A work in progress -- a series of major events that happened during the term of each US President: # 1. George Washington (April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797) Important events during the Washington presidency: 1. **Inauguration of George Washington (1789):** Washington's inauguration as the first President of the United States took place in New York City. 2. **The Judiciary Act (1789):** This act established the federal judiciary of the United States, including [[The Supreme Court]]. 3. **The Bill of Rights (1791):** The first ten amendments to the [[Constitution]], known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified, securing essential rights and freedoms for American citizens. 4. **First Bank of the United States (1791):** Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton's plan for a national bank was realized with the establishment of the First Bank of the United States. 5. **[[Whiskey Rebellion]] (1791-1794)**: This was a violent tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791 and ending in 1794 during the presidency of George Washington, ultimately under the command of American [[Revolutionary War]] veteran Major James McFarlane. 6. **Establishment of the U.S. capital (1791):** The Residence Act was passed, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River. 7. **The Proclamation of Neutrality (1793):** This was a formal announcement issued by George Washington, declaring the United States neutral in the escalating war between France and Great Britain. 8. **Jay's Treaty (1795):** This was an agreement between the United States and Great Britain that averted war, resolved issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, and facilitated ten years of peaceful trade between the United States and Britain. 9. **Pinckney's Treaty (1795):** Also known as the Treaty of San Lorenzo, this treaty established intentions of friendship between the U.S. and Spain. It also defined the boundaries of the United States with the Spanish colonies and guaranteed the United States navigation rights on the Mississippi River. 10. **Washington's Farewell Address (1796):** In this letter, Washington announced that he would not seek a third term and gave advice to the nation on domestic and foreign matters. # 2. John Adams (March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801) 1. **Inauguration of John Adams (1797):** Adams was inaugurated as the second President of the United States on March 4, 1797. He was the first president to reside in the White House, although it was not completed until near the end of his term. 2. **XYZ Affair (1797-1798):** This diplomatic incident occurred when French agents demanded bribes and loans from U.S. diplomats seeking to negotiate issues between the two countries. The scandal was named after the letters X, Y, and Z, used to replace the names of the French agents in documents released to the public. 3. **[[Alien and Sedition Acts]] (1798)**: These were four bills passed by the Federalist-dominated 5th United States Congress in response to the XYZ Affair and the perceived threat of war with France. They were aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were generally not supportive of the Federalists. The bills made it harder for immigrants to gain citizenship, allowed the President to imprison and deport non-citizens deemed dangerous, and criminalized making false statements critical of the federal government. 4. **Quasi-War with France (1798-1800):** An undeclared naval war with France, the Quasi-War arose from the XYZ Affair and disagreements over treaties. It was fought almost entirely at sea between the United States and French naval vessels and privateers. 5. **Convention of 1800 (Treaty of Mortefontaine):** This treaty, signed in 1800, ended the Quasi-War and released the United States from its 1778 alliance with France. It also resolved issues remaining from the Jay Treaty with Britain. 6. **Fries's Rebellion (1799-1800):** This was a tax revolt in Pennsylvania led by John Fries. It was the third of three tax-related rebellions in the late 18th century United States, the earlier two being Shays' Rebellion and the [[Whiskey Rebellion]]. It was quickly put down by the government. 7. **Establishment of the Library of Congress (1800):** The United States Congress established the Library of Congress, which has since grown to become the largest library in the world. 8. **Move of the national capital to Washington, D.C. (1800):** The seat of the United States federal government was officially moved from Philadelphia to the newly constructed city of Washington, D.C. # 3. Thomas Jefferson (March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809) 1. **Inauguration of [[Thomas Jefferson]] (1801)**: Jefferson's inauguration was notable for being the peaceful transition of power between two political parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. It was the first inauguration held in Washington, D.C. 2. **Marbury v. Madison (1803)**: This case was a landmark in American law, establishing the principle of judicial review—the ability of [[The Supreme Court]] to declare laws unconstitutional. Although this event is not directly related to Jefferson's actions, it happened during his presidency and had a profound impact on the balance of power in the U.S. government. 3. **Louisiana Purchase (1803)**: Jefferson approved the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which doubled the size of the United States overnight. The Louisiana Purchase is often seen as one of the significant achievements of Jefferson's presidency. 4. **Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)**: After the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the newly acquired western territory. Their journey provided valuable information about the geography, native tribes, and natural resources of the region. 5. **Abolition of International Slave Trade (1808)**: While [[slavery]] was still permitted within the U.S., the importation of slaves from overseas was made illegal during Jefferson's last year in office. 