage with Floride Calhoun, wife of Vice President John C. Calhoun, leading the phalanx. Even Jackson's surrogate first lady, Emily Donelson, allied herself to this faction. Martin van Buren, a recent widower sided with the Eatons.

Jackson too sided with the Eatons, citinig the death of his late wife Rachel to have been caused by similar allegations linked to their marriage shortly after his election in 1828. Jackson, in sympathy, appointed Eaton his secretary of War, while many of his cabinet resigned a midst the controversy. Martin van Buren became his new Vice President and Calhoun returned to South Carolina, from where he began an ever more fervent pro-southern, states' rights and slavery political ideology.

Indian Removal Act


Provided funds for the uprooting of the 5 so-called civilized tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. A population of about 60,000 was to be moved west of the Mississippi River into a designated Indian Territory.

Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia


Indians described by Marshall as Wards of the Federal Govt. as such they could not be protected by the Supreme Court because they weren't citizens.

Nullfication Crisis

1832 - 1833

Calhoun's strong political ideology had been causing issues to do with the Tariff of Abominations, but the tensions came to a head in 1832 when Congress passed a new tariff that was slightly more lenient. In response, South Carolina declared the tariff null and void in their state after February of the next year.

Jackson moved to enact a Force Bill authorizing him to use the army to collect customs duties, which was ratified by congress. To avoid confrontation, Henry Clay arranged the passage of a new tariff through Congress to further limit the taxation. This placated South Carolina to the extant that they rescinded the ordinance of nullification, but in turn 'nullified' the Force Act.

Calhoun left the Democrats for the Whigs where he joined Webster and Clay in a formidable political trio. This highlighted Jackson's tendency to get over-involved in personal disputes and showed how he was willing to move away from party line to protect the Union.

The Bank War

1832 - 1834

Jackson and many democrats were wary of the negative influence the Second Bank of the United States had on many of the poorer members of the population. Certainly, Jackson, a firm believer in the legitimacy of gold and silver as a currency, mistrusted the paper money which could so easily fluctuate in value, damaging the value of their wages.

In 1832 the tensions over the Bank came to a head. Biddle's bank had been due for a re-charter in 1836, but the Whigs politicians Daniel Webster and Henry Clay saw a perfect opportunity to put pressure on the 1832 election by cornering Jackson.

The Bill to Re-charter the BUS was passed through Congress and Jackson rose to the challenge by vetoing it. His appeal to the population was well written and resonated among millions as he won re-election in 1832 over Henry Clay.

This spelled the end of the Bank of the United States and showed how Jackson had enhanced the power of the presidency during his eight years in office.

Worcester Vs. Georgia


Court turn around: Indian Nations were a distinct people with the right to maintain a separate political identity. They should be dealt with by the federal govt. and Georgia's actions violated treaties made with Washington by the Cherokee.

To the Jackson remarked: 'Judge Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.'

British Economic Downturn

1834 - 1838

This downturn in British lending and purchasing saw the amount of cotton being purchased from america fall dramatically.

The Pet Banks

1834 - 1837

Between the end of the Bank war in 1834 and 1837 Jackson moved federal reserves out of The BUS and into so called 'Pet Banks'. This was fraught with nepotism and saw the opposite happen to what Jackson had aimed for; workers wages dropped in value while soft money grew at an astonishing rate to fund the expansion of the United States.

The Value of bank notes in circulation rose from $10 million in 1833 to £149 million in 1837.

Jackson pays off National Debt

January 1835

In January 1835, Jackson paid off the entire national debt, the only time in U.S. history that has been accomplished. However, this accomplishment was short lived. A severe depression from 1837 to 1844 caused the national debt to increase to over $3.3 million by January 1, 1838 and it has not been paid in full since.

This was one of Jackson's proudest moments as president.

Texan Declaration of Independence

October 1835 - March 1836

Specie Circular

July 1836

Issued by the Jackson administration to ensure that any land bought from the Government of the United States would be paid for in Gold or Silver.

At the same time, the Bank of England required that American merchants pay their creditors in gold or sliver.

Panic of 1837


The combination of the Bank War, the speculation in the West, the Specie Circular and the prudence of the British saw an economic collapse in the US in 1837 which turned into an economic downturn lasting until 1843.

Trail of Tears

1838 - 1839

Federal troops moved 18,000 Cherokee tribespeople out of Georgia along the Trail of Tears through the Winter of 1838-9. It is estimated that at least a quarter of them perished.

