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An English document drawn up by nobles under King John that limited the power of the king. Its limitation of government power influenced later constitutional documents in Britain and America.
Written by Parliament's House of Commons. Listed grievances against King Charles I and extended Parliament’s powers while limiting the king's.
•Parliament=authority over taxation, free citizens could not be arrested without
cause, no soldier quartering without compensation, martial law could not be declared during peacetime.
The Act imposed strict penalties on judges who refused to issue a writ of habeas corpus (challenge on legality of person's arrest/confinement) when there was good cause, and on officers who refused to comply with the writ.
• This began the protection of citizens against arbitrary arrest without just cause.
Drawn up by Parliament and presented to King. Listed certain rights of the British people. Limited king's powers in taxing and prohibited the maintenance of a standing army in peacetime.
• This was a defining moment in British constitutional history since it clearly limited the rights and
privileges of the monarch.
created through a grant of land by the English monarch to a person or group, who then organized a form of government largely independent from the monarch’s control.
• Maryland, the Carolinas, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania were all proprietary colonies.
founded by a government charter granted to a company or a group of people.
• Virginia and Massachusetts Bay Colony were charter colonies. The British government had some
control over charter colonies.
were formed by the king, so the government had total control over them and by 1700, the majority of proprietary colonies had become royal colonies.
formed by Virginia Company for $. Gentlemen=settlers.. Starvation; majority of colonists died in first year, many survivors left, few new colonists. The company offered private land ownership in the colony to attract settlers, but VA Company eventually went bankrupt and the colony reverted to the Crown. Didn't become successful until tobacco.
Program started by the Virginia Company that granted every head of a household fifty acres for himself and fifty additional acres for every adult member of his family or servant brought into the colony of Virginia.
• The headright system was adopted in Maryland and Virginia because of labor shortages.
The first African slaves in America arrived in the Virginia colony. (See Slavery summary for additional information)
The Virginia House of Burgesses was formed in 1619. This was the first representative government group in the colonies.
One of the first Protestant groups to come to America. They desired separation from the Church of England. In 1620, Pilgrims founded Plymouth, the first permanent community in New England.
Document signed by the Pilgrims who came over on the “Mayflower” which established a civil government and proclaimed their allegiance to the King.
• The Compact was notable for being one of the earliest examples of self-government in the English
A Pilgrim, he brought settlers over on the “Mayflower.” He was the second governor of the Plymouth Colony, and under Bradford’s leadership Plymouth developed private land ownership and the colony got out of debt. He helped the colony survive droughts, crop failures, and Indian attacks.
Non-separatists: Puritans were Calvinists who clamored for reform in the Church of England; they wanted to “purify” it.
Separatists: Pilgrims were Puritan Separatists who thought the Church of England was too corrupt to reform and so they wanted to “separate” from it, so they left England in search of religious freedom.
Christianized Native American settlements that were supervised by New England Puritans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The Puritan stockholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company agreed to immigrate to New England on the condition that they would have control of the government of the colony.
In 1629, King Charles gave the Puritans the right to settle and govern a colony in the Massachusetts Bay area. In 1630, about a thousand Puritans led by John Winthrop sailed for Massachusetts, founded Boston, and surrounding towns. The colony established political freedom and a representative government.
First governor of the Mass. Bay Colony,served in that capacity from 1630- 1649.
Devout Puritan, opposed total democracy because he believed the colony was best governed by a small group of skillful leaders.
Helped organize New England Confederation in 1643, served as its first president.
• Winthrop wanted the emigrants to found an exemplary Christian community, a “city on a hill”- that
would serve as a beacon for the Church of England, which they sought to reform from within.
Approximately 15,000 Puritans migrated from England to America in the 1630’s and 1640’s, led by John Winthrop. During this period, the population of the Massachusetts Bay Colony grew to ten times its earlier population.
A military alliance of four colonies: Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Haven. The purpose of the Confederation was to protect themselves from Indians.
• This was the first step in cooperation among the colonies, although the confederation ended in 1684.
1630s-present. Political process used in New England to govern towns. Town’s inhabitants and freemen elected selectmen and other town officials to handle local affairs.
1600s, town meetings offered popular participation. Most adult male church members could speak/vote.
Most direct form of democracy in America. Still held in some NE towns today.
The belief that God had decided or “predestined” the fates of all people before they were born and chosen a few “elect” men and women for salvation and condemned the rest to damnation.
The “elect” men and women God had “predestined” for salvation and who were members of the church.
When God infused a soul with grace, the person was “born again” and knew salvation was at hand.
The Massachusetts general court passed an act to limit voting rights to church members. This was a prime example of the influence welded by the Puritan church on the political leadership of the colony.
1662. Puritan compromise allowing unconverted children of Puritans who had fallen away from the church to become halfway members of the church and to baptize their children even though they themselves were not full members of the church bc they had not experienced full conversion. Mass. ministers accepted compromise (this signified drop in religious zeal/mission that had characterized Mass.)
Puritan churches gradually moved away from the Anglican Church of England and formed a new Protestant sect known as the Congregational Church which was organized around the concept that each individual congregation or local church was self-governing.
A Puritan and the first colonial poet to be published. The primary subjects of her poetry were family, home, and religion.
Samuel Slater, 1791
A pioneer in the factory system in America. Slater was highly knowledgeable about improved textile machinery. When Britain prohibited textile workers from leaving the country and the United States offered bounties to such workers, Slater disguised himself and emigrated from England to America and bought with him textile techniques and machine specifications.
Eli Whitney, Cotton Gin, 1793
His cotton gin that removed seeds from short-staple cotton revolutionized cotton production because with his machine one person could clean as much in a couple of hours what it formerly took a group of workers the whole day to do so.
