American History

The history of the U.S. started with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Numerous indigenous cultures formed, and many disappeared in the 1500s. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 started the European colonization of the Americas. Most colonies were formed after 1600. By the 1760s, the thirteen British colonies contained 2.5 million people along the Atlantic Coast east of the Appalachian Mountains. After defeating France, the British government imposed a series of taxes, including the Stamp Act of 1765, rejecting the colonists' constitutional argument that new taxes needed their approval. Resistance to these taxes, especially the Boston Tea Party in 1773, led to Parliament issuing punitive laws designed to end self-government in Massachusetts. Armed conflict began in 1775 and the following year, it won independence. A Constitution that was adopted in 1789, and in 1791, a Bill of Rights was added. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubled its size. A second and final war with Britain in 1812, solidified national pride.

Using manifest destiny, U.S. territory expanded to the Pacific Coast. Westward expansion was driven by a quest for inexpensive land for farmers and slave owners. The expansion of slavery was increasingly controversial and fueled political and constitutional battles, which were resolved by compromises. Slavery was abolished in all states north of the Mason–Dixon line by 1804, but the South continued to profit from the institution, mostly from cotton production. In 1861, Southern slave states rebelled and created the Confederacy, leading to the Civil War. Defeat of the Confederates in 1865 led to the impoverishment of the South and the abolition of slavery. In the Reconstruction era following the war, legal and voting rights were extended to freed slaves. However, in 1877, white Democrats regained their power in the South, often by paramilitary suppression of voting They passed Jim Crow laws to maintain white supremacy, as well as new disenfranchising state constitutions that prevented most African Americans and many Poor Whites from voting. This continued until the gains of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the passage of federal legislation to enforce uniform constitutional rights for all citizens. (Text adapted from Wikipedia, cropped flag from the City of Grafton, IL.)

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Language
State
Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1874-1887 Maryland (January 1, 1874 - December 31, 1887) Activism, Amendment, Association, Black, Constitution, CWFA, Declaration, Elections, Equal, History, Male, National, Native American, Protest, School Elections, Supreme Court, Voting, WCTU

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1888-1902 Maryland (January 1, 1888 - December 31, 1902) Anti-suffrage, CESL, ICW, IWSA, Constitution, Conference, Convention, Female, NAWSA, NCCWA, NCVJ, Organization, Referendum, Religion, Remonstrance, School Elections, Supreme Court, Vote

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1903-1912 Maryland (January 1, 1903 - December 31, 1912) AFL, Amendment, Anti-Suffrage, Association, CESL, Chinese, Congress, Constitutional, Court, Convention, ELSSW, Expatriation, HERL, First, IAW, IWD, Legislature, March, NAOWS, New York City, Triangle, Union, WTUL, WTULNY

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1913-1918 Maryland (January 1, 1913 - December 31, 1918) Alpha, Conference, CUWS, Parade, Congress, Election, Puck, Mother’s March, Paul, Municipal, Silent-Sentinels, Wilson

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1919-1936 Maryland (January 1, 1919 - December 31, 1936) Alpha, ABCL, Anthony, Citizenship, CCC, Department-of-Labor, ERA, FERA, First, Immigration, LWV, 19th Amendment, NCAI, NCW, Nobel, NWP, NYA, Prison-Train, Puerto Rico, She, Supreme Court, “Watchfires,” Wilson

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1984-Current Maryland (January 1, 1984 - ?) Black, Democrat, Department, First, Female, Hispanic, Indian-American, Jewish, Latina, 19th-Amendment, Presidential, Republican, Secretary, State, Supreme-Court, Congress, Vote

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: Summary (January 1, 1849 - ?)

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

Timeline of the Civil War: Major Battles and Reconstruction Maryland (April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865) Civil Rights Act, Confederacy, Davis, Emancipation-Proclamation, Ft.-Sumter, Fifteenth, Fourteenth, Grant, Ironsides, Jim Crow, Lee, Lincoln, Separate-but-Equal, Slavery, Succession, Supreme Court, Surrender, Thirteenth, Amendment, Union, Vote

The Civil War is one of the most complex, studied and written about events in U.S. history and was fought from April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865. Although many theories have been considered, it is now generally agreed that the main cause of the conflict was the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of Black people.

Timeline of the Civil War: Summary Maryland (April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865)

The Civil War has been called the Second American Revolution, the War of the Rebellion, the War between the States, the War for Southern Independence, the Rich Man's War and the Poor Man's Fight, the War to Save the Union, and after it was over, many in the South referred to it as "The Lost Cause." It was also called a struggle between national sovereignty and states' rights.

Timeline of Jim Crow Laws: Summary and Photograph Collection Maryland (c.1877 - c.1965) [See Civil War: Summary], Civil Rights Act, Colored, Compromise of 1877, Constitutional Amendments, Disenfranchise, Emancipation Proclamation, Great Migration, Protests, Reconstruction, Segregation, Vigilantes, Voting Rights, Whites-Only

After the Civil War, a system of laws and practices denied full freedom and citizenship to African Americans, segregating nearly all aspects of public life. The Emancipation Proclamation symbolically established a national intent to eradicate slavery in the U.S, but it only affected the states that had joined the Confederacy. The Confederates built an explicitly white-supremacist, nation-state, dedicated to the principle that all men are not created equal. Decades of state and federal legislation followed.

