Resources for Teaching American History: 1800s

Here are lists of people, places, and dates to include in a unit study about American history during the 1800s.

People to Remember

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826) - Principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States

Meriweather Lewis (1774 - 1809) Thomas Jefferson's friend and secretary who was commissioned by Jefferson in 1803 to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase

William Clark (1770 - 1838) Co-captain of the expedition to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase

Sacajawea (c. 1788 - 1812) - Shoshone woman who translated for Lewis and Clark

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) Emperor of France who conquered most of Europe

Horatio Nelson (1758 - 1805) - British Admiral who established Britain's naval supremacy, which lasted throughout the 1800's

James Madison (1751 - 1836) Fourth President of the United States (1809 - 1817). He was the principal author of the Constitution of the United States.

Francis Scott Key (1779 - 1843)- Author of "The Star Spangled Banner"

Eli Whitney (1765 - 1825) American inventor who invented the cotton gin

Robert Fulton ( 1765 - 1815) American engineer and inventor who developed the first commercially successful steamboat

Andrew Jackson (1767 - 1845) Seventh President of the United States (1829-1837)

Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901 ) - Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901

Prince Albert (1819 - 1861) Husband of Queen Victoria

William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833) - Leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade in Britain

De Witt Clinton (1769 - 1828) Governor of New York who advocated building the Erie Canal

Samuel F. B. Morse (1791 - 1872) Inventor and painter who built the first American telegraph around 1835

John Deere (1804 - 1886) American blacksmith and manufacturer who invented the first commercially successful steel plow

William Travis (1809 - 1836) Commanded the Texans who died defending the Alamo

Jim Bowie (1793 - 1836) Inventor of a hunting knife which was called the Bowie Knife. He died defending the Alamo.

Davy Crockett (1786 - 1836) Frontiersman from Tennessee and member of the U.S. House of Representatives who died fighting for Texas' independence at the Alamo

Sam Houston (1793 - 1863) Politician and military leader whose army won a battle against Mexican forces and gained independence for Texas

Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910) English nurse during the Crimean War who helped improve nursing practices and the condition of hospitals.

Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) Author of the Communist Manifesto. Communism is based on Karl Marx's ideas.

Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) English biologist who developed the theory of evolution and wrote The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

Harriet Tubman (c. 1820 - 1913) Former slave who helped hundreds of slaves escape slavery

Sojourner Truth (c. 1797 - 1883) Former slave who spoke out against slavery and for women's rights

Amelia Bloomer (1818 - 1894) Advocate of women's rights who became famous in 1851 for her "bloomers"

Levi Strauss (1829 - 1902) - Founded Levi Strauss & Co, the first company to manufacture blue jeans, in 1853 in San Francisco, California

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896) Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a novel which changed how many Americans viewed slavery

Frederick Douglas (1818 - 1895) Former slave who became a leader of the abolitionist movement

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) The sixteenth president of the United States

Jefferson Davis (1808 - 1889) President of the Confederate States during the Civil War

Ulysses S. Grant (1822 - 1885) Union general of the Civil War and 18th President of the United States

Robert E. Lee (1807 - 1870) Commander of the Confederate Army during the Civil War

William T. Sherman (1820 - 1891) General in the Union Army of the Civil War who captured Atlanta and led a destructive march to the sea

Stonewall Jackson (1824 - 1863) Confederate general of the Civil War

John Wilkes Booth (1838 - 1865) Actor who shot and killed President Lincoln

Clara Barton (1821 - 1912) Civil War nurse who established the American Red Cross

Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895) French biologist and chemist who invented pasteurization and created the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax

Joseph Lister (1827 - 1912) British surgeon who promoted the use of antiseptics to sterilize instruments used in surgery and to clean wounds

David Livingston (1813 - 1873) Scottish explorer of Africa

Alfred Noble (1833 - 1896) Swedish chemist who invented dynamite and established the Noble Prize.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847 - 1922) Inventor of the telephone (1876)

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) Inventor of the incandescent electric light bulb , the phonograph, and the motion picture camera

General George Custer (1839-1876) American Civil War general who was defeated and at the Battle of Little Bighorn

Sitting Bull (c. 1831 - 1890) Sioux war chief who defeated Custer's troops at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876

Chief Joseph (1840 - 1904) Leader of the Nez Perce tribe who fought for the freedom of his people to keep their home

Buffalo Bill Cody (1846 - 1917) American showman who was famous for his Wild West Show

Annie Oakley (1860 - 1926) American sharpshooter who was featured in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

Jesse James (1847 - 1882) Famous American outlaw who robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains

Booker T. Washington (1856 - 1915) American educator, author, orator, and political leader who was born a slave and became the president of Tuskegee University in Alabama.