• The size of cotton crop increased eight times over, and as a result, slavery increased.
Interchangeable parts, 1799-1800
Eli Whitney developed a manufacturing system which used standardized parts which are all identical and thus, interchangeable. Before this, each part of a given device had been designed only for that one device; if a single piece of the device broke, it was difficult or impossible to replace. With standardized parts, it was easy to get a replacement part from the manufacturer. Whitney first used standardized parts to make muskets for the U.S. government.
Growth of industry in New England / textiles, early 1800’s
The industrial revolution had occurred in England in the 1700s, but it was not until the period of industrial growth after the War of 1812 that the U.S. began to manufacture goods with the aid of factories and machines.
• New England, rather than the South, emerged as a manufacturing center because New England had many rivers to supply water power, plus a better system of roads and canals.
• The first major industry in New England was textiles.
Robert Fulton, 1807
Robert Fulton designed and built America’s first steamboat, the Clermont in 1807. Steamboats made upstream travel on rivers practical because voyages took a faction of the time.
Lowell Factory, 1813
Francis Cabot Lowell established a factory in 1813 at Waltham, Massachusetts. Paternalistic factory system held up as a model of its time. Workers’ wages and working conditions decline in 1830s-1840s as it faces increased competition
Boston Associates, 1814
A group of Boston businessmen who built the first power loom. In 1814 in Waltham, Massachusetts, they opened a factory run by Lowell. Their factory made cloth so cheaply that women began to buy it rather than make it themselves.
Factory girls / "Lowell Girls," 1820s-1830s
Lowell opened a chaperoned boarding house for the girls who worked in his factory. He hired girls because they could do the job as well as men (in textiles, sometimes better), and he didn't have to pay them as much. He hired only unmarried women because they needed the money and would not be distracted from their work by domestic duties.
The most common form of businesses organization were individual ownership or limited partnerships. Business was still dominated by merchant capitalists.
• Corporations were created because they offered the advantage of combining the resources of a large number of shareholders.
• The fact that states began changing their laws and a corporation no longer had to obtain a special act of the state legislature to incorporate also aided this process.
Cyrus McCormick / Mechanical Reaper, 1834
McCormick’s mower-reaper made harvesting crops more efficient and profitable. One farmer with a mower-reaper could do the work of five men with sickles and scythes.
• Consequently, farmers could substantially increase the acreage that could be worked by a single family. McCormick’s invention also made corporate farming possible.
Samuel F.B. Morse, Telegraph, 1844
Morse developed a working telegraph which improved communications, facilitated business, and connected the nation. By 1860, over 50,000 miles of wire connected most parts of the country.
Elias Howe, Sewing Machine, 1846
Invented the sewing machine which made sewing faster and more efficient. This was soon being used in the manufacturing of ready-to-wear clothing.
National Road / Cumberland Road, 1811-1830s
The first highway built by the federal government. Constructed during 1811-1830s, it stretched from Maryland to Illinois. It was a major overland shipping route and an important connection between the North and the West
Internal improvements, 1820s
The program for building roads, canals, bridges, and railroads in and between the states. There was a dispute over whether the federal government should fund internal improvements, since it was not specifically given that power by the Constitution.
Developed as an alternative to slow overland and expensive steamboat transport of goods. Most canals were built by states and the most ambitious and famous was the Erie Canal. Canals are superseded by railroads in the 1840s.
Erie Canal, 1825
The Erie canal was opened as a toll waterway connecting New York to the Great Lakes. Construction started in 1817 and its completion linked the Northeast with the Northwest.
Short lines begin to be built in the late 1820s and 1830s. Most of these lines connected water routes. Safety was a concern since wrecks were frequent and railroads and canals were soon competing with one another.
• Railroads played a secondary role in this time period.
Clipper ships, late 1840s-early 1850s
Long, narrow, wooden ships with tall masts and enormous sails. They were developed in the second quarter of the 1800s. These ships were unequalled in speed and were used for trade, especially for transporting perishable products from distant countries like China, and between the eastern and western U.S. They were capable of averaging 300 miles a day – as fast as steamships.
Rise of labor leaders, 1830’s
During the 1800's, labor unions became more and more common. Their leaders sought to achieve the unions' goals through political actions.
• Their goals included reduction in the length of the workday, universal education, free land for settlers, and abolition of monopolies. Labor unions were the result of the growth of factories.
National Trades Union, 1834
Unions formed by groups of skilled craftsmen composed of delegates from six cities. NTU and other early craft unions failed to make any real headway, primarily because courts viewed unions and strikes as illegal conspiracies to restrain trade. This approach largely ended after Commonwealth v. Hunt.
Ten-Hour Movement, 1840s
Largely unsuccessful movement by workers to get legislation to make the work day ten hours.
Two states did pass laws, but employers had the option of asking employees to agree to a longer day and employees had the economic power so workers had no option but to agree.
Commonwealth v. Hunt, 1842
Case heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Court which ruled that unions are not illegal. The case was the first judgment in the U.S. that recognized that the conspiracy law is inapplicable to unions and that strikes for a closed shop are legal. Also decided that unions are not responsible for the illegal acts of their members.
Irish, German immigration, 1830s-1850s
Irish arrived in immense waves in the 1800's due to the potato famine. They were extremely poor peasants who later became the manpower for canal and railroad construction. German also came because of economic distress, but usually had more resources than the Irish. Germans often had the resources to buy farms and many settled in the Northwest.
Coffin Ships, 1840s-1850s
Ships that brought a huge influx of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Malnourished from the Irish potato famine and crowded into disease-ridden quarters, many Irish died on the journey to America. T
• Those who survived formed a large part of the industrial working class.
An anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic feeling that arose in the 1840's and 1850's in response to the influx of Irish Catholics.
"Know-Nothings" / The American Party, 1850s
A nativist political party that enjoyed a brief popularity in the decade before the Civil War.
• The Know-Nothings drew on anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant sentiment to gain power across the country in 1854 and 1855.
• The party got it nickname because its members when questioned about the party’s rituals replied "I know nothing."
• It had some success in state and local elections, within a couple of years, however, sectionalism proved to be a stronger political force than nativism.
"Cult of True Womanhood" / "Cult of Domesticity," / Separate Spheres, 1800s
The nineteenth-century belief that women’s place was in the home, where they should create a haven for harried men who worked in the outside world.
• This ideal was made possible by the separation of the workplace and the home, a result of the industrial revolution, and was used to sentimentalize the home and women’s role in it.
Latin for "before a war"; commonly used by historians to refer to the period prior to the Civil War (1861-1865)
New Free vs. New Slave States, 1815-1840
The federal government tried to maintain a balance between slave states and free states. The new states admitted were: Indiana (1816, free), Mississippi (1817, slave), Illinois (1818, free), Alabama (1819, slave), Maine (1820, free), Missouri (1821, slave), Arkansas (1836, slave), and Michigan (1837, free).
The idea that slavery was a set of reciprocal obligations between masters and slaves, with slaves providing labor and obedience and masters providing basic care and necessary guidance. The concept of paternalism denied that the slave system was brutal and exploitative.
• While paternalism did provide some protection against the worst brutality, it did not guarantee decent living conditions, reasonable work, or freedom from physical punishment.
• Slave owners used this concept to rationalize and justify slavery.
Interstate slave trade, 1800’s
Slave trade between states that continued after the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade in 1808. Slaves were most often sold from the Upper South to the Lower South, a move undesirable to slaves because it usually meant harder labor and less chance of escape. The interstate slave trade broke up many families in the decades preceding the Civil War.
Task system / Gang-labor system / House servants, 1800 – 1861
A system of labor in which a slave was assigned a daily task to complete and allowed to do as he wished after it was finished. The task system was used throughout the South before the Civil War, but it was most common in the rice-growing areas of South Carolina. It was also frequently used on smaller farms.
This system offered less freedom than the task system because in gang-labor slaves worked set hours under careful supervision. This was commonly used on large farms and plantations (cotton, sugar, and tobacco plantations).
They worked within the household and their physical labor was less arduous, but they enjoyed less privacy and were under the constant scrutiny of their master. Female slaves who were house servants were also at more risk of sexual exploitation by their master.
Urban Slavery, 1800-1861
In order to maximize the use of slaves in urban areas, they were typically given less direct supervision or more "freedom."
• A majority of urban slaves were women (domestic servants), but also included slaves on contract (hired out by their master to another white) and some skilled workers (who were often hired out as well).
• The biggest southern fear was that slaves had the opportunity to see free blacks in cities and as fears of slave insurrections grew owners increasing took male slaves from urban areas and sold them to rural areas. Consequently, females slaves came to outnumber male slaves in urban areas.
Yeomen aka "Plain Folk"
Largest group in the South, worked small farms, sometimes with slaves (small enough farms that owners sometimes worked alongside their slaves), to produce their own food, such as corn.
Planters owned at least forty or fifty slaves and 800 or more acres. Southerners likened them to European aristocracy, but most were first generation settlers. In contrast to the "cavalier" myth, planters were involved in a competitive and profitable business – growing staple crops.
• Planters exercised a great deal of political and economic power with exports, especially cotton.
• 2-3% of southern white planters owned half of all southern slaves.
• ¾ of all white families owned no slaves.
Poor whites aka "poor white trash" or "crackers" or "clay eaters"
About 500,000 whites who lived in abject poverty and squalor, quite often worse than the slaves. Most owned no workable land and worked as common laborers. Poor whites suffered from dietary deficiencies (at times reduced to eating clay) and diseases such as hookworm and malaria.
• Poor whites were regarded with contempt by other southern whites and, at times, by slaves as well.
The number of slaves grew to nearly 4 million by 1860. The cotton-growing areas of the South were growing more dependent on slavery while agriculture in the upper South was moving away from agriculture. Their treatment varied from master to master, depending on the character and disposition of the owner. But the institution was firmly fixed on physical coercion and slaves had no legal rights.
The amount of repression a slave suffered depended on his or her master.
• Most received adequate housing and diet (although their life span and child morality rates was higher than whites).
• Strict slave codes (codes of laws) that limited slave movement and isolation on rural plantations made revolts next to impossible.
• Most slave resistance took the form of quiet resistance – slaves sabotaged their work areas, slowed down work for their masters, and ridiculed their owners.
Southern Defense of slavery, 1790s-1860s
Southern whites’ opinion about slavery shifted from seeing it as a "necessary evil" (1790) to being a "positive good" (after 1840). As conflict over slavery grew so did Southern fears of slave insurrections and their adamant defense of slavery. They used racism, biblical texts, and historical examples to justify slavery.
Southern who defended slavery by arguing that Northern "wage slavery" was more exploitative than African-American slavery. He also argued that whites were protecting slaves from a competitive world in which slaves were ill-equipped to survive.
Complicated code of "honor" among white males that led to the idea of avenging any insult to one’s character. This was related to ethical conduct and bravery, but it was also connected to the need to preserve dignity and authority. Concerns about the code of chivalry or need to defend one’s honor sometimes led to duels. Chivalry was particularly concerned with avenging any insult to southern white women.
