Unit 1: Pre-Columbus Americas through John Adams’ Administration America and Europe on the Eve of Discovery The Americas on the Eve of Discovery



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Manifest Destiny and Trail West- The idea of manifest destiny, along with territorial acquisitions, prompted thousands of Americans to move westward throughout the 1800s

  • Santa Fe Trail: Stretched 780 miles from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the busiest routes to the west.

  • Oregon Trail: Stretched from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon. Blazed in 1836 by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. Helped thousands of Americans migrate and strengthen our claim to Oregon Country

  • The Mormon Migration: The Mormon’s, a religious sect of Christianity, were started and led west by Joseph Smith.

    • Joseph Smith founded the faith in New York in 1827

    • Mormons moved from NY to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois (where Smith was murdered), and finally to Utah…facing persecution every step of the way

    • Brigham Young led the Mormons up the Oregon Trail where they settled their people at the Great Salt Lake in Utah, in 1847


The Industrial Revolution In the Early Nineteenth Century

The First Industrial Revolution- The industrial revolution that started in Britain in the late 1700s slowly spread to the United States.

  • ***Power-driven machinery introduced into the United States

  • Started in New England, whose economy depended on shipping and trade

  • New Englanders were ready to embrace mechanized textile, or fabric, mills

  • American manufacturing grew during the War of 1812, when Americans had to turn inward for manufactured goods


Early inventions help spur industrialization and the Market Economy

  • ***Interchangeable parts, the conceptual breakthrough, used by Eli Whitney to produce rifles and the cotton fin, was vital to the First Industrial Revolution in the US

  • Robert Fulton built the first commercially successful steamboat, the Clermont, in 1807

    • ***When steamboats were first introduced, many customers were reluctant to travel on them because boilers posed a danger of catastrophic explosion

  • The Erie Canal, begun in 1817, would eventually link eastern manufacturers to western farmers, helping a market economy grow


The Market Revolution- As manufacturing in the North and East grew, and specialization in farming in the South and the West continued, people increasingly bought and sold goods rather than make them for themselves

  • Canals like the Erie Canal, roads like the Cumberland road, and steamboats that ran up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, helped accelerate the growth of this market economy

  • Farmers in the west could sell crops to eastern cities

  • New England factories could sell their manufactured goods in the western frontier and the South


Factors that contributed to quickening economic growth

  • Free enterprise- the freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with little government regulation

  • Entrepreneurs- businessmen who invested their own money in new industries, risked losing their money if the investment failed BUT stood to earn huge profits if it succeeded


The Lowell Textile Mills (Lowell System): A case study- In the 1820s, a group of entrepreneurs built several large textile mills in Lowell Massachusetts

  • Soon became a booming enterprise

  • Thousands of people, mostly women, left farms to find work in Lowell

  • Work conditions deteriorated, as entrepreneurs tried to increase profits

    • dark, hot, cramped and dangerous conditions

    • ***health of the operatives (females) deteriorated, short meal breaks, 12+ hour days, lack of educational opportunities

  • A 15% wage cut in 1834 resulted in 800 mill girls organizing a strike, a work stoppage to force employers to respond to the workers demands for better wages and work conditions

    • Strike leaders were fired

  • Effects of immigration on the Lowell system:

    • ***An influx of Irish immigrants contributed to a decline in the Lowell system as the immigrants replaced higher-waged women


National Trades’ Union- As labor unrest increased in the 1830s, trade unions in different towns began to join together, expand their power

  • The National Trades’ Union was formed from several industries in 1834

  • Unions faced opposition from bankers and owners, and courts, but there were some victories…

  • Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842)- The Massachusetts Supreme Court supported the state’s workers’ right to strike

New Inventions and improvements

  • The Steamboat (1807): Robert Fulton’s Clermont- By 1830, 200 steamboats travelled the nation’s rivers

    • When steamboats were first introduced, boilers posed a danger of catastrophic explosion, causing many potential customers to be reluctant to travel on them.

    • As safety improvements were made, steamboats became an integral part of the market economy, their ability to travel both down and upstream helped link the various sections of the country together, strengthening regional specialization.