Independent Treasury


Martin Van Buren reacted to the crash of 1837 by trying to pass a new policy of Independent Treasury by which federeal reserves would be removed from the 'Pet Banks' of Andrew Jackson and moved to the Treasury Department in Washington.

This split the Democrats as Big Businessmen saw it as a block to economic growth, while the 'agrarian' side of the party welcomed its protectionist power. This helps us to understand why it took so long to pass through congress.

It would be repealed by the Whigs in 1841, before being reinstated by Polk in 1846.

Manifest Destiny

January 1845

Democrat John O'Sullivan stated that it was 'our manifest destiny to overspread and possess the entire continent'.

Texas granted statehood.


John Tyler's final act as president before James Polk was elected.

The Wilmot Proviso

August 1846

David Wilmot, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, proposed that slavery should be excluded from any territory gained from Mexico.

In light of the deal made over Oregon with the British, many Northerners were irked by the pro-southern looking stance of Polk and saw the proviso as a way to maintain the hold of the North on power.

It outraged southerners and didn't pass through congress. Senator Toombs of Georgia said he would favour disunion over degradation.

The Calhoun Doctrine


John C. Calhoun issues a series of resolutions in which he claimed that citizens from every state had the right to take their 'property' to any territory.

He said that the Northern aggression would lead to nothing but secession.

California Gold Rush

1848 - 1849

Proved to save the presidency of Polk in one way as the rush of capital into the economy prevented the re-introduction of the Independent Treasury from halting economic growth.

Also saw more than 100,000 people flock to California before the 1850 Compromise arrived, allowing California to apply for Statehood.

Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo

February 1848 - May 1848

California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States. USA paid $15 million to mexico for this territory along with the claims of US citizens against Mexico, about $3.25 million.

Polk was dissatisfied with the treaty but was forced by Northern public opinion to accept it and did so in May 1848.

1850 Compromise

January 1850

Henry Clay offered the senate a set of resolutions as a base for compromise:

-California to be admitted as a free state
-Utah (formerly the Mormon 'state' of Deseret) and New Mexico were to be organised as territories without any mention of or restriction on slavery.
-Slave-trading but not slavery itself should end in Washington.
-A more stringent Fugitive Slave Act should be passed to placate the South.
-In order to resolve the Texas-New Mexico dispute,Texas should surrender the disputed land to New Mexico. In return Congress would assume the $10 million public debt that Texas still owed.

The Nashville Assembly

June 1850

Delegates from nine Slave States met at Nashville, Tennessee. Six slave states did not send delegates and the assembly seemed to have little enthusiasm for secession. The Moderates dominated proceedings and isolated the extremists.

Compromise Passed as Separate Bills

September 1850

In the wake of the death of President Taylor of gastroenteritis, Millard Fillmore became President and threw his weight behind the Compromise Bill. It nevertheless failed to pass through congress.

Stephen Douglas then stepped into the fray and secured the passing of the 1850 compromise by passing the act as separate bills, one by one.

Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin


300000 sold in 1852 and a further 2 million over the next ten years of this attack on the institution of slavery.

Unionist Victories in Southern State Elections

1851 - 1853

Between 1851 and 1852 unionists won a majority of state elections of seccessionist in the South

Cuban 'Filibuster' Expedition


Failed top overthrow the Spanish Government despite being American-Sponsored.

Quitman's Cuban 'Filibuster' Expedition

1853 - 1854

Between 1853-54 John Quitman, a former Mississippi senator, planned a large expedition, involving about 5000 American Volunteers and contact with Cuban Rebels.

In July of 1853 Pierce met with Quitman and unofficially encouraged his plans. He wanted more than anything to scare Spain into selling him the island.

Northern Opinion was severely against the expedition and as a result the expedition was scuttled.

Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company

1854 - 1855

The company sponsored over a thousand Northerners settlement in Kansas in an attempt to limit the influence of Slavery.

The Kansas Nebraska Act

January 1854

Senator Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill into congress from his position as Chairman of the Senate committee on Territories.

Organised the whole of the Nebraska into a territory and substituted The Missouri Compromise line for popular sovereignty.

Explicitly repealed the ban on slavery in the Nebraska territory and Nebraska separated into Kansas and Nebraska.Kansas was the territory directly next to Missouri and Nebraska was that next to Minnesota and Iowa. Nebraska territory was too cold for plantation agriculture but in Kansas there was the possibility of slavery taking hold.

