The controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act, by repealing the Missouri Compromise and applying popular sovereignty in territories that had been previously closed to slavery, created a mad rush to settle the Kansas Territory. Antislavery settlers arrived from as far away as New England, while proslavery settlers augmented their numbers with Missouri residents who crossed the border in order to vote in territorial elections. This timeline follows the saga of "Bleeding Kansas" from its origins to its conclusion.
Click here to download my Bleeding Kansas timeline in PDF format.
1820 (Missouri Compromise)
The Missouri Compromise closed all territory north of the 36°30′ parallel to slavery within the Louisiana Purchase. The territories that would later be organized as Kansas and Nebraska were north of the 36°30′ parallel, so the understanding reached in 1820 was that this territory would be closed to slavery.
1850 (Compromise of 1850)
As part of the Compromise of 1850, the New Mexico and Utah Territories were both organized in the Mexican Cession on the principle of popular sovereignty, with Congress leaving the settlement of the slavery question to the settlers, themselves. California is admitted into the Union as a free state. This was the first de facto application of popular sovereignty because the settlers in California drafted and submitted a free-state constitution on their own, without having previously been organized as a federal territory.
1854 (The Kansas-Nebraska Act)
1854-1859 ("Bleeding Kansas")
1855 (The Topeka Constitution)
A convention of settlers was held in Topeka, Kansas, which produced the Topeka Constitution, which was a Free State constitution for Kansas. The Topeka Constitution was held up in Congress, not being able to pass through the proslavery Senate.
1856 (The Brooks-Sumner Incident)
Charles Sumner, an abolitionist senator from Massachusetts, delivered an inflammatory speech, which he titled, “The Crime Against Kansas,” in which he personally insulted Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina and went on to disparage his entire state. Preston Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina and a relative of Senator Butler, took it upon himself to beat the living daylights out of Sumner with a cane to avenge the honor of his state. The caning of Charles Sumner became a polarizing incident, as Northerners vilified Brooks as a caricature of a violent Southern slaveholder, while he was hailed as a hero in the South. Southern supporters sent canes to Brooks in appreciation for his efforts.
1857 (The Lecompton Constitution)
Proslavery settlers drafted the Lecompton Constitution, which would have established Kansas as a slave state. In spite of support from President Buchanan, the Lecompton Constitution was blocked by the free-state majority in the House of Representatives.
After the secession of the Deep South created a free-state majority in the United States Senate, Kansas was finally admitted into the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861.
One of the major themes of the AP® US History course is migration and settlement. In order to help students prepare for the APUSH exam, I have created a two page review sheet with notes on immigration and internal migrations from the pre-colonial period to the present.
Click here to download my APUSH Immigration Review Notes.
Native Migrations ("1491")
Around 15,000 years ago, small human populations from Siberia migrated across the Bering Land Bridge. Over thousands of years, these groups spread across North America and developed into several distinct language and culture groups.
Exploration and Colonization (1492-1776)
European colonizers settled in different regions in North America, with the Spanish settling in the American Southwest and Florida, the French in the Great Lakes region and Louisiana, the Dutch in present-day New York, and the English on the Eastern Seaboard. Of these colonizers, only the English sent large numbers of settlers.
During this period, over 300,000 African slaves were brought to North America via the infamous Middle Passage across the Atlantic.
Early National America (1776-1820)
European settlers during the early national period came primarily from Northwestern Europe (England, Scotland, Germany, and Scandinavia). These settlers were overwhelmingly Protestant.
After American independence, 300,000 more African slaves were brought to the United States before Congress ended the African slave trade in 1808.
Antebellum Period (1820-1860)
In the 1820s, thousands of Anglo-American settlers, mostly from the South, began settling in Texas, which was part of Mexico. In the 1830s, conflicts between these settlers and the Mexican government resulted in Texas declaring its independence in 1836.
The 1830 Indian Removal Act resulted in the (often forced) relocation of around 60,000 Native Americans from the South to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Thousands died on what became known as the Trail of Tears.
The Wild West (1840-1890)
During the 1840s, the height of Manifest Destiny, thousands of American pioneers ventured to the American West on the Oregon, Mormon, and California Trails. The 1849 Gold Rush made California a popular destination for Americans hoping to strike it rich.
The Gold Rush also attracted Chinese immigrants, who settled in San Francisco and prospected for gold. In the 1860s, Chinese made up the bulk of the workforce that constructed the Central Pacific Railroad.
NATIVISM: The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), which banned further immigration from China, was the first law passed in the United States to limit immigration. A 1907 “Gentleman’s Agreement” between the United States and Japan limited Japanese immigration without the United States passing a law.
The Progressive Era (1890-1920)
In the 1890s, as the United States was in the midst of unprecedented industrialization and urbanization, “New Immigrants” arrived in droves from Southern and Eastern Europe (e.g., Italy, Poland, Greece, and Russia). In addition to Italian and Polish Catholics, this represented the first large wave of Jewish and Orthodox Christian immigrants.
NATIVISM: The New Immigrants did not get a particularly warm welcome in the United States because they did not tend to speak English, came from countries with little to no experience with republican institutions, and often lacked education and job skills.
Progressive reformers worked to culturally assimilate the New Immigrants into an American “melting pot.” The settlement house movement, led by people like Jane Addams (of the Hull House), sought to give immigrants job and language skills. Public education became more focused on citizenship and acquainting new immigrants with the American way of life.
The (First) Red Scare, which followed the Bolshevik Revolution, was a panic about immigration rooted in fear that immigrants would start a communist revolution in the United States. The Palmer Raids resulted in the deportation of hundreds of immigrants who held radical political views.
