A New Nation 1789-1859
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Follow your ancestor as they lived the "New Nation's" historyThirteen Colonies  uniting in their quest for freedom from British Rule. The Revolutionary War was fought, the Declaration of Independence signed and the official separation from Great Britain was acknowledged with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. This established American control over the territory between the Appalachians Mountains and the Mississippi River. Then a great expansion began. Veterans of the Revolutionary War pursued land in the Ohio Country. Northwest Territory provided land west of the Ohio River. The Louisiana Purchase was completed in 1803 opening the land to the Rocky Mountains and the new country grew. Zanes Trace, The National Road, Oregon Trail, Conestoga wagons, and handcarts all helped with the expansion. Many more territories were opened, roads were made and modes of transportation employed to move people into the frontier. States began getting admitted to the Union as battles were won, treaties were signed and more area was claimed. With the fervor of Manifest Destiny, a movement to the west ensued.
- 1789: Samuel Osgood, first Postmaster General under Constitution. John Adams is sworn in as the 1st Vice President of the United States. George Washington is sworn in as the 1st President of the United States. The United States Army is established. North Carolina is the 12th state admitted to the Union. North Carolina troops suffered the greatest losses of all the states during the Civil War while fighting for the Confederacy, re-entered the Union after the fighting ceased.
- 1790: The United States Coast Guard is established. Rhode Island is the 13th state admitted to the Union. Congress adopts uniform rules so that any free white person could apply for citizenship after two years of residency. Samuel Slater ("Father of the American Industrial Revolution")  opens the first textile factory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. At first he employed children ages 7 to 12 then eventually incorporated whole families and complete communities in his work force.
- 1791: Vermont is the 14th state admitted to the Union. Vermont became the first state added to the Union following the 13 colonies on March 1, 1791. Until statehood, had been a region claimed by both New York and New Hampshire.
- 1792: The United States Military Draft is established (Second Militia Act of 1792). Every "free able-bodied white male citizen" between the ages of 18 and 45 were conscripted into a local militia companies to be overseen by the state. Kentucky is the 15th state admitted to the Union. Kentucky became the first state to be carved from the great western wilderness on June 1, 1792. Never a territory, it was part of Virginia until statehood. George Washington was re-elected president of the United States; John Adams was re-elected Vice President. A Yellow fever epidemic occurred.  Thought to be brought into the ports of the United states from the West Indies, this was one of the most dreaded diseases at that time. Many died unattended in homes while those with financial means fled the cities. Philadelphia was particularly hard hit.
- 1793: February 12; Fugitive Slave Act passed; this had a devastating effect on the lives of twenty percent of the American population that was of African descent, giving rise to the Underground Railroad.   March 4; George Washington is sworn in as President for a 2nd term with John Adams as Vice President. Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin.
- 1794: John Adams was elected to be the second President of the United States. The United States Navy is established with authorization for six vessels.
- 1796: Tennessee, formerly part of North Carolina, is the 16th state admitted to the Union. On June 8, 1861, it joined the Confederacy and became a major battleground for the Civil War, re-entering the Union after war's end. Electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States.
- 1797: John Adams is sworn in as the 2nd President of the United States with Thomas Jefferson as the Vice President. The United States Marine Corps is established.
- 1800: The Indiana Territory is organized as is The Ohio Territory. Washington, D.C. becomes the official capital of the United States. The District of Columbia does not have statehood.
- 1801: Thomas Jefferson is sworn in as the 3rd President of the United States with Aaron Burr as the Vice President.
- 1802: Children of naturalized citizens were considered to be citizens as per Act of 1795.
- 1803: Ohio is the 17th state admitted to the Union. Ohio became the first state west of the Alleghenies on March 1, 1803 and was part of the Northwest Territory until statehood. The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory for $15 million, containing what is now Arkansas, part of Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, part of Minnesota, Missouri, part of Montana, part of North Dakota, part of Oklahoma, South Dakota, and part of Wyoming. The War between France and England interrupted trade and emigration from Europe. The British Passenger Vessels Act limited the numbers of Irish emigrant ships.
