The Chronological Overview on the Important Personalities in US History

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Frederick Douglass was born on February 1818 in a plantation field in Cordova, Maryland. Since he was born as a slave, Frederick never really knew when his birthday was. From a young age Frederick’s grandmother raised him since his mother was working. At the age of six he started to work on the fields. Two years later young Frederick was shipped to Baltimore to be a child’s companion to Mr. Hugh Auld. While being in Baltimore Mr. Auld wife tough Frederick how to read and write, she also taught him the alphabets. However this lesson wouldn’t last long, as soon as Mr. Auld found out what his wife was doing, he forced her to stop teaching Frederick. Mr Auld told his wife that teaching Frederick how to read and write is illegal and unsafe. On top of that he also said it would be very difficult to keep him. From that moment, Frederick was determined to learn how to read and write. Frederick secretly taught himself how to read and write by watching others, however whenever he was caught, he would get punished. When he turned 15 Frederick was sent to the plantation fields, this time he worked for an inhuman master who constantly beat him. A year later after all the beating he received Frederick decided enough was enough and fought back during a beating.

Luckily Frederick won the fight and ever since that day his master didn’t touch him. After working for sometime at the plantation where he was, he was sent to work for another man in the area. There Frederick tried to escape, unfortunately he did not succeed, when he was caught he was sent to work at a shipyard. While working in Baltimore he became friends with slaves who were free like Anna Murray. Anna Murray convinced Frederick to escape, this time he had disguised himself as free African sailor. He then took a train to New York on September 3, 1838. As soon as he was safe and settled, Frederick and Anna got married days after settling in Bedford, Massachusetts. They ended up changing their last name out of fear that Frederick’s master might come looking for him. By the time Douglass has turned 20 he was a free man once and for all. He then became a preacher and started to show up at abolitionist meetings. Next thing you know Mr. Douglass started to give speeches at Anti-Slavery gatherings. By 1845 Douglass published his first autobiography “ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” Soon enough his book would become very well known in the States and in Europe. Due to his popularity Frederick fled to England due to the fear that his old master might recapture him. Once he arrived he started to become a very well known speaker, people from all over England would come just to hear him speak. Thanks to his supporters, they were able to raise enough money to buy his freedom from his old master.

The cost of his freedom was approximately 700 dollars. Now that Douglass was legally a free man he decided to return to the States in 1847. Douglass continue to fight for freedom and equality, he even started his own abolitionist paper. He began to go to women’s rights conventions and advocated for desegregation of schools. Frederick would then play a massive role in freeing slaves by the underground railroad. During Lincoln’s Presidency, Douglass was appointed as one of his advisers. He then used his platform to call for equal treatment for the African-American soldiers in the Union Army. During the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th amendment to the constitution, he still fought for equality, since many states in the south were passing laws to segregate blacks and whites. Luckily Frederick lived enough to see the 14th amendment added to the constitution and the 15th amendment which allowed slaves and black men the right to vote. Douglass spoke for the last time at a Women’s Right Meeting on February 20, 1895. Once he arrived home from the gathering, he passed away at the age of 77 due to heart attack.

Pres. Abraham Lincoln- Former Commander-In-Chief was born on February 12, 1809 in Sinking Spring Farm, Kentucky. He was born into a very humble household, Abraham and his family lived in a one room log cabin. At the age of nine his mother Nancy passed away, due to her death he felt very depressed, and his relationship with his father to fall out. Abraham stated that his father was a person who didn’t strive for bigger and better things in life, this is one of the main reasons why they always bumped heads. Lincoln partially saw all the things that he didn’t want in life in his father. Ten years after his mother’s death, his sister Sarah passed away while she was giving birth to her first son. This made Abraham even more depressed than what he already was, from the passing of his mother. From a young age he loved to read and write, although he only went to school for a couple of years, he taught himself how to do both tasks. Since Abraham was a well spoken teenager, many people were impressed and seemed to capture when they talked to him about anything. By the time Abraham turned 22, he left his house and started to work at a general store. While working at the store he was given the name “Honest Abe”. The reason being is that one day a customer overpaid him, therefore when he was closing up the shop he walked to the man’s house, to give him his money back. In 1832 was in the run to be a member of the Illinois State Legislature, however he did not win the race. Lincoln’s defeat was only the beginning, he would then serve as a captain in the army. After being captain Lincoln decided to become a lawyer, even though he did not attend law school he studied very hard and passed his bar exam in 1836.