King Cotton, 1812-1861
Phrase used to show the dominance of cotton in the economy of the antebellum South (1801-1860). The strong demand for cotton in industrial Britain enriched southern planters and determined the course of southern economic and social development.
• The demand for cotton encouraged western expansion and new states, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, produced cotton.
Denmark Vesey, 1822
A mulatto who inspired a group of slaves to seize Charleston, South Carolina in 1822. He was betrayed by one of his followers and he and his thirty-seven followers were hanged before the revolt started.
Nat Turner's Insurrection, 1831
Slave uprising in which a group of sixty slaves led by Nat Turner, who believed he was a divine instrument sent to free his people, killed almost sixty whites in South Hampton, Virginia. This led to a sensational manhunt in which one hundred blacks were killed.
• As a result, slave states strengthened measures against slaves and became more united in their support of fugitive slave laws.
Free Blacks, 1860
About 250,000 free blacks lived in the South, over 50% in Virginia and Maryland by 1860. Some free blacks (usually urban blacks) had found a way to earn money and buy their own and their families’ freedom. Others had been freed by their masters (usually after the master’s death).
• White fears about slave revolts resulted in laws which made manumission more difficult.
Ulrich Phillips, 1918
Portrayed slavery as a benign institution where kind masters looked after their childlike and contented slaves.
Kenneth Stampp, The Peculiar Institution, 1956
Emphasized the harshness of the system and damage to slave families.
Stanley Elkins, 1959
Elkins was influenced by studies on Nazi concentration camp survivors and he argued slavery had the same damaging effect on slaves. He argued that the institution reduced slaves to a childlike "Sambos" personality.
John Blassingame, 1973
He refuted Elkins’ study and argued that despite the constrictions of slavery American-born slaves were able to retain their African culture.
Herbert Gutman, 1976
He argued slavery had not weakened or destroyed the African-American family, but to the contrary, blacks survived slavery with their family structure intact.
Eugene Genovese, 1974
Genovese took the position that operating within the paternalistic assumptions of slavery slaves were able to build their own culture and develop their own family life, and social and religious traditions.
Robert Fogel, Stanley Engerman, Time on the Cross, 1974
Very controversial study that was heavily criticized because it portrayed slavery as a successful and somewhat humane labor system. They argued slaves were better treated and lived in better conditions than northern factory workers in the same period.
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, 1988
In contrast to some feminist historians who argued black women identified more with white women because they shared subordination to men, Fox-Genovese contended that black women retained their loyalty to the slave community and their own families.
Temperance Movement, early 1800s
Temperance – the moderation or abstention in the use of alcohol gained many supporters in the early 1800s. Their crusade against alcohol, which grew out of the Second Great Awakening, became a powerful social and political force.
Prohibitionist mayor of Portland, Maine. Dow sponsored the Maine Law of 1851 and Dow is known as the "Father of Prohibition."
Maine Law, 1851
In 1838, Neal Dow founded the Maine Temperance Union. As mayor of Portland, Maine, Dow secured in 1851 the state's passage of the Maine Law, which forbade the sale or manufacture of liquor.
• This was the first temperance law in the nation.
"Ten Nights in a Bar-Room," Timothy Shay Arthur, 1856
A melodramatic story, published in 1856, which became a favorite text for temperance lecturers. In it, a traveler visits the town of Cedarville occasionally for ten years, and notes the changing fortunes of the citizens and blames the saloon.
"The Burned-Over District," 1800s
Term applied to the region of western New York along the Erie Canal, that referred to the religious fervor of its inhabitants. In the 1800's, farmers there were susceptible to revivals and tent rallies by religious groups. Charles Finney launched a series of revivals in towns along the Erie Canal.
Charles G. Finney, 1851
An immensely successful revivalist of the 1800's. He helped establish the "Oberlin Theology". His emphasis on "disinterested benevolence" helped shape the main charitable enterprises of the time.
Mormons / Joseph Smith, 1830
Smith founded the Mormon religion in New York in 1830. He claimed to have found sacred writings and created the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (which become known as Mormon church). In 1843, Smith's announcement that God sanctioned polygamy split the church.
• Mormons were shunned because of various beliefs such as polygamy. Smith died a martyr and leadership of the church passed to Brigham Young.
• Young eventually formed a Mormon community near Great Salt Lake and that settlement became the state of Utah.
Christian movement that believed people could achieve moral perfection in their earthly lives because the Second Coming of Christ had already occurred. Perfectionism attracted thousands of followers, especially New Englanders who had settled New York.
One of the earliest communal movements, they had about 6000 members by the 1840s. They almost died out by the mid-1900s. A millennial group which supported strict celibacy, gender equality, and communal leadership. Shakers were known for their emotional style of worship – they sang songs, marched, and danced in their meeting houses.
Millennialism, Millerites, 1840s
Followers of minister William Miller who preached that the Second Coming of Christ would be on October 21, 1844. They sold their belongings and waited for the world to end. After the appointed day came and went the Millerites did continue as a new religion, the Seventh Day Adventists.
Amana Community, 1843
German Pietists set up this community and its members settled in Iowa in 1855. Their mission was to create a socialist society to fulfill Christian ideals. The community abandoned its communal style of living in 1932. The Amana Society today continues to own and manage 26,000 acres of farm, pasture and forest land. The most widely known business that emerged from the Amana Society is Amana Refrigeration.
Lyceum Movement, 1800’s
Developed in response to growing interest in higher education. Associations were formed in nearly every state to give lectures, concerts, debates, scientific demonstrations, and entertainment. A lecture circuit was created that sent ministers, transcendentalists, and scientists all across the North on speaking tours.
• The movement helped to spread transcendentalism and reform ideas in the nineteenth century.
