Democratic convention calls for annexation of Texas and acquisition of Oregon (“Fifty-four-forty-or-fight”).


Congress adopts joint resolution for annexation of Texas.


Edgar Allan Poe publishes The Raven and Other Poems.



U.S. declares war on Mexico.


California and New Mexico annexed by U.S.

Brigham Young leads Mormons to Great Salt Lake.

Sewing machine patented by Elias Howe.


Frederick Douglass launches abolitionist newspaper The North Star.

Failure of potato crop causes famine in Ireland.



U.S.-Mexico War ends; Mexico cedes claims to Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada.


U.S. treaty with Britain sets Oregon Territory boundary at 49th parallel.


Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Communist Manifesto.


Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and joins the Underground Railroad.


Henry Clay opens great debate on slavery, warns South against secession.



Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.



Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


In U.S., Kansas-Nebraska Act permits local option on slavery; rioting and bloodshed.


Antislavery men in Michigan form Republican Party.



Armed clashes in Kansas between pro- and anti-slavery forces.


Florence Nightingale nurses wounded in Crimea.


Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. 


Supreme Court, in Dred Scott decision, rules that a slave is not a citizen.



Pro-slavery constitution rejected in Kansas.


Abraham Lincoln makes strong antislavery speech in Springfield, Ill.: “This Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”


Lincoln-Douglas debates.

First trans-Atlantic telegraph cable completed by Cyrus W. Field.  



John Brown raids Harpers Ferry; is captured and hanged.


Work begins on Suez Canal.


Jean-Joseph-Étienne Lenoir builds first practical internal-combustion engine.


 Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. 


South Carolina secedes from the Union.


The Most Consequential Elections in History: Abraham Lincoln and the Election of 1860.



U.S. Civil War begins as attempts at compromise fail.  Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas secede; with South Carolina, they form the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis as president. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina secede and join Confederacy.


First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas.)


Congress creates Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada territories


and adopts income tax.


Lincoln inaugurated.


Several major Civil War battles: Battle of Shiloh,


Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas),


Battle of Antietam.


French capture Mexico City; proclaim Archduke Maximilian of Austria emperor.


Battle of Gettysburg.


Gen. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign and “march to the sea.”



Gen. Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox; the Civil War is over.


Lincoln fatally shot at Ford’s Theater by John Wilkes Booth.


Booth caught and dies of gunshot wounds; four conspirators are hanged.

Joseph Lister begins antiseptic surgery.


Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  


Alfred Nobel invents dynamite (patented in Britain, 1867).



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