Ten years later Abraham ran to be a Us House of Representative, he successfully won the election. Then in 1860 he decided to run for president. Abraham ran during a very strenuous time in the country, the south and north were disagreeing on many policies and laws, with slavery being the number one problem. One of the main reasons that Lincoln won the elction of 1860 was because he was not for slavery. With that being said, he had all the support from the North and almost none from the South. As soon and he was elected president the South started to seceding from the Union. Despite our differences, Abraham wanted nothing but to keep the country united, a year later the war broke out. In 1863 Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, this stated that all slaves would be free for good. As time passed by he played a big role in getting the 13th amendment passed into the constitution, his section stated that slavery is illegal in the entire country. After four years of a horrendous war, the Civil War came to an end on April 9, 1865. His main goal as president was to see the country rebuild and united again, however he didn’t get the chance to see it happen. Just under a week after the Civil war ended Lincoln was assassinated while watching a play at the Ford Theater with his wife. John Wilkes Booth fatally shot Lincoln on the back of his head and was pronounced dead on the morning of April 15, 1865. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated. Despite having different values and views on politics, Lincoln was one of the first men to really bring the country together.

Gen. Robert E. Lee

Former Confederate soldier and General Robert E Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford Hall, Virginia. He is the son of Major General Henry Lee III and Anne Hill Carter. Robert’s dad was a war hero during the American Revolutionary War, that’s where he earned his nickname “Light Horse Harry’. On the other side, his mother Anne Hill Carter was born into a very wealthy family. Although he came from a prestigious family they were not rich. Henry Lee business failed which caused the family to lose almost everything. By the time Robert was two his father was sent to Debtor’s prison. Henry Lee was released a couple years later, yet he never returned home to his family. Instead he left to Barbados and never came back. Since Robert saw how hard his mother struggled to care for them, he enrolled in the military. The reason why Robert enrolled was because he saw it as a great opportunity to have access to a free education and successful career. When Lee was 18 attended West Point Military Academy and graduated top of his class in 1829. Once he graduated, Lee decided to join the Army Corps of Engineers. During this stage he build forts and bridges for the army. Two years later he married Mary Custis, which they would then have seven kids. When the Mexican-American war broke out he was assigned to General Winfield Scott.

During the war he was known for being the best soldier in the battlefield. Due to his hard work and dedication he was promoted to Colonel, where he would then make himself a name as a military leader. Once the war came to an end, he was named as super attended at West Point until 1855, where he would then go to Texas to take the calvary position. In 1859 he was ordered to take out John Brown at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. It took Lee and his men one hour to execute them. In 1862 Lee decided to depart from the United States Army and ended up becoming General of the Confederate Army of Virginia. While being in charge of the army he was able to defeat George McClellan right outside in Richmond during the seven days battles. This lead to McClellan and the Union army to withdraw from its position. Throughout the First Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1862, General Lee was outnumbered by a tremendous amount. However he overcame that challenge and was able to win both battles. Now with the Battle of Antietam and Gettysburg in 1863, it turned against the Confederate forces. However on April 9, 1865 Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. As a couple of months passed by, Robert Lee would end up being the president of Washington College (today Washington and Lee University). While being president of the college he was working to create reconciliation between the North and South. On October 12, 1870 General Lee passed away in Lexington, VA due to pneumonia.