6. **Embargo Act of 1807**: In response to British and French interference with U.S. merchant ships, Jefferson signed the Embargo Act, which halted all U.S. trade with foreign nations. This policy was controversial and had significant economic repercussions, especially in New England's maritime economy. # 4. [[James Madison]] (March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817) 1. **The War of 1812**: This conflict with Britain was a dominant feature of Madison's presidency. It started due to the British attacks on American shipping and the practice of impressment. The war ended with the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, with neither party making major concessions. Despite the lack of gains in the war, many Americans believed that the United States had won a significant victory, which boosted Madison's popularity​. 2. **Changes in Madison's Cabinet**: Madison's initial cabinet members were selected more for geographical balance and partisan loyalty than for ability. Over time, Madison made several changes to his cabinet, including dismissing Secretary of State Robert Smith in favor of James Monroe, replacing Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton with William Jones, and others. By 1814, Madison had an effective and harmonious cabinet for the first time​. 3. **Vice Presidents' Deaths**: Two vice presidents served under Madison and both died in office. George Clinton served from 1809 until his death in 1812, and Elbridge Gerry served from 1813 until his death in 1814. Madison is the only president to have had two vice presidents die while in office​. 4. **Diplomatic Appointments**: Madison made several diplomatic appointments, including sending William Pinkney as ambassador to Great Britain, and later replacing him with Jonathan Russell. John Quincy Adams was appointed to this post after the resumption of peace. Madison also appointed ambassadors to France, Spain, and Portugal​. 5. **Supreme Court Appointments**: Madison had the opportunity to fill two vacancies on [[The Supreme Court]]. He appointed Joseph Story and Gabriel Duvall, but neither of these appointments altered the Federalist ideological leanings of the court. He also appointed eleven other federal judges. 6. **Economic Policies**: Madison sought to continue Jefferson's agenda of low taxes and a reduction of the [[national debt]]. He confronted the issue of the future of the First Bank of the United States, whose twenty-year charter was set to expire in 1811. Despite Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin's support for renewing the bank's charter, Congress allowed it to lapse​. 7. **Shift in Madison's Policies**: Despite initially intending to continue the limited government legacy of his predecessor, [[Thomas Jefferson]], Madison shifted his stance in the aftermath of the war. He favored higher tariffs, increased military spending, and the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Much of Madison's post-war agenda was enacted. # 5. James Monroe (March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825) His presidency is often known as the "Era of Good Feelings" due to the sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. Some significant events during his presidency include: 1. **The Missouri Compromise (1820)**: This was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-[[slavery]] and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north, except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. 2. **The Monroe Doctrine (1823)**: In this annual message to Congress, Monroe stated that the Americas should be free from future European colonization and free from European interference in sovereign countries' affairs. It further stated the United States' intention to stay neutral in European wars and wars between European powers and their colonies but to consider new colonies or interference with independent countries in the Americas as hostile acts toward the United States. 3. **The acquisition of Florida (1819)**: Spain ceded Florida to the United States in 1819 through the Adams-Onís Treaty, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty. This treaty also defined the boundary between the United States and New Spain. 4. **The First Seminole War (1817-1818)**: This conflict occurred in Florida and Georgia between various Native American groups known collectively as the Seminoles and the United States, a part of a longer sequence of conflicts called the Seminole Wars. The conflict initiated the process that ultimately led to Spain ceding Florida to the United States in the Adams-Onís Treaty. 5. **The Panic of 1819**: The first major peacetime financial crisis in the United States followed the end of the War of 1812. Banks collapsed, mortgages were foreclosed, and agricultural and manufacturing outputs fell significantly. The panic marked the end of the economic expansion that had followed the War of 1812 and ushered in new financial policies that would shape economic development. 6. **The Era of Good Feelings**: Monroe's presidency was marked by a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. This period is traditionally viewed as a time of national unity and optimism. # 6. John Quincy Adams (March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829) 1. **Passage of the Tariff Act of 1828**, also known as the "Tariff of Abominations," which aimed to protect northern and western agricultural products but faced opposition from Southerners​. 2. **Deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams** on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the [Declaration of Independence](https://doctorparadox.net/save-democracy/declaration-of-independence/), marking a significant moment in American history​. 3. **The 1828 election**, in which [[Andrew Jackson]] defeated incumbent John Quincy Adams, serving as a pivotal moment in American political history with the rise of Jacksonian democracy​. 4. **The convention with Britain** which concluded in London, settling indemnities from the War of 1812 and providing compensation for freed slaves​. 5. **Adams's significant address to Congress** advocating for the rights of the Creek Indians, reflecting his stance on Native American rights​. 6. **Adams's State of the Union message** in which he advocated for infrastructure development and public land management, indicating his policy priorities​. # 7. Andrew Jackson (March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837) 1. **Trail of Tears:** Jackson was a strong supporter of the removal of Native American tribes from U.S. territory east of the Mississippi River, which led to the forced relocation known as the "Trail of Tears." 