History of the United States > Slavery, Civil War and Westward Expansion
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· American Westward Expansion (American West.com)
· Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy: The Growth of American Society CD
· Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy: The Crisis of the Union CD
· Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy:On the Road from Slavery to Freedom CD
· History Place Timeline - U.S. Civil War 1861-1865
· Lewis and Clark (PBS)
· Northwest of the West: the Frontier Experience on the Northwest Coast (University Libraries of University of Washington)
· Outline of American History: Sectional Conflict CD
· Outline of American History: Westward Expansion and Regional Differences CD
· Underground Railroad (National Underground Railroad Freedom Center)
· US-Geschichte Up to 1864 | 1865 - 1929 CD
· Timeline U.S. Diplomatic History: Jeffersonian Diplomacy | Civil War (U.S. State Department)
· U.S. Population in Transition
· Zahlen & Fakten US Geschichte CD
Abraham Lincoln: Emancipation Proclamation CD
· American Civil War at the Electronic Text Center (University of Virginia)
· American Memory: Born in Slavery. Slave Narratives (Library of Congress)
· American Shores: Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850 (New York Public Library)
· Camping with the Sioux: Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (Smithonian Institution)
· Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy (Avalon Project, Yale University): 19th Century Documents
· Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina)
· Freedmen and Southern Society Project (University of Maryland)
· Gettysburg Address (Library of Congress)
· The Monroe Doctrine CD
· Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on Westward Expansion 1820-1890 (Library of Congress)
Exhibits - Digital Images
· Civil War@Smithsonian (Smithsonian Institution)
· Civil War Photographs (Library of Congress)
For High School Students
· American Elementary Schools: Mid-1800s (ThinkQuest)
· The Immigrant Experience (Ellis Island.org)
· Crisis at Fort Sumter (Tulane College)
· Education World: The Amistad Comes to Life!
· Immigration to the United States (Discoveryschool.com)
· In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (Schomburg Center)
· National Archives Digital Classroom: Teaching with Documents: Expansion and Reform (1801 - 1861)
· National Archives Digital Classroom: Teaching with Documents: Civil War and Reconstruction (1861 - 1877)
· Africans in America (PBS)
· Civil War Resources on the Internet: Abolitionism to Reconstruction (1830s - 1890s) (Rutgers University Libraries)
· U.S Civil War Generals (University of Tennessee)
· WWW VL: History: USA:The Civil War
In the early 19th century, slavery began to assume greater importance as a national issue. In the early years of the republic, many leaders had supposed that slavery would die out. As late as 1808, when the international slave trade was abolished, many thought that slavery would soon end. But during the next generation, the South became solidly united behind the institution of slavery as new economic factors made slavery far more profitable than it had been before 1790. Chief among these was the rise of a great cotton-growing industry. Sugarcane and tobacco, two labor-intensive crops, also contributed to slavery's extension.
The country was divided into states permitting slavery and states prohibiting it. In 1820, politicians debated the question of whether slavery would be legal in the western territories. The Missouri Compromise permitted slavery in the new state of Missouri and the Arkansas Territory but it was barred everywhere west and north of Missouri. Sectional lines steadily hardened on the slavery question. Politically, the 1850s can be characterized as a decade of failure in which the nation's leaders were unable to resolve, or even contain, the divisive issue of slavery.
After Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, eleven states left the Union and proclaimed themselves an independent nation, the Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The American Civil War had begun. Four years later, the Confederates surrendered. The Civil War put an end to slavery; it also made clear that the country was not a collection of semi-independent states but an indivisible whole. In December 1865, Congress ratified the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.
In the first quarter of the 19th century, the frontier was pushed beyond the Mississippi River. In 1803, President Jefferson negotiated the purchase of Louisiana with the French. From 1816 to 1821, six new states were created -- Indiana, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, Alabama and Missouri. In 1865 the frontier line generally followed the western limits of the states bordering the Mississippi River, bulging outward to include the eastern sections of Kansas and Nebraska. A mere quarter-century later, virtually all this country had been carved into states and territories. Western expansion led to increasing conflicts with the Indians of the West.
New England and the Middle Atlantic states were the main centers of manufacturing, commerce and finance. Principal products were textiles, lumber, clothing, machinery, leather and woolen goods. The South featured an economy centered on agriculture. The Midwest, with its boundless prairies and swiftly growing population, flourished. In 1849, gold was discovered in California. An important stimulus to western prosperity was the great improvement in transportation facilities; from 1850 to 1857 the Appalachian Mountain barrier was pierced by five railway trunk lines linking the Midwest and the East.
Between 1840 and 1860, the United States received its first wave of immigrants. Nearly 4.5 Million immigrants entered the country. In Europe as a whole, famine, rising populations and political unrest stimulated emigration. During the Civil War, the federal government helped fill its roster of troops by encouraging emigration from Europe. By 1865, about one in five Union soldiers was a wartime immigrant.
Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials. What kind of information materials are available?
CD: These documents are available in fulltext format on the About the USA CD-ROM. Teachers: Request a copy for classroom use.
L: Selected documents are available in German as well as other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, Persian and Turkish.
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