Horace Mann, 1837
Secretary of the newly formed Massachusetts Board of Education, he created a public school system in Massachusetts that became the model for the nation.
• Started the first American public schools, using European schools (Prussian military schools) as models.
• Introduced reforms such as mandatory school attendance, formal teacher training, and the elimination of corporal punishment of students.
Oberlin, 1833 / Mt. Holyoke, 1836
Oberlin College in Ohio was founded by a New England Congregationalist. It was the first coed facility at the college level and, in 1835, became the first to enroll blacks. It was also a center for abolitionist activity. Mt. Holyoke in Massachusetts became the model for later liberal arts institutions of higher education for women.
McGuffey’s Reader, 1836
School books widely used throughout the country through the 19th century. The stories in the Readers emphasized morality, the value of work, religious values, and patriotism.
Companionate Marriage, 1800’s
The concept of marriage as the union of loving partners rather than a political or economic arrangement in which the man held all the power. Empowered by republican ideas, women in the nineteenth century pressed for legal equality in matrimony.
• Even though husbands retained significant power as patriarchs, they increasingly viewed their wives as life companions rather than as inferiors or dependents.
Emma Willard, 1818
Early supporter of women's education who published Plan for Improving Female Education in 1818. This work became the basis for public education of women in New York. In 1821, Willard opened her own girls’ school, the Troy Female Seminary, to prepare women for college.
Catherine Beecher, 1823
A writer and lecturer, she worked on behalf of household arts and education of the young. Beecher came from a famous family. Her father, Lyman Beecher, and her brother, Henry Ward Beecher were well-known ministers and educators. Her sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin). Ward founded the Hartford Female Seminary which offered a challenging higher education for women (at a time when no colleges existed for women.
• Although she opposed women’s suffrage, she worked for expanded roles for women in teaching and more education for women.
Margaret Fuller, 1840s
Social reformer, leader in women's movement and a transcendentalist. Edited The Dial (1840-1842), which was the publication of the transcendentalists. It appealed to people who wanted "perfect freedom", "progress in philosophy and theology . . . and hope that the future will not always be as the past."
Lucretia Mott, 1848
An early feminist, she worked constantly with her husband in liberal causes, particularly slavery abolition and women's suffrage. Her home was a station on the underground railroad.
• With Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she helped organize the first women's rights convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1848
A pioneer in the women's suffrage movement, she helped organize the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. She later helped edit the militant feminist magazine Revolution from 1868-1870.
Seneca Falls, 1848
The first women's right convention held in Seneca Falls, New York, co-sponsered by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.
• Delegates drafted a "Declaration of Rights and Sentiments," patterned on the Declaration of Independence which said "all men and women are created equal."
• The Convention also called for women's suffrage. Convention was also significant because it rejected the idea of separate spheres.
American Colonization Society, 1817
Abolitionist-minded organization purchased a tract of land in Liberia (1833), for the purpose of returning former black slaves to their homeland. With a capital of Monrovia, named after President James Monroe, some 15,000 freed blacks were transported there over the next four decades.
• The Society was so limited in scope it was never a feasible reform effort to abolish slavery.
David Walker, "Appeal to the Colored Citizens, " 1829
Prominent militant black abolitionist whose radical pamphlet "Appeal" advised slaves to cut their masters’ throats.
Social reform movement to end slavery and the slave trade.
• Abolitionists held a variety of positions – some wanted to send ex-slaves to Africa or to Canada; others wanted a racially integrated society.
• It had its roots in the North in the 1700s. It became a major issue in the 1830s with the rise of anti-slavery societies and newspapers in the northern states.
• Geographic expansion in the 1840s gave abolitionists the chance to link antislavery activism to a goal many white northerners endorsed – limiting the geographic expansion of slavery.
• The movement entered politics through the Liberty Party which opposed expansion of slavery into new western territories.
Theodore Weld, 1830’s-1850s
Weld was devoted to the abolitionism movement. He advised the breakaway anti-slavery Whigs in Congress and his anonymous tract "American Slavery as It Is" (1839) was the inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Theodore Parker, 1830s-1850s
Unitarian minister and a leading transcendentalist radical who was known as "the keeper of the public's conscience". Parker supported prison reform and was a prominent New England abolitionist.
William Lloyd Garrison / The Liberator, 1831-1865
A militant abolitionist who became editor of the Boston publication, The Liberator, in 1831. Under his leadership, The Liberator gained national fame and notoriety due to his quotable and inflammatory language, attacking everything from slave holders to moderate abolitionists, and advocating northern secession.
American Anti-slavery Society, 1833
A major abolitionist movement in the North founded by William Garrison. Membership grew rapidly, by 1838 over 1350 chapters with 250,000 members existed. Its quick growth illustrated the strength of the antislavery movement
Gag Rule, 1836-1844
A procedure in the House of Representatives by which antislavery petitions were automatically tabled when they were received so that they could not become the subject of debate. Signifies the growing divisiveness of the slavery issue in the 1830’s and 1840’s.
Elijah Lovejoy, 1837
A minister who was an abolitionist and editor. Lovejoy, after threats from pro-slavery forces, moved his presses from St. Louis to Alton, Illinois. His presses were destroyed three times in Alton and who he attempted to stop a fourth attempt he was shot and killed by a mob.
• Lovejoy’s experience demonstrated the deep seated hatred many Americans held toward abolitionism.
• Lovejoy became a martyr to the abolitionist movement.
An orator and disciple of Garrison, Phillips was an influential abolitionist lecturer who criticized the Constitution for condoning slavery.
• Phillips called for the dissolution of the Union rather than remain in union with slave states.