- 1804: Louis & Clark begin their expedition of the Louisiana Territory.
- 1805: The Michigan Territory is organized. Thomas Jefferson is sworn in as President for a 2nd term with George Clinton as Vice President. Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific Ocean.
- 1806: Lewis and Clark return from exploring the Louisiana Territory. Robert Fulton and Robert R. Livingston together built the first commercial steamboat, the North River Steamboat (later known as the Clermont), which carried passengers between New York City and Albany, New York. 
- 1808: U.S. slave trade with Africa ends, From 1803 to 1808, between 75,000 and 100,000 Africans entered the United States. 
- 1809: The Illinois Territory is organized. James Madison is sworn in as the 4th President of the United States with George Clinton is sworn in as Vice President.
- 1810: The United States annexes what is now part of Alabama, part of Louisiana, and part of Mississippi.
- 1811: The National Road or Cumberland Road was one of the first major improved highways in the United States, built by the federal government. Construction began in at Cumberland, Maryland, on the Potomac River. 
- 1812: Louisiana is the 18th state admitted to the Union. With certain boundary changes, had been the Territory of Orleans. It joined the Confederacy on January 26; 1861 and re-entered the Union after the Civil War. The Mississippi Territory is organized as is the Missouri Territory. The United States declares war on Britain. For more information about the War of 1812 and its battles see the War of 1812 Page along with individual State Military Pages.
- 1813: James Madison is sworn in as President for a 2nd term with Elbridge Gerry as the Vice President.
- 1814: The British set fire to Washington, D.C. The "Star-Spangled Banner"  becomes the official national Anthem. The United States and Britain sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
- 1815: January 8; American forces win the Battle of New Orleans (they didn't know the war is over). After The Napoleonic Wars ended the a string of European immigrants dramatically increased.
- 1816: December 11; Indiana is the 19th state admitted to the Union. There was a residue of Indiana Territory that continued to exist under that name until Dec. 3, 1818, when it was attached to Michigan Territory.
- 1817: March 3; The Alabama Territory is organized. James Monroe is sworn in as the 5th President of the United States with Elbridge Gerry as Vice President. Mississippi is the 20th state admitted to the Union. Mississippi was formally a territory by Act of April 7, 1798, effective May 7, 1798.
- 1818: Liverpool becomes the most-used port of departure for Irish and British immigrants coming to the United States. The Jackson Purchase Illinois is the 21st state admitted to the Union. The privately owned Black Ball Line Packet sailed regularly between New York and Liverpool, England.
- 1819: February 22; The United States annexes Florida. The Panic of 1819 caused desperate people to live in Tent Cities. The Arkansas Territory is organized. Alabama is the 22nd state admitted to the Union. In January 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union, and on February 4, delegates from six states met at Montgomery and formed the Confederate States of America, with Montgomery as the capital. After the Civil War, Alabama re-entered the Union. Passenger lists are kept for Steamboat travel. 
- 1820: The U.S. population is about 9.6 million. About 151,000 new immigrants arrive in 1820 alone. Maine is the 23rd state admitted to the Union. Its admission to the Union balanced the simultaneous admission of Missouri as a slave state. What is now the state of Maine was, before statehood, called the District of Maine and belonged to Massachusetts. The Missouri Compromise was an agreement between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions passed in the United States Congress concerning Western Territories.
- 1821: James Monroe is sworn in as President for a 2nd term with Daniel Tompkins as Vice President. Missouri is the 24th state admitted to the Union. Missouri was admitted as a slave state on August 10, 1821, after an agreement known as the Missouri Compromise in which Maine was admitted as a free state. The state was much smaller than the territory. The area to the west and northwest of the state, which had been in the territory, was commonly known as the "Missouri Country" until May 30, 1854, and certain of the post offices in this area show a Missouri abbreviation in the postmark.
