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Presidential Time Chart
For The Thematic Approach to U.S. History
[Suggestions for educators: When teaching U.S. history thematically, I have found that it is not necessary to teach all of the presidents. I select the most important, especially presidents that are particularly instructive in terms of leadership ability or lack thereof.]

THE YOUNG REPUBLIC (1789-1825)

CHARACTERISTICS: Strengthening of the government, development of a foreign policy of isolationism and neutrality, and the growth of the two party system (development of a distinct cultural style).

George Washington
1789-1797
Federalist
Judiciary Act
The Cabinet
Hamilton's financial program (Bank of U.S.)
Tariff of 1789
Whiskey Tax and Rebellion
Neutrality Proclamation (War France v. England)
Jay and Pinckney Treaty
Farewell Address
Growth of Democratic Republican party
Treaty of Greenville

John Adams
1797-1801
Federalist
Partisan politics
Undeclared war with France
XYZ Affair
Convention of 1800
Alien, Sedition and Naturalization Acts
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
Revolution of 1800
Judiciary Act, 1801
"midnight judges"
Appointment of John Marshall, Chief Justice

Thomas Jefferson
1801-1809
Democratic Republican
pell mell (We are all Federalists...Republicans)
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Repeal Judiciary Act and attack on the Judiciary
Barbary pirates
Louisiana Purchase
Essex Junto
Burr conspiracy
Embargo Act, 1807
Lewis and Clark
Impressment of American sailors
Chesapeake incident

James Madison
1809-1817
Democratic Republican
War Hawks
War of 1812 and Treaty of Ghent
Battle of New Orleans
Hartford Convention
Bank of the U.S. rechartered in 1816
Tariff of 1816 (1st protective tariff)

James Monroe
1817-1825
Democratic Republican
Missouri Compromise, 1820
The Era of Good Feelings
McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819
Rush Bagot, Oregon, and Adams-Onis Treaties
Oregon Treaty - joint occupation with England
Monroe Doctrine, 1823

AGE OF JACKSON (1825-1849)

CHARACTERISTICS: Growth of sectionalism, growth of nationalism, manifest destiny, extension of democracy, reform era, growth of market economy and manufacturing in the North, improved transportation (roads, canals, and railroads).

John Q. Adams
1825-1829
National Republican
Partisan election of 1824 (Clay, Jackson, Adams, and Crawford)
"the corrupt bargain"
nationalist objectives
partisan campaign of 1828
Tariff of 1828 (Abominations)
South Carolina Exposition
Erie Canal completed

Andrew Jackson
1829-1837
Democrat
Kitchen cabinet
Spoils system
Increases powers of the presidency (veto, disregard of John Marshall's decisions on U.S. Bank and Indians)
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia/Worcester v. Georgia
Trail of Tears
Webster Hayne debate
Maysville Road veto
Peggy Eaton affair
Calhoun's resignation
Nullification Crisis, 1832-3
Force Act
Clay's Compromise Tariff, 1833
Jackson's War on the Bank
Third party in presidential election of 1832-beginning of National Nominating Conventions and party platforms
Specie Circular
Alamo

Martin Van Buren
1837-1841
Democrat
Panic of 1837
Repeal Specie Circular, 1838
Independent Treasury System
The Amistad

William H.Harrison
1841
Whig
Oregon Fever

John Tyler
1841-5
"man without a party"
Repeal Independent Treasury System
Webster-Ashburton Treaty, 1842
Joint Resolution of Texas

James K. Polk
1845-1849
Democrat
Mexican War/Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Wilmot Proviso
Oregon Treaty

ANTEBELLUM PERIOD (1849-1861)

CHARACTERISTICS: Increased sectional tensions, inability to compromise after 1850, violence between the North and South, weak leadership.

Zachary Taylor
1849-1850
Whig
Gold Rush
Slavery question in California
Taylor favors admission of California on basis of popular sovereignty

Millard Fillmore
1850-1853
Whig
Compromise of 1850
Young American Spirit
Clayton Bulwer Treaty
Matthew Perry establishes relations with Japan

Franklin Pierce
1853-1857
Democrat
Republican party organized
Kansas Nebraska Act, 1854
Bleeding Kansas
Gadsden Purchase, 1853
Ostend Manifesto, 1854
Trade treaty with Japan
William Walker in Nicaragua, 1855

James Buchanan
1857-1861
Democrat
Dred Scott Decision, 1857
Troubles in Kansas continue/LeCompton Constitution
Lincoln-Douglas Debates
John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry
Crittenden Compromise

CIVIL WAR PERIOD (1861-1865)

Abraham Lincoln
1861-1865
Republican
Homestead Act, 1862
Morrill Land Grant Acts
Tariff Acts raised duties on manufactured duties
National Banking Act
Civil War
Lincoln's 10% Plan (loyalty oaths)

RECONSTRUCTION (1865-1877)

CHARACTERISTICS: Gilded Age (1865-1900) Reconstruction, materialism, corruption, conservatism, racism, inequality between classes, violence, decline in morality, rapid economic growth (the Industrial Revolution), technological advances, high immigration.