George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943) Botonist and chemist who developed uses for peanuts, soy beans, and sweet potatoes to help Southern farmers

Helen Keller ( 1880 - 1968) American author and political activist who was deaf and blind from early childhood


Places and Terms to Know for U.S. History (1800s)

Louisiana Purchase - The purchase of the territory of Louisiana from France in 1803

War of 1812 - War between the United States and Britain from 1812 to 1814

USS Constitution - A three masted ship of the United States Navy that captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships during the war of 1812. The USS Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides," is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat.

The Star Spangled Banner (1814) - A poem written by Francis Key Scott in 1814 that became America's national anthem.

Battle of New Orleans (1815) - The final major battle of the War of 1812 in which the American forces commanded by Andrew Jackson defeated the invading British army.

Battle of Waterloo (1815) -Battle at Waterloo that put an end to Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French

The Monroe Doctrine (1823) - A warning to European countries not to interfere with the independent nations of the Western Hemisphere

The Erie Canal (1825) - Canal built between 1817 and 1825 which runs from the Hudson River to Lake Erie

The Trail of Tears (1831) - Forced relocation and movement of Native Americans from their homelands to Indian Territory in the Western United States

The Alamo (1836) - A mission in San Antonio that was the site of a battle in the Texas revolution against Mexican rule in which all of the Americans fighting for independence were killed.

Opium Wars (1839 - 1860) - Wars fought between Britain and China over China's refusal to allow opium to be imported. As a result of the war, China surrendered Hong Kong to Britain and opened ports for free trade to the west.

Manifest Destiny - The American belief in the nineteenth century that the United States was destined to expand across the whole North American continent

Oregon Trail (1841) - Wagon route traveled by thousands of people to reach the western United States

Irish Potato Famine (1845 - 1850) - Famine that occured in Ireland when the country's main crop, the potato, was infected by the potato blight

The Mexican - American War (1846 - 1848) - War between the United States and Mexico which resulted in the U.S. gaining land from Texas to California

The Communist Manifesto (1848) - A pamphlet written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 that promoted communism

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) A rush of migrants to California after gold was discovered on John Sutter's mill

Forty-niners - A name for prospectors who went to California to search for gold

Fugitive Slave Act (1850) Law passed by the United States Congress in 1850 that declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters.

Underground Railroad - Route which took slaves north to freedom

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) - A novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe which changed the way that many Americans thought about slavery

Dred Scott Decision (1857) - The ruling by the Supreme Court in 1857 that made slavery legal in all U.S. territories

Origin of the Species (1859) Charles Darwin's essay on his ideas of how species developed that was published in 1859

Pony Express (1860 - 1861) A mail delivery service that operated between St. Joseph, MO and Sacramento, California

The Civil War (1861 - 1865) The civil war between the northern and southern states of the United States

Emancipation Proclamation (1863) An executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves in the states that were rebelling against the United States.

Gettysburg Address (1863) Speech given by Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Carpetbaggers - A term used to refer to Northerners who relocated to the South after the American Civil War during the Reconstruction Era.

Scalawags - A term used to refer to Southerners who cooperated with Northerners after the American Civil War during the Reconstruction Era.

Alaskan Purchase (1867) The purchase of Alaska by the United States from Russia in 1867

Chicao Fire (1871) Fire which leveled the entire central business district of Chicago and killed hundreds of people

The Battle of Little Bighorn (1876) Battle near the Little Bighorn River in Montana between several groups of Native Americans and the United States cavalry. General George Custer and all of those in his command were killed in this battle, which is also known as "Custer's Last Stand."

Battle of Wounded Knee (1890) The last major battle between the U.S. Army and Native Americans.

Spanish American War (1898) A war between Spain and the United States in 1898.


Dates to Remember for American History (1800's):

1803 - United States purchases Louisiana Territory from France

1812 - War of 1812

1823 - Monroe Doctrine

1825 - The Erie Canal opens, linking the waters of Lake Erie to the Hudson River

1837 - Victoria becomes Queen of England

1846-1848 - U.S. - Mexican War

1848 - California Gold Rush begins

1861-1865 - Civil War

1869 - Transcontinental Railroad and Suez Canal

1876 - The Battle of the Little Bighorn (Custer's Last Stand)

1879 - Thomas Edison invents the light bulb

1884 - Statue of Liberty

1898 - Spanish - American War


Memory Work:

The Gettysburg Address

The Charge of the Light Brigade - Tennyson

The Star Spangled Banner

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus


Other Resources has a page about American history in the 1800s which includes a timeline and maps.

Gettysburg Address Flashcards- Here is a link to a Quia game for the Gettysburg Address. To play, put the ten sentences of the Gettysburg Address in order. I believe you need to have Java on your computer in order to use Quia flashcards.

Freedom - A History of US - This is an interactive site by PBS.