  • The telegraph (1837): Samuel Morse- by 1854, 23,000 miles of telegraph wire crossed the country

  • Canals; Erie (1817): By the 1840s, more than 3,300 miles of canals

  • Steam-powered locomotives: By 1850, more than 9,000 miles of track


Results of industrialization during the first half of the 19th century

  • Per capita income doubled

  • Living standards improved for many

  • New goods became cheaper, more affordable for many

  • ***wealth became concentrated in the hands of fewer people


Economic, Social, and Cultural Differences of the North and South

American culture during the antebellum period- By the early nineteenth century (especially following the War of 1812) Americans were beginning to establish a distinct cultural and literary independence

  • Author’s such as James Fennimore Cooper and Washington Irving gained international status

  • School books were being written by Americans for Americans

  • ***Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book (or Speller) taught children the alphabet and spelling through patriotic messages


Regional Economies Create Diverse Social Systems- the centuries old economic differences between the states, dating back to the colonial era, solidified during the antebellum period


The North and East- developed a more diversified economy, much less dependent on slavery

  • Industry developed during the Industrial Revolution, especially textile, fabric, and mills

  • Farmers specialized in one or two crops, selling what they produced to eastern urban markets, and purchasing what they needed from stores

  • A market economy developed in the north where agriculture and manufacturing each supported the growth of the other

  • As the North industrialized, Northern opposition to slavery grew more intense


The South and West- The South and West remained dependent on agriculture. In the South, especially, agriculture increasingly depended on slave labor, which greatly affected the society of the “Cotton Kingdom”

  • Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, invented in 1793, made the production of “King Cotton” more affordable and efficient, contributing to the expansion of slavery

  • Between 1790 and 1820, the slave population grew from 700,000 to over 1.5 million. By the outbreak of the Civil War, that number increased to 4million!

  • The Planter Aristocracy refers to the domination of southern society by a few ultra-wealthy plantation owners

    • In 1850, only 1,733 families owned more than one hundred slaves each

    • This group provided the cream of the political and social leadership of the South. They simply dominated Southern life

    • Statistically, more than half of all slaveholding families owned fewer than four slaves. In contrast, 2 percent of slave owners owned more than 50 slaves. The great majority of white southerners owned NO SLAVES AT ALL!


America’s Economy at the Outbreak of War

  • Industry in the North had grown during the first half of the 1800s, but…

  • ***Southern agriculture accounted for more than half of the value of ALL U.S. exports


Religious, Philosophical, and Social Reform Movements of the Early Nineteenth Century

A Spiritual Awakening Inspires Reform- Many reform movements had roots in a spiritual awakening that swept the nation after 1790

  • Emphasized individual responsibility

  • Insisted people could improve themselves and society


The Second Great Awakening- a widespread Christian revival movement from the 1790s to the 1730s

  • In 1800, just 1 in 15 Americans belonged to a church

  • By 1850, 1 in 6 was a member

  • Helped spur many other reform movements during the 19th century

    • ***some evangelicals were strong abolitionists and antislavery activists


Romanticism, Unitarians, and Transcendentalism- ***Romanticism assumed that human nature was essentially good and institutions could be changed for the better


Transcendentalism- Ralph Waldo Emerson, a former Unitarian minister, discovered Romanticism in Europe in the 1830s

  • From these romantic ideals, Emerson and other thinkers, developed a philosophy called transcendentalism

    • ***Transcendentalism philosophy stressed that universal truths of life linked people everywhere; that humankind is perfectible

    • ***the art and writings of transcendental artists gave expression to the idea that one could discover universal truths through intuition, emotion, and the direct experience of nature


Women Work for Suffrage and Reform

Women and Reform- There was a marked rise of feminism during the antebellum period

  • inspired by the optimistic message of the Second Great Awakening

  • ***Women were actively involved in a variety of reform movements including education, prison reform, rights of mentally ill, women’s suffrage (vote), and most importantly…abolition


Emma Willard- education

  • 1821- opened one of the nation’s first academic schools for girls in Troy, New York, called Troy Female Seminary


Dorothea Dix- Fought to improve treatment for the mentally disabled.

  • Also worked to reform the nation’s harsh and often inhumane prison system


Elizabeth Blackwell- Became the first woman to graduate from medical college in 1849

  • started the New York Infirmary for Women and Children


Catherine Beecher- undertook a national survey of women’s health in the 1850s

  • found that there was a great need for reform in the area of women’s health


Harriet Beecher Stowe- published one of the most important antislavery novels, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in 1852

  • brought the horrors of slavery into the homes of thousands of Americans

  • stirred Northern abolitionists to increase their protests against the Fugitive Slave Act

  • Stirred the anger of Southern slave owners


Women’s Rights and Suffrage Movement- The reform movements in the mid-19th century fed the growth of the women’s movement by providing women with increased opportunities to act outside the home
Elizabeth Cady Stanton- An ardent abolitionist.

