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Unit 5: 1844-1877

General Timelines

Timeline #1: Mexican-American War & Pre-Civil War Developments (1836-1861)

APUSH Unit 5_ Causes of Civil War Timeli

Timeline #2: Civil War (1861-1865)

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Timeline #3: Reconstruction (1863-1877)

APUSH Unit 5_ Reconstruction
General Maps

Map # 1: Conflict over Texas Boundary

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Map # 2: Mexican-American War

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Map # 3: End of Mexican-American War

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Map # 4: Manifest Destiny pre-1850

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Map # 5: Post-1850 Compromises & Developments

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Map # 6: Secession Timeline

Map # 7: Battles in Eastern Theater (1861-1863)

Map # 8: Battles in Western Theater (1861-1863)

Map # 9: Battles in Kansas-Missouri Region

Map # 10: Final Union Attack & Confederate Surrender (1864-1865)

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Map # 11: Timeline of Readmission to Union

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Course Content

Manifest Destiny:


Situation in Texas

Background Situation in Texas

  • Mexico inherited Texas after receiving independence from Spain in 1821

    • When US purchased Louisiana from France in 1803, US tried to claim TX but gave up in 1819 as Mexico refused to give it up

  • Mexico called for Americans to settle in Texas so they could help boost its economy

    • Passed a law in 1824 to give cheap land to Americans & 4-year tax exemption

    • Believed American presence in TX would create a buffer between Mexico & US

      • Didn't happen as the Americans remained loyal to the US & not Mexico

    • Thousands of Americans migrated there

      • Many Southerners migrated w/ their slaves to grow cotton

  • Americans sought to declare autonomy of TX

    • Stephen Austin established first government in TX in 1822

    • Austin and others created governments that tried to claim autonomy of Texas

      • In the Fredonian Rebellion (1826-1827), one gov tried to claim independence of TX, but the Mexican gov crushed the rebellion​

    • Mexico thus passed laws to prevent more immigration from the US

      • This failed, so they lifted the ban in 1833

    • 30,000 Americans (including slaves) were in TX by 1835


Independence of Texas (1836)

In 1830, Mexico made slavery illegal. Also, in 1833, Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna became Mexican dictator & passed laws to limit state power & promote national power

Texans hated the ban on slavery & hated the autocratic rule of Santa Anna, so they got mad

Santa Anna imprisoned Stephen Austin for planning a revolt and Mexican troops came to Texas, so Texas declared independence in 1836

Gen. Sam Houston defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto (in Houston). He killed some Mexican army members & imprisoned Santa Anna (Apr 1836)

Mexican army attacked a Texan garrison at the Alamo in San Antonio (Mar 1836)

Mexican army attacked a Texan garrison at Goliad & killed its members (Oct 1835)

Santa Anna signed a treaty to give independence to Texas (1836)

Annexation of Texas (1845)

  • First Texan president, Sam Houston, sent agents to DC to petition for annexation

    • Northerners opposed it as they didn't want such a large slave state to join

    • Jackson didn't want more sectional conflict, and the next 2 presidents delayed looking into it

  • As it failed to get annexed by US, it sought to develop itself as a powerful independent nation

    • Negotiated trade treaties w/ Britain & France​

  • Question about Texas's annexation became important in election of 1844

    • Election of 1844 was Henry Clay vs James K Polk

      • Polk supported annexation; Clay didn't​

    • However, before leaving office, John Tyler (previous president) already presented to Congress a bill annexing Texas

      • Thus, Texas became a state in Feb 1845


Situation in Oregon, California, New Mexico

Situation in Oregon Region

  • Oregon territory includes present-day Oregon, Washington, parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and British Columbia (Canada)

    • US & Britain both claimed this land, agreed to "joint occupation" for 20 years starting 1818​

  • Population of the territory was small, mostly fur traders settled there

  • In 1831, 4 Nez Perce & Flathead Indians mysteriously appeared in St. Louis

    • Americans believed it was an invitation to expand westward into Oregon territory

  • Interest grew in the region for missionaries

    • Marcus Whitman & his wife Narcissa created an unsuccessful mission among Cayuse Indians

    • In 1840, more Americans settled in the region, causing a measles pandemic among the Indians

      • Pandemic killed many Cayuse Indians​

    • Cayuse Indians blamed Whitman for it, so they killed him, Narcissa, and other whites (1847)

  • Many Americans settled in the region, along the Pacific Coast

  • Polk wanted to annex Oregon Territory (1846)

    • Proposed a compromise to Britain: 49th parallel would divide US & British territory

    • British minister initially rejected it but later accepted it as he didn't want war

    • This border of 49th parallel exists today

Westward Migration

  • Many people migrated from the Midwest region to the West

    • Most were adventurous young men to migrated for new opportunities

    • Sometimes whole families migrated to settle as laborers in the West

    • Some speculators came to take advantage of federal land grants

    • Some people (especially Mormons) went on religious missions

  • About 300,000 people migrated from 1840-1860

    • Most gathered in depots in Missouri or Iowa & loaded their stuff on chartered wagons

