US History Essay

Paul Fischer
US History to 1865
December 4, 2010


For early colonists in America, the Atlantic and the distracted British Empire insulated and protected them from British prejudices and governance. At the end of the Seven Years War, the imperialistic ambitions of the recently victorious British sought to extend control through the colonies. The colonies were unable to swallow the existence of an enforced British rule, which manifested itself both indirectly and directly. While pointing to a single act or event that triggered the imperial antagonism necessary to unite on a platform of independence cannot fully describe the unique phenomenon that occurred, the Continental Congress of 1774 represents the both the first contact between many colonial leaders and the culmination of escalating republican colonial conflict with British attempts to reassert control over its citizens. For the first time, the colonies were united and, while they appealed to the same constitution as Parliament, agreeing on a set of rights, against the monarchy, laid the foundation for how independent colonial government could operate. While this seven week meeting was just the beginning of the road to independence, it was the culmination of decades of escalating conflict between the British and their colonies in America. The Continental Congress was also the first time that the colonies united officially, which separates it distinctly from the localized events leading up to it.
The British had some reason to be assertive in their relations with their North American colonies: the massive debts incurred by war with the French, which occupied a quarter of the eighteenth century, created an economic nightmare on a scale practically unimaginable. Britain tried to thwart American smuggling operations through the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, in which taxes were generally lowered but far better enforced by numbers of British regulators who were granted rights to operate in colonial America. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Charles Townshend apparently underestimated the influence of both smugglers and the colonial political system who had been long united in opposing British economic rulings.
The use of colonial assemblies to let off smugglers in a political statement of solidarity to the crown developed as a result of the stricter shipping laws. As both a smuggler and an elite patriot, John Hancock, who was said to have employed most of Boston at various points, realized the economic potential of adopting a patriotic stance. When British customs officials seized his ship, Liberty, and threatened him with harsh fines, Hancock rallied thousands of boys in his employ for a mob to drive off the British. The commitment of merchantmen smugglers and politicians to opposing Britain allowed colonial patriots to begin organizing, for some time, effective boycotts and propaganda programs, which over the period of time the duties remained in effect cost the British over 75-fold the tea of the Boston Tea Party. Yet still the patriots were relatively radical and most colonists were afraid of republican ideals that were to support the drive for independence; it was not until later that the problems of New England merchants were truly felt to reverberate throughout the colonies.
Following the ineffectiveness of their attempts to tax the colonies, the British government let up for some time, and by 1772 imports into the colonies had doubled. This was due in part to the efforts of a fiery politician and cartoonist named Samuel Adams. His portrayal of the Boston massacre, in a simple but incriminating cartoon, became among the most widely reproduced in the British Empire. Horrified citizens even in Britain questioned the moral legitimacy of British rule in America and authorities repealed nearly all of the duties, with the exception of tea. The lull from the Boston massacre until the Tea Act of 1773 and the subsequent tea party, resulted in the near total dismemberment of the nonimportation movement.
The Tea Act was meant to be a win-win: British East India Company is able to cut out middle men, and sell cheaper tea to colonists thus defusing rebellious sentiment. This satisfied, perhaps, the economic basis of patriot complaints, but ignored the political issues that went along with republican ideals that were fanned across the colonies by early patriot leaders. These patriot leaders were a new sort of elite, with strong connections and access to the mechanisms of populism. By provoking British retaliation at more and more drastic levels, they were able to engage more of the country with talk of British oppression. With the British fury that accompanied the Boston Tea Party, several acts were passed with the explicit intention of punishment. Boston, as the center of the resistance, was also hit the hardest, and was turned into an island of rebels locked away from the mainland by a drunken, uncontrollable army let loose on the streets of Boston. The tensions between appointed governors and their population from before the Boston massacre returned with full, if not greater force in Massachusetts.
All of the events leading up to this point had been local in nature, even movements such as Sons of Liberty were qualified by region or locality. What united them was the hundreds of printing presses operated by men such as Ben Franklin or Sam Adams. These resistance leaders, along with fifty-four other delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies, met in 1774, many for the first time, and unified in opposition to the British government’s policies. According to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the blockade ordered by the Continental Congress eliminated 97 percent of British-American trade in the next year.
This resolved some of the economic issues Americans had with England, but the problems over Boston and Massachusetts remained. The Suffolk resolves represented a recognition of the plight of Massachusetts and a political sense of solidarity as a united colonial assembly voted to passively defy the intolerable acts, actually resulting in British regulars dieing outside of Charleston from disease because they were not allowed to quarter in private residence.
Far more important is the declaration of rights insisted upon by the Continental Congress. These rights are similar to those expounded by the declaration of Independence two years later, though not quite as openly defiant yet. The Continental Congress is significant not in the direct or immediate impact, but in that it is representative of the decades of conflict preceding it. With the Suffolk resolves, the Declaration of Rights and embargo on Britain, the Continental Congress addressed the humanitarian, political, and economic aspects of the crisis that occurred in America before the Revolution. After declaring such solidarity in opposition to England, without government permission, the Continental Congress delivered the unwelcome message to the British: leave us alone, or go home.