2. **Spoils System:** He instituted the spoils system for federal government positions, using his patronage powers to build a powerful and united Democratic Party. 3. **Nullification Crisis:** In response to the [[nullification]] crisis, Jackson threatened to send federal soldiers into South Carolina, but the crisis was defused by the passage of the Tariff of 1833. 4. **Bank War:** Jackson engaged in a long struggle with the Second Bank of the United States, which he viewed as an anti-democratic bastion of elitism. Jackson emerged triumphant in the "Bank War" and the federal charter of the Second Bank of the United States expired in 1836. The destruction of the bank and Jackson's hard money policies would contribute to the Panic of 1837. 5. **Foreign Affairs:** Foreign affairs were less eventful during Jackson's presidency, but he pursued numerous commercial treaties with foreign powers and recognized the independence of the Republic of Texas​. # 8. Martin Van Buren (March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841) 1. **Panic of 1837**: On May 10, 1837, some important state banks in New York, running out of hard currency reserves, suddenly refused to convert paper money into gold or silver. Other financial institutions throughout the nation quickly followed suit, marking the start of a financial crisis known as the Panic of 1837. This crisis was followed by a five-year depression in which numerous banks failed and unemployment reached record highs​[1](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Martin_Van_Buren)​. 2. **Independent Treasury**: In response to the Panic of 1837, Van Buren focused on a policy of "strict economy and frugality." His economic policies included maintaining the Specie Circular policy (which required the use of coins rather than paper money for the purchase of government-held lands) and establishing the Independent Treasury system to hold government funds, aiming to divorce the federal government from banking operations​​. 3. **Second Panic**: A second economic downturn, known as the Panic of 1839, began as a result of a cotton glut. This crisis was the most severe recession in U.S. history until [[The Great Depression]]. 4. **Reduction in Working Hours**: In 1840, Van Buren issued an executive order which lowered the working hours for government workers to only 10 hours per day. 5. **Indian Removal**: Continuing the policy of the previous administration, the federal government negotiated 19 treaties with Indian nations during Van Buren's presidency. This led to the forced removal of a large number of Cherokee and Seminole people, including the notorious Trail of Tears. 6. **Canadian Rebellions**: During the Canadian rebellions of 1837-1838, Van Buren maintained U.S. neutrality despite the efforts of American sympathizers who sought to aid the Canadian rebels​. 7. **U.S.-Mexico Crisis**: The 1838–1839 crisis in U.S.–Mexican relations, also known as the Pastry War, saw Van Buren working to avoid a war between the United States and Mexico. # 9. William Henry Harrison (March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841) 1. **March 4, 1841**: William Henry Harrison was inaugurated as the ninth President of the United States​. 2. **Early April 1841**: Harrison's health began to deteriorate significantly. It's believed that he caught a cold while standing outside in harsh weather with no hat or coat during his nearly two-hour inaugural speech. His health was further affected by the constant barrage of office seekers who sought his favor from the moment he assumed office. Only three weeks after his inauguration, Harrison was bedridden, his cold having developed into pneumonia. 3. **April 4, 1841**: Harrison died of pneumonia only one month after his inauguration, making him the first President to die while in office​. 4. Following Harrison's death, there arose the issue of presidential succession, which had not been clearly defined in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution stated that upon the death of a President, the "Duties of said office" were to "devolve on the Vice President," and the 12th Amendment provided for the Vice President to "act as President" when there was no Executive. However, neither document stated explicitly whether the vice president was now himself President, or merely assuming the responsibilities of the office until a new election could be held. This prompted a crucial discussion regarding the matter of succession. Harrison's cabinet dispatched a messenger to inform Vice President John Tyler of Harrison's death, summoning him to the nation's capital. Upon his arrival two days later in Washington, D.C., Tyler immediately met with Harrison's cabinet to discuss the matter of succession. Quickly the cabinet members agreed that Tyler should take the oath of office and become President in his own right. Tyler's assumption of the vacated office in the wake of Harrison's sudden death established the procedure and precedent for presidential succession, which averted a possible constitutional and political problem. # 10. John Tyler (April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845) 1. **Assumption of Office**: Tyler became the first Vice President to assume the presidency due to the incumbent's death, setting a crucial precedent for future successions​. 2. **Conflict with the [[Whig Party]]**: Despite being a Whig, Tyler frequently clashed with his party over key issues like the establishment of a national bank. His disagreement led to his expulsion from the party and an attempted impeachment​. 3. **Domestic Policies**: Tyler signed the Preemption Act of 1841, facilitating Western settlement, and the Bankruptcy Act of 1841, the first law allowing for voluntary [[bankruptcy]]​. 4. **Webster-Ashburton Treaty**: His administration negotiated this treaty, resolving a territorial dispute with the United Kingdom​. 5. **Treaty of Wanghia**: Tyler reached this landmark commercial treaty with Qing China, the first diplomatic treaty between the United States and China​​. 