Kickin' Down Route 66 :: June - October, 1997

Subject: A little history, if you will. Part Ib
Date: Sun, 07 Sep 1997 19:12:28 -0700

23:55 Meramec Caverns; Stanton, Missouri :: 6 SEP 97

Text of the History Wall Timeline
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
St. Louis, Missouri

1800-1819 . 1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900

[abridged...and expanded]

[Navigational Note: Finding historical documents with the '§' character.]

1820 map

map (890K): Exploration and settlement 1820-1835.
map (126K): Territorial Growth 1820.

Congress adopts the Missouri Compromise: Maine is to be admitted as a free state, Missouri as a slave state. Slavery will be excluded from the territory of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36° 30' latitude.

Maj. Stephen Long heads an expedition to the area below the Missouri River, seeking to locate the source of the Red and Platte Rivers, and to explore the upper Arkansas River. the expedition discovers Long's Peak, travels into Colorado as far as the present site of Denver, and climbs Pike's Peak. Long reaffirms the "Great American Desert" myth in a caption on one of his maps.

A Land Act abolishes the credit provisions of earlier land acts, but reduces the minimum purchase to 80 acres and the minimum price per acre to $1.25. A farm can now be purchased for $100.

Maine is admitted as the twenty-third state in the Union.

Fourth census§: US population - 9,638,453


James Monroe is inaugurated§ for his second term.

After winning its independence from Spain, Mexico opens the route to Santa Fe, long closed to American trade.

The Santa Fe Trail between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, Mexico is blazed by Missouri trader William Becknell. The trail becomes the principal avenue for manufactured goods and emigrants bound for Santa Fe and the Southwest.

Britain's Northwest Company and Hudson's Bay Company merge.

After Moses Austin's death, Stephen Austin receives a Texas land grant issued to his father by the Mexican government.

Missouri is admitted as the twenty-fourth state in the Union.


William Ashley§, a St. Louis trader, places an advertisement in the St. Louis Gazette asking for "one hundred enterprising young men" to join him in a trapping and trading venture in the Trans-Mississippi west.

Great Britain passes a law excluding American traders from Canada. the law is in retaliation for an 1816 US law which excluded British trade.

The Indian factory system is abolished, largely through pressure from white traders. The factory system of trade was established to assure Indians of fair prices, but proves too limiting for the overwhelming number of whites eager to engage in this lucrative business.

President Monroe urges recognition of the newly independent Latin American Republics. A congressional act provides for diplomatic recognition of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, and the Federation of Central American States.

The "Vesey Slave Plot" is uncovered and suppressed in Charleston, South Carolina. The plot, organized by Denmark Vesey, an emancipated slave, involves a large group of African-American city workers. The thirty-seven participants are executed.


Arikara Indians attack trader William Ashley and his party. The Missouri River is briefly closed to white traders and trappers.

President Monroe declares that any attempt by Europeans to colonize the Americas or interfere with its internal affairs will be interpreted as acts of aggression by the US. This policy becomes known as the Monroe Doctrine§.

Maj. Stephen Long lead's a party that examines the sources of the St. Peter's (now Minnesota) River, and fixes the point where the national boundary crosses the Red River.


The Bureau of Indian Affairs is established.

The US and Russia sign a territorial treaty. Russia acknowledges the 54 40 parallel as the southern limit of Russian territory and abandons some of its claims to territory in the Northern Pacific region.

Henry Clay, in a speech supporting the new tariff act, defines the "American system" as a combination of protective tariffs and internal improvements calculated to expand the national economy and make the US more independent.

William Ashley§, a Missouri trader, opens a new overland route into western Wyoming, personally piloting a bullboat down the unexplored Green River where he establishes a post at Henry's Fork.

Jim Bridger, a mountainman, encounters and charts the Great Salt Lake.

Texas is incorporated into the Mexican Federal Republic§. The State of Texas-Coahuila passes a colonization law§ permitting the emigration of American settlers.

