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Last updated: 05/06/09 at 07:33 PM
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The idea for the Seneca Falls Convention came from the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. At that convention, women were not allowed to participate in the debates. Lucretia Mott had accompanied her husband to London, but she had to sit behind a partition with other ladies. She, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, took a dim view of her treatment, and that's how the idea for a women's convention was formed. During the time between the World Anti-Slavery Convention and the Seneca Falls Convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton composed the Declaration of Sentiments, a document declaring the rights of women, which she modeled off of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Sentiments contained several resolutions, such as: a man should not withhold the rights of a woman, take her property, or deny her the right to vote. All 300 participants spent two days arguing, refining, and voting on the Declaration. Most of the resolutions got unanimous support.
By the winter of 1848, the news of a gold strike drifted eastward, but not many easterners believed it. During that time, rumors were discounted, and government officials were honored. The gold discovery needed to be made sure of. President James Polk confirmed that there was indeed gold in California. With his confirmation, people from all different jobs made plans for California. By 1849, gold fever had become an epidemic. Everyone said their goodbyes and streamed toward the West in unison, willing to take a year of pain for a lifetime of riches.
In December 1845, the U.S. Congress voted to annex the Texas Republic, and soon they sent troops, led by General Zachary Taylor, to the Rio Grande to protect its border with Mexico. The unavoidable clashes between the U.S. and Mexico caused Congress to declare war on May 13, 1846. Hostilities continued for the next two years. General Winfield Scott captured Mexico City in August of 1847. That August, Mexican officials and President Polk's representative, Nicholas Trist, began peace treaty discussions. On February 2, 1848, the Treaty was signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo, and it asked Mexico to give up 55% of its territory in exchange for fifteen million dollars to pay for war-related damage to Mexican property.
In 1845, the Irish mainly lived on the potato. Out of a population of about eight million, most poor people in Ireland lived on small farms that they rented from landlords, and there was no other significant food source. Blight struck, and the potatoes rotted, so the people had nothing to eat. The word about the blight was spread through newspapers on September 6, 1845. In July of 1846, it struck again. This caused many people to become ill and face starvation.
It is proposed by many books that Joseph Smith by opposing religious people. No one was found guilty, and the people who killed Joseph Smith were disguised. Joseph Smith may have had enemies even more dangerous than those of opposing religous beliefs. One of these types of enemies may have been husbands of wives that Joseph Smith married while the women were still married to their first husband. A second type of enemy may have been those who lost a significant amount of money in Joseph Smith's phony bank. A third type of enemy may have been people from the Masonic lodge because he stole their ceremonies for his religion and disgraced the oaths he took with that lodge. A fourth type of enemy may have been William Law or other people who worked for "The Nauvoo Expositor" because when Law exposed Joseph Smith's polygamy in "The Nauvoo Expositor", he ordered that the press be destroyed.
Andrew Jackson wanted to move the Cherokees and other Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River. In 1838 and 1839, he did. All the Cherokee Indians traveled to present-day Oklahoma. They called this migration the "Trail of Tears" because of its harsh effects on the Indians. Along the journey, the Cherokee suffered through hunger, disease, and exhaustion. Over 4,000 of the 15,000 Cherokees died.
In the early 1830s, the government started making a ton of money through new railroads and canals, government land sales, and tariffs. In fact, the government made so much money that it could finally pay off the national debt. The Treasury quickly accumulated a surplus. Members of Congress decided to distribute that surplus to the states. It was then immediately invested in more railroads and canals. Most state governments and individuals preferred to store specie, coined money, and get rid of debts with paper bank notes. Jackson became alarmed from all the bank notes, so he issued the Specie Circular, which commanded the treasury to no longer accept bank notes. The Westerners weren't too happy about this. Banks called in loans and restricted credit, and depositors attempted to withdraw their funds. Unemployment spread across the nation, while food crises occured in many large cities. Constuction companies couldn't meet their requirements, causing railroad and canal projects to fail, and ruining thousands of land speculators.
Mexican General Santa Anna was determined to retake San Antonio from the Texans, which he lost in the Siege of Bexar, and he also wanted to impress upon the Texans what would happen if they disobeyed Mexican rule. So he sent his troops to San Antonio on February 23, 1836, while the Texans took refuge near an old mission known as the Alamo. The Texan's leaders were William B. Travis and Jim Bowie. During the next two weeks, Santa Anna's army strengthened to over 2,000 troops. Meanwhile, the Texans grew to about 189 men. Then, on March 6, the Mexicans stormed the Alamo fortress, and all the Texan defenders were killed, along with 1,400 Mexicans.
The Lowell Mill labor strike started during the Industrial Revolution. During that time, many women found work outside the home or farm. Still, women had fewer rights and a lower social status than men. If a married woman made any money, it belonged to her husband. This led up to the Lowell Mill labor strike. After the strike, many states passed laws allowing women to have property rights.
The Webster-Hayne Debate started over a plan to reduce western land sales. Senator Robert Hayne saw an opportunity to form an alliance between the West and the South. He thought that an agricultural system involving slavery needed an unlimited supply of cheap western land. On January 19, 1830, Hayne discussed that he thought that states should control their lands and have the right to set aside certain federal laws if they wanted to. Daniel Webster responded by challenging the South's willingness to destroy the Union for regional economic gain. In doing so, he widened the debate to the very nature of the federal republic. Then Webster successfully shifted the debate to one of states' rights versus national power. Hayne argued that a state had the right to defy an act of Congress. Webster came back with his "Second Reply to Hayne" on January 26 and 27. Webster thundered in his organ-like voice that the nation was not a small association of sovereign states, but a "popular government, erected by the people; those who administer it responsible to the people; and itself capable of being amended and modified, just as the people may choose it should be." The Senate stopped the land sales resolution, and the chances of forming an alliance between the West and the South disappeared.
In 1828, Noah Webster published the first American dictionary, which he called "The American Dictionary of the English Language." In this dictionary, Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions. He considered education "useless without the Bible", which is why he used the Bible as a key to the meaning of words. He often refered to different books and chapters of the Bible in his definitions, as shown in the definition of sinful. "SIN'FUL, a. [from sin.] 1. Tainted with sin; wicked, iniquitous; criminal; unholy; as sinful men. Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity! Isa. 1. 2. Containing sin, or consisting in sin; contrary to the laws of God; as sinful actions; sinful thoughts; sinful words."
The election of 1828 was different from other elections because nominations werre made by conventions and state legislatures. John Quincy Adams was re-nominated by the National Republicans, with Richard Rush (the secretary of state) as his running mate. The Democratic Republicans supported Andrew Jackson and recent vice-president John C. Calhoun. Both sides had accusations against them. Adams was accused of purchasing gambling divices, while Jackson was accused of murder and adultery. In the end, though, Jackson's patience finally paid off, allowing him to win the election of 1828.