The Great Migration of African Americans from the South began during World War I, as black men sought jobs in Northern cities and eventually brought their families with them. Unfortunately, many of those trying to escape racism in the South found it in the North in the form of brutal race riots in Chicago and other cities.
NATIVISM MEETS RACISM: The (Second) Ku Klux Klan reached its peak membership in the mid-1920s, inspired by the silent film, Birth of a Nation, which glamorized the activities of the (First) Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan was as nativist as it was racist, promoting an idea of America that was white, native, and Protestant (WASP).
Congress passed Immigration Quota Acts during the 1920s, which laid the foundation for a system of controlled immigration. Quotas, based on national origins, gave preference to immigrants from Northern and Western Europe.
The Sacco and Vanzetti Trial was a polarizing event in the 1920s. When Sacco and Vanzetti were found guilty of a murder and armed robbery, Italian-Americans cried foul, claiming that the guilty verdict was based on the defendants’ national origins and anarchist politics.
Contemporary America (1960-Present)
In the decades following WWII, there was a sustained internal migration to the warm climates of the sun belt (from the Carolinas to California) because of the availability of air conditioning and cheaper (and often less regulated) labor.
In the 1960s, national origins quotas were modified in order to encourage more immigration from the developing world - especially from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East - and eliminating preferences for white immigrants.
The 1965 act also gave preference to educated immigrants who possessed specialized job skills (e.g., doctors, chemists), immigrants who already had relatives in the United States, and refugees.
The Immigration Act of 1990 lifted restrictions against homosexual immigrants, who had been classified among “sexual deviants” in the 1965 Immigration Act.
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A few AP readers have complained to me about the tally sheets they were issued for the at-home readings for APUSH, AP Euro, and AP World. I've designed a more intuitive tally sheet for anyone who would be interested in using it. This sheet has the points listed in the order that they appear on my scoring rubrics.
Click here to download my DBQ tally sheet for this year's AP History readings.
According to the College Board, a cheat sheet is not cheating on the 2020 AP US History exam. That's why I have created a "cheat sheet" for Period 3, which is organized into three pages to cater to three possible DBQ focus areas (American Revolution, the Constitution, and the First Two Party System).
Click here to download my "Cheat Sheet" for Period 3.
Best of luck to everyone on the 2020 APUSH Exam!
I've been told that this video, taken from a recent scene from the Clone Wars cartoon series, represents my best work. The only problem is that YouTube and Instagram have blocked it for copyright. I contend that this video falls under fair use, as I'm using a scene from Clone Wars to educate young people on Star Wars Day in a way that promotes the Star Wars brand, doesn't generate revenue for me, and encourages people to watch the show.
I hope that students taking the AP US History, AP European History, and AP World History exams draw inspiration from Maul and his mastery over the Dark Side of the Force to write amazing DBQs next week!
Last week, the College Board announced that the 2020 AP European History exam will consist of a DBQ with five documents that will be scored based on a ten point rubric.
On Monday, I shared a five document DBQ on the Renaissance with teachers so that students can get acquainted with the new format while studying the Renaissance (typically, AP Euro DBQs cover content starting at 1600 but the period from 1450 to 1600 is fair game this year).
Topic 7.11 in the AP US History Course and Exam Description addresses Interwar Foreign Policy. One of the key understandings students must have to answer questions about this topic is to understand that while the American public was concerned about the rise of totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi Germany, most Americans opposed direct involvement in the war until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The America First Committee
I have created a practice stimulus-based multiple choice question set featuring an excerpt from one of Charles Lindbergh's speeches. This should be helpful in preparing AP US History students for questions that they might encounter on the exam regarding Interwar foreign policy prior to Pearl Harbor. This is one of fifteen topics from Period 7 of the APUSH course that is subject to assessment.
Gideon v. Wainwright is a 1963 Supreme Court case that established the right of all criminal defendants to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one. It is considered to be a landmark case in establishing the rights of the accused. It is one of the fifteen required Supreme Court cases on the AP United States Government and Politics exam.
For more AP US Government and Politics exam resources visit:
Facts of the Case
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Gideon had a right to an attorney under the Sixth Amendment, guaranteeing all criminal defendants the right to an attorney. This decision is an example of selective incorporation, in which the Supreme Court incorporates parts of the Bill of Rights, which initially only applied to the federal government, to also apply to the states.
While in prison, Gideon did some research in the prison library and became convinced that he had been denied his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. He petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari and the Court agreed to hear his appeal.
Gideon's case was re-tried in a Florida court, where he was found Not Guilty with the help of a court-appointed attorney.
For a deeper look into Gideon v. Wainwright, take a look at the YouTube video and study guide that I created with my friends at Marco Learning!
In my latest YouTube video, I explain Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy to AP Government students.
Monetary Policy, which is set by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, deals with interest rates and the money supply. The Federal Reserve sets the rate at which banks may borrow from the Fed in the short term, which impacts all other interest rates. High interest rates discourage borrowing and low interest rates encourage borrowing. The Fed also regulates the money supply, determining how much currency is in circulation in order to control inflation. Since the members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for 14 year terms, monetary policy is not as directly responsive to public opinion as fiscal policy. The Fed is set up as an independent regulatory agency, so it does not answer directly to politicians (though it is not entirely immune to political pressure).
Fiscal policy and monetary policy both affect economic growth. For example, Congress may cut taxes in order to stimulate the economy, while the Fed may lower interest rates in order to encourage investment.
If you're looking for help preparing for you AP Government exam, check out the online course that I created with my friends at Marco Learning. Click here for more information.
I am a history teacher who creates YouTube videos and instructional materials. I use this blog to publish lecture notes, book reviews, and personal reflections inspired by history, politics, and literature.