The Santa Fe trade has become so important to Missouri after just three years that Sen. Thomas Hart Benton demands that a national road be built over the trail.


John Quincy Adams is inaugurated§ as the sixth President of the United States.

William Ashely holds the first "Rendezvous" at Henry's Fork in Wyoming. Because Indian hostilities in the West make the permanent trading post system difficult to maintain, the more flexible "Rendezvous" system brings the traders to the trappers in an annual exchange of furs and pelts for supplies needed for the next trapping season.

The Erie Canal is officially opened at Buffalo, New York. With travel time cut by a third and the cost of shipping freight to a tenth of previous figures, this connection between the east coast and the Ohio and Mississippi valleys enables large scale westward migration.

The Treaty of Prairie Du Chien§ establishes the boundaries of Indian lands in the Old Northwest, and signals the official adoption of a "removal policy" by the US government; this provides for the transfer of Eastern Indians to the Trans-Mississippi regions.

Fort Vancouver is established by Hudson's Bay Company of Great Britain on the Columbia River, solidifying British control of the Oregon country.

President Monroe signs a bill authorizing $10,000 for surveying and marking the Santa Fe Trail, and $20,000 to secure the rights of passage from the Indians. The road is completed in 1827.


Jedediah Smith heads an exploratory expedition of fifteen men on the first overland journey from the Great Salt Lake to California.

Joseph Henry begins his first experiments with electricity.

James Fenimore Cooper publishes The Last of the Mohicans§, a novel about American Indians and the effect of European colonization.


The US and Great Britain renew their 1818 treaty on the joint occupation of Oregon.

Fort Leavenworth is constructed as a strong point for military units patrolling the Santa Fe trade route.

The Creek Indians cede all their remaining territory in the eastern US. This area includes all their lands in Georgia.

The Cherokee adopt a constitution patterned on that of the United States, but it is nullified by the Georgia legislature.

The first state high school law is passed in Massachusetts, calling for a tax-supported high school in every community of 500 families or more.


The Democratic Party, an extension of the Democratic-Republican (Jeffersonian) party, is formed. It advocates the Jeffersonian principles of personal liberties and attacks the concept of special privilege. Andrew Jackson is swept to victory as President under the banner of the Democratic Party.

The Tariff of Abominations, imposing excessively high duties on imported raw materials, is passed. The issue underlying the measure is the economic rivalry between the northern mercantile interests and the southern agricultural economy.

The Mechanics' Union of Trade Associations is established in Philadelphia, the first city trade council established in the US

Boston traders displace the British in the California hide and tallow trade.

The Cherokee Phoenix, a weekly newspaper, is published, using the alphabet developed by Sequoyah.


Andrew Jackson is inaugurated§ as the seventh President of the United States.

The "spoils system," by which patronage is used for party purposes, is introduced into national politics by President Jackson. At this time, the system is intended as a Democratic device for allowing the common man a voice in the government.

The American Society of Encouraging the Settlement of the Oregon Territory is organized in Boston.

The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company of Pennsylvania builds a railroad. Its British-built engine, the Stourbridge Lion, makes its trial run at the amazing speed of ten miles per hour.

President Jackson offers to purchase Texas from Mexico. The offer is refused.

"Mike Fink, The Last of the Boatmen," first appears in print in The Western Souvenir.

President Jackson gives his first annual message to Congress.


map (114K): Territorial Growth 1830.

President Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act§ which calls for the general resettlement of Indians to lands west of the Mississippi.

Jedediah Smith and William Sublette of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company carry supplies in covered wagons from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains along the Platte River Road for the annual rendezvous.

The Pre-emption Act of 1830 authorizes the purchase of up to 160 acres of public land at a minimum price of $1.25 per acre by persons who have cultivated the land within the preceding year. The act makes payment out of the earnings from the homesteader's first year crop possible.

