History 3 The 1800s: War, Depression and Leadership

There were three major trends in the history of the US in the 1800s . They are:

1. Expansion (movie part 1)‏

2. Abolition of slavery (movie part 2)‏

3. Industrialization (movie part 3)‏


America's expansion began almost immediately with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 from Napoleon. This purchase doubled the size of the US. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition explored this new area. In 1812, the American government decided they wanted even more land, and were considering Canada. So they started a second war against Great Britain, that lasted 6 years until 1818. Washington D.C. was burned, and the words to the Star Spangled Banner were written by Francis Scott Key during this war. However, the war ended in a stalemate. Neither side won or lost anything.

In 1820, missionaries arrive in Hawaii to settle there. The Monroe Doctrine in 1823, by President Monroe, told Europe that they should "leave" the Americas alone. The US would protect other North and South American countries which declared independence from Europe. This made the US the leading power in the New World. The Oregon trail in 1843 began to bring settlers in covered wagons to the West.

In 1835, Texas began a successful revolution from Spanish Mexico and became an independent republic in 1836. It was this year that the famous Alamo battle was fought, leading to the war cry "Remember the Alamo!“ Mormon pioneers came to Utah and settled in 1847. And in 1848, the discovery of gold in California brought many people to the area. It became a state just two years later, in 1850. In 1853, part of New Mexico and Arizona was bought from Mexico. This is called the Gadsden Purchase, and it was the last expansion of the continental US.


The industrialization of the US began in 1793 with Eli Whitney's cotton gin, which greatly helped cotton farmers in the South. In 1834, Mc Cormick's reaper helped them even more. Then, Samuel Morse made the telegraph in 1844. The most prolific inventor, and most responsible for industrial revolution was of course Thomas Edison. In 1878, 1879, and 1891, he invented the phonograph, the light bulb, and the moving picture camera. The first automobile race was run in 1895, probably using Edison's battery-powered cars.


Although slave importation was prohibited in 1808, slavery continued until the Civil War. There were many slave uprisings, though, such as Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion in 1931 and John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859. The novel Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852 also made people think critically about slavery. In 1857, the former slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom but lost. The North wanted freedom, the South wanted slavery. There was no compromise. Finally in 1860, the same year Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President, South Carolina seceded from the US. Other southern states followed, and the US was split into two: the Union North and the Confederate South.

THE CIVIL WAR! The civil war began in 1861 and lasted until 1865. It was a terrible war where brothers fought each other and many people died. In 1863, President Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves, and gave the famous Gettysburg Address on a battlefield. The speech ends with "the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth." It gave hope to the Union Armies. Finally, in 1865, the war ended when General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomatox, Virginia. After the war, though, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

With their new rights, black citizens could vote, and in 1870 Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first black Senator. But there was another kind of slavery to fight against. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested while trying to vote. This was the beginning of the women's rights movement.


In 1867, Alaska was purchased from Russia by secretary of state William Seward. People thought it was crazy, and called it Seward’s Folly. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869 with the golden spike in Utah. At this time, there were many battles between whites and Native Americans, such as Custer's Last Stand in 1876 and the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. The Spanish-American War in 1898 allowed the US to take over the Spanish colonies of Cuba, Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.