The Gadsden Purchase


As part of Franklin Pierce's platform of expansionist policy, in 1853 he gave James Gadsden the authority to negotiate the purchase of 250,000 square miles of Mexican Territory.

The eventual agreement saw only 54,000 square miles purchased. It was supported by southerners because of it potential to build a trans-continental railroad on. But only passed through Congress in 1854 once 9000 miles had been slashed from the purchase.

The Ostend Manifesto

October 1854

After Pierce had told Soulé, the American minister in Spain, to offer up to $130 million for Cuba events escalated. James Buchanan, minister to Britain, John Mason, Minister to France, and Pierre Soulé met in Belgium to issue the Ostend Manifesto.

It stated that Cuba was 'as essential to the Northern American Republic as any of its current members' and that the US would be 'justified in wresting it from Spain' if they refused to sell.

Details of the Manifesto were leaked and Northern politicians quickly denounced it. Pierce repudiated the manifesto and Soulé resigned while the expansionist efforts saw the Slave Power theory take a stronger hold in the North.

Elections in Kansas

March 1855

The first legislature of the territory met to be elected at Lecompton in March 1855. Thousands of pro-slavers crossed over from Missouri to ensure the election win. The pro-slavers won but the margin of victory cast doubt over the legitimacy.

Nevertheless, the Lecompton-based territorial government proceeded to pass a number of harsh pro-slavery laws, including capital punishment for hiding a fugitive slave.

Topeka Constitutional Convention


The 'Free-staters' or 'Free-Soilers' met in Topeka and drafted a constitution banning slavery. While the radicals in the assembly saw it as a way of preventing the expansion of slavery, the assembly was dominated by moderates who were simply racist and objected to Blacks in any shape or form in Kansas.

First Republican Party National Convention

February 1856

The party was made up of a mix of politicians:
-Charles Sumner - abolitionist
-William Seward - Ex-Whig
-David Wilmot - Ex-Democrat
-Nathanial Banks - Ex-Know Nothings

Lawrence Raid

May 1856

A pro-slavery posse 'sacked' Lawrence, a free-state settlement and burnt some buildings. While Northern Journalists took to opportunity to hyperbolise and lie (they said there were dozens of free-staters killed, while in reality the only casualty was a pro-slaver who was crushed by a burning building which collapsed).

Bleeding Kansas

May 1856

This description of the situation in Kansas became a rallying cry for supporters of the Republican Party as their popularity soared after the events in Kansas, or at least the way in which they were reported.

Bleeding Sumner


Preston Brooks, a Southern Senator who had been enraged by Sumners speeches attacking the events in Kansas-Nebraska, beat Charles Sumner with his cane in the Senate. This was yet another example of the action of Slave Power and the barbarism of the south.

This sign of Slave power became yet another rallying cry for the republicans and the forces of abolition.

Pottawatomie Creek


John Brown and several of his sons murdered 5 pro-slavers in reaction to the Lawrence Raid. His actions were lauded as righteous self-defense by the Northern press and he became a hero. While in Kansas it sparked a series of Tit-for-tat killings which were once again exaggerated by the Northern Press to be a civil war.

1856 Election


John C. Frémont ran for the republicans as a relatively inexperienced politician with few enemies and a national hero status due to his Western Expeditions. The Republicans saw him as their safest bet. His platform said that congress had 'both the right and the imperative duty... to prohibit in the territories those twins relics of barbarism - Polygamy and Slavery.' The polygamy being in relation to the Mormons in Utah.

Millard Fillmore ran for the American Party, but after its split following his nomination he only had influence in the south and at that it was limited. The North-American Party was cornered into supporting Frémont after Nathanial Banks skillfully nominated himself then withdrew in favour of the republican leader leaving the North American Party supporting the Republicans.

The Democrats also went for a 'safe' candidate in the shape of James Buchanan. He had spent 40 years in public service and was from Pennsylvania, perceived to be a battleground state. His platform upheld the 1850 compromise and popular sovereignty.

The campaigning was split between Buchanan and Fillmore in the South, and Buchanan and Frémont in the North. Senator Toombs of Georgia declared that: 'The election of Frémont would be the end of the Union and ought to be'. Which resonated strongly in 1860.

While the republicans had lost the election, which the Democrats becoming more and more segregated they had the largest group of seats in congress 92 of which none were split.

