• Mexican War and Wilmot Proviso (1846) increase sectional conflict

  • Gold rush makes California eligible for statehood — free or slave?

  • U.S. confronts Mexico and Britain: annexes Texas (1845), acquires Oregon (1846), fights Mexican War (1846–1848) extending U.S. borders to Pacific

  • Ideology of Manifest Destiny prompts U.S. expansionism

  • Free-Soil Party (1848) advocates white smallholder farm society

  • Women seek legal rights at Seneca Falls (1848)

  • Irish immigrants build northern canal system

  • Some states default on canal bonds

  • Walker Tariff (1846) lowers rates, increases foreign imports

  • Whites migrate to Oregon and California

  • Arrival of millions of Germans and Irish causes social conflicts

  • Wars against Seminole peoples in Florida (1835–1842, 1855–1858)

  • Compromise of 1850

  • Whig Party disintegrates; Know-Nothing Party attacks immigrants

  • Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) sparks creation of Republican Party

  • President Pierce opens Japan to trade; seeks to expand American territory and slavery into Caribbean by diplomacy and filibustering actions

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) attacks slavery

  • Dred Scott decision (1857) opens way to legalize slavery nationwide

  • Southern secessionists agitate for independence

  • Enslaved blacks expand cotton output in South

  • White settlers expand farm society to trans-Mississippi west

  • Entrepreneurs promote railroad building and manufacturing in North and Midwest

  • Conflict of Hispanics and Anglos in the Southwest

  • White diseases and brutality kill most California Indians

  • Comanches and Sioux dominate Great Plains peoples and control trade in horses and buffalo hides

  • Eleven southern states secede from Union, sparking Civil War (1861–1865); the Union’s triumph preserves a continental nation

  • Fourteenth Amendment (1868) extends legal and political rights

  • U.S. diplomacy and Union army victories in 1863 cause British government to stop sale of ironclad ships to the Confederacy

  • Secretary of State Seward buys Alaska from Russia (1867)

  • Burlingame Treaty (1868) protects missionaries in China and limits Chinese immigration

  • Confederate States of America (1861–1865) vow to continue slavery

  • Republicans seek to impose equal rights ideology on South

  • Black families accept ideal of domesticity

  • Republicans enact Whigs’ economic policies: Homestead Act (1862), railroad aid, high tariffs, and national banking

  • Women assume new tasks in war economies

  • Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and Thirteenth Amendment (1865) free blacks from slavery

  • Aided by Freedmen’s Bureau, African Americans struggle for freedom, land, and education

  • Fifteenth Amendment (1870) extends vote to black men

  • Compromise of 1877 ends Reconstruction

  • Britain pays the U.S. $15.5 million for the depredations of the Alabama during the war

  • Anti-Chinese riots in San Francisco in late 1870s prompt Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)

  • Ku Klux Klan attacks Reconstruction governments

  • Republicans embrace classical liberalism

  • White elites challenge ideal of universal suffrage and deny women’s suffrage

  • Sharecropping spreads in South

  • Ranchers create cattle empire on Great Plains

  • Depression of 1873 halts railway expansion

  • U.S. wars against Plains Indians (Cheyennes, Sioux, Apaches, and Nez Perce) open their lands to white miners, ranchers, and farmers

  • Dawes Act (1887) seeks Indian assimilation