  • Discriminated against by male abolitionists, at the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840

  • Stanton and Lucretia Mott were determined to hold a women’s rights convention


The Seneca Falls Convention- More than 300 women met in Seneca Falls, New York, where Stanton and Mott composed an agenda and detailed statement, the Declaration of Sentiments, of the grievances of women

  • Modeled after the Declaration of Independence

  • Called for women to have the right to vote, amongst other equal rights

  • ***Unfortunately for women, many Americans believed that the resolution of feminist demands was considerably less urgent than the cause of abolitionists


Sojourner Truth- A former slave, Truth fought for both women’s rights & abolition

The Abolition Movement of the Antebellum Period

By the 1820’s, abolition- the movement to free African Americans from slavery, had taken hold in America

  • More than 100 antislavery societies were advocating Africans be resettled in Africa

    • ***In 1817, the American Colonization Society was founded to encourage black emigration to Liberia in Africa

    • Other abolitionists demanded African Americans should remain in the US as FREE CITIZENS


William Lloyd Garrison- The most radical white abolitionists during the period

  • Was active in religious reform movements in Massachusetts

  • Started his own antislavery paper, The Liberator, in 1831

    • ***Garrison advocated for “immediate emancipation, gradually achieved!”

    • His ideas gained support in the 1830s…

    • But whites who opposed abolition HATED Garrison- a mob paraded him around Boston at the end of a rope in 1835!


***Frederick Douglass- Douglass became an eloquent and outspoken critic of slavery

  • Escaped from slavery

  • Strove to learn to read and write

  • Became an influential abolitionist orator (speaker)

    • William Lloyd Garrison heard him speak and was so impressed that he sponsored Douglass to speak for various abolitionist organizations

    • Douglass disagreed with Garrison’s “any means necessary”, started his own antislavery paper, The North Star, in 1841


Nat Turner- led one of the most prominent rebellions in Virginia in 1831

  • Aug. 1831- Turner & more than 50 followers attacked four plantations

  • Killed about 60 whites

  • Turner and many of his followers were eventually captured and executed

  • ***Struck fear into the hearts of Southern slave owners, who tightened their restrictions on ALL African Americans


Harriet Tubman- Escaped to freedom in 1849. After passage of the Fugitive Slave Act (1850), Tubman decided to become a conductor on the Underground Railroad, the secret network of escape routes used to help fugitive slaves escape to freedom in the North as far up as Canada

  • Tubman made 19 trips back to the south to help escaped slaves

  • Is said to have helped 300 slaves reach freedom


The Question of Texas, War with Mexico, and Slavery in the Expanding U.S.

In the spring of 1845, Congress declared war against Mexico, using the spilled blood of American troops, who were killed over the disputed Texas border, as an excuse for war. In reality, gaining California was part of Polk’s campaign promises, and the western half of North America had long been a goal of expansionists. More foreboding in the long run, the issue of slavery’s possible expansion broiled throughout the Texas revolution and war with Mexico.

  • David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, fearful of the southern “slave-ocracy” introduced the Wilmot Proviso into Congress in 1846

    • Stipulated that slavery should NEVER exist in any territory won from Mexico

    • Southerners defeated the bill twice in the Senate,

    • Threats of Southern secession, the formal withdraw of a state from the Union, became more frequent

    • The bill symbolized the burning issue of slavery in the territories

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Feb. 1848) following U.S. victory in the Mexican War brought out the tension over slavery again.

  • U.S. won California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming

  • The discovery of gold in California at Sutter’s Mill in Jan. 1848, and the ensuing Gold Rush, would deepen the argument over slavery in the newly won territories

  • The issue of slavery in the new territories was finally settled by the Compromise of 1850

    • For the North, California was admitted as a free state; for the South, there was a strengthened Fugitive Slave Act

    • Popular sovereignty, the right of citizens to vote for or against slavery, would decide the slave issue in the New Mexico and Utah territories

    • The crisis over slavery was temporarily averted

  • The Gadsden Purchase (1853) would purchase the southernmost portion of Arizona from Mexico, for the purpose of a southern railroad to the Pacific

New Political Parties Emerged Over the Slave Issue

  • The Liberty Party and Free-Soil Party were formed to abolish slavery through passing laws, and on opposition to the extension of slavery, respectively

  • The Republican Party was formed in 1854 by opponents of slavery and its expansion into the territories

    • It would gain support from both the Liberty Party and Free-Soilers

A Book Reignites the Slave Controversy

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) criticized slavery, stirred Northern abolitionists’ protests against the Fugitive Slave Act

  • Southerners criticized the book as an attack on the South

  • ***The issue of slavery had become more than just a political issue, it was now a moral issue

The Kansas-Nebraska Act and “Bleeding Kansas”: Prelude to Civil War

Because the Kansas and Nebraska territories were north of the 36’30 line, they were closed to slavery

  • Stephen Douglas introduced a bill that would allow for popular sovereignty to decide the slave issue in these territories

  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed Congress in 1854

    • Northern abolitionists opposed it, southerners supported it

  • In 1855, Kansas had enough settlers to apply for statehood

    • Proslavery voters poured into Kansas from Missouri while abolitionists poured in from the North to vote in electing a Kansas legislature.

    • The Proslavery vote won, resulting in cries of fraud and eventually violence that saw scores from both sides killed


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