Panic of 1857

1857 - 1859

A short but devastating economic depression saw Buchanan fail to react and give the impetus to the Republicans for the Mid-term elections in 1858.

Dredd Scott Vs. Sandford


Dredd Scott had resided in Wisconsin and Illinois with his master and with the help of anti-slavery lawyers tried to sure for freedom. Chief Justice Roger Taney presided over the case.

The court rule that:
-Scott couldn't sue for his freedom because as a blacks didn't have the same rights as whites, slave or free.
-His stay in Illinois had no affect on his freedom.
-His stay in Wisconsin had no effect, the Missouri Compromise line was illegal and all citizens had the right to take their 'property' into the territories.

The case seemed to Northerners as another example of Slave Power at work and launched a fierce onslaught on the Supreme Court. IN many ways, however the case simply annulled a law that had been repealed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

All in all the ruling increased sectional tensions and saw seen to both ban the Republican Party and undermine popular sovereignty.

The Lecompton Constitution

December 1857

After the free-staters, of which there was a majority in Kansas by 1857, abstained from voting in an election for a convention to draw up a constitution February 1857, the October Election for a new territorial legislature were rigged by the pro-slavers and made a mockery of the constitutional convention.

Nevertheless, the convention proceeded to produce a constitution which contained a referendum on the the question of slavery: YES or NO. Free-staters once again abstained from voting and the result was yes.

The period showed a mockery of popular sovereignty, despite the best efforts of Walker, the governor, to keep the elections fair. Buchanan proceeded to ratify the constitution despite its obvious invalidity, seemingly believing that the problems in Kansas had been caused by free-staters and ignoring Walker because seeded to him the correct thing to do.

Congress Votes Down the Lecompton Constitution


Despite the patronage pressure that Buchanan enacted upon both houses in the Congress (the constitution passed through the senate), the Constitution failed to pass through the House of Representatives.

Kansas Rejects Lecompton Constitution

August 1858

The re-run referendum saw 11,300 voted against slavery with only 1788 voting for it.

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

August 1858 - October 1858

The mid-term senate elections of 1858 saw Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois come up against a rising star of US politics: Abraham Lincoln. Between August and October the two men debated various topics all with relevance to the upcoming election.

Lincoln eventually lost the election but Douglas had failed to stick to his party line and the debates resulted in the definite fragmentation of the Democratic Party.

John Brown's Raid


Financially back by the 'Secret Six', Brown managed to keep his plans a secret and proceeded to ride to Harpers Ferry with 18 other men including 3 of his sons. He aimed to seize weapons from the federal Arsenal, retreat to the Appalachian Mountains and incite a huge slave rebellion.

The plan succeeded until a train pulled into the Arsenal and shots were fired upon it. The first person to die was a black baggage master. Brown proceeded to hole himself and his party up in the Fire engine house along with a number of hostages. State Militia of Maryland and Virginia descended upon the arsenal and Brown's position became desperate.

After a 36 hour siege the Fire-Engine house was stormed and Brown was captured. Ten of Brown's 'army were killed including two of his sons and 7 other people were killed.

The Raid had less affect than Brown's execution as most Northerners and Southerners within Congress condemned his actions. Nevertheless, it scared the South as Brown had tried to instigate the one thing which would make their fight for slavery futile: an armed slave insurrection.

Brown's execution saw abolitionists hail his motives and bells were rung across the North.

Democratic Convention

April 1860

Douglas was desperate to run for president and as such tried to build bridges with the South before the Convention but struggled. His position on the Lecompton alienated him from southerners.

When the convention met in Charleston, SC, the heart of the fire-eating south Douglas already had his heart cut out, but still managed to gain 52% of the vote before the 50 Southern Delegates walked out after the Northerners blocked a pro-slavery policy.

They agreed to re-convene in Baltimore in June.

Republican Convention

May 1860

They met in the specially built Wigwam, a temporary building constructed of wood that could house 10,000 people.

The platform was easily decided upon:
-higher protective tariffs.
-free 160-acre homesteads for western settlers -
-a northern trans-continental settlers.
-no intention to interfere with slavery where it already existed.

Abraham Lincoln was poised against the favorite Seward. Lincoln had a number of advantages:
-He came from a battleground state of Illinois.
-Gained national reputation after Douglas debates of 1858.
-1859-60 made a number of speeches across the North gaining support and friends in high places.
-able to appear all things to all men.
-few enemies, credibly integrity and honesty.
-Convention being held in Chicago,IS.

