BECK index


Volume 19: UNITED STATES & Civil War 1845-1868

by Sanderson Beck

United States & Civil War 1845-1868 has been published as a book.
For ordering information, please click here.


Polk and the US-Mexican War 1845-49

Polk, Texas & Manifest Destiny in 1845
Polk Begins War Against Mexico in 1846
US Conquest of California & New Mexico 1846-49
Polk’s War Against Mexico in 1847
Mexican Cession and the 1848 US Election

US of Taylor, Clay & Fillmore 1849-52

Whigs and Taylor in 1849
Whigs and Taylor in 1850
Fillmore & Clay’s Compromise of 1850
United States Elections & Census of 1850
Fillmore Maintains the Union 1851-53

US of Pierce & Kansas Conflicts 1853-56

Pierce Administration in 1853
Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
Kansas Conflict in 1855
Kansas Conflict Resolved in 1856
United States Politics & Elections of 1856

US Western Expansion & Indians 1845-65

Native Tribes in the West 1845-65
New Mexico Territory 1845-56
New Mexico, Colorado & Arizona 1858-65
California Gold Rush & Politics 1848-65
California Indian Killing
Mormons, Brigham Young & Utah
Oregon & Washington Territory 1845-65

Black Americans & Abolitionists 1845-65

Black Progress in the North 1845-53
Black Progress in the North 1853-60
Blacks During Slavery in the South 1845-60
Harriet Tubman and Solomon Northup
Sojourner Truth and Harriet Jacobs
Frederick Douglass 1845-55
Frederick Douglass 1856-65

United States & Buchanan 1857-59

Buchanan, Dred Scott & Panic in 1857
Kansas & Conflicts over Slavery 1857-58
Lincoln & the Douglas Debates
Buchanan and Elections in 1858
United States in 1859
John Brown’s Crusade Against Slavery

United States Dividing 1860-61

United States in 1860
United States Elections in 1860
United States & Secession in Late 1860
United States & Secession in Early 1861

Lincoln’s War for Union in 1861

Lincoln’s Inauguration March 1861
North & South War Begins in April 1861
Confederate Congress on April 29
North & South Mobilization in May 1861
US Civil War June-July 1861
US Civil War August-October 1861
US Civil War November-December 1861

Lincoln’s War for Union in 1862

US Civil War January-February 1862
US Civil War March-May 1862
US Civil War June-July 1862
US Civil War August-October 1862
US Civil War November-December 1862

Lincoln’s War for Emancipation in 1863

US Civil War January-February 1863
US Civil War March-April 1863
US Civil War May-July 1863
US Civil War August-October 1863
US Civil War November-December 1863

Lincoln’s War for Emancipation in 1864

US Civil War January-February 1864
US Civil War March-April 1864
US Civil War May-June 1864
US Civil War July-August 1864
US Civil War September-October 1864
US Civil War November-December 1864

United States Victory in 1865

US Civil War January-February 1865
US Civil War March 1865
United States Victory in April-May 1865

Preventing United States Civil War

How Lincoln Could Have Prevented Civil War
US Civil War Atrocities
How US History Might Have Been Better

US Reconstruction & Johnson 1865-66

US Reconstruction April-June 1865
US Reconstruction July-October 1865
US Reconstruction November-December 1865
Reconstruction & Johnson January-April 1866
Reconstruction & Johnson May-July 1866
Reconstruction & Johnson August-December 1866
United States & Red Cloud’s War 1865-66

Republican Reconstruction 1867-68

Republican Reconstruction January-March 1867
Republican Reconstruction April-December 1867
Constitutional Conventions in the South 1867-68
United States & Red Cloud’s War 1867-68
Impeachment & Trial of Johnson in 1868
United States in 1868
United States Elections in 1868

US Peacemakers & Women Reformers 1845-68

American Peacemakers & Abolitionists
Burritt and Ballou on Peace
Thoreau’s Walden & “Civil Disobedience”
Emerson on War, Great Men & Conduct
Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the 19th Century
Mrs. Stanton, Lucretia Mott & Lucy Stone
Susan B. Anthony
Lydia Child, Dorothea Dix & Oneida

American Literature 1845-56

Lowell, Longfellow & Whitman
Stowe & Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Hawthorne’s Novels
Melville’s Sea Novels
Melville’s Satirical Novels

