PERIOD 3: 1754–1800
Key Concept 3.1 — British attempts to assert tighter control over its North American colonies and the colonial resolve to pursue self-government led to a colonial independence movement and the Revolutionary War.
I. The competition among the British, French, and American Indians for economic and political advantage in North America culminated in the Seven Years’ War (the French and Indian War), in which Britain defeated France and allied American Indians.
II. The desire of many colonists to assert ideals of self-government in the face of renewed British imperial efforts led to a colonial independence movement and war with Britain.
Key Concept 3.2 — The American Revolution’s democratic and republican ideals inspired new experiments with different forms of government.
I. The ideals that inspired the revolutionary cause reflected new beliefs about politics, religion, and society that had been developing over the course of the 18th century.
II. After declaring independence, American political leaders created new constitutions and declarations of rights that articulated the role of the state and federal governments while protecting individual liberties and limiting both centralized power and excessive popular influence.
III. New forms of national culture and political institutions developed in the
United States alongside continued regional variations and differences
over economic, political, social, and foreign policy issues.
Key Concept 3.3 — Migration within North America and competition over resources, boundaries, and trade intensified conflicts among peoples and nations.
I. In the decades after American independence, interactions among different groups resulted in competition for resources, shifting alliances, and cultural blending.
II. The continued presence of European powers in North America challenged the United States to find ways to safeguard its borders, maintain neutral trading rights, and promote its economic interests.
PERIOD 4: 1800–1848
Key Concept 4.1 — The United States began to develop a modern democracy and celebrated a new national culture, while Americans sought to define the nation’s democratic ideals and change their society and institutions to match them.
I. The nation’s transition to a more participatory democracy was achieved by expanding suffrage from a system based on property ownership to one based on voting by all adult white men, and it was accompanied by the growth of political parties.
A. In the early 1800s, national political parties continued to debate issues such as the tariff, powers of the federal government, and relations with European powers.
B. Supreme Court decisions established the primacy of the judiciary in determining the meaning of the Constitution and asserted that federal laws took precedence over state laws.
C. By the 1820s and 1830s, new political parties arose—the Democrats, led by Andrew Jackson, and the Whigs, led by Henry Clay—that disagreed about the role and powers of the federal government and issues such as the national bank, tariffs, and federally funded internal improvements.
D. Regional interests often trumped national concerns as the basis for many political leaders’ positions on slavery and economic policy.
II. While Americans embraced a new national culture, various groups developed distinctive cultures of their own.
A. The rise of democratic and individualistic beliefs, a response to rationalism, and changes to society caused by the market revolution, along with greater social and geographical mobility, contributed to a Second Great Awakening among Protestants that influenced moral and social reforms and inspired utopian and other religious movements.
B. A new national culture emerged that combined American elements, European influences, and regional cultural sensibilities.
C. Liberal social ideas from abroad and Romantic beliefs in human perfectibility influenced literature, art, philosophy, and architecture.
D. Enslaved blacks and free African Americans created communities and strategies to protect their dignity and family structures, and they joined political efforts aimed at changing their status.
III. Increasing numbers of Americans, many inspired by new religious and intellectual movements, worked primarily outside of government institutions to advance their ideals.
A. Americans formed new voluntary organizations that aimed to change individual behaviors and improve society through temperance and other reform efforts.
B. Abolitionist and antislavery movements gradually achieved emancipation in the North, contributing to the growth of the free African American population, even as many state governments
restricted African Americans’ rights. Antislavery efforts in the South were largely limited to unsuccessful slave rebellions.
C. A women’s rights movement sought to create greater equality and opportunities for women, expressing its ideals at the Seneca Falls Convention.
Key Concept 4.2 — Innovations in technology, agriculture, and commerce powerfully accelerated the American economy, precipitating profound changes to U.S. society and to national and regional identities.
I. New transportation systems and technologies dramatically expanded manufacturing and agricultural production.
A. Entrepreneurs helped to create a market revolution in production and commerce, in which market relationships between producers and consumers came to prevail as the manufacture of goods became more organized.