The voting started with Seward having the larger proportion but not enough to win, as the other candidates dropped out their votes drifted to Lincoln and he finally achieved nomination on the third ballot after a number of deals had been made. The effect of these deals saw Cameron of Pennsylvania and Caleb Smith of Indiana appointed to Lincoln's cabinet.

Baltimore Convention and Democratic Split

June 1860

The Northern Democrats had favored pro-Douglas southerners to be invited to he new convention and as such another mass walk-out of the southern delegates was witnessed. Douglas won nomination with ease.

The southerners set up their own convention and nominated the current Vice-President John Breckinridge as their candidate. Despite the fact that Breckinridge had some Northern Support most see the split of the Democrats as the end for any Democrat visions of winning the election.

Despite this the Republicans were odds-on favorites to win anyway.

Fraud Discovered in Buchanan's Government

June 1860

A Republican-sponsored investigative committee found fraud at almost every level in Buchanan's government and used this discovery to tarnish the reputation of the Democrats.

'Honest Abe' was by contrast an angelic ideal.

1860 Election

November 1860

Abraham won 40% of the total vote and a majority of 180 to 123 in the Electoral College. He became the first Republican President of the USA.

The Republicans had strategically appealed the the whole of the South in almost every sphere of existence in the Union.

Crittenden Compromise


This tried to resolve the sectional crisis in the wake of the Secession of South Carolina:

-Missouri Compromise line extended to the Pacific, slavery permitted in all territories south of the line.
-Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing slavery in the states where it already existed.

South Carolina Secession


After the elections elections to a commission on secession were completed on the 10th November, South Carolina Voted 169-0 for secession on the 20th December.

Kansas Admitted to the Union as a Free State

January 1861

Buchanan Tries to Re-supply Fort Sumter.

January 1861

Buchanan sends a supply ship to support Fort Sumter but as it approaches, coastal batteries open fire. The captain refuses to return fire, ans war is avoided.

Mississippi Secession


The convention voted to secede by 85-15.

Florida Secession



Alabama Secession



Georgia Secession



Louisiana Secession



Texas Secession



Despite having a governor against disunion.

Virginia Peace Conference

February 1861

133 Delegates met including a number of the most famous names in US politics. They decided after 3 weeks on similar proposals to those of Crittenden, which were promtly ignored by Congress.

Creation of the Confederacy


50 delegates from the seceded states met to create the Confederate Government. The delegates nearly all owned slaves and all were politicians. There was a distinct absence of Fire-eaters at Montgomery.

It was aiming to entice the Upper-South to join its cause, so projected a moderate position. It adopted a Constitution on 8th February and then set a committee to draft a permanent constitution so that by March the Confederacy had a functioning constitution.

Jefferson Davis, a Senator from Mississippi, was unanimously elected president. He was a good choice as a previously successful officer in the Mexican War and as a minister of War.

He took the Oath of Office on 18th February.

The Confederacy had only 10% of the population of the USA and only 5% of the industrial capability. Nevertheless the first thing they did was raise an army.

Lincoln's Inauguration


Lincoln stated that
-he would not interfere with slavery where it already existed.
-he would not take immediate action to reclaim federal property in the South or appoint federal officials.
-secession was illegal and the union was perpetual and unbreakable.
-'hold, occupy and possess' federal property within the seceded states.

Lincoln Resupplies Sumter


Lincoln Informed Anderson, the fort commander, that he would be sending a relief expedition and that he should try to hold out.

Two days later Lincoln sent a letter to the Governor of South Carolina explaining that he would be resupplying Fort Sumter.

Three Ships and 500 men left for Charleston on 9th April.

Jefferson proceeded to meet with his cabinet from where they decided to force Anderson to abandon Sumter or 'reduce' it.

Fort Sumter Attacked by Confederate Troops


Beauregard ordered Anderson to surrender. He refused. Beauregard issued the order for the first shots of the Civil War.

The battle raged for 33 hours before the defenders surrendered with fires raging throughout the Fort. They had been lucky enough to sustain no casualties and were evacuated to Washington.

Lincoln Issues Call to Arms


Lincoln insisted he was dealing with a rebellion, not a war. He nevertheless ordered a blockade on the Confederacy

Virginia Secession



Important as Virginia had the industrial capacity of all seven seceded states combined.