notes for US History Final

Paul Fischer
History 011
Cotton Gin
Eli Whitney was the inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Whitney was born in Westboro, Massachusetts on December 8, 1765 and died on January 8, 1825. He graduated from Yale College in 1792. By April 1793, Whitney had designed and constructed the cotton gin, a machine that automated the separation of cottonseed from the short-staple cotton fiber.
Old Southwest
The history of the old Southwest exhibited accelerating economic and social change incurred by demand created in the Industrial Revolution. The mass importation of slaves to increasingly large plantation on the cotton belt and around the Mississippi delta ramped up without significantly slowing until the civil war ended most slavery.
King Cotton
With the invention of the Cotton Gin in 1793, cotton production soon surpassed tobacco as the south’s major cash crop. King Cotton is a notion that Civil War Confederates held to, believing the cotton crop to be central to the South’s economy. They were mostly wrong, however, about assumptions they would be able to use cotton to force Europe to cooperate diplomatically.
The Quarters
Slave quarters were generally separated from the rest of the estate, and were nearly always of very low quality. Generally, visitors to plantations would be introduced to the master farm house, and encouraged to ignore the seemingly inconsequential huts where slaves lived. The existence of slave quarters outside of the master or overseer’s direct realm of influence helped slave society develop. Slaves who were routinely broken apart from their families found support here. Masters tended to attempt to break these bonds, even referring to slaves as members as their own family in order to retain power, leading to the idea of paternalism.
The first sixty years of the 19th century brought many changes to the South. In the beginning of those years the gentry experienced a great deal of decline from falling tobacco prices and disturbed politics (Kierner 185). Many of the most important families in Virginia, such as the Randolphs, were in a period of economical failure. Some of them had to resort to becoming small farmers. Those who still owned large plantations were beginning to set down rigid rules regarding slave life. One of the main views on slavery during this period was the idea of Paternalism.
Paternalism is a philosophy on slavery that views the master as the father figure of the slaves. This idea however has little to do with the idea that a master was always kind, cheerful and easy to get along with, but instead was more related to the idea of a father as a disciplinarian, as a man to be always obeyed (Genovese 4). A system such as this does give opportunity for slave owners to show more benevolence to their slaves, but at the same time gives the masters complete power over all of a slave’s life. Power is often known to corrupt, and in this system there were many opportunities for a master to misuse his authority and mistreat his slaves.
Slave owners particularly liked the idea of paternalism. It gave them a good feeling about themselves. Instead of appearing to be a cruel slave-driving tyrant, the slave owners now viewed themselves as the kindly father of their slaves. Men like Thomas Jefferson seldom even called their servants slaves, but instead referred to them as “my people.” Although the entire foundation of slavery rests on the view that slaves are nothing more than possessions, paternalism in a small way admits the slaves’ obvious humanity. By believing that slaves have the same feelings and needs that their own children have, slave owners are clearly demonstrating that even they do not believe that slaves are less than human.
Nathaniel “Nat” Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 56[1] deaths among their victims, the largest number of white fatalities to occur in one uprising in the antebellum southern United States. He gathered supporters in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner’s killing of whites during the uprising makes his legacy controversial. For his actions, Turner was convicted, sentenced to death, and executed. In the aftermath, the state executed 56 blacks accused of being part of Turner’s rebellion. Two hundred additional blacks were beaten and killed, white militias and mobs reacting with violence. Virginia and other southern states passed legislation reducing rights of free blacks and slaves. Across the South, state legislators passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.
The Liberator
The Liberator (1831-1866) was an abolitionist newspaper founded by William Lloyd Garrison in 1831. Garrison published weekly issues of The Liberator from Boston continuously for 35 years, from January 1, 1831, to the final issue of January 1, 1866. Although its circulation was only about 3,000, and three-quarters of subscribers were African Americans in 1834,[1] the newspaper earned nationwide notoriety for its uncompromising advocacy of “immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves” in the United States. Garrison set the tone for the paper in his famous open letter “To the Public” in the first issue.
The Liberator faced harsh resistance from several state legislatures and local groups: for example, North Carolina indicted Garrison for felonious acts, and the Vigilance Association of Columbia, South Carolina, offered a reward of $1,500 ($25,957.20 in 2005 dollars) to those who identified distributors of the paper.[2]
The Liberator continued for three decades from its founding through the end of the American Civil War. Garrison ended the newspaper’s run with a valedictory column at the end of 1865, when the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery throughout the United States.
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison (December 13, 1805 – May 24, 1879) was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, voluntaryist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the radical abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted “immediate emancipation” of slaves in the United States. Garrison was also a prominent voice for the women’s suffrage movement.
Angelina Grimke
Despite the fact that their father was an aristocratic slaveholding judge in the Deep South, both girls developed an early dislike of slavery. Their independent thinking was strengthened in their 20s when they joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Philadelphia, and they both subsequently moved to the North and became active in the anti-slavery movement. In 1835 Angelina wrote a letter of approval to Abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison, who published it in his newspaper, The Liberator. The following year she composed an impassioned pamphlet, An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, in which she urged her Southern sisters to use moral suasion to help overthrow the oppressive institution. A few months later Sarah made a similar plea in An Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States. These eloquent appeals were welcomed by antislavery agitators in the free states, but South Carolina officials burned copies of them and threatened the authors with imprisonment should they ever return home. At the same time, the sisters attested their sincerity by freeing the slaves whom they had persuaded their mother to apportion to them as their part of the family estate.