Name used by Isabelle Baumfree, one of the best-known abolitionists of her day. She was the first black woman orator to speak out against slavery.
A self-educated slave who escaped in 1838, Douglas became the best-known abolitionist speaker. His 1845 autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass painted a stark picture of the horrors of slavery. Douglass also edited the anti-slavery weekly, the North Star.
A former escaped slave, she was one of the shrewdest conductors of the underground railroad, leading 300 slaves to freedom.
Underground Railroad, 1840s-1860s
Referred to regional semi-secret networks organized by abolitionists (usually free blacks and some whites) to aid slaves in their attempts to escape slavery in the North or Canada. The Railroad aided about 1000 slaves per year.
• The importance of the Railroad was it raised awareness about slavery in the North and it forced the South to defensive measures such as the highly controversial Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.
Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 1842
A slave had escaped from Maryland to Pennsylvania, where a federal agent captured him and returned him to his owner. Pennsylvania indicted the agent for kidnapping under the fugitive slave laws.
• The Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional for bounty hunters or anyone but the owner of an escaped slave to apprehend that slave, thus weakening the fugitive slave laws.
Liberty Party, 1839
First anti-slavery political party formed in the United States.
• It was formed by a group which broke away from the militant American Anti-Slavery Party.
• Nominated James Birney for President in 1840 and Birney carried 7069 votes.
• Birney ran again in 1844 and that time carried 62, 300 votes and split the Whig vote so that Democrat James Polk was able to defeat Whig Henry Clay.
• The Liberty Party merged with anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats in 1848 to form the Free Soil Party.
Free Soil Party, 1848
Formed in 1847-1848, this political party was dedicated to opposing slavery in newly acquired territories such as Oregon and ceded Mexican territory. Its candidate in the 1848 election was former President Martin Van Buren.
• Most members eventually become Republicans.
• Party’s founding demonstrates growing strength of the movement to keep new territory free from slavery.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852
She wrote the abolitionist book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, a melodramatic novel of the dehumanizing effects of slavery upon one slave family.
• Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped to crystallize the rift between the North and South.
• The book has been called the greatest American propaganda novel ever written because it brought the message of abolitionism to a large new audience.
• Famous characters from the book include o Uncle Tom – a saintly slave
o Simon Legree - an evil overseer
Prison reform / Pennsylvania System, 1790 / Auburn System, 1816
Prison reform in the U.S. began with the Pennsylvania system in 1790 which was based on the concept that solitary confinement would induce meditation and moral reform. However, this led to many mental breakdowns among inmates. The Auburn system, adopted in 1816, sought to remedy this by allowing the congregation of prisoners during the day.
Dorothea Dix, 1820’s
A reformer and pioneer in the movement to treat the insane as mentally ill. Starting in the 1820's, she was responsible for improving conditions in jails, poorhouses and insane asylums throughout the U.S. and Canada.
• She succeeded in persuading many states to assume responsibility for the care of the mentally ill. She also served as the Superintendent of Nurses for the Union Army during the Civil War.
Benevolent Empire, 1820s
A broad-ranging campaign of moral and institutional reform inspired by evangelical Christian ideals and created by middle-class men and women. "Benevolence" became a key concept in American spiritual thinking during the Second Great Awakening. Promoters of benevolent reform suggested that people who had experienced God’s saving grace should provide charity to the less fortunate.
The Grimke Sisters, 1820s-1830s
Wealthy sisters from South Carolina who wrote and lectured vigorously on reform causes such as prison reform, the temperance movement, and the abolitionist movement. Sarah and Angelina Grimke were some of the first women to publicly lecture in the United States.
American Peace Society, 1828
Founded by William Laddit. The Society formally condemned all wars, though it supported the U.S. government during the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. It was dissolved after the United Nations was formed in 1945.
James Fenimore Cooper, 1820s
American novelist who wrote the Leatherstocking Tales, a series of novels about the American frontier, which made him famous. Cooper emphasized the independence of individuals and importance of a stable social order and his Last of the Mohicans, one of his most famous books about a frontiersman and a noble Indian, concerned the clash between growing civilization and untamed wilderness.
• Cooper’s works, along with writers such as Washington Irving, laid the foundation for distinctive American literature.
Hudson River School of Art, 1820’s
Group of American landscape painters who were influenced by the European Romantic movement. The Hudson River School emphasized romantic and majestic landscapes such as the Niagara Falls, the Catskills, and the Hudson River Valley.
• The School was part of the rising American nationalism which followed the War of 1812. Artists in the school included Thomas Cole, S.F.B. Morse, and Thomas Doughty.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850
Author who was originally a transcendentalist. He later rejected them and became a leading anti-transcendentalist. Hawthorne was a descendent of one of the judges of the Salem witch trials and his themes were sin, punishment, and atonement.
• His most famous work was about New England Puritans. The Scarlet Letter is a story of emotional rebellion from the hypocritical and intolerant Puritan society.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851
Wrote Moby Dick about a Captain Ahab who seeks revenge on the white whale that crippled him but ended up losing his life, his ship, and his crew. The book was not popular at the time but was later highly regarded.
• Melville rejected the optimism of the transcendentalists and felt that man faced a tragic destiny. His views were not popular at the time, but were accepted by later generations.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855
Leaves of Grass
was his first volume of poetry. He broke away from the traditional forms and content of New England poetry by describing the life of working Americans and using words like "I reckon", "duds", and "folks".
He loved people and expressed the new democracy of a nation finding itself. He had radical ideas and abolitionist views - Leaves of Grass was considered immoral at the time it was published and for many years thereafter.
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
Author who wrote many poems and short stories including "The Raven (1846)," "The Bells," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Gold Bug." He was the originator of the detective story and had a major influence on symbolism and surrealism. Poe was best known for macabre stories.