    • Traveled mostly via Oregon Trail

  • Migration was often slow

    • Wagons were really slow

    • Snow in the Rockies could delay the journey

    • Indians were helpful as guides, but some died in conflict with them

    • Some had conflict with travelmates


Situation in California & Gold Rush of 1849

  • US initially had some interests in annexing California

    • Many Mexicans & Indians lived there

    • Americans went there as whalers along the coast & as merchants to trade w/ Mexicans & Indians

    • Later, many Americans settled in Sacramento Valley (a rich agricultural region)

  • In Jan 1848, James Marshall found gold while working in John Sutter's sawmill in Sierra Nevadas

    • Wanted to prevent the news from spreading to prevent gold rush, but the news somehow spread

    • 100,000s of people came to find gold (these were known as the 49ers as it was 1849)

  • Many Chinese people migrated during the Gold Rush

    • Most got loans to migrate

    • Some came to find gold, others came to work in auxiliary tasks to support the gold miners

  • Some gold miners exploited the local Indians & made them perform indentured labor

  • Few people actually found gold, so most returned home unhappy, but others settled in California


Situation in New Mexico

  • Spanish had long lived closely with the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico

  • After Mexican independence, Mexico invited Americans to settle in NM to develop its economy

    • Same situation as Texas

    • Many Americans settled in New Mexico, so it became more American than Mexican

    • There was a thriving commerce between Independence, MO, and Santa Fe, NM

      • This was called the Santa Fe Trail

  • Polk wanted to annex Mexico along with California


Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

Causes of Mexican-American War

  • Mexico challenged the border with Texas

    • Mexico believed the border was the Nueces river, but US believed it to be Rio Grande River

    • Nueces river was far north of Rio Grande

    • Rio Grande River border would add New Mexico territory to the US (which was what US wanted)

    • [Map is shown below]

APUSH Unit 5_ Causes of Civil War Map #1

President Polk dispatched Zachary Taylor to guard Nueces River. He also sent John Slidell to buy NM and CA from Mexico

Mexico refused Slidell's offer. Thus, Polk told Taylor to advance from Nueces river toward Rio Grande River

One Mexican army attacked Taylor's army, which marked the start of the war (Apr 1846)

  • When Polk sent Taylor to Texas, he also told the US Pacific naval squadron to occupy the ports in California in case Mexico declares war

    • The naval squadron also told American farmers in California to prepare for war

  • After the Mexican army attacked Taylor's army, Polk really quickly asked Congress to approve war

  • Lots of people opposed the war effort

    • Polk supported war as he wanted expansion

    • So many northerners didn't want to expand southward into potential slave territory

    • Many believed the war effort was useless & straining resources

    • Some believed it gave Polk too much power to invade any country he wants for no reason

    • Transcendentalist thinker Thoreau was briefly jailed for refusing to pay taxes

      • He hated that his taxes will finance the war

  • Those who supported war were really enthusiastic about it

    • Believed in gaining "All Mexico!"

      • Wanted to annex the entire Mexico

Battles of Mexican-American War

President Polk wanted Taylor to take over Northeast Mexico

Taylor took over Monterrey in Sep 1846

Mexicans negotiated an armistice & retreated. Polk believed Taylor couldn't take over Mexico City due to this armistice

Polk told Col. Stephen W Kearny to take over NM and CA. Kearny easily conquered Santa Fe in Summer of 1846

US navy in CA helped a group of US explorers in California (led by John C Frémont) lead the Bear Flag Revolt against Mexico (Jun 1846). American settlers in CA helped with this revolt

Kearny came to CA and joined the Bear Flag Revolt. He finished conquest of CA by Fall of 1846

APUSH Unit 5_ Causes of Civil War Map #2

End of Mexican-American War

Mexico refused to concede after losing CA and NM, so Gen. Winfield Scott launched a final campaign

Scott assembled an army of 14k soldiers and the navy transported it to Veracruz (in Mexico)

The army marched 260 miles to Mexico City (Sep 1847). Before seizing it, Mexico agreed to peace 

Here is a map of this part of the war:

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  • Polk send diplomat Nicholas Trist to Mexico City to negotiate peace treaty w/ Mexico (Feb 1848)

    • Known as Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)

    • Mexico gave California, New Mexico, and Rio Grande Texas boundary to the US

    • US paid $15 million to Mexico for war reparations

  • Annexation of "All Mexico!" had failed

This map shows the Mexican cession of land as well as the state of Texas:

APUSH Unit 5_ Causes of Civil War Map #4

Post-War Sectional Conflict

Sectional Conflict over Former Mexican Territories

  • Rep David Wilmot (D-PA) created a bill called the Wilmot Proviso (Aug 1846)

    • Believed slavery should be prohibited in former Mexican territories​

    • Passed in House but not Senate

    • Debated on for years, a really important bill in the sectional conflict

  • Polk wanted to extend Missouri Compromise line to the West Coast

    • Also debated on, but not that popular

    • This issue was unresolved when Polk left office in 1849

  • Sectional conflict was an important issue in Election of 1848

    • Democrats had Lewis Cass (MI), Whigs had Zachary Taylor (LA) (the war hero)

