Ante-Bellum Period (1840-1860)
proceded the Era of Good Feeling
Fun Fact: ante-before bellum-war

William Henry Harrison (President #9) (1841-1841)
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  • -elected in 1840 (Tippencanoe and Tyler Too)
  • -member of the Whig party
  • -Vice President John Tyler and Secretary of State Daniel Webster
  • -Spokesman of the Whigs in the Senate and Webster tried to manipulate Harrison
  • -died of pnuemonia four weeks into presidency

FUN FACT: Harrison died thirty days into his term, which was the briefest presidency in the history of the office. He was also the first U.S. president to die while in office.


John Tyler (President #10) (1841-1845)
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  • -took Harrison's place after death
  • -Anti-Jackson Democrat, ran as VP on the Whig ticket
  • -Secretary of State Daniel Webster (the only cabinet member who didn't resign)
  • -Accomplishments:
    • -Webster Ashburton Treaty (1842)
      • -settled the boundary between the United States and Canada at the 45th parallel
      • -called for an end in the slave trade over the seas for both nations
      • -ended the Aroostook War
    • -vetoed Henry Clay's bill for a third national bank
      • -Fun Fact: an angry drunken mob gathered outside the White House chanting "Huzzah for Clay! A Bank! A Bank! Down with the Veto
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      • -expelled from the Whig Party

James Polk (President #11) (1845-1849)
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  • elected in 1845 (Young Hickory)
  • original dark horse candidate-candidate who is unexpected to win, usually wins through a deal
  • Democratic party member
  • Vice President George Dallas
  • Accomplishments
    • Manifest Destiny
      • annexation of Texas (1845)
      • Oregon Boundary settled (1846)
      • Mexican War (1846-1848)
        • disputed land between Rion Grande and Rio Nueces boundary
        • external image TXmap.jpg
        • Polk sent American troops past the Rio Nueces under the command of General Zachary Taylor and waited for the Mexican army to fire first
        • Fun Fact: War began and we won
      • Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo- confirmed the American title to Texas yielded the territory stretching to Oregon, the Pacific Ocean and California ($15 million for all the land
      • Wilmot Proviso-prevented the introduction of slavery into territory acquired from Mexico
      • Fun Fact: the telegraph kept the nation closely informed of the events in far-off Mexico

Zachary Taylor (President #12) (1849-1950)
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  • elected in 1848
  • Whig party member
  • Vice President Millard Fillmore
  • Fun Fact: Taylor was known for his stumpy legs
  • Gold discovered near Sutter's Mill (began Gold Rush)
  • died of gastroenteritis
  • served in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, and the Mexican American War

Millard Fillmore (President #13) (1850-1853)
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  • Whig
  • took Taylor's place after death
  • Secretary of State Daniel Webster
  • Accomplishments:
    • Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850-California admitted as a free state, Texas recieved financial compensation for land west of Rio Grande New Mexico had no regualtions on slavery, slave trade abolished in Washington D.C., harsh Fugitive Slave Law passed
    • Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850- Britain and United States both agreed not to expand into Central America if a canal is built
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)- revealed the horrors of slavery in the South
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Franklin Pierce (President #14) (1853-1857)
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  • Democratic Party member
  • elected in 1852
  • Vice President William King
  • Fun Fact: called a "doughface"-Northerner with Southern sympathies
  • Another Fun Fact: called the "fainting general"
  • Accomplishments:
    • Kansas-Nebraska Bill (1854)-allowed for popular sovereignty in the states of Kansas and Nebraska
    • Japan opened to world trade (1853) as a result of Commodore Perry's visit
    • The Underground Railroad fully functioned during the presidency of Pierce
    • Ostend Manifesto (1854)- a secret document describing a plan to acquire Cuba from Spain
  • As a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, pro-slavery and anti-slavery citizens rushed into Kansas in order to cast a vote according to their faith. This resulted in large-scale violence and what became knowns as Bleeding Kansas.external image 1707bleeding.jpg

James Buchanan (President #15) (1857-1861)
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  • elected in 1856
  • Democratic Party member
  • Vice President John Breckinridge
  • Major Events
    • Dred scott decision (1857)- a lawsuit decided by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent, whether or not they were slaves, could never be citizens of the United States, and that Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories.
    • Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858)-a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas for an Illinois seat in the United States Senate.