Washington Irving (1783-1859
Irving was the best-known writer of his time in the United States. He was also one of the first American writers to gain recognition in Europe. His stories illustrated the growing American nationalism since the stories were set in America. One if his best known works was The Sketch Book, which included the stories of "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
• He was the first American to be recognized in England (and elsewhere) as a writer.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Internationally recognized poet who wrote The Song of Hiawatha and Paul Revere’s Ride. Longfellow wrote sentimental poetry such as The Village Blacksmith that emphasized the value of tradition and the impact of the past on the present and his writings were immensely popular during his lifetime.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Essayist, poet. A leading transcendentalist, emphasizing freedom and self-reliance in essays which still make him a force today. He had an international reputation as a first-rate poet and essayist. He spoke and wrote many works on behalf of the Abolitionists. His most famous work was "Self-Reliance."
Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) / Walden / "On Civil Disobedience"
A transcendentalist and friend of Emerson. He lived alone on Walden Pond with only $8 a year from 1845-1847 and wrote about it in Walden in 1854. In his essay, "On Civil Disobedience," he inspired social and political reformers because he had refused to pay a poll tax in protest of slavery and the Mexican-American War.
• He was an extreme individualist and advised people to protest by not obeying laws (passive resistance).
New Harmony, 1825-1827
A utopian settlement in Indiana established by reformer Robert Owens. New Harmony had 1,000 settlers, but was racked by internal dissension and broke up shortly after it was founded.
Utopian Communities, 1830s-1850s
Between 1830s-1850s, hopes for societal perfection - utopia – were widespread among evangelical Christians and secular humanists. Utopian communities were attempts by cooperative communities to improve life in the face of growing industrialism.
• Communities practiced social experiments such as sexual equality, racial equality, and socialism.
• Brook Farm and Oneida were two examples of these communities.
Brook Farm, 1841-1847
A cooperative community in Massachusetts founded by leaders of the transcendentalist movement. Members were to share in the work, profit, and social and educational opportunities of the 200 acre farm. During its brief existence leading reformers and writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, and Nathaniel Hawthorne participated in the community. When a farm building burned in 1847, Brook Farm dissolved.
Fourierism / phalanxes, 1840s
A movement based on the ideas of Charles Fourier, a French social theorist who advocated cooperation, not competition. Fourierist communities, called phalanxes, sprang up in the northern United States in the 1840s. 24
• Phalanxes were Utopian cooperative work groups in which all members were shareholders in a community as an alternative to capitalist wage labor. Most phalanxes did not last more than two to three years.
Oneida Community, 1848
Christian utopian community in Oneida, New York founded by John Humphrey Noyes. The community was notorious for its endorsement of equal rights for men and women, the endorsement of "complex marriage" (adults in the community were married to one another), and all children being raised by the community.
A nineteenth-century intellectual movement that believed that humans should look within themselves for truth and guidance rather than conforming to formal religion. • It incorporated the ideas that mind went beyond matter, intuition was valuable, that each soul was part of the Great Spirit, and each person was part of a reality where only the invisible was truly real. • promoted individualism, self-reliance, and freedom from social constraints, and emphasized emotions. • was less an alternative to the values of mainstream society than an exaggerated form of the rampant individualism of the age. • They saw organized religion as reactionary and an obstacle to self-expression. • included Ralph Waldo Emerson (who pioneered the movement), Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller. • Some formed cooperative communities such as Brook Farm, in which they lived and farmed together with the philosophy as their guide.
Reasons for Westward Expansion
Americans’ settlement moved westward, particularly in the nineteenth century.
• Until the 1840s, the overwhelming majority of Americans lived east of the Mississippi River, but by 1850 the boundaries of the United States stretched to the Pacific and the nation had more than doubled its size.
• The revolution in transportation and communication, a growing population, and a booming economy propelled the western surge.
• The cost of westward expansion was bloody wars with both the native populations and the Spanish in addition to the conflict over where to permit slavery.
Journalist John O’Sullivan’s phrase, coined in 1845, to express the popular nineteenth-century belief that the United States was destined to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean (and perhaps into Canada and Mexico as well) and had an irrefutable right and God-given responsibility to do so.
Founder and editor of the New York Tribune. He popularized the saying "Go west, young man." He said that people who were struggling in the East could make their fortunes by going west.
Great American Desert, 1820-1850
Regions between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. Vast domain became accessible to Americans wishing to settle there.
• This region was called the "Great American Desert" in atlases published between 1820 and 1850, and many people were convinced this land was a Sahara habitable only to Indians. The phrase had been coined by Major Long during his exploration of the middle of the Louisiana Purchase region.
Senator Thomas Hart Benton, 1820s-1850s
A zealous supporter of western interests, he staunchly advocated government support of frontier exploration during his term in the Senate from 1820 -1850. He was a senator from Missouri, but he opposed slavery.
Stephen Austin (1793-1836)
In 1822, Austin founded the first settlement of Americans in Texas. In 1833 he was sent by the colonists to negotiate with the Mexican government for Texan independence and was imprisoned in Mexico until 1835, when he returned to Texas and became the commander of the settlers’ army in the Texas Revolution.
Sam Houston (1793-1863)
Former Tennessee governor Sam Houston settled in Texas after being sent there by Pres. Jackson to negotiate with the local Indians.
• Appointed commander of the Texas army in 1835, he led them to victory at San Jacinto, where they were outnumbered 2 to 1.
• He was President of the Republic of Texas (1836-1838 & 1841-1845) and advocated Texas joining the Union in 1845.