Arkansas Secession


North Carolina Secession


Tennessee Secession


referendum : 104,913 - 47,238

Emancipation Proclamation


Abraham Lincoln Issued his first warning to the South that he would emancipate the slaves of any state which didn't return to the Union before 1863.

Gettysburg Address


Lincolc's Speech to the Armies of the Union after the Battle of Gettyburg redefined the war as a struggle for the equality of all who lived in the United States. He stated that the United States was "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

10% Plan


Lincoln produced a plan by which any state which surrendered to the Union forces and 10% of whose vote from the 1860 election swore an oath of alliegence to the Union would be accepted back into the Union as a state.

Wade-Davis Bill.


The Wade-Davis Bill was proposed by Radical Republicans Benjamin Wade and Henry Winter Davis to ensure that any state wishing to re-enter the Union must have a majority of the voting population take an Ironclad Oath, to the effect that they ahd never before supported the Confederacy.

Lincoln Re-elected


Lincoln Wins a Landslide election amid failures of Grant's Army and a rise of popularity of the War Democrats. Johnson, a war democrat, becomes vice president.

Black Codes


Southern Laws Designed to restrict the rights of newly freed black slaves. They varied from state to state across the South but endeavored to continue the supply of cheap labour.

General Sherman's Special Field Orders, No. 15


Special Field Orders, No. 15 were military orders issued during the American Civil War, on January 16, 1865, by General William Tecumseh Sherman. They provided for the confiscation of 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) of land along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and the dividing of it into 40-acre (0.16 km2) parcels, on which were to be settled approximately 18,000 freed slave families and other Blacks then living in the area.

Freeman's Bureau Bill

March 1865

Intended to last only one year after the end of the Civil War. Their task was mammoth:
-Establish Schools
-Provide aid to the poor and aged.
-settle disputes between whites and blacks.
-secure for blacks and unionists fair treatment in court.

Lincoln's 1865 Inauguration and Speech


"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in"

13th Amendment


The thirteenth amendment to the United States constitution abolished slavery in any territory governed by the United States Government.

Ku Klux Klan


The inception of the Ku Klux Klan in 1865 was the start of organised terrorising of free blacks in the Southern States which led to Congressional action in the years that followed. They were staunchly religious and racist, threatening, harassing and murdering both blacks and their supporters throughout the southern states.

1866 Mid-Term Elections


These elections in the wake of the 'Swing Around the Circle' tour Andrew Johnson made of the States and the Race riots in the south saw the Radical Republicans capture a majority that has never to this day been surpassed in the House of Representatives.

It effectively ended the hold of power that Johnson might have held over the House of Representatives.

Civil Rights Act


Granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States "without distinction of race or colour, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude"

New Orleans Race Riot


The sometimes called Mechanics Institute Race riot of 1866 caused huge reaction across the United States and gave the republicans strong control over congress.

Reconstruction Acts


This reduced the southern states to little more than conquered territory, dividing them into 5 military districts each governed by a Unionist General.

Tenure of Office Act


This was passed over the veto of Andrew Johnson in order to prevent him from removing from cabinet any member without the consent of Congress.

This arose in the context of Edward Stanton, a Radical Republican, being Secretary of War in Johnson's cabinet. Johnson nevertheless moved to remove Stanton from cabinet while Congress was not in session. When it convened in January it refused to ratify the removal of Stanton.

Notwithstanding the vote, Johnson proceeded to try and appoint a new secretary of War from which point the moves to impeach Johnson started.

Johnson's Impeachment.

02/1868 - 05/1868

The impeachment began in February after the Stanton fiasco and the trial began in March. By May 26, Johnson had be acquitted of any charges but only survived conviction by 1 vote to make up the two thirds needed.

14th Amendment


The fourteenth amendment to the US Constitution saw all citizens granted equal protection under the law.

Enforcement Acts

1870 - 04/20/1871

The Enforcement Acts were criminal codes which protected blacks’ right to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws. The laws also said that if the states failed to act and enforce these laws, the federal government had the right to intervene.

15th Amendment


The Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution saw African Americans have their right to vote formally ratified.

Ku Klux Klan Act


This was the third of the Enforcement Acts and allowed Grant to enforce his authority more powerfully in the South through the destruction of the Klan. It stated that federal troops not state militia would be responsible for the hunting of klansmen and allowed the suspention of Habeas Corpus. It led to the destruction of the Klan across many Southern States, in particular South Carolina.

