1840 - 1850
Following the War of 1812, increases in wealth and population growth gave the United States the means to deal decisively to secure its borders. The immensity of the American frontier, largely unsettled, except for the seminomadic tribes, as well as the requirements of politics caused the United States to identify and achieve its continental ambitions in stages. Territorial expansion was soon perceived as a remedy for the nation's ills---a safety valve for the unfortunate and defeated, a unifying formula for political victory. The process of expansion became a shaping event for the formation of the American nation, as important as the political experiment embodied in the Constitution. But it also provided the means for the nation's most controversial institution, slavery to revive and flourish.
- 1838: Congress adopts
"gag resolutions" against antislavery petitions and motions.
U.S. Troops forcibly
moved the Cherokee indians from Georgia, to Indian Territory in eastern
Some northern states
passed Personal Liberty Laws which obstructed the fugitive slave act
of 1793. Southern slaves developed a system of
escape routes to the north
known as the Underground Railroad.
- 1839: Patent issued to
John Deere for his steel plow.
the first anti-slavery party, holds national convention in Warsaw, New York.
Audubon publishes Birds of North America.
diamond laid out in Coopers Town, New York..
- 1840: Congress passes
Independent Treasure Act. Presidential election
contested by Van Buren and Whig candidate General Will Henry Harrison
The Liberty party enters the presidential race. Harrison
becomes the first Whig elected as President using"Tippecanoe and
The sixth national
census shows the population of more than 17,000,000, about 600,000 immigrants
have arrived in America since 1830.
- 1841: Harrison is inaugurated
as president in March and dies one month later. He is succeeded by John
Act passed by Congress.
Tyler vetoed bill
to charter a national bank.
First pioneer settlers
migrate overland to California.
- 1842: The Webster-Ashburton
Treaty settled the dispute between the U.S. and Great Britain, establishing the
U.S. - Canadian border from Maine to the Lake of the Woods in northern
the Whig tariff law with high protective levels.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
becomes editor of The Dial, the influential publication of
the transcendentalist movement.
Museum, opens in New York City. P.T. Barnum exhibits General Tom Thumb
and other freaks, as well as many hoaxes, attracting the general public
with extravagant advertising.
Explorer John Fremont,
leads an expedition to explore the route to Oregon, beyond the Mississippi
River, as far as South Pass in Wyoming.
19th century believers in Manifest Destiny, U.S. expansion
westward and southward across the North American continent was
inevitable, destined by Providence, and just. Those who stood
in the way--Indians, Mexicans, Canadians, and the remnants of
French and Spanish empires-did not view American expansion the
same way. Nevertheless, Americans did believe, like John O'Sullivan,
who in 1845 wrote that it was "the fulfillment of our manifest
destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for
the free development of our yearly multiplying millions."
(1813 – 1890)
John C. Fremont, the pioneer and explorer, was an original donor of books for establishing a California State Library; ca. 1856
California State Library, California History Section)
New York Knickerbockers
Baseball Team, 1845