The Gag Rule
The gagging of anti-slavery petitions by Congress occurred from 1835 to 1844. Pro-slavery forces had prevented any discussion of slavery in Congress, so anti-slavery forces, starting in about 1831, had submitted petitions for the abolition of slavery, believing that since there was a right to petition the government as guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution, such petitions, and thus slavery itself, would have to be discussed.
The pro-slavery forces responded with a series of gag rules that automatically “tabled” all such petitions, preventing them from being read or discussed.
The House passed the Pinckney Resolutions on May 26, 1836, the third of which was known from the beginning as the “gag rule” and passed with a vote of 117 to 68 (The first stated that Congress had no constitutional authority to interfere with slavery in the states and the second that it “ought not” do so in the District of Columbia.)
From the inception of the gag resolutions, Representative (and former President) John Quincy Adams was a central figure in the opposition to the gag rules. He argued that they were a direct violation of the First Amendment right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. A majority of Northern Whigs joined the opposition. Rather than suppress anti-slavery petitions, however, the gag rules only served to offend Americans from Northern states, and dramatically increase the number of petitions.[2] The growing offense to the gag rule, as well as the Panic of 1837, may have contributed to the first Whig majority, in the 27th Congress.
Since the original gag was a resolution, not a standing House Rule, it had to be renewed every session, and Adams and others had free rein until then. In January 1837, the Pinckney Resolutions were substantially renewed, more than a month into the session. The pro-gag forces gradually succeeded in shortening the debate and tightening the gag. In December 1837, the Congress passed the Patton Resolutions, introduced by J. M. Patton of Virginia. In December 1838, the Congress passed the Atherton Gag, composed by Democratic States-Rights Congressman Atherton of New Hampshire, on the first petition day of the session.
In January 1840, the House of Representatives passed the Twenty-first Rule, which greatly changed the nature of the fight – it prohibited even the reception of anti-slavery petitions and was a standing House rule. Before, the pro-slavery forces had to struggle to impose a gag before the anti-slavery forces got the floor. Now men like Adams or Slade were trying to revoke a standing rule. However, it had less support than the original Pinckney gag, passing only by 114 to 108, with substantial opposition among Northern Democrats and even some Southern Whigs, and with serious doubts about its constitutionality. Throughout the gag period, Adams’ “superior talent in using and abusing parliamentary rules” and skill in baiting his enemies into making mistakes, enabled him to evade the rule. The gag was finally rescinded December 3, 1844, by a vote of 108-80, all the Northern and 4 Southern Whigs voting for repeal, along with 78% of the Northern Democrats.[3]
In the Senate in 1836, John C. Calhoun attempted to introduce a gag rule. The Senate rejected this proposal, but agreed on a method which, while technically not violating the right to petition, would achieve the same effect. If an anti-slavery petition was presented, the Senate would vote not on whether to accept the petition but on whether to consider the question of receiving the petition.[4]
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives had refused to accept this compromise and a conference committee was appointed. The United States Senate refused to concur in the amendment,[clarification needed] and the whole measure was lost.
During the following session (1819-1820), the House passed a similar bill with an amendment, introduced on January 26, 1820 by John W. Taylor of New York, allowing Missouri into the union as a slave state. The question had been complicated by the admission in December of Alabama, a slave state, making the number of slave and free states equal. In addition, there was a bill in passage through the House (January 3, 1820) to admit Maine as a free state.
The Senate decided to connect the two measures. It passed a bill for the admission of Maine with an amendment enabling the people of Missouri to form a state constitution. Before the bill was returned to the House, a second amendment was adopted on the motion of Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois, excluding slavery from the Missouri Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north (the southern boundary of Missouri), except within the limits of the proposed state of Missouri.
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century belief that the United States was destined to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. It was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid 1850s.
Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only wide but that it was readily apparent (manifest) and inexorable (destiny).
The term, which first appeared in print in 1839, was used in 1845 by a New York journalist, John L. O’Sullivan, to call for the annexation of Texas.[1] It was primarily used by Democrats to support the expansion plans of the Polk Administration, but opposed by Whigs who wanted to deepen the economy rather than broaden its expanse. It fell out of favor by 1860.[2]
The belief in an American mission to promote and defend democracy throughout the world, as expounded by Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan, continues to have an influence on American political ideology.[3]
The Wilmot Proviso, one of the major events leading to the Civil War, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War or in the future, including the area later known as the Mexican Cession, but which some proponents construed to also include the disputed lands in south Texas and New Mexico east of the Rio Grande.[1]
Congressman David Wilmot first introduced the Proviso in the United States House of Representatives on August 8, 1846 as a rider on a $2 million appropriations bill intended for the final negotiations to resolve the Mexican–American War. (In fact this was only three months into the two-year war.) It passed the House but failed in the Senate, where the South had greater representation. It was reintroduced in February 1847 and again passed the House and failed in the Senate. In 1848, an attempt to make it part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also failed. Sectional conflict over slavery in the Southwest continued up to the Compromise of 1850.