B. Innovations including textile machinery, steam engines, interchangeable parts, the telegraph, and agricultural inventions increased the efficiency of production methods.
C. Legislation and judicial systems supported the development of roads, canals, and railroads, which
extended and enlarged markets and helped foster regional interdependence. Transportation networks
linked the North and Midwest more closely than either was linked to the South.
II. The changes caused by the market revolution had significant effects on U.S. society, workers’ lives, and gender and family relations.
A. Increasing numbers of Americans, especially women and men working in factories, no longer relied on semi-subsistence agriculture; instead they supported themselves producing goods for distant markets.
B. The growth of manufacturing drove a significant increase in prosperity and standards of living for some; this led to the emergence of a larger middle class and a small but wealthy business elite but also to a large and growing population of laboring poor.
C. Gender and family roles changed in response to the market revolution, particularly with the growth of definitions of domestic ideals that emphasized the separation of public and private spheres.
III. Economic development shaped settlement and trade patterns, helping to unify the nation while also encouraging the growth of different regions.
A. Large numbers of international migrants moved to industrializing northern cities, while many
Americans moved west of the Appalachians, developing thriving new communities along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
B. Increasing Southern cotton production and the related growth of Northern manufacturing, banking, and shipping industries promoted the development of national and international commercial ties.
C. Southern business leaders continued to rely on the production and export of traditional agricultural
staples, contributing to the growth of a distinctive Southern regional identity.
D. Plans to further unify the U.S. economy, such as the American System, generated debates over whether such policies would benefit agriculture or industry, potentially favoring different sections of the country.
Key Concept 4.3 — The U.S. interest in increasing foreign trade and expanding its national borders shaped the nation’s foreign policy and spurred government and private initiatives.
I. Struggling to create an independent global presence, the United States sought to claim territory throughout the North American continent and promote foreign trade.
A. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the United States government sought influence and control over North America and the Western Hemisphere through a variety of means, including exploration, military actions, American Indian removal, and diplomatic efforts such as the Monroe Doctrine.
B. Frontier settlers tended to champion expansion efforts, while American Indian resistance led to a sequence of wars and federal efforts to control and relocate American Indian populations.
II. The United States’ acquisition of lands in the West gave rise to contests over the extension of slavery into new territories.
A. As overcultivation depleted arable land in the Southeast, slaveholders began relocating their plantations to more fertile lands west of the Appalachians, where the institution of slavery continued to grow.
B. Antislavery efforts increased in the North, while in the South, although the majority of Southerners owned no slaves, most leaders argued that slavery was part of the Southern way of life.
C. Congressional attempts at political compromise, such as the Missouri Compromise, only temporarily stemmed growing tensions between opponents and defenders of slavery.
PERIOD 5: 1844–1877
Key Concept 5.1 — The United States became more connected with the world, pursued an expansionist foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere, and emerged as the destination for many migrants from other countries.
I. Popular enthusiasm for U.S. expansion, bolstered by economic and security interests, resulted in the acquisition of new territories, substantial migration westward, and new overseas initiatives.
A. The desire for access to natural and mineral resources and the hope of many settlers for economic opportunities or religious refuge led to an increased migration to and settlement in the West.
B. Advocates of annexing western lands argued that Manifest Destiny and the superiority of American
institutions compelled the United States to expand its borders westward to the Pacific Ocean.
C. The U.S. added large territories in the West through victory in the Mexican– American War and diplomatic negotiations, raising questions about the status of slavery, American Indians, and Mexicans in the newly acquired lands.
D. Westward migration was boosted during and after the Civil War by the passage of new legislation promoting western transportation and economic development.
E. U.S. interest in expanding trade led to economic, diplomatic, and cultural initiatives to create more ties with Asia.
II. In the 1840s and 1850s, Americans continued to debate questions about rights and citizenship for various groups of U.S. inhabitants.
A. Substantial numbers of international migrants continued to arrive in the United States from Europe
and Asia, mainly from Ireland and Germany, often settling in ethnic communities where they could preserve elements of their languages and customs.
B. A strongly anti-Catholic nativist movement arose that was aimed at limiting new immigrants’ political power and cultural influence.
