Mr. Harris S US History TAKS Review Notes

Mr. Harris S US History TAKS Review Notes


(1) Declaration of Independence, 1776

(a) Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

(b) Second Continental Congress (1775)

  • Declaration is made- written by Thomas Jefferson
  • List of Grievances, in the Declaration, against British rule will eventually influence the Bill of Rights in our Constitution
  • Unalienable Rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • “….all men are created equal” ??

(2) Revolutionary War (1775 – 1781)

  • George Washington – commander of Continental Army
  • Battle of Saratoga (1777)
  • French Alliance (Marquis de Lafayette)
  • Battle of Yorktown (1781)
  • Treaty of Paris (1783)

(3) Articles of the Confederation (1781 - 1788) – established a weak central government with was more of a loose alliance of states rather than a unified national government – a weak nation.

(4) The Constitution of the United States (1788 - present)

  • Division of Powers
  • Federalism – Defined powers for the national (federal) government and all other powers are reserved for the state governments.
  • Separation of Powers – Three distinct branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial)
  • Checks and Balances – Each branch has check powers over the other branches (prevents tyranny)
  • Limited Government - Government power is limited to the powers granted in the constitution and by the checks and balances built into the separate branches of the federal government
  • Constitution Ratified in 1788 and approved by all states by 1790.
  • Bill of Rights (1791) - first 10 amendments to the const. which outlined individual rights
  • 1st Amendment – Freedom of Speech, Religion, Press, Petition and Assembly
  • 5th Amendment – Due Process and right against self-incrimination

II. A New Nation Takes Shape

(A) George Washington Shapes the Executive Branch as first President.

(1) Two – Term Tradition – Washington steps down after two terms.

(2) Foreign Affairs

  • Washington’s Farwell Address – established a tradition against peacetime alliances and toward European isolationism.

(B) Thomas Jefferson’s Presidency (1801 – 1809)

(1) The “Revolution of 1800” – A peaceful transition of power from one party to another.

(2) The Louisiana Purchase(1803)

(C.) The Marshall Court

(1)Marbury v. Madison(1803) - established the right of judicial review for the federal courts.

  • Judicial Review is the right of the courts to interpret constitutionality of law and government acts.

(F.) The Monroe Doctrine (1823) – warned foreign powers against expanding their empires within the western hemisphere.

(F.) Jacksonian Democracy (1829 - 1837) – Andrew Jackson becomes the first common man to become president.

(1) Indian Removal Act (1830)

  • Cotton Gin (Eli Whitney, 1794) – established a high demand for cotton growing lands (dominated by Natives in the South).

(a) Five “civilized” tribes (Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole) – Ordered to be forcefully removed from the South.

(b) Worcester v. Georgia - courts rule in favor of tribes, but Jackson ignores it.

(c) Trail of Tears – forced removal kills thousands of Cherokee as they are marched to Oklahoma.

(2) John C. Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis, 1832-33 (State’s – Rights) – Andrew Jackson threatens force to get South Carolina to follow the law (a tariff law which S.C. wanted to nullify – not enforce). A compromise is reached leaving the issue somewhat unsettled. S.C. upholds the right to nullify and secede.

(G.) War with Mexico (1846-1848) – dispute over Texas border leads to a war (Polk’s War). The US wins the war!

(a)Manifest Destiny – A belief that it is the destiny, and God’s will, of the U.S. to expand as a nation to spread its democracy and way of life (and Christianity).

(b)Treaty of Guadalupe – Hidalgo (1848) – Mexico cedes its northern territories (CA, AZ, NM, NV, CO, and Utah to U.S.)

III. The Question of Slavery

(A) Abolitionist Movement

(1) William Lloyd Garrison – abolitionist leader

(2) Frederick Douglass – former slave turned abolitionist leader.

(3) Harriet Tubman – A leader of the Underground Railroad, she helped hundreds escape slavery

(4) Harriet Beecher Stowe –Uncle Tom’s Cabinturns many against the evils of slavery.