A race to prove which is more powerful and reliable, the horse or the steam locomotive, is run near Baltimore, Maryland, by Peter Cooper. Cooper's little railroad engine, the Tom Thumb, loses the race due to mechanical difficulties.

The first regular railroad service in America begins in South Carolina, with engines built in America at West Point, New York.

Mexico forbids further colonization of Texas by US citizens.

Joseph Smith founds the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or "Mormon" Church).

Fifth Census§: US Population - 12,866,000

President Jackson gives his second annual message to Congress.


The US Supreme Court rules in Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia§ that the Cherokee are not a "foreign nation" within the meaning of the Constitution, but a "dependent nation." Between 1831 and 1839 the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast are forcibly relocated to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

William Lloyd Garrison begins publication of The Liberator, marking the beginning of an organized, nation-wide abolitionist movement. Garrison states in the first edition: "I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard!"

Nat Turner, a slave, leads an insurrection in Virginia during which about fifty five whites and an unknown number of African-Americans are killed. White fears are fed by the insurrection, and retribution is carried out against slaves throughout the South.

Michael Faraday demonstrates electro-magnetic rotation and discovers electro-magnetic induction.

Cyrus McCormick invents the mechanical reaper.

Boston charters three railroads; the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad inaugurates service in New York State, and the Camden and Amboy Railroad begins operation in New Jersey.

Capt. Benjamin Bonneville, on a "leave of absence" from the US Army, follows secret orders to explore the Rockies to note the number of warriors in each tribe and their methods of waging war. Bonneville explores the West, including California, until 1834.

President Jackson gives his third annual message to Congress.


Black Hawk attempts to recover ceded lands in Wisconsin and Illinois Territories. The massacre of his Sauk and Fox tribe at the mouth of the Bad Axe River by Illinois Militia led by Ben. Henry Atkinson leads to his surrender.

The annual fur trade rendezvous is ended by the Battle of Pierre's Hole. An all-day fight takes place with white trappers and their Flathead and Nez Perce allies pitted against the Blackfoot people.

The first Asiatic cholera epidemic sweeps through the US. New York City alone reports 2,251 deaths. During a twelve day period in New Orleans, more than 6,000 perish.

George Catlin, a pioneer American ethnologist, travels west to capture the looks, customs and manners of American Indian people on canvas.

The Ann McKim, the first "clipper" ship, is launched in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Hot Springs of Arkansas are set aside as federal property for "future disposal" by President Jackson.

President Jackson gives his fourth annual message to Congress.


Andrew Jackson is inaugurated§ for his second term.

The settlement of the Iowa country begins with the end of the Black Hawk War and the opening of the Black Hawk purchase.

Joseph Walker, a Rocky Mountain Fur trader, leads an expedition that climbs the Sierra Mountains from the east, and reaches Yosemite Valley in Mexican Alta California. This crossing of the Sierras is thought to be the first made by white men from the east.

Prince Maximillian of Wied-Neuwied journeys up the Missouri River to study the American Indian people of the plains. He is accompanied by Carl Bodmer, a twenty-seven year old Swiss artist.

Samuel Colt perfects a successful revolving pistol.

President Jackson gives his fifth annual message to Congress.


map (414K): Sources of the Mississippi River 1834:
From The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, Volume 4, 1834 to accompany "Narrative of an Expedition through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake, the actual Source of this River; embracing an Exploratory Trip through the St. Croix and Burntwood (or Broule) Rivers; in 1832. Under the direction of Henry R. Schoolcraft. New York. 1834."

Buffalo replaces beaver as the most profitable pelt in the fur trade. Silk replaces beaver felt as the most fashionable hat material.

Fur baron John Jacob Astor, anticipating a decline in the fur trade, sells out his interests in the mountain trade.

Methodist missionaries Daniel and Jason Lee found the first mission and American settlement in the Oregon Territory.

A convention of Texas settlers at San Felipe votes to separate from Mexico.

The national Whig Party is formed in opposition to the policies of Andrew Jackson, under the leadership of Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.