The Dred Scott Decision

Dred Scott was born in 1799 in Southampton County, Virginia. Scott was born into slavery. In 1818, Scott was taken by his master Peter Blow with his family, and five slaves, to Alabama, where the Blow family ran a farm in Huntsville. Since the farm was unsuccessful the Blow family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1830. There Dred would end up being purchased in a Missiour slave market, by an army doctor John Emerson. In 1836 Dred was brought to Fort Armstrong, Illinois, once the frontier moved west, Fort Armstrong was no longer needed, therefore the entire team was sent to Fort Snelling. By moving here he noticed that the slaves jobs were different then the South. In Minnesota the slaves did the beds, food and other tasks that officers couldn’t do for themselves. He was basically like Dr. Emerson butler, anything he needed, Dred was the one to do so. While working in Fort Snelling he meet his future wife Harriet, she was an owned slave in free territory. Her master, Major Lawrence Taliferro was leaving for the winter. Since he wasn’t going to take Harriet he needed someone who would marry her, and what would be within the protection of Forts Walls. Scott and Harriet stayed in Fort Snelling until 1840. In 1846 the couple first sued for their freedom after Emerson passed away, they were one of three hundred slaves who had sued for freedom in the St. Louis court. Many of the slaves including Scott had won their case because they were in free land. However the Missouri State Supreme Court reversed the decision of granting Harriet and Dred freedom. It took the case eleven year for it to finally be brought up to the US Supreme Court. The Scott’s based their case on the residence in lands that were part of the old NorthWest Territory, and the 1820 Missouri Compromise. Places where slavery was banned. In 1857 decision the Court decided that Congress had acted unconstitutionally by passing those enactments. With this being said since the Northwest Ordinance was unconstitutional, the Scott’s couldn’t claim their freedom under the circumstances. For a case to be brought up in the Supreme Court one had to be a Us Citizens, the court, on a 7-2 vote concluded that the Scott’s were not citizens of any state. On March 14, 1857 The Daily Minnesotian published an article on the newspaper telling all Northern states, that slavery would be legal. Abolitionist figure, Federick Douglass spoke out on the Court’s decision regarding the Scotts. The afterman of the court case still legally consider Dred and Harriet as slaves. However in the end the Scotts did acquire their freedom. Dred Scott died of tuberculosis 18 months after obtaining his freedom on November 7, 1858 and Harriet passed away on June 17, 1876.

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

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Gen.Grant is best known as the general of the Union Army that brought an end to the Civil War, by getting General Robert E. Lee to surrender. Born on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Ulysses was born to Jesse and Hannah Grant, his great- grandfather fought in the French-Indian war. Grant’s grandfather Noah, fought in the American Revolutionary war. From a young age Grant spend various hours on the farm since he didn’t want to be a tanner like his father. Ulysses father advise him to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. At first Ulysses wasn’t a big fan of the idea, but once he started to realize it would be his only chance to get an education, he was off the West Point. Once he graduated Ulysses had become an officer in the army throughout the Mexican-American War(1846-1848), he would end up serving under General Zachary Taylor. Since Grant was never home with his wife and kids, he then took it out on drinking. In 1853 he left the army and ended up opening a general store with his family. Ulysses did have some financial struggles when the civil war started, this lead him to rejoin the army. While fighting in the civil war, Grant 1862 assault on Fort Donelson, Tennessee earned him the nickname of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. President Lincoln was very impressed with Ulysses that he promoted him to Major General. As time went by General Grant gained control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee. He then went on to win the horrific Battle of Shiloh, which lasted from April 6-7. This specific victory earned the title as a commander. Then in July of 1863, after a long blockade, Ulysses took over the fortress citadel of Vicksburg, Mississippi. This would cause the Union control of the Mississippi River and the division of the Confederacy. On that same day the Union won the Battle of Gettysburg, Vicksburg was mostly known for the turning point of the Civil War. Yet again President Licoln was impressed with Grant and he promoted him to Commanding General of the United States Army in March 1864. This is when Grant confronted Robert E Lee which then turned into a bloodbath of battles, he was then able to trap Lee’s army in Richmond. Lee eventually surrender to Grant on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox, where the war had effectively ended. Once the Civil War ended Ulysses decided to lead the army supervision of reconstruction in the former confederate states. General Grant ran for president in 1868 and won, he ran for a second term in 1872 and won once again. He was the second president to win two terms. During the Turbulent Reconstruction era Grant was able to prosecute the KKK and enforce civil & voting right. He was able to accomplish this by using the army and the Department of Justice. On top of that he was able to build a coalition of black voters, during this time many African-Americnas were elected in office. In the course of his second term the Republican coalition in the South continue to bump heads.