    • Liberty Party (now called the Free-Soil party) had Martin van Buren

    • Taylor narrowly won, and Free-Soil party elected 10 seats to Congress

  • In Dec 1849, Taylor asked Congress to admit CA and NM as states

    • Believed the 2 states would choose to be either free or slave states after gaining statehood

    • Congress didn't to pass it as it feared both states might oppose slavery

  • The North had many more anti-slavery developments that the South hated

    • North passed laws that prohibit gov officials from returning runaway slaves to the South

      • Known as Fugitive Slave Law

    • South also hated that territory of Washington DC might abolish slavery

    • South hated that admission of the new territories as states would upset the 15/15 balance of free & slave states


Compromise of 1850

California is admitted as a free state

The remainder of the former Mexican territories would be divided into Utah & New Mexico territories. They can choose whether slavery is allowed

Fugitive slave law reinstated in the North: Officials must return runaway slaves in the north to their masters in the South

Slave trade would be banned in DC, but slavery itself wouldn't be banned there

New border between New Mexico & Texas would be made

This map shows the state of CA, territories of NM and UT, and the new TX border as part of the Compromise of 1850:

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Debate over Compromise of 1850

  • During winter of 1849-1850, Henry Clay led efforts to craft a Compromise

    • He created the Compromise in Jan 1850, with the 5 terms expressed in the section above

  • This was debated on extensively, in 2 phases

  • First phase: Clay, Calhoun, and Webster debated on it

    • These were the 3 old people in Congress

    • All 3 shared broad ideals of nationalism and sectionalism in support of Compromise

    • Calhoun even had more radical ideas

      • Wanted 2 presidents: one each for the South and the North

      • Believed North should stop attacking Southern slavery

      • Believed North & South should exist peacefully w/o attacking each other

    • Congress disapproved the compromise, which led to the 2nd phase of debate

    • Clay got sick, Calhoun died, and Webster was promoted, so all 3 were out of Congress

  • Second phase: Younger senators debated​

    • Believed more in boosting the economy than supporting personal liberty


Passing of Compromise of 1850

  • Pres. Taylor died in Jul 1850, so Millard Fillmore became president

    • He was more flexible in compromises​

  • Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) wanted to break up the "omnibus bill" (a bill with multiple parts)

    • Wanted Congress to vote on each part separately

  • In Sept 1850, Congress approved all 5 components, and Fillmore signed it


Post-1850 Sectional Conflicts:


Developments in Franklin Pierce's Presidency

  • Election of 1852 was between Franklin Pierce (D) and Gen. Winfield Scott (W)

    • Whigs were divided among themselves as they struggled over the issue of slavery

    • Pierce won because Whigs were divided

  • Pierce struggled to enforce the fugitive slave law

    • Many northerners opposed it, so they organized mobs to prevent its enforcement

    • White southerners had to come to the north to recapture runaway slaves

  • Pierce was inspired by European liberal revolutions of 1848 to promote the "Young America Movement"

    • It was an artistic, cultural, and political movement to expand US influence

    • Pierce sought to conquer more territory

    • His envoys wrote the Ostend Manifesto, a document explaining how to seize Cuba

      • When this was leaked to the public, ​northerners hated it as they didn't want another slave state

    • Hawaii & Canada had also petitioned to join US, but that failed due to slavery issues

      • It would mess up North/South balance

  • Pierce also encountered sectional conflict w/ transcontinental railroad

    • To settle in the unorganized territory, there needs to be communication between East & West

      • A transcontinental railroad was needed

    • Location of transcontinental railroad provoked sectional conflict

      • Northerners wanted it to connect w/ Chicago

      • Southerners wanted it to connect Southern cities

    • His Sec. of War, Jefferson Davis, sent James Gadsden to buy a narrow strip of land from Mexico (just south of New Mexico)

      • This would allow for railroad construction between the Southern cities​


Situation in Kansas & Nebraska

Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

  • Sen. Stephan A Douglas (D-IL) wanted to organize the territory west of Illinois

    • This was west of IL, MO, and IA, but east of the new Utah territory

    • Wanted to clear up the Indians from the area so he could build a railroad there

  • He proposed the territory of Nebraska (comprising present-day Nebraska & Kansas)

    • Southerners hated this they thought Nebraska would become a free state

  • In response to those concerns, Douglas divided the territory into 2

    • Lower part (Kansas) and Upper part (Nebraska)

    • Both territories would choose to be free or slave with popular sovereignty

      • Popular sovereignty: the residents vote on it

      • Nebraska would likely be free, Kansas would likely be slave​

    • This would repeal the Missouri Compromise line

  • This act, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed in 1854

  • The Republican party was created in 1854 for those who hated the Kansas-Nebraska Act

    • Both Democrats & Whigs who hated the bill joined the Republicans

    • The Whigs became super divided & ceased to exist by 1856

This map shows the Kansas & Nebraska territories (in the center of the map) after the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854):

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