Popular Sovereignty

In 1846, as the dispute over slavery in the United States developed in the wake of the Mexican-American War, the use of the term “popular sovereignty” began to gain currency as a method to resolve the status of slavery in the country. The war ended with the United States acquisition of lands once held by Mexico.[9] The effort to incorporate these lands into the United States uncovered long-simmering disputes about the extension of slavery – whether slavery would be permitted, protected, abolished, or perpetuated in these newly acquired areas.[10] (However, it should be noted that the majority of Northern states did so in order to obtain a Congressional majority, while actual abolitionists were a distinct minority). Congressional attempts to resolve this issue led to gridlock. Several congressional leaders, in an effort to resolve the “deadlock” over slavery as a term or condition for admission or administration of the territories, searched for a “middle ground.” [11]
Some moderates asserted that slavery in the territories was not a matter for Congress to resolve. Rather, they argued, the people in each territory, like the people in each American state, were the sovereigns thereof, and as that sovereign they could determine the status of slavery for themselves.[12] In this way, the term “popular sovereignty” became part of the rhetoric for leaving it up to residents of the American territories (and not Congress) to decide whether or not to accept or reject slavery. In essence, this also left it up to the people of the territories to resolve the controversy over expansion of slavery in the United States. This formed a “middle ground” between proponents of an outright limitation on slavery’s spread to the territories and those opposing limitation. The idea tied into the widespread assumption of Americans that the people were the sovereign.
The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party that largely appealed to and drew its greatest strength from New York State. The party leadership consisted of former anti-slavery members of the Whig Party and the Democratic Party. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories, arguing that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery. They opposed slavery in the new territories and worked to remove existing laws that discriminated against freed blacks in states such as Ohio.
The party membership was largely absorbed by the Republican Party in 1854.
The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands, repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and allowed settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries. The initial purpose of the Kansas–Nebraska Act was to create opportunities for a Mideastern Transcontinental Railroad. It became problematic when popular sovereignty was written into the proposal. The act was designed by Democratic Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.
The act established that settlers could vote to decide whether to allow slavery, in the name of popular sovereignty or rule of the people. Douglas hoped that would ease relations between the North and the South, because the South could expand slavery to new territories but the North still had the right to abolish slavery in its states. Instead, opponents denounced the law as a concession to the slave power of the South. The new Republican Party, which was created in opposition to the act, aimed to stop the expansion of slavery and soon emerged as the dominant force throughout the North.
Slave Power Conspiracy
In his celebrated “House Divided” speech of June 1858, Abraham Lincoln charged that Senator Stephen A. Douglas, President James Buchanan, his predecessor, Franklin Pierce, and Chief Justice Roger Taney were all part of a plot to nationalize slavery, as proven by the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857.
Other Republicans pointed to the violence in Kansas, the brutal assault on Senator Sumner, attacks upon the abolitionist press, and efforts to take over Cuba (Ostend Manifesto) as evidence that the Slave Power was violent, aggressive, and expansive.
The only solution, Republicans insisted, was a new commitment to free labor, and a deliberate effort to stop any more territorial expansion of slavery. Northern Democrats answered that it was all an exaggeration and that the Republicans were paranoid. Their Southern colleagues spoke of secession, arguing that the John Brown raid of 1859 proved that the Republicans were ready to attack their region and destroy their way of life.
In congratulating President-elect Lincoln in 1860, Salmon P. Chase exclaimed, “The object of my wishes and labors for nineteen years is accomplished in the overthrow of the Slave Power”, adding that the way was now clear “for the establishment of the policy of Freedom” — something that would come only after four destructive years of Civil War.
Black Republicanism