Soon enough they would be defeated one by one as redeemers or the Conservatives regain control using force and violence. His Indian Peace Policy reduced violence at first, however The Great Sioux War of 1876 broke out during his last year as president. It was also known as Custer’s last stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Many people thought his administration was poor since he chose men from the army rather than men with experience. Grant was also charged with corruption during his second term, yet his respond to the Panic of 1873 led to a five year of depression. In regards to his corruption charges he appointed the first Civil Service Commission, which would then sign into legislation to end the Corrupt Patronage System. Once he left office in 1877, and did a two year world tour, he ended up establishing the American presence abroad. Grant fail to obtain a presidential nomination for the Republican party in 1880. Ulysses S. Grant passed away on July 23, 1885, in Wilton, NY due to Esophageal cancer.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The battle of Gettysburg is often referred as the turning point of the Civil War. In the Spring of 1863 when the civil war was near its third year that the General of the Confederate Army, Robert E Lee, had just beat the Union force which was twice the size of the Union’s force. After the battle General Lee rode down to Richmond to speak with the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. The two men were discussing how they would take over the North. While all this was occuring. President Licoln was irritated that General Lee was defeating most of the Union’s forces. However General Grant was already starting on the 40 day siege of Vicksburg, this would lead to the Union taking over the Mississippi River and stop all transportation from the South. By June, 1863, reports from Washington stated that General Lee was crossing the Potomac River and marching into the Northern territory, so he could invade Southern Pennsylvania. However during the same time another Confederate cavalry was coming into Pennsylvania from the East. As soon as the people from the North heard the news they panicked, the residents from Southern Pennsylvania left their homes and those who lived in Gettysburg started to wait anxiously. At this time, Lincoln decided to make a change in Command and determined that George Meade would be the new General of the Union Army as of June 27. General Meade first day would take place in Gettysburg, which was four days away. It was very unusual to see a change in commander with such a small amount of time to prepare. On June 30 the Union and Confederate armies had settled in their spots at Gettysburg, there was about a total of 165,620 men from both sides. For the next three days the battle would fight, making it one of the largest battles fought in the Western Hemisphere. The Confederate and Union suffered the effects of the battles, by losing men and being short on supplies. In the end the Union had won the battle of Gettysburg. A couple months later President Licoln traveled to Gettysburg to make a dedicated national cemetery, this is where he gave out one of the most memorable speeches in American history.

The Temperance Movement

This social movement was against the consumption of alcohol, they were very critical of alcohol intoxication and the promotion of it. The movement can trace its origins back to Benjamin Rush who was vocal on the importance of moderating alcohol consumption. Rush messages would soon be led to the creation of temperance in Connecticut, when the temperance was first created it consisted of 200 farmers. Soon enough there would be temperances society in other states as well, however the Temperance Society was officially formed in 1826. Within nine year, the group soon consist of 1.5 million members across the country. Throughout the 1840’s and 1850’s the group kept on growing, but in the 1860’s the movement was put on hold because of the civil war. Once the war was over the group revived with the creation of the Prohibition Party in 1869 and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1873. These two groups started to denounce the consumption and promotion of alcohol. As the years passed by, the movement started to see more and more success. In 1881 Kansas had become the first state to ban the consumption and promotion of alcohol. One of the leaders of the movement was Carrie A, she was a very aggressive women who used violence to stop the sale and consumption of alcohol. In some cases individual towns or counties would illegalize alcohol beverages instead of the illegalizing throughout the entire state. In the 1900’s the movement started to have a heavy influence in local and state politics, during this era the entire country was split into “wet or dry”. The wets fully supported the promotion and consumption of alcohol, unlike the dries. The drys were mostly made up of christians like methodist. Baptists and Presbyterians. The wets consist of Catholics and those who believed that the government should not attempt to dictate its people. The dries argument consist of negatives of consuming alcohol, they argue how it could increase abuse, poor health and poverty. They were able to promote their ideology throughout posters and newspapers provided with scientific facts, and some used quotes from the bible. Their most impressive tactics that was used was when the dries started to use the school system to teach children about temperance.