- 1825: John Quincy Adams is sworn in as the 6th President of the United States with John Calhoun as Vice President.
- 1829: Andrew Jackson is sworn in as the 7th President of the United States with John Calhoun as Vice President.
- 1830: Polish revolution spurred refuge to the U.S.; Congress allotted thirty-six sections of public land in Illinois to Polish refugees. 
- 1833: Andrew Jackson is sworn in as President for a 2nd term with Martin van Buren asVice President.
- 1834:The Indian Territory is established in what is now Oklahoma.
- 1836:The Wisconsin Territory is organized. Arkansas is the 25th state admitted to the Union despite opposition in Congress to a new slave state. Arkansas Governor Henry M. Rector seized Fort Smith and Arkansas joined the Confederacy in 1861 re-entering the Union at War's end. The territory of Arkansas was larger than the state. After statehood the leftover area to the west had post offices that continued for some years to use an Arkansas abbreviation in the postmarks, although they were really in the "Indian Country."
- 1837: Martin van Buren is sworn in as the 8th President of the United States with Richard Johnson as Vice President. Michigan is the 26th state admitted to the Union. The Magnetic telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse.
- 1839: Beginning in 1839, U.S. law created a series of statutes that gradually expanded the rights of married women to act as independent agents in legal contexts.
- 1841: William Harrison is sworn in as the 9th President of the United States with John Tyler as Vice President. John Tyler is sworn in as the 10th President of the United States.
- 1844: The United States annexes what are now parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as a result of the Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain.
- 1845: The term Manifest Destiny was a phrase coined by American newspaper editor John O'Sullivan. O'sullivan was writing about the proposed annexation of Texas and stated that it was America's “manifest destiny to overspread the continent.” The idea suggested that through expansion from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, the United States could become a recognized political and social superpower. America had, in fact, O'Sullivan argued, been uniquely chosen for the task of expanding Westward, driving out the wilderness and establishing civilization.  Florida is the 27th state admitted to the Union, and a move delayed by the reluctance of Congress to admit another slave state, and it joined the Confederacy on January 10, 1861, re-entering the Union at war's end. James Polk is sworn in as the 11th President of the United States with George Dallas as Vice President. Texas was an independent republic before statehood and was the 28th state admitted to the Union.
- 1846: Brigham Young, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's governing body, begins the largest, most successful mass exodus in American History. The Mexican War begins with the Battle of Palo Alto. For more information about the The Mexican War and its battles see the The Mexican War Page along with individual State Military Pages. Irish of all classes emigrate to the United States as a result of the potato famine.  Many Irish came to the United States by way of Canada. The United States declares war on Mexico. The United States annexes what is now Arizona and New Mexico. Iowa is the 29th state admitted to the Union becoming the first free state in the old Louisiana Territory.
- 1846-1847: Crop failures in Europe. Mortgage foreclosures send tens of thousands of the dispossessed go to the United States.
- 1848: The California gold rush results in Chinese and Latin American immigrants coming to the west coast. The China Emigration and Immigration page explains in more detail the impact the Chinese had with this part of the Nation's growth. Mexico and the United States sign the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. German political refugees emigrate following the failure of a revolution. Wisconsin is the 30th state admitted to the Union  The United States annexes the Oregon Territory containing what is now Idaho, part of Montana, Oregon, Washington, part of Wyoming.
- 1849: The Minnesota Territory is organized. Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 12th Vice President of the United States. Zachary Taylor is sworn in as the 12th President of the United States. Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery on the "Underground Railroad".