C. U.S. government interaction and conflict with Mexican Americans and American Indians increased in regions newly taken from American Indians and Mexico, altering these groups’ economic self-sufficiency
Key Concept 5.2 — Intensified by expansion and deepening regional divisions, debates over slavery and other economic, cultural, and political issues led the nation into civil war.
I. Ideological and economic differences over slavery produced an array of diverging responses from Americans in the North and the South.
A. The North’s expanding manufacturing economy relied on free labor in contrast to the Southern economy’s dependence on slave labor. Some Northerners did not object to slavery on principle but claimed that slavery would undermine the free labor market. As a result, a free-soil movement arose that portrayed the expansion of slavery as incompatible with free labor.
B. African American and white abolitionists, although a minority in the North, mounted a highly visible
campaign against slavery, presenting moral arguments against the institution, assisting slaves’ escapes,
and sometimes expressing a willingness to use violence to achieve their goals.
C. Defenders of slavery based their arguments on racial doctrines, the view that slavery was a positive social good, and the belief that slavery and states’ rights were protected by the Constitution.
II. Debates over slavery came to dominate political discussion in the 1850s, culminating in the bitter election of 1860 and the secession of Southern states.
A. The Mexican Cession led to heated controversies over whether to allow slavery in the newly acquired territories.
B. The courts and national leaders made a variety of attempts to resolve the issue of slavery in the territories, including the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas–Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott
decision, but these ultimately failed to reduce conflict.
C. The Second Party System ended when the issues of slavery and anti-immigrant nativism weakened loyalties to the two major parties and fostered the emergence of sectional parties, most notably the Republican Party in the North.
D. Abraham Lincoln’s victory on the Republicans’ free-soil platform in the presidential election of 1860 was accomplished without any Southern electoral votes. After a series of contested debates about secession, most slave states voted to secede from the Union, precipitating the Civil War.
Key Concept 5.3 — The Union victory in the Civil War and the contested reconstruction of the South settled the issues of slavery and secession, but left unresolved many questions about the power of the federal government and citizenship rights.
I. The North’s greater manpower and industrial resources, the leadership of Abraham Lincoln and others, and the decision to emancipate slaves eventually led to the Union military victory over the Confederacy in the devastating Civil War.
A. Both the Union and the Confederacy mobilized their economies and societies to wage the war even while facing considerable home front opposition.
B. Lincoln and most Union supporters began the Civil War to preserve the Union, but Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation reframed the purpose of the war and helped prevent the Confederacy from gaining full diplomatic support from European powers. Many African Americans fled southern plantations and enlisted in the Union Army, helping to undermine the Confederacy.
C. Lincoln sought to reunify the country and used speeches such as the Gettysburg Address to portray the struggle against slavery as the fulfillment of America’s founding democratic ideals.
D. Although the Confederacy showed military initiative and daring early in the war, the Union ultimately succeeded due to improvements in leadership and strategy, key victories, greater resources, and the wartime destruction of the South’s infrastructure.
II. Reconstruction and the Civil War ended slavery, altered relationships between the states and the federal government, and led to debates over new definitions of citizenship, particularly regarding the rights of African Americans, women, and other minorities.
A. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, while the 14th and 15th amendments granted African Americans
citizenship, equal protection under the laws, and voting rights.
B. The women’s rights movement was both emboldened and divided over the 14th and 15th
amendments to the Constitution.
C. Efforts by radical and moderate Republicans to change the balance of power between Congress and the presidency and to reorder race relations in the defeated South yielded some short-term successes. Reconstruction opened up political opportunities and other leadership roles to former slaves, but it ultimately failed, due both to determined Southern resistance and the North’s waning resolve.
D. Southern plantation owners continued to own the majority of the region’s land even after Reconstruction. Former slaves sought land ownership but generally fell short of self-sufficiency, as an
exploitative and soil-intensive sharecropping system limited blacks’ and poor whites’
access to land in the South.
E. Segregation, violence, Supreme Court decisions, and local political tactics progressively stripped away
African American rights, but the 14th and 15th amendments eventually became the basis for court
decisions upholding civil rights in the 20th century.