three passed during the era of Reconstruction, freed all slaves
without compensation to the slaveowners. President Abraham
Lincoln first proposed compensated emancipation as an
amendment in December 1862. His Emancipation Proclamation
declared slaves free in the Confederate states in rebellion,
but did not extend to border states. After Lincoln’s
assassination, President Andrew Johnson declared his own
plan for Reconstruction which included the need for Confederate
states to approve the 13th Amendment. The amendment,
adopted in 1865, eight months after the war ended,
legally forbade slavery in the United States.
three to the U.S. Constitution passed during the era of Reconstruction
to protect the rights and involvement of citizens
in government. It declared that all persons born or
naturalized in the United States (except Indians) were citizens,
that all citizens were entitled to equal rights regardless
of their race, and that their rights were protected at both the
state and national levels by due process of the law. Political
pressure ensured ratification.
In 1866, Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill which extended
citizenship to blacks. President Andrew Johnson
opposed and vetoed the legislation but Congress overruled
ten of the eleven Confederate states refused to ratify, but the
Military Reconstruction Act, passed by Congress on March
2, 1867, required all seceded states to ratify the amendment
as a condition of their re-admission into the union. In 1868,
the required number of states ratified the 14th Amendment .
The amendment did not extend the right to vote to black
men but it encouraged states to allow them to vote by limiting
the Congressional representation of any state that did
not extend the right. The amendment disappointed women’s
rights activists because it equated the right to vote as a male
right. Most significantly, the amendment incorporated the
“due process clause” as outlined in the 5th Amendment and
ensured the protection of citizen’s rights, previously only
guaranteed at the national level, at the state level.
15th Amendment The 15th Amendment, one of
three amendments to the U.S. Constitution passed during the
era of Reconstruction, granted black men the right to vote.
The amendment derived from a requirement in the Military
Reconstruction Act, passed by Congress on March 2, 1867,
that Confederate states, as a condition for readmission into
the Union, extend the right to vote to former adult male slaves.
Congress eventually sought more stringent means to safeguard
the vote for black men by proposing a constitutional
amendment in 1869. It was ratified in 1870. Women’s rights
activists opposed the amendment because it defined the right
to vote as a male right. Thus, gender remained a determining
factor in denying women the right to vote in national and
state elections until 1920 when the 19th Amendment was
ratified. Between 1870 and 1920, a few states including
Wyoming did extend the right to vote to women but women
could not vote in national elections until after passage of the
established the first permanent English settlement in
North America in 1607. The Virginia Company, a joint-stock
company founded by investors in England, called it
Jamestown in honor of King James I of England. Several
factors encouraged settlement including peace with Spain;
willing settlers lured by adventure, markets and the prospect
of religious freedom; financial support provided by the Virginia
Company; and the company’s assurance that colonists
could remain subjects of England.
representative to the Second Continental Congress, moved
that “These United Colonies are, and of right ought to be,
free and independent states. . . “ Congress appointed a committee
to draft an inspirational document to explain to the
world the reasons the colonies were asserting their independence
in the hopes of gaining broad colonial and international
support. The committee included Thomas Jefferson
who was charged with drafting the document. In it he asked
for protection of the “unalienable rights” of humankind, in
addition to British rights, and listed other British actions
which prompted the quest for independence. Congress
adopted Lee’s motion on July 2, and on July 4, fifty-six representatives
from the thirteen original colonies unanimously
approved the Declaration of Independence.
Six months prior to the official declaration, Thomas Paine
published his influential political pamphlet Common Sense.
It presented a clear and persuasive argument for independence,
and convinced many undecided colonists to support
the movement for independence.
gathered in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.
Instead they drafted, debated, compromised, and finally
approved for ratification the Constitution of the United States.
It was then sent to the states to adopt or reject based on the
votes of delegates to ratification conventions. The debate
over ratification continued into 1788 as Federalists and Anti-
Federalists faced off over issues of states’ rights, human liberties,
and governmental authority. Ratification of the new
constitution required acceptance by nine of the thirteen states.
Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution and it
was followed by Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1787.
Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina,
and New Hampshire ratified it in 1788. The ninth state
(New Hampshire) guaranteed that the new United States had
a government. Virginia and New York approved the document
later in 1788, and North Carolina and Rhode Island
adopted it last, in 1789 and 1790, respectively.
Thomas Jefferson, acquired the Louisiana Territory from
Napoleon Bonaparte, ruler of France, for $15 million dollars
in 1803. The purchase more than doubled the area of the
United States. It gave the new nation access to 828,000
square miles of fertile territory and navigable waterways
between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains at
a cost of approximately three cents per acre. All or parts of
13 states were carved out of the Louisiana Purchase (in order
of admission): Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa,
Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota,
South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.
12, 1861, with the firing on Fort Sumter and ended with the
Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in early
April, 1865. South Carolina, the first state to leave the Union,
seceded in 1860, prompted by the election of the Republican
presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. Six more followed
in early 1861 (Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
Louisiana and Texas). They formed the Confederate
States of America.