• He later served as U.S. Senator and Governor of Texas, but was removed from the governorship in 1861 for his refusal to ratify Texas joining the Confederacy.
Texas War for Independence, 1836
After a few skirmishes with Mexican soldiers in 1835, Texas leaders met and organized a temporary government.
• Texas troops initially seized San Antonio, but lost it after the massacre of the outpost garrisoning the Alamo.
• In response to the massacre at the Alamo, Texas issued a Declaration of Independence.
• Santa Anna tried to swiftly put down the rebellion, but Texan soldiers surprised him and his troops on April 21, 1836. They crushed his forces and captured him in the Battle of San Jacinto, and forced him to sign a treaty granting Texan independence. The U.S. lent no aid to Texas during this revolt.
Santa Anna, 1836
As dictator of Mexico, he was determined to enforce Mexico laws in Texas. After the Republic of Texas was declared, he led the attack on the Alamo in 1836. He was later defeated by Sam Houston at San Jacinto.
A Spanish mission converted into a fort that was besieged by Mexican troops in 1836. The Texas garrison held out for thirteen days, but in the final battle, all of the Texans were killed by the larger Mexican force.
• "Remember the Alamo" becomes a rallying cry for Texans.
Battle of San Jacinto, 1836
A surprise attack by Texas forces on Santa Anna's camp on April 21, 1836. Santa Anna's men were surprised and overrun in twenty minutes. Santa Ana was taken prisoner and signed an armistice securing Texas independence. Mexicans - 1,500 dead, 1,000 captured. Texans - 4 dead.
Republic of Texas, 1836
Created March, 1836 but not recognized until the next month after the Battle of San Jacinto.
• Sam Houston, the leader of Texas independence requested both President Jackson and President Van Buren to recognize Texas as a state and both men refused due to fear that a new slave state would be formed and upset the existing balance between free and slave states in the Union.
• Rapidly rising public debt, internal conflicts and renewed threats from Mexico led Texas to a second successful attempt to join the U.S. in 1845.
Election of 1844: Polk v. Clay v. Birney
James K. Polk (Democrat) v. Henry Clay (Whig) v. James G. Birney (Liberty Party).
• The election dealt with Manifest Destiny issues: the annexation of Texas and the reoccupation of Oregon.
• Polk endorses the annexation of Texas and the reoccupation of Oregon.
• The Liberty Party’s impact was significant. James G. Birney drew enough votes away from Clay to give Polk the election. Liberty Party goes from 7000 votes in 1840 to 62,000 votes in 1844.
Annexation of Texas, Joint Resolution under President Tyler, 1845
U.S. made Texas a state in 1845. The method used was a joint resolution - both houses of Congress supported annexation under Tyler, and he signed the bill shortly before leaving office.
• The significance is this was the second attempt to annex Texas and then its done by joint resolution because only a simple majority was needed – difficulty in annexing Texas signifies growing sectional debate over slavery.
The territory comprised what are now the states of Oregon and Washington, and portions of what became British Columbia, Canada. This land was claimed by both the U.S. and Britain and was jointly held under the Convention of 1818.
Oregon Fever, 1840s
Many Eastern and Midwestern farmers and city dwellers were dissatisfied with their lives and began moving up the Oregon Trail and soon they outnumbered the British settlers there. By mid-1840s, American settlers were urging the United States government to take possession of the disputed Oregon territory.
Overland Trail, 1840s-1890s
The route taken by thousands of travelers from the Mississippi Valley to the Pacific Coast in the last half of the 1800s. It was very difficult, often taking six months or longer to complete.
• In contrast to western lore of "lone pioneers" this was a very cooperative effort done in wagon trains that required extensive organization and coordination.
"54º40' or Fight!," 1844
Oregon was explored by Lewis and Clark from 1804 to 1806 and American fur traders set up posts there, but during the War of 1812, the British essentially took control of Oregon and held it jointly with the U.S.
• "54º40' or Fight!" was an aggressive slogan adopted in the Oregon boundary dispute over where the border between Canada and Oregon should be drawn. This was also Polk's slogan - the Democrats wanted the U.S. border drawn at the 54º40' latitude.
• Polk settled for the 49º latitude in 1846 in large part because the U.S. was fighting the Mexican War at the time.
• The land was returned to the U.S. with the Oregon Treaty of 1846, supported by Polk.
Oregon Treaty / 49th Parallel, 1846
The Oregon Treaty of 1846 established a U.S./Canadian (British) border along this parallel. The boundary along the 49th parallel extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
James K. Polk, 1844-1848 (also see 1844 election)
Polk was a "Dark Horse" Democratic candidate who became President.
• He was an avid believer in Manifest Destiny and he promoted westward expansion through support for Texas annexation and the Oregon boundary dispute.
• He settled the Oregon boundary dispute with Britain at the 49º rather than the 54º 40 parallel.
• Polk was in office during the Mexican War. When Slidell’s mission failed, Polk ordered Taylor’s army to move across the Nueces to the Rio Grande.
Slidell mission to Mexico, 1845
Appointed minister to Mexico in 1845, John Slidell went to Mexico to pay for disputed Texas and California land (New Mexico, Arizona, California, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada). However, the Mexican government was still angry about the annexation of Texas and refused to talk to him so the mission was a failure.
Rio Grande, Nueces River, disputed territory, 1845-1846
Texas claimed its southern border was the Rio Grande; Mexico wanted the border drawn at the Nueces River, about 100 miles north of the Rio Grande.
• U.S. and Mexico agreed not to send troops into the disputed territory between the two rivers, but President Polk later reneged on the agreement, some argued, to start a war between the two countries.
General Zachary Taylor, 1846
Commander of the Army of Occupation on the Tex