Andrew Johnson
1865-1869
Republican
Seward's Folly, 1867/Purchase of Alaska
Amnesty Proclamation
13th and 14th Amendments adopted
1866 Civil Rights Act (adopted over veto)
Radical Reconstruction and Impeachment
Black Reconstruction in South

Ulysses Grant
1869-1877
Republican
Transcontinental Railroad completed, 1869
15th Amendment adopted
Whiskey Ring and Indian Ring
Battle of the Little Big Horn
Hayes-Tilden election/End of Reconstruction

INDUSTRIALIZATION AND EXPANSION (1877-1900)

CHARACTERISTICS: Gilded Age, Industrial Revolution, but dramatic boom and bust cycles, business consolidation, labor militancy, farmers protest, materialism, corruption, conservatism, racism, violence, decline of morality, Social Darwinism, high immigration, expansionist foreign policy.

Rutherford Hayes
1877-1881
Republican
Compromise of 1877
End of Reconstruction/Return White Supremacy
Indian Wars on the Plains
Exploitation of mineral wealth and land
Cattle Kingdom and Open Range ranching

James A. Garfield
1881
Republican
Assassinated by a disappointed office seeker
Republican party splits (Stalwarts, Half-Breeds)

Chester A. Arthur
1881-1885
Pendleton Civil Service Act
Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882

Grover Cleveland
1885-1889
Democrat
Dawes Act (1887)
Interstate Commerce Act, 1887
U.S. gets right to naval base at Pearl Harbor

Benjamin Harrison
1889-1893
Republican
Sherman Antitrust Act, 1890
Sherman Silver Purchase Act
McKinley Tariff
Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis
Homestead Strike, 1892

Grover Cleveland
1893-1897
Democrat
Pullman Strike
E.C. Knight Case
Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896
Cross of Gold Speech, 1896
U.S. arbitrated border dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana, 1895
Queen Liliuokalani deposed by resident US in Hawaii, 1898

William McKinley
1897-1901
Republican
Height of business influence in government
Gold Standard Act of 1900
Dingley Tariff
Spanish American War, 1898
Teller Amendment, Platt Amendment
Acquisition of Hawaii
Open Door Policy (China)

PROGRESSIVE ERA (1901-1917)

CHARACTERISTICS: Reform, expansionist foreign policy, and war.

Teddy Roosevelt
1901-1909
Republican
"the square deal"
"trust buster"
Coal Strike, 1902
Hepburn Act, 1906
National Reclamation Act
First Governor's Conference
Pure Food and Drug Act
Meat Inspection Act
Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine
"Speak softly and carry a big stick"
Panama acquired, 1903
Russo-Japanese War, 1905
Gentleman's Agreement, 1907

William H. Taft
1909-1913
Republican
Payne Aldrich Tariff
Mann Elkins Act
Ballinger-Pinchot Controversy
Challenge of Joseph Cannon
"dollar diplomacy"
U.S. involvement in Nicaragua
16th and 17th Amendments

Woodrow Wilson
1913-1921
Democrat
Underwood tariff
Federal Reserve Act
Clayton Antitrust Act
Federal Trade Commission
18th and 19th Amendments
"Moral diplomacy"
Attempts to improve relations with Mexico
Zimmerman note
Lusitania
"make the world safe for democracy"
World War I
Versailles Conference
Senate rejects the League of Nations

POST WORLD WAR I (1918-1929)

CHARACTERISTICS: prosperity, conservatism, pro-business, post-war reaction and fear of foreigners and foreign ideas (fear of communism (Red Scare), strikes(immediate post-war period, absence of reform. Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance.

Warren G. Harding
1921-1923
Republican
Normalcy
Harding Scandals - Teapot Dome
Fordney McCumber Tariff (1922)
Washington Armament Conference

Calvin Coolidge
1923-1929
Republican
Prosperity
Sacco-Vanzetti Case
Scopes Trial
National Origins Act
Veto of McNary Haugen Bill
Kellogg-Briand Pact
Dawes Plan

The GREAT DEPRESSION (1929-1941) and WORLD WAR II (1941-1945)

CHARACTERISTICS: widespread unemployment, poverty, problems for farmers. New Deal legislation and reform, isolationism and neutrality.

Herbert Hoover
1929-1933
Republican
Stock market crash
"prosperity is just around the corner"
Agricultural Marketing Act
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
Hawley Smoot Tariff
Bonus Army March on Washington, D.C.
The Young Plan
Clark Memorandum
Japanese invade Manchuria (1931)
Stimson Doctrine
Moratorium on all international obligations

Franklin D. Roosevelt
1933-1945
Democrat
The New Deal/ Relief, Recovery, and Reform
Relief: Welfare and the dole (FERA)
Recovery: NIRA, TVA, AAA, RFC, FHA, CCC, PWA, WPA, Theater Project, Writers' Project, National Youth Administration, and Home Owner's Loan, devalued the dollar; ended gold standard
Reform: FDIC, SEC, Social Security Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Wagner Act
1938 - Congress of Industrial Organization founded by John L. Lewis
Good Neighbor Policy
Triumph of Isolationism
Nye Investigations
U.S. abrogated the Platt Amendment
Neutrality Acts
Lend Lease Act
Destroyers for bases deal with Great Britain
Pearl Harbor and World War II
Yalta Conference (1945) FDR, Churchill and Stalin

POST WORLD WAR II (1945-1975)

CHARACTERISTICS: Economic prosperity, conservativism, patriotism, conformism, fear of communism, containment, pro-business, absence of reform except for Civil Rights movement and Johnson years (Great Society).