1861: President Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4,
1861 and sought to maintain ties with eight border states
which remained with the Union. The Civil War began on
April 12 with the firing on Fort Sumter by Confederate troops
off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Four more states
seceded after war was declared: Virginia, Arkansas, North
Carolina, and Tennessee. The first battle of the war at Bull
Run, near Manassas Junction, Virginia, ended in a Confederate
victory due to poor Union generalship.
demand for troops and the Union followed suit in 1863. The
Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle of the war,
occurred in Maryland on September 17, 1862. Lincoln issued
his Emancipation Proclamation on September 23, following
the Union victory at Antietam.
76,000 Confederates at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The fate
of the Confederacy was sealed on July 4 with Union victories
at Gettysburg, turning a Confederate invasion of the
North, and Vicksburg, ceding control of the Mississippi River
to the Union. The war continued for two more years as the
South sought independence and Lincoln demanded union.
1864: Ulysses S. Grant, appointed commander of the Union
army following Vicksburg, crafted a more aggressive military
offensive than previous generals. It included a march of
destruction into the heart of the South by General William
Tecumseh Sherman, and Grant’s own assault on Lee in Virginia.
Sherman’s men captured and burned Atlanta in September
1864. Grant’s engagements with Lee involved destructive
battles including the Wilderness Campaign and the
assault on Cold Harbor.
1865: Union troops captured Richmond and surrounded Lee
in April. On Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865, General Robert E.
Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox
Court House in Virginia. On April 15, 1865, President Lincoln
died from an assassin’s bullet and Vice-President Andrew
Johnson assumed office.
began in the Revolutionary era, partially in response to
the inhumane treatment of slaves and partially in an effort to
remove blacks from white society. The movement in the late
1700s concentrated on freeing the slaves as a humane act.
Quakers in Pennsylvania established the first anti-slavery
society in the world in 1775. Interest in returning slaves to
Africa resulted in the formation of the American Colonization
Society in 1817. The Republic of Liberia, established in
1822 on the west coast of Africa, served as a destination for
approximately 15,000 slaves freed and returned. However,
most slaves considered Africa a foreign culture and sought
freedom and a home in America. In the 1830s American abolitionists
sought to follow the example set in the West Indies
by the British who freed the slaves in 1833. The religious
revivals of the Second Great Awakening also inspired abolitionists
to speak out against the sin of slavery. Abolitionists
published anti-slavery publications including pamphlets and
newspapers. Supporters of William Lloyd Garrison, a vocal
abolitionist and publisher of the newspaper The Liberator,
formed the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. African
Americans played a key role in the abolitionist movement,
most notably Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. Realizing
they needed a political voice, abolitionists supported
the Liberty Party in 1840, the Free Soil party in 1848, and
the Republican party in the 1850s. Abolitionists realize their
goal with the passage of the 13th Amendment.
Absolute and Relative Chronology Absolute
chronology depends on knowing the precise date including
the day, month and/or year of an event. To sequence events
in absolute chronology means to organize them in an order—
that is, from oldest to most recent. Relative chronology depends
less on specific dates and more on relationships of
events. To sequence events, individuals, and time periods,
students must understand past, present, and future time. Students
must also be able to identify the beginning, middle,
and end of an event or story. Students are expected to structure
a story, creating their own sequence by developing a
topic from its beginning to its conclusion. Students are expected
to create and interpret timelines, identify intervals of
time, and order events in the sequence of occurrence and in
relation to other events.
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation,
the nation’s first constitution, was adopted by the
Second Continental Congress in 1781 during the Revolution.
It provided guidance to government for seven years and
gave Congress limited authority to make laws and to draw
up treaties with other nations. The Articles were limited in
providing solutions to many challenges facing the new Republic
because the states held most of the power, and Congress
lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, or control coinage.
In 1787 the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia
to revise the Articles, but instead the delegates constructed
a new constitution.
is the process of removing impurities from iron to make
steel. Steel is less brittle and stronger than iron. Industry
needed steel but was limited by the small quantity that could
be manufactured using traditional methods to remove impurities.
In the 1850s, British inventor Henry Bessemer discovered
that a blast of hot air directly on melted iron reduced
the impurities in iron. As a result, steel manufacturing
increased nearly 20 fold during the era of the Industrial Revolution
in America. Steel bridges, steel rails for railroads, and
the production of automobiles were major technological
achievements. Steel reinforcements in skyscrapers aided ur-
banization, and increased production of household appliances
to the Constitution, ratified in 1791. The 1st Amendment
protects several fundamental rights of U.S. citizens:
freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, and the rights
to assemble and to petition. The next seven amendments
guarantee other freedoms including the right to a fair trial
and the right to bear arms. Homes are protected from search
without just cause, citizens are protected from the imposition
of housing troops during peacetime, and those accused
of crimes are entitled to fair treatment before the law. The
9th Amendment guarantees that people retain rights not enumerated
in the Constitution and the 10th amendment limits
federal power by granting to the states all powers not specifically
assigned by the Constitution to the national government.
authorizes each branch of government to share its powers
with the other branches and thereby check their activities
and power. The President can veto legislation passed by
Congress, but Congress can override the veto. The Senate
confirms major appointments made by the President, and
the courts may declare acts passed by Congress as unconstitutional.