(B) The Political Parties Fracture Over Slavery

(F.) Dred Scott Decision (Scott v Sandford, 1857)– Supreme courts rules slaves have no rights, blacks are not citizens, and slavery is constitutionally protected property, which cannot be restricted.

(G.) Harpers Ferry, Virginia/John Brown (1859)

(H.) Lincoln is Elected President – 1860 – Republican against slavery spurs the south to secede from the Union.

(J.) Southern Slave States Secede and Jefferson Davis is named the President of the Confederate States of America.

IV. The Civil War (1861 – 1865) - The North (Union) goes to war with the South (Confederates). The South seceded over the issue of protecting slavery and its culture. The Union won a long and very costly war, ending slavery and recasting the nation (eventually) with more focus toward national allegiance rather than state allegiance.

(A.) Emancipation Proclamation – Freed slaves in the unoccupied Southern states during the war. It was more symbolic than effective, but it recast the stated goal of the war toward ending slavery once and for all.

(B.) Gettysburg Address – Lincoln speech that is often considered a defining statement of our country

(D.) Lincoln Assassinated (1865) – Andrew Johnson becomes President.

V. Reconstruction (1866 – 1877) – The long, often violent, process of bringing the South back into Union. Largely unsuccessful as Southern whites were able to establish a segregated South with little right afforded African Americans. Segregation replaced slavery, as black servitude continued in a different form.

  • (F.) Election of 1876 – election dispute forced a congressional compromise to declare a winner (Rutherford B. Hays), in exchange for a declared end to Reconstruction (the removal of Union occupation forces). Segregation and white supremacist violence would flourish for decades.

VI. Post Civil War South (1865 – 1896)

  • Civil War Amendments to the Constitution.
  • 13th – abolition of slavery
  • 14th – equal protection under the law for all citizens (all former slaves declared citizens)
  • 15th – the right to vote could not be restricted due to race.
  • The Amendments were not effective toward equality for African Americans. The South quickly developed a segregated society ruled by “Jim Crow” which maintained second - class status for African Americans.
  • Grandfather clauses (if your grandfather could vote, you could vote)were created in most southern states in order to exclude black voters while protecting poor and illiterate white voters.
  • The Ku Klux Klan was created to maintain white supremacy. Lynchings became common in the South through the 1920’s.
  • Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896 (Supreme Court)
  • Court ruled that “separate but equal” facilities are constitutional. Legalized “Jim Crow” and segregation until the court overturned itself in the 1954 case Brown vs. Board of Education.(1954)
  • Case brought about the “Nadir” (low-point) of African American History, as lynchings intensified, and as life in the South became much harsher economically for blacks through the 1950’s.
  • The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was formed in 1909 to fight for African American rights in the court system. It was co - founded by W.E.B. DuBois, an activist for equal rights and ending segregation. DuBois demanded immediate equality for all African Americans.
  • Many saw DuBois as a counter to Booker T. Washington, who called on Blacks to accept segregation and work within the system to improve their skills and education.
  • Ida B. Wells leads a campaign to make an Anti-lynching law on the Federal level due to a lack of enforcement against lynching at the state level.

VII. Life on the Frontier (1865 – 1890)

  • Westward Migration
  • The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 fostered rapid white settlement of the West.
  • The Homestead Act promised free land to those willing to move west. It helped thousands of white Americans start new lives on the frontier, pushing the Indians out.
  • As the Indians were being forced on to reservations, the government passed the Dawes Act. Its intention was to Americanize the natives, but it effects were damaging to native people and their culture. It also helped whites take Indian lands, as much of reservation land was sold off.
  • The plains Indians saw their entire culture wiped out. Their buffalo centered culture was destroyed by white migration and the near extinction of the buffalo.