“From 1854, when the Republican Party was founded, Democrats labeled it adherents “black” Republicans to identify them as proponents of black equality. During the 1860 elections Southern Democrats used the term derisively to press their belief that Abraham Lincoln’s victory would incite slave rebellions in the South and lead to widespread miscegenation. The image the term conveyed became more hated in the South during Reconstruction as Radical Republicans forced legislation repugnant to Southerners and installed Northern Republicans or Unionists in the governments of the former Confederate states.”
Source: “Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War”
The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and is one of the best-known speeches in United States history.[1] It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg.
Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a struggle not merely for the Union, but as “a new birth of freedom” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens, and that would also create a unified nation in which states’ rights were no longer dominant.
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.[1]
The proclamation did not name the slave-holding border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, which had never declared a secession, and so it did not free any slaves there. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it also was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties that were in the process of forming West Virginia, as well as seven other named counties and two cities. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and thirteen named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation.
The Emancipation Proclamation was criticized at the time for freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. Although most slaves were not freed immediately, the Proclamation did free thousands of slaves the day it went into effect[2] in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception).[3] In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves[2][3] were freed at once on January 1, 1863.
The Siege of Vicksburg was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. In a series of maneuvers, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton into the defensive lines surrounding the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
When two major assaults (May 19 and May 22, 1863) against the Confederate fortifications were repulsed with heavy casualties, Grant decided to besiege the city beginning on May 25. With no re-enforcement, supplies nearly gone, and after holding out for more than forty days, the garrison finally surrendered on July 4. This action (combined with the capitulation of Port Hudson on July 9) yielded command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces, who would hold it for the rest of the conflict.
The Confederate surrender following the siege at Vicksburg is sometimes considered, when combined with Gen. Robert E. Lee‘s defeat at Gettysburg the previous day, the turning point of the war. It also cut off communication with Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department for the remainder of the war. The city of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day for about eighty years as a result of the siege and surrender as well.
Fort Wagner
The famous regiment that fought for the Union in the battle of Fort Wagner was the 54th regiment, which was one of the first African-American regiments in the war. The 54th was controversial in the North, where many people supported the abolition of slavery, but still thought of African-Americans as lesser or inferior to Whites. The bravery of the 54th regiment showed the North that African-Americans had the capability to fight a war. William Carney, an African-American and a sergeant with the 54th, is considered the first Black recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions that day in recovering and returning the unit’s US Flag to Union lines.[1]
After the battle, the Southern soldiers buried the regiment’s commanding officer, Colonel Shaw, in a mass grave with the African American soldiers of his regiment, viewing this as an insult to him. Instead, his family thanked the Southern soldiers for burying Shaw with the rest of his men.[1]
The mass grave at Fort Wagner no longer exists, the site eroded and the remains of Colonel Shaw and his men washed out to sea by Atlantic hurricanes.

