political events

anti-slavery reforms

social movements

1828 (May) "tariff of abominations" passed by House (South votes against it 50-3; Northeast actually votes 23-16 against it; strongest support is in West, which we would now call the midwest [17-1 for] and Middle Atlantic states [57-11]); in effect, it levies a 20% tax on Southern exports. Highest tariff in US history: 62% tax on 92% of imported goods. Jackson (D) elected President in Nov.

1831-37 Indian removal: government deports Cherokees from Georgia. Jackson ignores Supreme Court ruling that Cherokees are entitled to keep their land. Removal Bill (1830) passes Senate on party-line vote, 28-19. In House, loses in free states (82-41); heavy support in slave states (61-15). Vote in W is split, 23-17 for.

1832-33 Nullification Crisis: (July) Calhoun resigns VP job to advocate for S right to nullify federal tariffs, particularly 1828 and 1832; 1832 tariff, which is lower than 1828 tariff (35% tax rate), signed by Jackson with broad support; Calhoun argues that SC must be able to nullify the tariff or its white citizens will be tyrannized: "The truth can no longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestick institution of the Southern States and the consequent direction which that and her soil have given to her industry, has placed them in regard to taxation and appropriations in opposite relation to the majority of the Union, against the danger of which, if there be no protective power in the reserved rights of the states they must in the end be forced to rebel, or, submit to have their paramount interests sacrificed, their domestic institutions subordinated by Colonization and other schemes, and themselves and children reduced to wretchedness." (Nov.) Jackson (D) re-elected

1832-35 Bank War

1836 van Buren (D) elected President

1837 economy crashes

1840 Harrison (W) wins presidency on "log cabin and hard cider" platform

1844 James K. Polk (D), a Jackson protege called "Young Hickory" (Jackson was "Old Hickory") elected on a vigorous pro-expansion platform

1848 Zachary Taylor (W) elected on platform that claims he is pro-slavery in South, anti- in North. Taylor is a Kentucky slaveowner but does not believe in expanding slavery westward.

1817 American Colonization Society organized; sees no possible biracial future for America, so slaves must be freed and then returned to Africa

1821-22 ACS helps form Liberia

1829 David Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World argues that slavery is legally, morally, socially and politically wrong and must be ended now; calls out Jefferson for bigotry and calls on African-American community to take the lead in ending slavery (a message later echoed, in different ways, by WEB DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and MLK Jr.). Southern states offer $10,000 for Walker alive.

1831 (Jan.) William Lloyd Garrison begins to publish The Liberator, making the same argument as Walker. "I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead." Georgia offers $5000 for Garrison's arrest. On July 4, 1844, he publicly burns a copy of the Constitution, "a covenant with death." (Aug.) Nat Turner's rebellion terrifies white southerners and leads to harsher controls on freedoms accorded slaves

1833 Garrison co-forms American Anti-Slavery Society, arguing that the movement should stay out of politics and let women take equal part

1836-44 "gag rule" in Congress prohibits consideration of anti-slavery petitions

1837 abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy murdered in Illinois

1838 Frederick Douglass, age 20, escapes from slavery in Maryland; becomes an abolitionist, 1841

1839 Arthur and Lewis Tappan leave AASS and form American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which does not let women take part; Thedore Weld and sisters Angelina and Sarah Grimké (Weld marries Angelina Grimk√©) publish American Slavery As It Is, which collects personal testimony

1840 other defectors from AASS form Liberty Party, first one-issue third party in American history, running James Birney for President; abolitionist parties also run in 1844, 1848, and 1852. You can check the back of your book (or here) to see how they did.

Third parties in this period:

1844-46: 1 Liberty party Senator (of 51), 6 reps from American Party (of 223 in House)

1846-48: 1 American Party rep of 226 in House

1848-50: 2 Free Soil Senators of 60; 9 House Free Soilers of 229

1850-52: 2 Free Soilers in Senate of 62, 3 Free Soilers in House of 231

1852-54: 1 Senator from American Party of 61, 5 Free Soilers of 232 in House

1854-56: 1 Senator from American Party, 2 Free Soilers of 61; 52 American Party reps of 234 in House

1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin

1820s-30s Second Great Awakening inspires visions of a perfect society and argues that anyone can go to heaven by repenting and doing good works


1825 Erie Canal opens, connecting Great Lakes with NYC; the area it traverses, known as the "burned-over district" due to its many revivals, contains the seeds of Mormonism (founder Joseph Smith says he found the basis of the Book of Mormon near Palmyra); Millerites (William Miller predicts the Second Coming will occur in 1843 and then again in 1844), continued by Seventh-Day Adventists; Shakers have communal farms there

1826 American Temperance Society, typical 2d Great Awakening movement, formed. Women become politicized and agitate over women's issues, including temperance, anti-slavery, schooling, anti-prostitution

1830 Joseph Smith publishes The Book of Mormon

1841 Brook Farm founded--transcendentalist farm in E. Mass.

1848 women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, which is also in upstate New York; Oneida Community founded in same region

Second Great Awakening ideas move into other unusual areas, like food: read about vegetarian and cracker maker Sylvester Graham; Seventh-Day Adventism and C.W. Post; John Harvey Kellogg and breakfast cereal

So...imagine that it is 1840 and you have $100 (which is, in contemporary terms, probably around $2500, but possibly more--up to $915,000 on some scales) to spend on the cause of ending slavery. You can support

3rd-party political abolitionism

apolitical abolitionism

abolitionist factions within one of the major political parties (Democrats and Whigs)

the American Colonization Society

slave rebellions

freeing one person

or a utopian society that will show us the way to a better world.

You do not by any means have to spend all your money in one place. How would you spend your money and why?