- 1850: The Kansas Territory, Nebraska Territory,and The Utah Territory are organized. Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th President of the United States. California is the 31st state admitted to the Union. Congress hesitated to welcome a new free state, but because of its booming population and the discovery of gold California was admitted. Ceded by Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, concluded Feb. 2, 1848, and proclaimed July 4, 1848. From then until statehood, California had a military government until Dec. 20, 1849, and then a local civil government. California never had a territorial form of government. The Fugitive Slave Act is passed by Congress requiring the return of escaped slaves.
- 1851: The Erie Railroad opens in New York; at 483 miles, it is the longest railroad line in the world.
- 1853: The Washington Territory and The Oregon Territory are organized. Franklin Pierce is sworn in as the 14th President of the United States with William King as Vice President.
- 1854: The United States purchases (The Gadsden Purchase) what is now part of Arizona and New Mexico. The Panama Railroad, an American company, completes the [Panama Railroad across the Isthmus of Panama].
- 1857: James Buchanan is sworn in as the 15th President of the United States with John Breckinridge as Vice President.
- American Origins 1600 to 1900 presentation by the Smithsonian.
- The Migration to North America
- Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869 is a collection of the original writings of travelers on the Mormon, California, Oregon, and Montana trails.
- The Underground Railroad presentation by the National Geographic Online.
- Thirteen Colonies -Wikipedia
- An Outline of United States History, for Use in the General Course in United States History, Yale College: By Ralph Henry Gabriel, Dumas Malone, Frederick Johnson Manning, Theodore L. Glasgow. Memorial Publication Fund. Published by Yale university press, 1921. Original from Harvard University. Digitized Jun 19, 2008. 68 pages. page 32. Full text available at Google Books Worldcat
- White, George Savage; Memoir of Samuel Slater: the father of American manufactures Edition: 2. Published by s.n., 1836 Original from the New York Public Library. Digitized Jul 13, 2007. 448 pages. Full text available at Google Books
- A melancholy scene of devastation: the public response to the 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic By J. Worth Estes, Billy G. Smith. Contributor J. Worth Estes Edition: illustrated. Published by The Library Company of Phil, 1997. ISBN 088135192X, 9780881351927 211 pages. Worldcat Full text available at Google Books.
- The Underground Railroad From Slavery to Freedom By Wilbur Henry Siebert, Albert Bushnell Hart. Edition: 2. Published by Macmillan, 1898. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Jun 25, 2007. 478 pages, Indexed. Full text at Google Books.
- Mitchell, William M.; The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom Edition: 2. Published by W. Tweedie, 1860. Original from Harvard University. Digitized Aug 4, 2006. 191 pages. Full text available at Google Books
- James Alexander Robertson, Paul Alliot; Louisiana Under the Rule of Spain, France, and the United States, 1785-1807: Social, Economic, and Political Conditions of the Territory Represented in the Louisiana Purchase. Published by The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1911. Item notes: v. 2. Worldcat Full text available at Google Books
- Robert Fulton –Wikipedia
- Forgotten Step toward Freedom
- National Road
- Francis Scott Key: author of the Star spangled banner; what else he was and who. By Francis Scott Key-Smith Published by Key-Smith and company, 1911. 104 pages. Worldcat. Full text available at Google Books
- Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: A Guide to Published Arrival Records of ... Passengers who Came to the United States and Canada in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries. Published by Gale Research Co., 1980. Item notes: v. 2. Original from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Digitized Jun 10, 2008. 324 pages. Worldcat. This series is a finding aid to published passenger lists. Be sure to read the "front material" to understand how to use the information you find.
- The settlement of Illinois from 1830 to 1850 (1908) Pooley, William Vipond.
- What is Manifest Destiny?
- Kinealy, Christine; This great calamity: the Irish famine, 1845-52. Edition: illustrated. Published by Gill & Macmillan, 1994. Original from the University of California. Digitized Sep 4, 2008. 450 pages. Worldcat Snippet view available at Google Books
- 1999-2000 Wisconsin Blue Book (published by the State of Wisconsin), on May 29, 1848, Wisconsin became the 30th state in the Union." (p. 630)