6. **Texas Annexation**: Tyler pressed for and signed a bill for the annexation of Texas, leading to its admission as a state in the following presidency. # 11. James K. Polk (March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849) 1. **Manifest Destiny and Expansionism**: Polk was a strong advocate of Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States was destined to expand across the North American continent. His presidency significantly advanced this vision. 2. **Annexation of Texas**: Polk oversaw the annexation of Texas, which was admitted to the Union as a state on December 29, 1845. This action was a significant factor leading to the Mexican-American War. 3. **Oregon Territory Agreement**: In 1846, Polk reached a settlement with Britain over the Oregon Territory, establishing the 49th parallel as the northern boundary of the western U.S., under the slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight." 4. **Mexican-American War**: Polk's administration saw the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, driven by territorial disputes after the Texas annexation. The U.S. victory greatly expanded its territory. 5. **Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo**: In 1848, this treaty ended the Mexican-American War, leading to the U.S. acquisition of modern-day California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. 6. **Walker Tariff**: In 1846, Polk implemented the Walker Tariff, a significant tariff reduction that helped promote trade and commerce. 7. **Establishment of the U.S. Naval Academy**: In 1845, Polk signed legislation establishing the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. 8. **Smithsonian Institution**: Polk signed the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution in 1846, a major development in American science and culture. 9. **Department of the Interior**: In 1849, just before leaving office, Polk signed the bill establishing the U.S. Department of the Interior, a significant step in managing the nation’s expanding territory. # 12. Zachary Taylor (March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850) 1. **Brief Tenure**: Taylor's presidency was notably short due to his sudden death in 1850, after only 16 months in office. 2. **Military Background**: Known as "Old Rough and Ready," Taylor was a career military officer and a national hero from the Mexican-American War, which played a significant role in his election. 3. **Clayton-Bulwer Treaty**: In 1850, Taylor's administration negotiated this treaty with Britain, concerning Central American affairs and the construction of a canal across the isthmus. 4. **Opposition to the Spread of Slavery**: Despite being a slave owner himself, Taylor opposed the extension of [[slavery]] into the territories gained from Mexico, putting him at odds with Southern leaders. 5. **California Statehood**: Taylor advocated for the rapid admission of California as a free state, which was a contentious issue in the context of the balance between slave and free states. 6. **Debate over Territorial Expansion**: His presidency was marked by intense debate over the status of territories acquired from Mexico and their potential as slave or free states. 7. **Native American Policies**: Taylor's administration continued the policy of Indian removal, negotiating several treaties with Native American tribes. 8. **Death in Office**: Taylor's sudden death in July 1850, likely due to acute gastrointestinal illness, led to the succession of his Vice President, Millard Fillmore. His death came at a critical time during debates over slavery and statehood. # 13. Millard Fillmore (July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853) 1. **Assumption of Presidency**: Fillmore became President following the death of Zachary Taylor, assuming office in a period of national tension over [[slavery]] and territorial expansion. 2. **Compromise of 1850**: Fillmore's most significant act was signing the Compromise of 1850, a series of laws aimed at resolving the territorial and slavery controversies arising from the Mexican-American War. 3. **Fugitive Slave Act**: Part of the Compromise of 1850, this controversial act required citizens to assist in the recovery of fugitive slaves and denied a jury trial to escaped slaves. 4. **Opening of Japan**: Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in 1852, leading to the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. 5. **Support for the Transcontinental Railroad**: He advocated for the construction of a transcontinental railroad, a significant step in the expansion and development of the country. 6. **Uncle Tom’s Cabin**: During his presidency, Harriet Beecher Stowe published "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852), a novel that had a profound effect on attitudes toward African American slavery in the U.S. 7. **Domestic Policy and Administration**: Fillmore's administration is often criticized for its lack of decisive leadership, particularly in handling the [[slavery]] issue and the growing North-South divide. 8. **Foreign Relations**: Fillmore's presidency saw an active foreign policy, including the negotiation of trade treaties with several European nations and efforts to expand American influence in the Pacific. # 14. Franklin Pierce (March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857) 1. **Kansas-Nebraska Act**: Pierce's administration is most notably remembered for the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which allowed territories to decide on the legality of slavery, leading to significant conflict and violence, known as "Bleeding Kansas." 2. **Ostend Manifesto**: In 1854, Pierce supported the Ostend Manifesto, a controversial diplomatic communication advocating for the U.S. to buy or seize Cuba from Spain, which intensified debates over slavery. 3. **Expansionist Policy**: Pierce sought to expand U.S. territory, including efforts to acquire parts of Mexico and Central America, aligning with the concept of Manifest Destiny. 4. **Gadsden Purchase**: In 1854, under Pierce, the U.S. acquired a significant area from Mexico (now part of Arizona and New Mexico) known as the Gadsden Purchase, facilitating a southern route for a transcontinental railroad. 5. **Foreign Relations**: Pierce's foreign policy included negotiating trade treaties with Britain and Japan and efforts to expand American influence in the Caribbean and Central America. 