Harry S. Truman
1945-1953
Democrat
Fair Deal
Conservative "Do Nothing Congress"
Wanted Civil Rights legislation, against lynching and poll taxes
Wanted federal funds for public education
Fear of communism - Alger Hiss/Rosenbergs
McCarthy Era
Taft Hartley Act
Potsdam Conference
Atomic Bombs
United Nations founded
Cold War with Soviet Union
Marshall Plan
U.S. policy of containment
Truman Doctrine
Berlin Blockade and Airlift
Occupation of Germany and Japan
Formation of NATO
Point Four
Korean War (1950-1953)
U.S. support of Israel
Economic and military assistance to French in Vietnam when China began supplying arms to rebels (1945-1953)

Dwight D. Eisenhower
1953-1961
Republican
McCarthy Era/Army-McCarthy hearings
Brown v. Board of Education
Montgomery Bus Boycott - Civil Rights movement
National Guard to Little Rock Central High
Continuation of containment
Dulles - liberation
Eisenhower Doctrine in Middle East
Containment in Southeast Asia
Domino theory
Suez Crisis
Massive foreign aid
SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization)
Cuba becomes communist
Quemoy and Matsu
U2 Affair
Ends Korean War
Continued support South Vietnam

1960s

CHARACTERISTICS: reform, idealism, war, protests, civil unrest.

John F. Kennedy
1961-1963
Democrat
New Frontier, Peace Corps
Civil Rights Bill/March on Washington
Bay of Pigs invasion
Cuban Missile Crisis/Acceleration arms race
Alliance for Progress
Test Ban Treaty
Advisors to Vietnam

Lyndon B. Johnson
1963-1969
Democrat
Great Society
Civil Rights Act, 1964
War on Poverty
Economic Opportunities Act
Job Corps
Community Action Programs
Head Start
Medicare/Medicaid
Elementary and Secondary School Act
Immigration Act of 1965
Women's movement, Chicano movement, and Red Power movement
Student protest - Civil Rights and Vietnam
Black power movement
Death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964)
Tet Offensive
Operation Rolling Thunder
Americanization of the War
Johnson Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
Dominican Republic

Richard M. Nixon
1969-1974
Republican
Fights inflation
Devaluation of the dollar
New Federalism
Busing to achieve school integration slows down
Curtails domestic programs
Kent State
Watergate and impeachment hearings
War Powers Resolution
Vietnamization
New lottery draft system
Nixon Doctrine
Extends war to Cambodia
Increased bombing to No. Vietnam
Pentagon Papers
26th Amendment
Detente with China and USSR
SALT I Treaty
Armistice in Vietnam (1973)

POST VIETNAM WAR ERA (1975-2002)

CHARACTERISTICS: conservativism, corruption, crime, violence, racism, global economic competition for the U.S., end of the Post-War economic boom, end of the Cold War, rise of Asian Pacific nations, increased tensions Middle East.

Gerald R. Ford
1974-1977
Republican
Pardoned Nixon
Struggles with inflation (WIN) and unemployment
Fall of Vietnam
Communist takeover of Cambodia

James Carter
1977-1981
Democrat
Inflation
Tries to move away from Imperial presidency
Conserving energy to reduce dependence on OPEC
Pardoned all Vietnam draft evaders
Panama Treaty
Official recognition Communist China
SALT II
Camp David Accords
Iranian Crisis
Afghan situation (grain embargo and boycott of Olympics in Moscow)
Carter Doctrine

Ronald Reagan
1981-1989
Republican
New Federalism
Tax cuts and reduction social programs
Reaganomics (supply side economics)
Increased federal deficit
Trade imbalance
Hostages returned
Russia, the "evil empire"
Reagan Doctrine
Military buildup and Star Wars research
Iran Contra Affair
Invasion of Grenada

George H.W. Bush
1989-1993
Republican
Struggled with severe budget deficit
Military cutbacks
Prolonged recession
Rescue of savings and loans
End of the Cold War
Sent US forces to Panama to overthrow Noriega
Persian Gulf War in reaction to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait

William Clinton
1993-2001
Democrat
Reduced federal deficit
Failed attempt for major health care reform
North American Free Trade Agreement
Welfare reform
Increase minimum wage
Controversies Whitewater, Paul Jones, and Monica Lewinsky
Military buildup and war against Iraq
Prosperity/low unemployment
Impeachment Trial
War in Kosovo
Contested Presidential Election

George W. Bush
2001-
Republican
Tax Cut
September 11 Attack on World Trade Center
Pentagon War on Terrorism
Israel-Palestine Conflict

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