Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin – 1793
In 1793, a Massachusetts man named Eli Whitney invented a machine known as the cotton gin – a device that separates cotton seeds from cotton fibers. Cotton gin quickly became a necessity in cotton plantations, as this device made it possible to produce cotton in large quantities and at a lower cost. Whitney’s invention led to a higher demand for slave labor along the southern cotton plantations and thereby created further divisions in America between pro-power states and those that advocated the elimination of abolitionism. Cotton gin created a global cotton industry, because the demand for textiles was higher than ever around the world. The dependence on slave labor was tearing apart the fledgling American republic, leading to the bloodiest conflict in American history – the Civil War. Whitney’s machine was, indeed, one of the factors that contributed to the manifestation of the conflict.
Missouri Compromise – 1819-1821
In 1819, the state of Missouri expressed a desire to join the Union as a slave state. As a result, the controversy between slave supporters and opposers reached a boiling point, as the adoption of Missouri upset the balance between slave and free states. The Northwest Territories Act of 1787 prohibited the spread of slavery in this region of the United States – it stated that all the northwestern states were recognized as free from slavery. Following the Missouri Compromise, the state was admitted to the Union as a slave state. Along with this, the state of Maine was admitted to the Union as a free one, thus maintaining a balance between the slave and free states. It was decided that free states will be established north of parallel 36’30. Still, the establishment of a geographic boundary, as Jefferson put it, only delayed the looming conflict between adherents and opponents of slavery.
Monroe Doctrine – 1823, 2nd of December
The Monroe Doctrine is a declaration of US foreign policy principles proclaimed by President James Monroe in his annual message to Congress. Originally, President Monroe called for the prevention of pressure from European powers on the young states of the West. However, Monroe’s anti-colonial appeal was quickly transformed into a doctrine justifying US interference in the internal affairs of sovereign Latin American countries. In the twentieth century, the Monroe Doctrine became one of the symbols of American neo-colonialism. Over time, the Monroe Doctrine only led to deepening mistrust and hostility towards the United States. Latin American countries became increasingly convinced that they had far more reason to fear US intervention than any European power, which was especially evident during the 1928 Pan American Conference.
Jacksonian Democracy – 1825-1849
“Jacksonian Democracy” is a term that explained the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Since 1824, he led the political opposition, which became the basis of the Democratic Party. Jackson was able to keep the political situation in the country stable by making concessions to the leading social forces. At the same time, Jackson cut customs tariffs in a concession to the planters. The industrialists of the north did not receive any trade and financial privileges from the president. He believed that maintaining better working conditions and high wages was the key to a constant influx of skilled workers from Europe. At the same time, the president banned strikes and trade unions, believing that all workers’ demands could be presented at the polling stations. Since coming to power, Jackson pursued a policy of strengthening the state, transforming the United States into an economically developed country, and resolving the question of the existence of slavery.
War in Mexico – 1846, 25th of April – 1848, 2nd of February
Relations between the United States and Mexico escalated in the 1820s, when the campaign of populating Texas with southern American immigrants was launched, despite Texas being Mexican territory. It was as a result of this war, as well as the capture of Oregon from England in 1846, that the United States became a large continental state. The war caused an unprecedented exacerbation of internal contradictions on the issue of slavery. Corbett et al. claim that “American settlers immigrated to Texas in order to create a new American slave state”. The internal political struggle over the fate of the new territories hastened the approach of the civil war in the United States.
Seneca Falls Convention – 1848, 19th of July – 1848, 20th of July
On July 19, 1848, a crowd gathered at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls. Those gathered became participants in a two-day historic event that quickly transformed the women’s rights movement into a nationwide struggle for equality – the Seneca Falls Convention. On the second day of the conference, July 20, abolitionist Frederick Douglas gave a fiery speech, combining the fight against slavery with the women’s rights movement. On the same day, the conference participants voted for the Declaration of Sentiments. The worldwide women’s rights movement officially began with this document gaining legitimacy when 68 women and 32 men signed it. This launched a series of events that led to the fact that all women received the right to participate in elections.
Corbett, P. S., Janssen, V., Lund, J. M., Pfannestiel, T., Waskiewicz, S., & Vickery, P. (2014). U.S. History. OpenStax.