6. **Domestic Policy**: Pierce's domestic policies often aimed at maintaining peace between the North and South but were largely unsuccessful in reducing sectional tensions over slavery. 7. **Decline of the Whig Party**: Pierce's presidency saw the further decline of the [[Whig Party]], leading to the rise of the Republican Party, partly in response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. 8. **Indian Affairs**: His administration continued the policy of Indian removal and the negotiation of treaties that were often detrimental to Native American tribes. # 15. James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861) 1. **Dred Scott Decision**: Shortly after Buchanan's inauguration, [[The Supreme Court]] issued the Dred Scott decision, declaring that Congress could not prohibit [[slavery]] in the territories, a ruling Buchanan supported. 2. **Utah War**: Buchanan's administration faced the Utah War (1857-1858), a confrontation with the Mormon settlers in Utah Territory, leading to a negotiated peace without major conflict. 3. **[[Panic of 1857]]**: Early in his presidency, Buchanan had to contend with the Panic of 1857, a significant financial crisis caused by rampant speculation in the railroad industry fueled by the gold rush, that led to widespread economic hardship. 4. **Lecompton Constitution**: Buchanan controversially supported the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution for Kansas, which failed to resolve the conflict over slavery in the territory and further divided the Democratic Party. 5. **Foreign Policy**: His foreign policy included attempts to strengthen ties with Britain and to expand U.S. influence in Central America and the Caribbean, including an unsuccessful attempt to annex Cuba. 6. **Pre-Civil War Tensions**: Buchanan's presidency was marked by escalating tensions between the North and South over slavery, with Buchanan often seen as indecisive or biased towards Southern interests. 7. **John Brown's Raid**: In 1859, Buchanan dealt with [[John Brown]]'s raid on Harpers Ferry, a significant event that heightened national tensions over slavery and pushed the country closer to [[Civil War]]. 8. **Secession Crisis**: His presidency ended with the secession of seven Southern states following the election of [[Abraham Lincoln]], a crisis Buchanan was unable to prevent or effectively address, leading to the onset of the Civil War shortly after he left office. # 16. Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865) 1. **Election of 1860 (November 6, 1860)**: [[Abraham Lincoln]] was elected as the 16th President of the United States, representing the Republican Party, which was anti-[[slavery]], leading to heightened tensions between the North and South. 2. **Secession of Southern States (Starting December 20, 1860)**: Following Lincoln's election, 11 Southern states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America, initiating the conflict that would lead to the [[Civil War]] between those loyal to the Constitution and the [[Confederates]]. 3. **Fort Sumter (April 12-14, 1861)**: The Civil War began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, forcing the Union garrison to surrender, and rallying the North around Lincoln's call for troops. 4. **Issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863)**: Lincoln issued the [[Emancipation Proclamation]], declaring all slaves in Confederate-held territory to be free, transforming the fight to preserve the Union into a moral crusade against slavery. 5. **Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863)**: This pivotal battle marked the turning point of the Civil War, with the Union Army's defeat of the Confederates, halting Lee's invasion of the North. 6. [**Gettysburg Address](https://github.com/doctorparadox/historical-texts/blob/master/speeches/lincoln-gettysburg-address.txt) (November 19, 1863)**: Lincoln delivered this iconic speech at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, redefining the purpose of the war and the meaning of [democracy](https://doctorparadox.net/category/politics/democracy/) and freedom in America. 7. **Passage of the Homestead Act (May 20, 1862)**: This act allowed any American, including freed slaves, to put in a claim for up to 160 acres of free land in the West, leading to significant migration and development. 8. **Establishment of the National Banking System (February 25, 1863)**: Lincoln signed the National Banking Act into law, establishing a system of national banks and creating a uniform national currency, stabilizing [the economy](https://doctorparadox.net/category/economics/). 9. **The 13th Amendment (Ratified on December 6, 1865)**: Lincoln pushed for the passage of the [[13th Amendment]], which abolished [[slavery]] throughout the United States, ensuring the Emancipation Proclamation's decree would be permanent. 10. **Lincoln's Assassination (April 14, 1865)**: Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., just days after the Confederacy's surrender, marking the first assassination of a U.S. president and leaving the nation in mourning. # 17. Andrew Johnson (April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869) 1. **Assumption of Presidency (April 15, 1865)**: Johnson became President following the assassination of [[Abraham Lincoln]], at a critical juncture when the [[Civil War]] was drawing to a close, thrusting him into the challenging task of leading the nation through [[Reconstruction]]. 2. **End of the Civil War (April 9, 1865)**: Although the Civil War officially ended days before Johnson took office, its conclusion significantly shaped his presidency, as he was tasked with overseeing the nation's Reconstruction and reintegration of Southern states. 3. **Ratification of the [[13th Amendment]] (December 6, 1865)**: The amendment, which abolished [[slavery]] in the United States, was ratified during Johnson's presidency, marking a monumental step towards [[civil rights]] in the aftermath of the Civil War. 4. **[[Black Codes]] (1865-1866)**: Southern states enacted these laws to restrict the freedom of African Americans, undermining the goals of Reconstruction and leading to significant tension between Johnson and Congress. 