The Militia Act of 1862 was legislation enacted by the United States Congress in 1862 during the American Civil War to draft 300,000 eligible soldiers into the Union Armies. It also allowed African Americans to join the Union Army.
The act created controversy on several fronts. While praised by many abolitionists and black-rights activists as a first step toward equality, it stipulated that the newly recruited black soldiers primarily be used for manual labor, not combat. Although black soldiers proved themselves as reputable soldiers, discrimination in pay and other areas remained widespread. According to the Militia Act of 1862, soldiers of African descent were to receive $10 a month, plus a clothing allowance of $3.50. Many regiments struggled for equal pay, some refusing any money until June 15, 1864, when Congress vacated that portion of the Militia Act and granted equal pay for all black soldiers.
The act was the first step in the creation of the United States Colored Troops, many of which would indeed see combat during the war.
Field Order # 15
On January 16, 1865, during the Civil War (1861-65), Union general
William T. Sherman
William T. Sherman issued his Special Field Order No. 15, which confiscated as Union property a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to the St. John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland thirty miles in from the coast. The order redistributed the roughly 400,000 acres of land to newly freed black families in forty-acre segments.
Sherman’s order came on the heels of his successful March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah and just prior to his march northward into South Carolina. Radical Republicans in Congress, like Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, for some time had pushed for land redistribution in order to break the back of Southern slaveholders’ power. Feeling pressure from within his own party, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln sent his secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, to Savannah in order to facilitate a conversation with Sherman over what to do with Southern planters’ lands.
Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States (1865–1869), and the last independent president. Following the assassination of President Lincoln, Johnson presided over the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War.
At the time of the secession of the Southern states, Johnson was a U.S. Senator from Greeneville in East Tennessee. As a Unionist, he was the only southern senator not to quit his post upon secession. He became the most prominent War Democrat from the South and supported the military policies of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War of 1861–1865. In 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of occupied Tennessee, where he proved to be energetic and effective in fighting the rebellion and beginning transition to Reconstruction.[3]
Johnson was nominated for the Vice President position in 1864 on the National Union Party ticket. He and Lincoln were elected in November 1864. Johnson succeeded to the presidency upon Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865.
As president, he took charge of Presidential Reconstruction—the first phase of Reconstruction—which lasted until the Radical Republicans gained control of Congress in the 1866 elections. His conciliatory policies towards the South, his hurry to reincorporate the former Confederate states back into the union, and his vetoes of civil rights bills embroiled him in a bitter dispute with some Republicans.[4] The Radicals in the House of Representatives impeached him in 1868, charging him with violating the Tenure of Office Act, a law enacted by Congress in March 1867 over Johnson’s veto, but he was acquitted by a single vote in the Senate.
While Johnson is the most recent president to represent a party other than the Republican or Democratic parties, having represented both the Democrats and the National Union Party, his party status was ambiguous during his presidency. As president, he did not identify with the two main parties—though he did try for the Democratic nomination in 1868—and so while President he attempted to build a party of loyalists under the National Union label. Asked in 1868 why he did not become a Democrat, he said, “It is true I am asked why don’t I join the Democratic Party. Why don’t they join me … if I have administered the office of president so well?” His failure to make the National Union brand an actual party made Johnson effectively an independent during his presidency, though he was supported by Democrats and later rejoined the party as a Democratic Senator from Tennessee from 1875 until his death of a stroke at 66.[5] For these reasons he is usually counted as a Democrat when identifying presidents by their political parties.[6] Johnson was the first U.S. President to be impeached. He is commonly ranked by historians as being among the worst U.S. presidents.
Freedman’s Bureau
(1865–72), during the Reconstruction period after the American Civil War, popular name for the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, established by Congress to provide practical aid to 4,000,000 newly freed black Americans in their transition from slavery to freedom. Headed by Major General Oliver O. Howard, the Freedmen’s Bureau might be termed the first federal welfare agency. Despite handicaps of inadequate funds and poorly trained personnel, the bureau built hospitals for, and gave direct medical assistance to, more than 1,000,000 freedmen. More than 21,000,000 rations were distributed to impoverished blacks as well as whites.
Its greatest accomplishments were in education: more than 1,000 black schools were built and over $400,000 spent to establish teacher-training institutions. All major black colleges were either founded by, or received aid from, the bureau. Less success was achieved in civil rights, for the bureau’s own courts were poorly organized and short-lived, and only the barest forms of due process of law for freedmen could be sustained in the civil courts. Its most notable failure concerned the land itself. Thwarted by President Andrew Johnson’s restoration of abandoned lands to pardoned Southerners and by the adamant refusal of Congress to consider any form of land redistribution, the bureau was forced to oversee sharecropping arrangements that inevitably became oppressive. Congress, preoccupied with other national interests and responding to the continued hostility of white Southerners, terminated the bureau in July 1872.
Oliver Otis Howard
Howard was appointed colonel of the 3rd Maine Infantry regiment[5] and temporarily commanded a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run. He was promoted to brigadier general effective September 3, 1861, and given permanent command of his brigade. He then joined Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan‘s Army of the Potomac for the Peninsula Campaign.
On June 1, 1862, while commanding a Union brigade in the Fair Oaks, Howard was wounded twice in his right arm, which was subsequently amputated. (He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1893 for his heroism at Fair Oaks.) Brig. Gen. Philip Kearny, who had lost his left arm, visited Howard and joked that they would be able to shop for gloves together. Howard recovered quickly enough to rejoin the army for the Battle of Antietam, in which he rose to division command in the II Corps. He was promoted to major general in November 1862 and assumed command of the XI Corps the following April. In that role, he replaced Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel. Since the corps was composed largely of German immigrants, many of whom spoke no English, the soldiers were resentful of their new leader and openly called for Sigel’s reinstatement.
At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Howard suffered the first of two significant military setbacks. On May 2, 1863, his corps was on the right flank of the Union line, northwest of the crossroads of Chancellorsville. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson created an audacious plan in which Jackson’s entire corps would march secretly around the Union flank and attack it. Howard was warned by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, now commanding the Army of the Potomac, that his flank was “in the air”, not anchored by a natural obstacle, such as a river, and that Confederate forces might be on the move in his direction. Howard failed to heed the warning and Jackson struck before dark, routing the XI Corps and causing a serious disruption to the Union plan.
Great House Farm
The best slaves were elected to go to the Great House Farm to collect allowances. It was an honor, and slaves would sing out for joy. Fredrick Douglass reveals that he does not regard the singing as joyful, but in fact mournful from the depths of the slaves’ souls. This singing ties in with ideas about paternalism and slave life.
Mr. Covey- a slave master Douglass fought with, ultimately beating. For the first time, Douglass feels strength and confidence in grace. Mr. Covey is noted for his cruelty, and regularly beat slaves, including Douglass for infractions such as sickness.
Mrs. Auld- Taught Douglass to read. When her husband finds out, he ends the learning and Mrs. Auld becomes an evil slavemaster, no more an angel to Douglass. Because black people are not supposed to read as slaves, it was dangerous for Douglass to attempt literacy. In order to defy Mr. Cove and his wife who stops teaching him, Douglass makes it one of his priorities to learn to read, which he does by asking white kids around the neighborhood.
The Columbian Orator- Douglass reads this book on liberty and justice first. It opens the doors for him to see what evil is in the peculiar institution.