Although they did have heavy influences in politics, it wasn’t an issue that was spoken about, the main reason being is that both political sides had supporters from the dry and wet. In 1917 approximately 278 members of congress were in favor of the dry agenda, with only 126 congressmen in favor of the wets. In December of 1917 a resolution was passed in the House of Representative announcing for a constitutional amendment. This amendment would forbid the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol within the country. Both the House and Congress passed an amendment to the states so that could approved. On January 8, 1919 Mississippi became the first state to approve of this amendment, thirty-six states needed to approve of the amendment. Within eight days the thirty-six states approved the amendment, this would now become the 18th amendment. On top of that by January 29, 1919 the amendment had the approval of forty-four states. However the 18th amendment was put into the constitution after one year of its ratification.

During the industrial revolution many people had good jobs where they were able to provide for their families. Since the people were able to make a decent amount of money, the health of the american people got better, there were better housing and the price of goods reduced. On top of that more kids and adults were going to school while receiving a better education than previous generations. Thanks to Edward Jenner’s for inventing the smallpox vaccine, the people had another way of staying healthy. Not only did the invention of the smallpox vaccine occurred during this time, but Louis Pasteur’s had discovered bacteria. Although there was a gap between the middle/upper class and the lower class, everyone was able to benefit from it in a positive way. This was the beginning of the positive effects that society benefited from the industrial revolution.

Since the industrial revolution started there was a high demand on workers, many people were able to find jobs however they were being taken advantage of. For the most part employees worked at least fourteen hours a day, six times a week, with a low rate in wages. Those who had to work never complained because they had the fear that if they spoke up, their bosses would fire them for their job. Not only were they afraid of losing their jobs, but the companies would replace them with children who were capable of working the same amount of hours or even more, for half the cost that an adult did. The employees were silent until they decided enough was enough, throughout the 1800’s the employees started to demand for better treatment. Next thing you know the workers came together and started a Union. The Union’s were able to seize in collective bargaining as well as negotiations between workers and their employers.Not only did they help those working in poor conditions but they also helped children and women who were in the same situation as them. The most powerful strategies that the Union workers did was organizing a strike. If the employees demands were not up to their standards, they refused to work. In the 1840’s the British and Americans decided to pass laws and policies that would benefit all the employers, the first laws were aimed to help children who were working in horrific conditions. Then with time they started to help the adults so they can get a better wage, work hours and treatment. Although it took many years to get these laws passed, in the end everyone was able to work in a better place.

Before the industrial revolution started education was seen as a privilege. Those who were born into the middle/high class were sent to boarding school in Europe and then once they returned they would take over the family business. However, when it came to the lower class, children barley went to school, if they were lucky enough they got through their basic years of education. Many didn’t attend school, instead they went out to work with their parents to help provide for their families. Once the industrial revolution hit, more kids had access to an education that they didn’t have before, at this rate almost all of the kids in the states had an education and Mechanics’ Institute Night schools helped men gain knowledge in their education. In 1833 since children were still working, the government made it mandatory to have at least 2 hours of education per day for children who worked. On top of that in 1844 A union in England called The Ragged Schools Union granted the lower class children a chance to go to school. Not only did it stop there but in 1902 the Education Act was passed, this meant that society can be restored through the complete control of education. These acts and laws were a game changer for the lower class children who didn’t have access to an education. If it wasn’t for this, the education in America wouldn’t progress the way that it did.

This was a very interesting time period for the American people, like all things in life it has its ups and downs yet this era was such a defining moment the people. It was an era where people started to realize that if they fought for what they wanted to believe in, they could improve their community and the countries. What is most important is that children were able to be children again, with the laws and policies signed into place they were really able to focus on what is most important. Without the education everyone received, the industrial revolution wouldn’t of progressive is the way it did. The industrial revolution was a turning point in American society for better and the laws are a simple reflection of it.

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