Civic Virtue The term “civic” relates to involvement in
a community. Citizens of a neighborhood, town, state, or
nation have an obligation to be active, peaceful, loyal, and
supportive members of that community. Those with civic
virtue go a step beyond their obligations by taking an active
role in improving the community and the experiences of other
members of the community.
Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience is the process
of defying codes of conduct within a community or ignoring
the policies and government of a state or nation when the
civil laws are considered unjust. Henry David Thoreau included
the essay “Civil Disobedience” in Walden, a collection
of his writings. He did not want people to break the law
indiscriminately but he urged people to challenge laws they
considered unjust by refusing to obey them. This is called
passive resistance. World leaders such as Martin Luther King,
Jr. and Mohandas K. Gandhi followed Thoreau’s advice.
Blacks boycotted buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956
until the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was
illegal. Non-violent protest led to the signing of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination.
of Independence is a document adopted by the Second
Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It established the 13
colonies as independent states, free from rule by Great Britain.
The committee appointed to write the Declaration of
Independence included Benjamin Franklin, John Adams,
Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the majority of the declaration. In
the Preamble, Jefferson explained that it was necessary to
list the reasons why the colonies sought their own government.
In three sections Jefferson outlined the reasons: people
have the right to control their own government; the British
government and King used their power unjustly to control
the colonies; and the colonies had tried to avoid separating
from Britain, but Britain refused to cooperate. The most famous
passage concerns the right to govern:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just
power from the consent of the governed. That whenever any
Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is
the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute
new Government. . . “
Dred Scott v. Sandford Dred Scott v. Sandford
was a landmark Supreme Court case in 1857 which confirmed
the status of slaves as property rather than citizens.
Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that a slave could not be
heard in federal courts because he was not a citizen and had
no protection under the Constitution. Also, Congress had no
authority over slavery in the territories, and upon statehood,
each territory would determine whether it would be a slave
state or a free state.
Emancipation Proclamation Abraham Lincoln
issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September
22, 1862, to go into effect on January 1, 1863. It declared
that all slaves in the rebellious Confederate states would be
free. These included slaves in Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas,
Louisiana, and Texas. Following the proclamation, many
slaves in these states walked away from plantations and
sought protection from Union forces. The proclamation did
not apply to slaves living in border states or to areas in the
South occupied by federal troops. As Union troops moved
into new areas of the Confederacy, slaves in those areas would
be freed. All slaves were not freed until the ratification of
the 13th Amendment in 1865.
and Queen Mary accepted the English Bill of Rights which
guaranteed certain rights to English citizens and declared
that elections for Parliament would happen frequently. The
document followed the Glorious Revolution in which the
English people forced absolute monarch James II to leave
the country. William and Mary then assumed rule. By agree-
ing to the English Bill of Rights, they supported a limited
Parliament and the people, and did not have absolute power,
as James II had sought. The influence of the English Bill of
Rights can be seen in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.
a federal government and the states within a union.
Convention finished writing the U.S. Constitution,
each state elected delegates to a ratification convention. Ratification
was required by nine of the 13 states in order for the
constitution to take effect. People were divided over issues
of the extent of power of the Constitution, the degree to which
the rights of states were protected, and the degree to which
the rights of citizens were protected. Those favoring the new
form of government, which divided power between a strong
central government and the states, were called Federalists.
Those seeking greater power for states were called Anti-Federalists.
In an effort to sway opinion and get the Constitution
approved, three leading Federalists wrote a series of 85 essays
which explained the new government and the division
of power. Published as The Federalist, the series was written
by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.
For instance, The Federalist, No. 10 (1787) defines the republican
form of government which Federalists envisioned
and the process of electing representatives to Congress.
Federalists and Anti-Federalists The adoption
of the U.S. Constitution was not an easy process. Citizens
disagreed over the way the document divided power between
the states and the national government, the degree to which
the rights of citizens were protected.
Those favoring ratification of the Constitution and adoption
of the federalist form of government were called Federalists.
Those opposed to the Constitution because they feared
the power of the national government in the new federal system
were called Anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalists were also
concerned that if the national government could overrule state
decisions, the protection of the liberty of individuals would
be at risk. Patrick Henry and George Mason were leading
Anti-Federalists. Henry was so opposed to the process that
he did not even attend the convention which drafted the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson favored some aspects of the Constitution
but was concerned about the lack of protection for
the rights of states and the absence of support for individual
rights. He supported the inclusion of a Bill of Rights. In an
effort to sway opinion and get the Constitution ratified, three
leading Federalists — James Madison, Alexander Hamilton,
and John Jay — published their views in The Federalist , a
series of 85 newspaper essays which have become a classic
of American political thought.