5. **Formation of the Freedmen's Bureau (March 3, 1865)**: While established under Lincoln, the Freedmen's Bureau became a pivotal part of Johnson's presidency, aimed at aiding freed slaves and poor whites in the South during [[Reconstruction]]. 6. **Civil Rights Act of 1866**: Johnson vetoed this act, which was designed to protect the rights of African Americans, but Congress overrode his veto in a landmark assertion of legislative power over presidential authority. 7. **First Reconstruction Act (March 2, 1867)**: Over Johnson's veto, Congress passed this act initiating the period of Radical Reconstruction, which divided the South into military districts to protect the rights of freed slaves and ensure fair elections. 8. **Impeachment of Andrew Johnson (February 24, 1868)**: Johnson became the first American president to be impeached by the [[House of Representatives]], largely due to his opposition to Congressional Reconstruction policies and his violation of the Tenure of Office Act. 9. **Acquisition of Alaska (March 30, 1867)**: Known as "Seward's Folly" at the time, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, expanding American territory and resources, although the decision was met with skepticism. 10. **14th Amendment (July 9, 1868)**: The amendment, which grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States—including former slaves—and guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws," was ratified during Johnson's presidency, significantly shaping the legal landscape of civil rights in America. # 18. Ulysses S. Grant (March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877) 1. **Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (May 10, 1869)**: Shortly after Grant took office, the United States celebrated the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which connected the Eastern and Western parts of the country, facilitating commerce, travel, and the settlement of the West. 2. **Fifteenth Amendment Ratified (February 3, 1870)**: This amendment guaranteed that the right to vote could not be denied based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," aiming to ensure African American men could vote, especially in the Southern states. 3. **Establishment of the Justice Department (June 22, 1870)**: To strengthen the federal government's legal framework and enforce federal laws, especially those related to [[civil rights]], Grant established the Department of Justice. 4. **First Enforcement Act (May 31, 1870)**: This act was designed to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment and combat the rise of the [[Ku Klux Klan (KKK)]], which was intimidating black voters and disrupting [[Reconstruction]] efforts. 5. **Treaty of Washington (May 8, 1871)**: This treaty with Britain settled various disputes, including [[Civil War]] damages and fishing rights, improving Anglo-American relations. 6. **Panic of 1873**: This financial crisis led to a severe economic depression, known as the Long Depression, which lasted for several years and was marked by bank failures, business closures, and widespread unemployment. 7. **Enforcement Acts of 1871, including the Ku Klux Klan Act**: These laws aimed to protect African Americans' rights against the violent suppression by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations, authorizing the president to use military force to enforce the laws. 8. **Civil Rights Act of 1875**: One of the last major Reconstruction era laws, it aimed to guarantee equal treatment in public accommodations and public transportation and prohibited exclusion from jury service based on race, though it was poorly enforced and eventually deemed unconstitutional in 1883. # 19. Rutherford B. Hayes (March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881) 1. **End of Reconstruction (1877)**: Hayes' presidency began with the Compromise of 1877, which effectively ended [[Reconstruction]] by withdrawing federal troops from the South, leading to the rise of "[[Jim Crow]]" laws and the [[disenfranchisement]] of African Americans. 2. **Great Railroad Strike (July 1877)**: The first major nationwide labor action in the U.S., this strike was a response to wage cuts by railroad companies, leading to widespread unrest and a significant federal response to maintain order. 3. **Bland-Allison Act (February 28, 1878)**: Hayes vetoed this act, which required the U.S. Treasury to purchase and coin at least $2 million to $4 million worth of silver each month, but Congress overrode his veto, marking a key moment in the "Free Silver" movement affecting U.S. monetary policy, led by the [[Silverites]]. # 20. James A. Garfield (March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881) Given Garfield's short time in office before his assassination, there are fewer notable events, but here are key points: 1. **Assassination of James A. Garfield (July 2, 1881)**: Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, leading to his death on September 19, 1881, highlighting the vulnerabilities of the presidency and leading to reforms in the civil service system. 2. **Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act (Posthumously influenced)**: Although passed under Chester A. Arthur, Garfield's assassination by a disgruntled office seeker highlighted the need for civil service reform, leading to the Pendleton Act in 1883, which made merit rather than patronage the basis for hiring and promotion in the federal government. # 21. Chester A. Arthur (September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885) 1. **Assumption of Presidency**: Arthur assumed office after the assassination of President James A. Garfield in 1881. Garfield's death thrust Arthur into the presidency, a position he had never aspired to, given his background as a stalwart of the Republican Party and his previous role as Vice President. 2. **Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act (1883)**: Perhaps the most notable achievement of Arthur's presidency was the enactment of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. This legislation was designed to eliminate the widespread patronage system (also known as the "spoils system") and established a merit-based system for federal employment. It marked a significant step towards professionalizing the federal service. 