Rebirth of English Liberty, Rebirth of American Society

Paul Fischer
US History
Dec. 1, 2010

Rebirth of English Liberty, Rebirth of American Society

    The English liberties, as practiced before the Revolution, were changed or eliminated in a radical sense on both sides of the Atlantic after Independence. The Enlightenment introduced new ideas on the rights of man, allowing American intellectuals to replace the hierarchy of monarchical society. There are a number of devices that carried out this change ranging from the spread of academies and printing presses to the erosion of representative government to economic circumstances, most of which were tied intrinsically to the sudden explosion in population. The American Revolution was instigated and carried out through two forces: the power of a well educated populace accustomed to near democracy through townships and the increasing pressure of the British Crown to assert control over the colonial political system to become more and more English in style.
    Change is seen in the destruction of ancient monarchical and aristocratic ideals as the American people sought a new form of government to replace old social obligations. These social ties had become a burden to a nation ready for self-government. To understand how the old system chained down the expansion of America, physically and psychologically, it is not necessary to look farther than the education of the nation. American society, with its large middle class, had a better educated and more politically active populace than anywhere else in the British Empire. As the educated class of America grew in size, and became aware of the ideals propagated by the Enlightenment, so did the value of decentralized political power increase to the average American. This, together with the pressure from the crown in the form of reactionary rulings  gave birth to the will for Independence.

Population, Education, and Changing Politics
American revolutionary motivation differed strongly from that of France or England in the 1600’s; the colonial Americans had enough to eat and weren’t heavily taxed. Instead, the spread of the Enlightenment, as seen through the founding of academies and explosive growth in the number of printing presses in the colonies, persuaded colonial America to rise up in revolt (Lecture 21). American academies created a surplus of intellectual power in an agrarian society, leaving many overqualified and unsatisfied despite their high levels of education. The difference between England and America was not in the academy alone, but in the sheer number of academies, over one hundred and fifty, that multiplied across New England. These, combined with the efforts of self-taught politicians such as Ben Franklin fortified the will for independence in America. As this new, politically active, population emerged in North America, Thomas Paine was able to take advantage of the huge distribution network of hundreds of printing presses to ensure that hundreds of thousands of his politically charged work sold (Lecture 13). 
England prior to the Enlightenment had very low literacy rates and more importantly because only about two-fifths of the nation was landed, a select number of individuals were involved in politics. This became the paternal system in which the gentry were expected to look after the welfare of the poorer classes. As Americans questioned authority more and more, the local government felt uneasy in its position, and furthered controls over the people. The minuscule assemblies and gubernatorial offices British used to exert power created anger in the colonies, which were used to a more direct township mode of government. The political gap between assemblies and constituents is also reflected as upperclass businessmen and lawyers controlled all of the mechanics of government while a large lower-class appeared with the massive influx of German, Scotch, Irish, and various other European immigrants. The society’s polarization caused the wealthy, which once mingled easily with their inferiors, as a father with his children, to become increasingly obsessed with the working class’ ethics and morals. This continued unchecked until the Revolution, even to the point that many towns and colonies established work houses for the unemployed from the mid-1700s (Lecture 10).