Summary & Evaluating America 1845-1868

United States & Mexican War 1845-1852
United States 1853-1859
US Western Expansion & Indian Tribes 1845-65
United States Slavery & Division 1845-60
United States Civil War 1861-1862
United States Civil War 1863-1865
American Reformers & Literature 1845-65
What Could Have Prevented US Civil War?
Evaluating America in 1845-65


World Chronology
Chronology of America to 1868


       This is the third volume on the history and ethics of the English colonies of North America and the United States. This volume covers the years 1845-1868. The Democrat James K. Polk was elected President of the United States in 1844 and wanted to expand the United States westward, and some Democrats in slave states aimed to extend slavery into western territories and make them new states. These desires led to an aggressive war by invading Mexico, and the uneven match of military power resulted in the United States taking over about half of Mexico’s territory. In a way this too was a kind of civil war with a close neighbor. About 79,000 United States troops participated in this war, and about one sixth of them died which is the highest per capita rate of any foreign war in the history of the United States. Mormons went west to Utah, and many people sought gold in California. Native tribes suffered from conflicts with the United States government and military which imposed treaties that they often violated.
      Senator Henry Clay initiated a compromise over the slavery issue in 1850 that President Millard Fillmore approved. Yet the problem of whether slavery would be allowed in territories and new states led to a violent competition in Kansas that those opposing slavery won there by democratic means despite President Franklin Pierce’s support for the pro-slavery side. Presidents Pierce and James Buchanan were northern Democrats allied with southerners. James Buchanan had diplomatic experience and opposed war while several states seceded after the election of the Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
      Lincoln refused to recognize the seceding states who formed democratically the Confederate States of America. Their elected government tried to negotiate on federal installations in their states and to take on a portion of the United States debt; but Lincoln and his administration treated them as traitors and their independence as an insurrection, and that led to a civil war. The Confederacy and their President Jefferson Davis were also at fault for going to war against what was left of the United States which still was a much more powerful nation in regard to people and industry. Their secession to attempt to preserve their slavery system was also reprehensible. Yet the nations in Latin America managed to abolish slavery without such a devastating war, and the British had peacefully abolished slavery in all their colonies by 1840. I believe that if either side had refused to fight a war but just defended their borders from invasion, then the devastating all-out war could have been avoided.
      Lincoln received many death threats and knew that he might not survive to the end of the war. He had a compassionate attitude and wanted to bring about reconciliation and reconstruction after the fighting stopped. For the 1864 election he had the Republicans change their name to the National Union Party, and he chose a southern Democrat from Tennessee to be Vice President. Andrew Johnson had supported the Union and remained in the US Senate as the southern states including his own seceded. Lincoln made him the Military Governor of Tennessee, and he defended his state against Confederate attacks. Although he was an abolitionist and believed in equal rights, his presidency also tried to help white southerners recover from the devastating Civil War. With the former Confederate states excluded from the United States Congress the Republicans dominated the Senate and the House of Representatives and were able to overcome his vetoes. The House impeached him in 1868, but the Senate could not convict him.
      Some slaves were educating themselves, writing narratives of their lives, and outstanding individuals like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth worked with other abolitionists to end slavery and for women’s rights. Harriet Tubman and abolitionists helped fugitive slaves escaping to the North. Some women were educated and wrote books and became abolitionists such as Lucretia Mott and Lydia Maria Child. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and others worked for women’s rights. Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired Transcendentalists who included Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. Elihu Burritt, Adin Ballou, William Lloyd Garrison, Senator Charles Sumner, and others worked to abolish slavery with peace and justice. Harriet Beecher Stowe taught the evils of slavery in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville explored ethical themes in novels. The poets James Russell Lowell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Walt Whitman inspired many.
       I have written a series of screenplays about Abraham Lincoln and admired him for his wonderful qualities. Yet in analyzing the consequences of his policies as President in going to war against the newly formed Confederate States of America, I believe it may be seen as the worst decision in American history. Obviously slavery is a great evil and needed to be abolished, but abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison believed it could be done without violence. Lincoln developed the imperial presidency based on military power. I believe the United States is in need of  nonviolent changes. I invite readers to examine this history and consider the case I offer in “Preventing United States Civil War.”

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