3. **Tariff Reform**: Arthur advocated for tariff reform, understanding the need to reduce high tariff rates that were deemed protective but led to surplus government revenue and encouraged corruption. Although he was not entirely successful in overhauling the tariff system, his efforts highlighted the need for reform. 4. **Modernization of the Navy**: Arthur was a proponent of modernizing the United States Navy, which had fallen into a state of decay post-[[Civil War]]. During his presidency, he commissioned steel-hulled ships, moving away from the outdated wooden ships, thereby laying the groundwork for a more modern and capable naval force. 5. **Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)**: Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which suspended Chinese immigration for ten years and declared Chinese immigrants ineligible for naturalization. This controversial act was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States and reflected the growing nativism of the time. 6. **Civil Rights**: Arthur's presidency was also marked by a lack of significant progress on [[civil rights]] for African Americans. Despite the gains made during [[Reconstruction]], Arthur did little to advance these causes, and in many ways, his administration reflected the broader retreat from Reconstruction-era reforms. 7. **Health and Physical Condition**: Arthur's health was a significant issue during his presidency. He suffered from Bright's Disease, a kidney ailment that was not publicly known during his time in office. His health impacted his ability to serve energetically and may have influenced his decision not to seek a second term. 8. **Veto of the Rivers and Harbors Act**: Arthur vetoed the Rivers and Harbors Act, which he saw as laden with wasteful and unnecessary spending. However, Congress overrode his veto. This event was indicative of Arthur's stance against what he perceived as excessive government expenditure. Chester A. Arthur is often regarded as a president who exceeded the low expectations of his contemporaries, transitioning from a product of the patronage system to a reformer who took steps to dismantle it. His presidency, while not marked by dramatic events or sweeping changes, was a period of steady, if unspectacular, governance that sought to bring about reform and modernization in several key areas. # 22. Grover Cleveland (March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889) 1. **Reform and the Pendleton Civil Service Act**: Although the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was enacted before Cleveland's presidency in 1883, he was a strong advocate for civil service reform and made it a key part of his administration. He expanded the federal government's merit-based system, reducing the spoils system that had allowed for widespread patronage. 2. **Veto Power**: Cleveland made extensive use of his veto power, more so than any of his predecessors. He believed in a limited role for the federal government and often vetoed bills that he saw as legislative overreach or as special interest legislation, including numerous pension bills for [[Civil War]] veterans that he viewed as fraudulent or excessive. 3. **Interstate Commerce Act of 1887**: This act was significant in that it represented the federal government's first attempt to regulate the railroad industry, which was a major force in the American economy at the time. The law aimed to curb abuses within the railroad industry by regulating rates and prohibiting discriminatory practices. 4. **Tariff Reform**: One of Cleveland's major policy focuses during his first term was tariff reform. He believed that high tariffs on imported goods were unfair to consumers and advocated for lower tariffs. This stance was controversial and would become a central issue in his reelection campaign. 5. **Foreign Policy and Non-interventionism**: Cleveland's foreign policy was generally characterized by non-interventionism. He withdrew from the 1887 treaty that would have allowed the U.S. to build a naval base in Samoa, favoring a more independent Samoan government. He also refused to support the annexation of Hawaii after a coup there, which set the stage for future U.S. involvement in the islands. 6. **Handling of the Labor Disputes**: Cleveland's administration faced significant labor unrest, including the [[Haymarket Riot (1886)]] in Chicago and a violent strike against the Texas and Pacific Railway. His responses to these incidents reflected the era's tensions between labor and industry, and while he was not directly involved in suppressing the Haymarket Riot, his administration's handling of labor issues was watched closely by both labor and business interests. 7. **Presidential Succession Act**: During Cleveland's first term, the Presidential Succession Act of 1886 was passed, which established a line of succession beyond the Vice President to include members of the Cabinet, starting with the Secretary of State. Cleveland's first term laid the groundwork for many of the issues that would define American politics at the end of the 19th century, particularly concerning [economic policy](https://doctorparadox.net/category/economics/) and government regulation. His approach to governance, emphasizing efficiency, honesty, and frugality, was both praised and criticized, reflecting the complex economic and social changes of the time. # 23. Benjamin Harrison (March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1893) 1. **Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)**: This was one of the most significant pieces of legislation during Harrison's presidency. It was the first federal act that outlawed monopolistic business practices. The Sherman Antitrust Act laid the groundwork for future government regulation of monopolies, and established a role for the government in balancing competition and [[monopoly]] within the broader economy. 2. **McKinley Tariff (1890)**: Named after Congressman William McKinley, this act raised the average duty on imports to almost 50%, making it one of the highest tariffs in American history. The tariff was designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition but also led to higher consumer prices and contributed to the [[Panic of 1893]]. 