Rich and Poor, a New Emphasis on Equality
    The gap between rich and poor was rapidly increasing: in 1772 the percentage of poor in Philadelphia had risen eight-fold over twenty years. This encouraged the demise of old patriarchal ties as people became free to move about as they wished, and did so in greater numbers than ever before. In many colonies, the minuscule and often ineffective colonial assemblies irked Americans accustomed to more direct representation. As the economic disparity between rich and poor increased exponentially, so did colonists’ dissatisfaction with their inability to wield power in the colonial system (Lecture 13). This became clearly evident by 1763 as the British Empire, ruled by foreign born, German speaking Monarchs and their corrupt ministers, bungled the Stamp and Sugar Acts, paving the path for radicals and their American Revolution. These “intolerable” acts, while economically insignificant, exacerbated feelings of political frustration for many Americans, who felt that the former local government was unable to keep up with the influx of . The common people’s desire for influence combined with republican ideals introduced by the Enlightenment calling for equality and redefining the old understanding of liberty to encompass all men, especially since many land-owning Americans were not well-born. This sentiment is echoed by William Moraley’s description of American farmers, “instead of finding the Planter Rack-rented, as the English Farmer, you will taste of their liberality, they living of Affluence and Plenty” (Fischer 220).
As the population boomed, and with the expulsion of the French from North America, it would seem as though the colonies were prepared in the middle of the 18th century to unite politically, but instead deep divisions were created. The mishandling of this opportunity is seen in the intolerable acts, a series of legal taxes and other actions that were intended to bind the colonies closer to the empire, but instead resulted in a greater rift. The abnormally small assemblies as compared to population were standard in England, as were dirty elections and rotten boroughs, but were relatively new with the burgeoning population of the colonies. As all of these corruptions began to appear in America after the Seven-Years War, neither the old colonists accustomed to some political liberty nor the immigrants who sought to find it were satisfied. Pennsylvania, with a population of over 250,000 in the 1770’s, still only had thirty-six members in its assembly and less than 10 percent of the population was able to vote for a limited number of candidates. America had been self-governed on a local level for the most part and so reactionary governments of the mid-1700’s were presented by revolutionaries such as Thomas Payne and Samuel Adams as dangerously unrepresentative and caused by the monarchy’s influence (Lecture 11). In the midst of the enlightenment, the local governments of America were becoming more and more reactionary. All of this impacted and in some capacity caused the breakdown of ancient aristocratic ties between gentry and the people in the colonies.
Monarchical Ideals Changed or Replaced by Enlightenment
    While the colonial American government was much less monarchical and reactionary than in the motherland, it changed in the mid-1700’s and became more English after the Seven-Years War, which incurred massive military debts on Britain, and expelled France from North America (Lecture 11). This was due to a number of coinciding factors, especially a massive population boom, that, while lacking the entire social upheaval which occurred in Europe, still had profound effects on both upper and lower classes in America and impacted the society so that the early British colonies were transformed into pre-revolutionary America. As Lockean ideals of equality, to which a sense of moral responsibility was added, pervaded the society the driving forces behind the American Revolution were created. The extent to which these Enlightenment ideals penetrated colonial society cannot be entirely measured, though they were certainly recognized by colonial leaders: John Locke was actually commissioned to write the constitution of North Carolina.
Colonial politics were changed by the Enlightenment, during which many great writers of pre-war America spoke of republicanism, and intellectual thought became increasingly republican in form. While freedom of speech did not exist in the manner it does today, the ability to speak or print without fear of prosecution was key to building the road towards independence. Matthew Lyon of Vermont is an example of how after the Revolution the power of speech and publication could be used cohesively to promote a populist agenda without the assent of authorities, even from jail. Federalists were terrified of his sort of populist, rural influence in American politics. Their reaction was to implement Alien and Sedition laws, which undermined many of the ideals of democracy but reinforced nationhood. Artisans and workers became involved politically by voting ordinary representatives into office, contrasting sharply with the “men of learning, leisure and easy circumstances” that leaders such as Charles Nisbet, president of Dickinson College, envisioned as leading the nation. This was the result of unprecedented numbers of printing presses and public access to revolutionary ideas of the Enlightenment, which colonists not only understood, but also implemented in the new nation.
Fear of Democracy, Victory for the Common Man
    This transition of power, which occurred without the consent or agreement of the country’s new leaders, infuriated new political leaders. The rise of Jeffersonian, and later Jacksonian, ideals exacerbated the problem for New Englanders such as John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, who looked to the British empire as a model (Lecture 19). From the beginning, the first of ‘The Federalist Papers’ by Alexander Hamilton recognizes the danger posed by certain classes of men who “hazard” a diminution of power (Lecture 17). Fear of foreign domination was to be feared, but far worse for the federalist government would be the domestic tyranny that could occur in a new democracy. These processes are found in the Constitution and the electoral college as well, which are just a few of the political machinations geared to promote a distinctly Federalist agenda. Despite these formidable obstacles, the success of these “commoners” in both governing and effecting democracy in America proved to be among the most extreme effects of independence. During the Revolution, fear of domestic oppression is exemplified by conflicts over turnpikes, foreclosures and war bonds. Each of these shows how in conflicts between speculators, the poor, rural farmers had virtually no access to legal or political machinations, and were instead forced to take largely ineffective measures of their own. The transition was fueled by the monarchist nature of the colonies after population increased in the 1700’s as England exerted greater influence over its colonies. The spread of the Enlightenment to America allowed the common people used to redefine English liberties in order to counteract the expanding power of England.
    Thus the redefinition and expansion of English liberties in America in such a way as to be extended to all people equally represents the most radical and important part of the Revolution, and was a source of irritation to most Federalists even before 1810 (Lecture 17). This was a refutation to people such as John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, who believed that “the people who own the country ought to govern it.” The former sense of English liberties in America had changed, irreversibly. This aspect of the Revolution was made possible by both the forces of a wide base of education and literacy in America as well as the pressure of oppression as once local and relatively democratic, certainly independent colonial politics were ineffectively controlled by the debt-ridden British Crown.

Works Cited:
Fischer, Kirsten, and Eric Hinderaker. Colonial American History. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002. Print.
Hamilton, Alexander. “The Avalon Project : The Federalist Papers No. 1.” Avalon Project – Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Web. 03 Dec. 2010. .
Opal, Jason. “US History to 1865.” Stewart Biology Building, Montreal. September-December 2010. Lecture.

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