VIII. The Gilded Age (circa 1870 – 1900)

  • The Gilded Age was an era in which great wealth was accumulated, the U.S. became an industrialized nation, and great industries were formed. However, it masked a great deal of suffering, poverty, and injustice.
  • Industrialization – The Gilded Age marked America’s transformation to a mostly industrial society. Americans began to flock to the city to find work in the growing factories and mines.
  • Advancements in the production of steel (perfected by Andrew Carnegie and his steel company) furthered the growth of cities and especially skyscrapers.
  • Advancements in electricity fostered the growth of industry by allowing factories to be located somewhere other than next to rivers.
  • Immigrants were drawn, in mass, to America to fill the great demand for jobs. They also, inadvertently, helped ownership fight union organization by providing cheap labor.
  • Companies formed (consolidated) into large trusts or monopolies in order to eliminate competition. By the 1900’s, 80% of American industry was controlled through trust consolidation and monopolies, keeping prices high, labor cheap, and quality low.
  • Some monopolies extended their dominance by becoming vertically integrated, which occurs when companies control the resources, production, and distribution of products.
  • The Knights of Labor formed the first national union in the U.S. They accepted a wide range of workers (they also allowed black membership). Labor union membership continued to grow throughout the Gilded Age, but victories were few due a strong anti-union sentiment in the government. The government did not back a union in a strike until 1904 (T. Roosevelt). Most major strikes ended in violence, such as the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, with government forces breaking up the strike in favor of ownership.
  • Factories and mines were extremely dangerous places that often employed children as cheap labor (Child Labor).
  • America began to experience its first instances of heavy pollution.
  • Railroads changed America
  • The biggest contribution toward the growth of America was the completion of a transcontinental railroad system in the U.S. It brought growth to industry and especially impacted the growth of the American West.
  • Railroads also became dominated by trusts or privately owned monopolies. Railroad rates soared, affecting small farmers harshly.
  • Interstate CommerceAct (1882) was passed regulate the railroads and especially to lower excessive rates. It was largely powerless and unsuccessful.
  • Immigration
  • America experienced an explosion of immigration in the Gilded Age. Most early immigrants had come from Northern and Western Europe (old immigrants). However, an influx of immigrants was coming from Southern and Eastern Europe (new immigrants). The new immigrants often spoke unfamiliar languages, practiced different religions, and had differing views of politics from traditional Americans. In addition, they were mostly non Anglo-Saxon. These elements led many Americans to discriminate against these immigrants, suffering from xenophobia.
  • In an extreme case of xenophobia and nativism, the Chinese were excluded from immigration to the U.S. (Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882)
  • Most immigrants were socially pressured to Americanize (Americanization movement – which is also related to Dawes Act for American Indians)
  • Immigrants flocked to urban centers such as New York where they often developed into ethnic communities.
  • Gilded Age Politics
  • Pendleton Civil Service Act (1883)
  • Spoils System – elected officials pass good government jobs to friends and political supporters ($$). It was a common practice and most civil service jobs were filled in this manor. President Garfield is assassinated by a disgruntled supporter who had not received a government job.
  • As a result of the assassination, the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act creates the modern civil service. Employees were hired based on merit and a civil service exam.
  • Social Darwinism – Many politicians and the powerful argued that the social ills of the poor were simply a result of their own weakness and not the responsibility of the government or the rich.
  • Laissez Faire Economics – An economic philosophy, dominant in the Gilded Age, which advocates a “hands off” approach to economic markets. Unregulated market economies will self regulate through the law of supply and demand.
  • Gospel of Wealth – advocated that the wealthy should use their wealth for charitable causes to advance society (Andrew Carnegie is a leader in this movement in the belief that the rich are superior and should use their skills and wealth to help better society)
  • American Society Advances
  • Technology advanced in leaps and bounds
  • Thomas Edison becomes America’s greatest inventor - Light bulb, phonograph, motion pictures, etc . Helps establish General Electric
  • Alexander Graham Bell – invents the telephone and establishes AT&T
  • The Populists (The People’s Party)
  • Most in society during the Gilded Age faced a very difficult life. The increasing abuses of the rich against the working class created a movement that sought to reform the system in order to achieved safeguards against the “robber barons” of capitalism.
  • Farmers formed Grange Alliances to fight big business, railroad, and the banking industry
  • Farmers had a particularly difficult time making ends meat. In an attempt to gain power against the monopolies getting rich off their labor, they formed the Populist Party, which called for reform that protected the common man. Their ideas would eventually led the way to the Progressive Era, which attempted to reform our system against the excessive corporate greed of the monopolies that controlled politics.
  • Populist Platform (1892) became very influential toward future reforms and toward the Progressive Era
  • Populist Party Platform (set of goals for the party)
  • Direct election of U.S. Senators
  • 8 hour work day
  • Graduated Income Tax
  • Initiative, referendum, and recall
  • Secret Ballot
  • Use of silver in currency (bi-metalism) to encourage inflation
  • Government control of railroads