American Inns of Courts "AIC" Virginia (February 2, 1980 - ?)

The American Inns of Court concept was the product of a discussion in the late 1970's among the US' members of the Anglo-American Exchange of Lawyers and Judges, including Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger and Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Burger invited Rex E. Lee, then Dean of the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at Brigham Young University and later justice of the Utah Supreme Court, to test the idea.

Civil War: Black Codes Summary (Pre-Jim Crow Laws) South Carolina (c.1865 - ?) American History, Apprentice, Civil Rights, Code Noir, Felony, Freedman’s Bureau, Legislature, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mulattoes, Negroes, Penal Laws, Slavery, South Carolina, Vagrant Laws, White Supremacy

Before the Civil War, Northern states prohibiting slavery enacted laws like the slave codes to discourage free Blacks from residing in those states. Blacks were denied equal political rights, including the right to vote, attend public schools and receive equal treatment under the law. In the first two years after the Civil War, white-dominated Southern legislatures passed their own Black Codes modeled after the earlier slave codes.

Summary of Americans All: Tools to Build a More Perfect Union (c.1986 - ?)

Today, Americans All remains true to its mission to honor the contributions that all immigrants, both forced and voluntary, have made—and continue to make—to our nation. A second goal is to help schools and small businesses prosper. Our 35-year-old nonprofit foundation’s education resources have been used in more than 2,000 schools and libraries nationwide, helping to highlight the values that unite, rather than divide, the American people.

Brief Biographies of Champions of Social Justice, Part 1 (? - ?) Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Cesar Chavez, Frederick Douglass, Ruth B. Ginsburg, Martin Luther King, Lewis, Marshall, Rosa Parks, Chief Plenty Coups, Jack Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Harry Truman, Helen Zia

Social justice is a political and philosophical theory which asserts that there are dimensions to the concept of justice beyond those embodied in the principles of civil or criminal law, economic supply and demand, or traditional moral frameworks. Social justice tends to focus more on just relations between groups within society as opposed to the justice of individual conduct or justice for individuals. In short, Social justice means equal rights and equitable opportunities for all.

American Revolutionary War Pennsylvania (c.1754 - c.1788) Irish, American History, Revolutionary War

When America was born, the Irish were there!  The Irish, both Protestant and Catholic, were a major part of Washington’s volunteers from foot soldiers to high ranking officers. When increased Crown exploitation drove the colonists to protest, among the loudest were the Irish who had no great love for the Crown to begin with. And there were many immigrant Irish in America’s colonies.

African American Stories (? - ?) Abolitionist, Activists, Athletes, Authors, Blacks, Courts, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Desegregation, Equality, Freedom Rides, Great Migration, Jim Crow, Lynchings, Prejudice, Segregation, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Unemployment, Voting Rights

Americans All provides a website home for African American stories, FREE of cost, so community members and their organizations can create and share their stories, preserve their legacies and add them to the increasingly visible list of major  accomplishments made by African American citizens.

Civil War: Andersonville Angel, Irish History Georgia (c.1802 - February 6, 1871) American History, Civil War, Irish Catholic Priest, Prison

Rev. Peter Whelan, administrator of the Savannah diocese, distinguished himself as a chaplain for the Montgomery Guards, an Irish company in the First Georgia Volunteer Regiment, named for one of America’s earliest heroes—Irish-born Revolutionary General Richard Montgomery.  In 1862, The Montgomery Guards were bombed into surrender by Union forces and though he was offered freedom, Rev. Whelan chose to remain with the prisoners.

Civil War: Battle of Antietam, Irish History Maryland (September 17, 1862 - September 22, 1862) Revolutionary War Battle, American History, Irish

The bloodiest day in American history took place during the Civil War and the Irish had a major part in the Union victory that day. It took place at Antietam on September 17, 1862, and it was the victory that emboldened President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Foremost among Union forces was the Irish Brigade led by Irish-born Gen. Thomas F Meagher.

Angel Island Immigration Station California (January 21, 1910 - November 5, 1940) Chinese, Immigration Station, American History

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was the location of a large and imposing government compound where immigrants seeking entry into the United States via Pacific routes were processed. Often referred to as the Ellis Island of the West, this one-mile-square state park is the largest island in San Francisco Bay. See the video, Island of Secret Memories.

Civil War: Beauvoir--The Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library Mississippi (February 19, 1879 - ?) American History, Civil War, Confederate, Presidential Library,

Throughout the years, Beauvoir has boasted a long and grand literary tradition. From the accomplished writing skills of those who lived there to the extensive library collections that have been housed on the grounds, Beauvoir has a great history of libraries. Of course, Sarah Dorsey, Jefferson Davis, his daughter Winnie, his wife Varina, and even some veterans like Prentiss Ingraham were all successful in their writing ventures.