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U.S. History: A New Nation - 1800–1849

U.S. History Timeline: A New Nation - 1800-1849

Read about major events in U.S. History from 1800–1849, including the War of 1812, Monroe Doctrine, siege of the Alamo, and more.

1800

June 15

  • The U.S. capital is moved from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

November 17

  • U.S. Congress meets in Washington, DC, for the first time.
  • Gabriel Prosser, an enslaved African American blacksmith, organizes a slave revolt intending to march on Richmond, Virginia. The conspiracy is uncovered, and Prosser and a number of the rebels are hanged. Virginia's slave laws are consequently tightened.

1801

March 4

  • Thomas Jefferson is inaugurated as the third president in Washington, DC.

1803

February 24

Treaty signed May 2

  • Louisiana Purchase: United States agrees to pay France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory, which extends west from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and comprises about 830,000 sq mi. As a result, the U.S. nearly doubles in size.
    Map of Louisiana Purchase
    Louisiana Purchase

1804

May 14

  • Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis, Mo., on expedition to explore the West and find a route to the Pacific Ocean.

1805

March 4

  • Jefferson's second inauguration.

November 15

  • Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific Ocean

1809

March 4

  • James Madison is inaugurated as the fourth president.
    James Madison
    James Madison

1812 –
1814

June 18, 1812

  • War of 1812: U.S. declares war on Britain over British interference with American maritime shipping and westward expansion.

March 4, 1813

  • Madison's second inauguration.

Aug. 1814

  • British capture Washington, DC, and set fire to White House and Capitol.

Sept. 13–14, 1814

Dec. 24, 1814

1817

March 4

  • James Monroe is inaugurated as the fifth president.
    James Monroe
    James Monroe

1819

February 22

  • Spain agrees to cede Florida to the United States.

1820

March 3

  • Missouri Compromise: In an effort to maintain the balance between free and slave states, Maine (formerly part of Massachusetts) is admitted as a free state so that Missouri can be admitted as a slave state; except for Missouri, slavery is prohibited in the Louisiana Purchase lands north of latitude 36°30'.

1821

March 5

  • Monroe's second inauguration.

Dec. 19, 1777 – June 19, 1778

  • Battle-weary and destitute Continental army spends brutally cold winter and following spring at Valley Forge, Pa.

Oct. 19, 1781

Sept. 3, 1783

  • Great Britain formally acknowledges American independence in the Treaty of Paris, which officially brings the war to a close.

1822

  • Denmark Vesey, an enslaved African American carpenter who had purchased his freedom, plans a slave revolt with the intent to lay siege on Charleston, South Carolina. The plot is discovered, and Vesey and 34 coconspirators are hanged.

1823

December 2

  • Monroe Doctrine: In his annual address to Congress, President Monroe declares that the American continents are henceforth off-limits for further colonization by European powers.

Nov. 15

1824

March 2

1825

March 4

  • John Quincy Adams is inaugurated as the sixth president.
  • Erie Canal, linking the Hudson River to Lake Erie, is opened for traffic.
    View of Erie Canal by John William Hill, 1829
    View of Erie Canal by John William Hill, 1829

1828

July 4

March 4

  • U.S. Constitution goes into effect, having been ratified by nine states.

March 4

  • U.S. Congress meets for the first time at Federal Hall in New York City.

April 30

  • Washington is inaugurated as president at Federal Hall in New York City.
    George Washington
    George Washington

1829

March 4

  • Andrew Jackson is inaugurated as seventh president.
  • The court, made up of one chief justice and five associate justices, hears its first case in 1792.
  • The nation's first census shows that the population has climbed to nearly 4 million.

1830

May 28

  • President Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act, which authorizes the forced removal of Native Americans living in the eastern part of the country to lands west of the Mississippi River.
  • By the late 1830s the Jackson administration has relocated nearly 50,000 Native Americans.

1831

  • Nat Turner, an enslaved African American preacher, leads the most significant slave uprising in American history. He and his band of about 80 followers launch a bloody, day-long rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. The militia quells the rebellion, and Turner is eventually hanged. As a consequence, Virginia institutes much stricter slave laws.
  • William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the Liberator, a weekly paper that advocates the complete abolition of slavery. He becomes one of the most famous figures in the abolitionist movement.
  • Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin greatly increases the demand for slave labor.

1833

March 4

  • Jackson's second inauguration.

1836

March 1

  • Texas declares its independence from Mexico.

February 24 – March 6

  • Texan defenders of the Alamo are all killed during siege by the Mexican Army.
    The Alamo
    The Alamo

April 21

  • Texans defeat Mexicans at San Jacinto

1837

March 4

  • Martin Van Buren is inaugurated as the eighth president.

1838

  • More than 15,000 Cherokee Indians are forced to march from Georgia to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Approximately 4,000 die from starvation and disease along the “Trail of Tears.”

1841

March 4

  • William Henry Harrison is inaugurated as the ninth president.

April 4

  • He dies one month later and is succeeded in office by his vice president, John Tyler.

1845

March 1

  • U.S. annexes Texas by joint resolution of Congress

March 4

  • James Polk is inaugurated as the 11th president

July–August

  • The term “manifest destiny” appears for the first time in a magazine article by John L. O'Sullivan. It expresses the belief held by many white Americans that the United States is destined to expand across the continent.

1846

June 15

  • Oregon Treaty fixes U.S.-Canadian border at 49th parallel; U.S. acquires Oregon territory.

1846 –
1848

May 13, 1846

  • Mexican War: U.S. declares war on Mexico in effort to gain California and other territory in Southwest.

Feb. 2, 1848

  • Mexico recognizes Rio Grande as new boundary with Texas and, for $15 million, agrees to cede territory comprising present-day California, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico and Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

1848

Jan. 24

  • Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in California. The gold rush reaches its height the following year.

July 19–20

  • Women's rights convention is held at Seneca Falls, N.Y.

1849

March 5

  • Zachary Taylor is inaugurated as the 12th president.
    Zachary Taylor
    Zachary Taylor
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