1872 Election


Grant won an easy re-election to the presidency despite a split within his own party that saw the Liberal Republicans form their own party. Democrats had yet failed to reform a party.

Force Act


Guaranteed African Americans equal treatment in public accommodations, public transportation, and prohibited exclusion from jury service. The Supreme Court decided the act was unconstitutional in 1883.

United States vs. Cruikshank

March 1876

After a massacre of between 100 and 280 blacks outside a courthouse in Colfax, Louisiana, the supreme court ruled in favor of the mob and practically declared the 14th Amendment null and void. Leaving millions of free blacks in the South to the mercy of increasingly hostile southern governments.

Election of 1876


The Election of 1876 saw the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio and Samuel J. Tilden of New York go head to head with three states: Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana, being too close to call and also being key to the electoral college victory of both candidates.

An electoral commission was set up in which 8 of the 15 were republican. They found, unsurprisingly, in favor of Hayes and he was elected President.

Bargain of 1877


While the electoral commission were still in session, delegates from both party leaders met to discuss a compromise:

  • The removal of all federal troops from the former Confederate States. (Troops remained in only Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, but the Compromise finalized the process.)
  • The appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to Hayes's cabinet. (David M. Key of Tennessee became Postmaster General.)
  • The construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South (this had been part of the "Scott Plan," proposed by Thomas A. Scott, which initiated the process that led to the final compromise).
  • Legislation to help industrialize the South and get them back on their feet after the terrible loss during the Civil War.

Political Themes

Emergence of the Two Party System

1824 - 1840

The popularity of politics had soared over the 1820s and into the 1830s was seen the development of ta two party system.

Free Soil Party

1848 - 1854

Held an anti-expansion of slavery stance and stood for 'True Democratism'.

Martin Van Buren - 1848
John Hale - 1852

Know Nothing Movement

1849 - 1860

Born out of the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, the Know nothing emerged in the early 1850s as a nativist secret movement the members of which would answer when asked about the movement 'I Know Nothing'.

It grew startlingly and proved to fill the gap that the Whigs left after their fall. In 1854 it became a party and began to challenge the Democrats in Local and State Elections, they had over a million members and won 63 percent of the vote in Massachusetts before winning control of three more states in New England.

In 1855 it became the American Party and held open conventions on a State and National level.

The however began to decline in the mid-50s when a reduction in immigration, their failure to make good their campaign promises, a mistrust of the secretive side of the movement and the popularity of the party with the 'old-guard' of politicians who they had tried to purge from congress.

Collapse of the Second Party System

1851 - 1856

Whigs collapse due to sectional tensions that divide the party, but more importantly their failure to react to the Catholic Immigrants who were arriving in their millions.

Between 1845 and 54 3 million immigrants entered the USA.

By 1853 neither of the two traditional parties were serving the needs of the population. As such turnout decreased alarmingly and new parties began to emerge.

Rise of the Republican Party

1854 - 1860

The party was short on policy but sure on its anti-expansion of slavery position. Their Article of Faith was slave power and its threat to the North and liberty throughout the USA. Despite this, abolition was not on the agenda as most were anti-equality for blacks and feared an influx of blacks in the North.

They represented the forces of emerging capitalism in the USA. They wanted a high tariff, a strong central banking system and federal aid to internal improvements.

Presidential Reconstruction

1862 - 1868

The period in which Lincoln and Johnson controlled most of the reconstruction policy using their vetoes.

Congressional Reconstruction

1867 - 1877

Reconstruction controlled primarily by the Radical Republicans in Congress. Grant was in many ways a bystander.

Liberal Republican Party

1870 - 1873

Formed by the liberal members of the Republican Party to oppose the re-election of Ulysees S. Grant in 1972. Their Candidate Horace Greeley died before his 43% of the popular vote could have seen him gain only 3 electoral college votes.

The result of the election was possibly less important than the boost the split within the Republican Party gave the emerging Democrats.

The Redemption of the South

1873 - 1877

This was the self described period in which the Democrats returned to power in the South.


Second Seminole War

1835 - 1842

Saw the death of 1,500 federal troops and the same number of Seminole as they fought alongside the fugitive slaves they harbored for their right to live in Florida.

The Battle of the Alamo

February 1836 - March 1836

In Mexico

The Mexican War

May 1846 - February 1848

Perceived by many as a War of Southern Aggression and started the slide towards Civil War.

American Civil War

04/12/1861 - 05/09/1865

April 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865