IX. The Progressive Era (circa 1890 – 1920)

  • The Progressive Era was an era of great political change and reform. It attempted to strengthen political equality among the economic classes and reign in the power and excesses of big business.Also, an expansion of democratic participation and accountability of government
  • The first step was the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1893, which made restraint of trade (monopolies) illegal. However, it was not enforced until the T. Roosevelt Administration in 1904.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt used the “bully pulpit”to push through many social reforms as the nations first progressive president.
  • The Progressive Era was sparked by the success of the Populist Party and the work of Muckraking journalists, who exposed the corruption of big business, political machines (such as Tammany Hall in NYC), and plight of the poor. Examples include: The Jungle (lack of regulation in the food industry), How the Other Half Lives(problems of the poor), and The History of Standard Oil(corruption of monopolies).
  • The Women’s Suffrage Movement (the right to vote), begun under Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in 1848, gained momentum in the Progressive Era under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. They eventually won the right to vote in 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the constitution went into effect (the movement was aided a great deal by the role of women during WWI).
  • Other important advancements of the Progressive Era include:
  • The 16th Amendment – giving the Federal government the right to create an income tax (needed to pay the increasing role of government).
  • The 17th Amendment – calling for the direct election of Senators by the voters, instead of state legislatures.
  • 18th Amendment – prohibition of alcohol
  • 19th Amendment – women’s suffrage (right to vote)
  • Reform in state and local governments – Direct Democracy reforms holding state and local governments accountable
  • Initiative – the right to petition government to introduce legislation for the public to vote on.
  • Referendum – allows the public to vote on specific legislation.
  • Recall – the right of the public to petition the removal of an elected official from office.

X. America enters the Age of Imperialism (circa 1870 - 1920)

  • The stimulus of the movement for American imperialism (Expansionism):
  • Military Advantage
  • Alfred Mahan writes The Influence of Sea Power Upon Historycalling on America to rapidly expand its navy and gain colonies to serve as coaling stations around the world. This influences many Americans, especially T. Roosevelt, convincing them we need to become an Imperial power in order to compete with the world’s powers of the time (Great Britain, Germany, France).
  • New Economic Markets for trade
  • Cultural Superiority
  • Anti – Imperialist argued that imperialism was un-American because it was a denial of self – determination and it was not necessary for successful trade.
  • Spanish and American War (1898) – the U.S. defeats Spain in a questionable war during President McKinley’s Administration. In this war the U.S.gains the territories of Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. These new colonies and protectorates establish the U.S. as a world imperial power.
  • The war was sparked by the de Lome letter, which insulted president McKinley and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine.
  • Cuba was maintained as a puppet nation due to the Platt Amendment (guaranteed U.S. right to intervene when Cubans went “off track”)forced into the Cuban constitution after the war.
  • Other factors which enhance America’s power internationally:
  • American planters, backed by US Marines, take the island of Hawaii, annexing it for the United States.
  • Teddy Roosevelt extends the Monroe Doctrine by issuing the Roosevelt Corollary, which makes the US the “policeman of the Western Hemisphere. Leads to many military interventions in Latin America.
  • T. Roosevelt secures the building of the Panama Canal, easing trade and enhancing naval power. Our naval base in Cuba serves a protector to the canal - zone in the Caribbean. The canal was built in Panama largely due to geographic location (the isthmus was the narrowest point between the oceans).
  • Open Door Policy – establishes the U.S. stance on free access to trade internationally (focusing on China and Africa at the time). The U.S. shows it is serious about China by committing troops to put down the Boxer Rebellion (a Chinese revolt to expel foreigners from China).

XI. World War I (1914 – 1918) and its Aftermath