The Seminole Indians are ordered to leave Florida.

The English poor law is overhauled, throwing thousands of people off relief and into the overcrowded labour markets of the farms and the cities. English emigration to the US is vastly increased.

President Jackson gives his sixth annual message to Congress.


map (833K): Exploration and settlement 1835-1850.

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator, is dragged through the streets of Boston and nearly killed by a mob enraged at his tirades against slavery.

Reverend Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus Whitman are sent by the Presbyterian-Congregational mission board to the Oregon Country § to establish a mission among the Indian people there.

The Second Seminole War begins in Florida. Seminole Indians refuse to be removed from their land to an area west of the Mississippi River.

Samuel F. B. Morse§ invents the telegraph.

More than 200 US railway charters have been granted in 11 states, and more than 1,000 miles of track have opened for operation.

Henry M. Dodge and a party of US Dragoons ride out along the established Platte River Road to demonstrate the power of the United States to the plains Indian people.

President Jackson gives his seventh annual message to Congress.


A small band of Texas patriots gathers in an old mission in San Antonio called The Alamo. Their delaying action, in which every Texan defender is put to death, enables mobilization of a Texas Army under Gen. Sam Houston. Houston defeats a Mexican army under Gen. Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. [umm, don't forget the battle cry, Remember the Alamo!]

Texas declares itself an independent republic§.

Missionaries Marcus Whitman and Henry H. Spaulding travel overland to Oregon with their wives, the first white women to cross the Rocky Mountains.

The Specie Circular is issued, ordering Federal Land Agents to accept only gold or silver for public lands sold; the sale of public lands falls sharply.

The "Gag Rule" Resolution, tabling all anti-slavery petitions and motions, is passed by the House of Representatives.

Wisconsin Territory is formed.

Arkansas is admitted as the twenty-fifth state in the Union.

President Jackson gives his eighth annual message to Congress.


John Van Buren is inaugurated§ as the eighth President of the United States.

Suspension of all specie payments by the banks of New York precipitates the "Panic of 1837" during which 618 banks fail. A decade-long financial depression begins.

Elijah P. Lovejoy, an anti-slavery newspaper editor, is attacked and killed by a mob in his office in Alton, Illinois.

John Deere invents the "singing plow." It is made of wrought iron and has a steel share that can cut through sticky prairie soil without clogging.

The lumber industry begins operations in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin; this new market for crops induces farmers to move westward to timber country.

Michigan is admitted as the twenty-sixth state in the Union.


President Van Buren issues a neutrality proclamation forbidding Americans from taking sides in the Canadian revolt.

The Corps of Topographical Engineers is established by Col. John James Abert as a separate branch of the US Army to explore the continent.

Capt. Charles Wilkes of the US Navy sails an expedition to the Pacific and the south Seas. Wilkes convinces the government that the Columbia River harbour is useless, and that Puget Sound is essential to US interests.

Over 14,000 Cherokee Indian people are forcibly relocated to Indian Territory from Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee along the " Trail of Tears."

Iowa Territory is formed.

Alexis de Tocqueville publishes the first American edition of Democracy in America.


The last fur trade rendezvous is held at Fort Bonneville. The business panic of 1837, the change in men's fashions from beaver to silk top hats, and the exhaustion of the beaver supply has led to the decline of trapping and trading.

The Mexican government imposes a $500 tax per wagon entering Santa Fe. American traders counter by using bigger wagons. The St. Louis built "Murphy wagon" carries 5 tons and has a rear wheel 7 feet in diameter.

Mormons found Nauvoo in Illinois, after being forced to leave Missouri.

France becomes the first European nation to recognize Texan independence.

Frenchman Louis J.M. Daguerre announces the invention of the Daguerreotype, the world's first practical photographic process.

1800-1819 . 1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900

~~~ Responses Sought ~~~


Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.

  graphical element George Santayana
The Life of Reason (1905)


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