3. **Wounded Knee Massacre (1890)**: This tragic event marked the last major confrontation between Native American Indians and the United States Army. It occurred on December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. More than 150 Lakota Sioux men, women, and children were killed. This event symbolizes the end of the Indian Wars on the Great Plains. 4. **Admission of Six New States**: Harrison's presidency is notable for the admission of six new states to the Union, the most by any president. North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming were admitted, largely as a result of the Republican Party's desire to gain political advantage in the [[Senate]]. 5. **Billion-Dollar Congress**: The 51st Congress, during Harrison's term, was nicknamed the "Billion-Dollar Congress" because it was the first to pass a budget that exceeded one billion dollars. This Congress was known for its lavish spending, which funded pensions for [[Civil War]] veterans, expanded the navy, and provided subsidies for steamship lines and manufacturers. 6. **Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890)**: This act increased the amount of silver the government was required to purchase every month. It was passed in response to the demands of farmers and miners and aimed to stimulate inflation. However, it also led to the depletion of the nation's gold reserves, contributing to the [[Panic of 1893]]. 7. **Harrison's Conservation Efforts**: Harrison was also known for his conservation efforts. He helped to expand the national forest reserves, adding approximately 13 million acres to the system. He also signed legislation establishing the first national forest reserves, which later became part of the National Forest System. 8. **The First Pan-American Conference (1889-1890)**: Held in Washington, D.C., this conference marked the beginning of formal cooperation between the American republics. It was a significant step toward Pan-Americanism and laid the groundwork for future inter-American collaboration. These events reflect Harrison's presidency's complex legacy, characterized by significant economic legislation, territorial expansion, and the beginning of a more aggressive American foreign policy stance. # 24. Grover Cleveland (March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897) 1. **[[Panic of 1893]]**: This was one of the most severe economic depressions in U.S. history, beginning in 1893 and marked by bank failures, railroad bankruptcies, and a collapse in the stock market. The Panic led to widespread unemployment, [[bankruptcy]], and economic hardship. 2. **Repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1893)**: In response to the Panic of 1893 and the depletion of gold reserves, Cleveland called a special session of Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. The repeal aimed to stabilize the economy and restore confidence in the [[gold standard]]. 3. **Pullman Strike (1894)**: This nationwide railroad strike began in the Pullman Company town near Chicago, protesting wage cuts and high rent. Cleveland intervened by sending federal troops to break the strike, emphasizing the need to maintain mail delivery and suppress disorder, which was a controversial decision that angered labor unions. 4. **Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act (1894)**: This act slightly reduced the United States' high tariff rates and imposed a 2% income tax on incomes over $4,000. However, the income tax provision was later struck down by [[The Supreme Court]] in 1895, in the case of Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. 5. **Venezuelan Boundary Dispute (1895-1896)**: Cleveland played a significant role in the dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana (now Guyana) over their border. He asserted the Monroe Doctrine and demanded arbitration, leading to heightened tensions with Britain but ultimately reinforcing the U.S. stance on non-colonization and non-intervention in the Americas. 6. **Hawaiian Overthrow (1893)**: Although the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by American settlers and the provisional government's request for annexation occurred just before Cleveland's inauguration, his administration dealt with its aftermath. Cleveland opposed annexation and withdrew the treaty submitted by Harrison's administration, believing the overthrow was illegal. He attempted to restore Queen Liliuokalani to the throne but was unsuccessful. 7. **Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)**: While not a direct action of Cleveland's administration, this landmark decision by [[The Supreme Court]] occurred during his term. It upheld the constitutionality of racial [[segregation]] under the "separate but equal" doctrine, which had profound and lasting effects on American society and [[civil rights]]. Cleveland's second term was characterized by his efforts to address the economic crisis, uphold the [[gold standard]], and navigate foreign policy challenges. His interventions in labor disputes and his stance on the Venezuelan Boundary Dispute and the Hawaiian overthrow reflected his complex approach to governance, balancing between interventionist and non-interventionist policies. 1. 25. William McKinley (1897-1901) 2. 26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) 3. 27. William Howard Taft (1909-1913) 4. 28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) 5. 29. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) 6. 30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) 7. 31. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) 8. 32. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) 9. 33. Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) 10. 34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) 1. 35. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) 11. 36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) 12. 37. Richard Nixon (1969-1974) 13. 38. Gerald Ford (1974-1977) 14. 39. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) 15. 40. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) 16. 41. George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) 17. 42. Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 18. 43. George W. Bush (2001-2009) 19. 44. Barack Obama (2009-2017) 20. 45. Donald Trump (2017-2021) 21. 46. Joe Biden (2021-Present)