A Video Timeline of American History through the Civil War (History 212 – Online)

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A Brief History

This article presents a video timeline for students of American History through the Civil War (History 212 – Online) at Ashland University.

For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to a video covering that date’s event.  After watching that video, please post a one or two sentence comment in the comments section for the video that demonstrates that you watched the video.

These comments or “thesis statements” are 1-2 sentence summaries of the video. They should include the most important aspects of each video. In other words, the thesis statement should include the individuals involved, the time period, and significance of the event.

For example, if you watched a video on the Declaration of Independence, your comment could be something like the following: “The Declaration of Independence of 1776, originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, formally declared the American colonies independent from Great Britain.  The Declaration also argued that all men are created equal with natural-born rights and that the government exists to secure said rights.”

Although I would prefer that you post your comments directly on the videos (every time anyone comments on one of my videos, I receive an email notification), if you are uncomfortable posting public comments on YouTube, you may instead email to me a list of your comments sent as a Word attachment.  If you email me your comments, for each comment, please be sure to include a footnote indicating what video your comment corresponds with.  To cite a YouTube video in a footnote, you should follow the following format:

AuthorFirstName AuthorLastName, “Title of Video,” YouTube video, running time, publication date, URL.

Here is an example:

Matthew Zarzeczny, “July 3, 1863: 5 Valiant but Failed Attacks (Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg),” YouTube Video, 8:22, July 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-x3gb11YlE.

Your comments on each unit’s videos should be completed by the date on the syllabus for when we finish that unit.

Digging Deeper

Module 1: Introduction, Jamestown, and Puritans

  1. On June 9, 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier became the first European (White) man to discover the mighty St. Lawrence River, the gateway into North America for European explorers.
  2. On July 7, 1550, chocolate is thought to have been introduced to Europe from the Americas.
  3. On June 23, 1611, the ship appropriately named Discovery, captained by explorer Henry Hudson, was in what is now called Hudson Bay and was the scene of a mutiny.

Module 2: The Great Awakening and Colonial America

  1. On May 23, 1701, Scottish Captain William Kidd was hanged in London for piracy and murder.
  2. The 22nd of November is indelibly etched in the public’s mind with the death of a revered hero! (And John F. Kennedy also died on November 22nd.) Yes, pirate aficionados everywhere mourn the 1718 loss of one of the most colorful pirates of all time, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.
  3. On June 2, 1763, as part of a general Indian (as in Native American) uprising known as Pontiac’s Rebellion, Chippewa warriors captured Fort Michiimackinac what is now present day Mackinaw City, by storming the fort.

Module 3: The American Revolution

  1. On March 5, 1770, British soldiers opened fire on a group of unarmed American protesters, killing 5 (either 3 or 4 immediately, one dying later), an event referred to as The Boston Massacre, sometimes called the first shots fired in the American Revolutionary War.
  2. On April 14, 1772, the building tension toward open rebellion of Americans against the British erupted in New Hampshire in an incident known as The Pine Tree Riot.
  3. On July 2, 1777, Vermont became the first territory in what had just (kind of) become the United States to abolish slavery.

Module 4: Forming A New Government

  1. On July 14, 1789, Scottish explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie finally reached the mouth of the river named after him, a failed attempt to find a route to the Pacific Ocean.
  2. On October 5, 1789, the women of Paris marched to Versailles to confront King Louis XVI about his refusal to abolish feudalism, to demand bread, and to force the King and his court to move to Paris.
  3. On May 20, 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul (later Emperor) of France, made a mistake he later regretted the rest of his life when he reinstated slavery in the French colonies.
  4. On May 5, 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman granted a US patent.
  5. On June 1, 1813, the commander of the USS Chesapeake, James Lawrence, lay dying, and uttered the immortal words, “Don’t give up the ship!”
  6. On July 19, 1814, Samuel Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and though he lived only to the age of 47 became rich and famous as the man that made the repeating firearm a practical reality.
  7. On July 15, 1815, Emperor Napoleon I of France surrendered to the British aboard the HMS Bellerophon.
  8. On February 9, 1825, the United States of America had the only incident (so far) of no presidential candidate winning a majority of the Electoral votes in a presidential election, forcing the House of Representatives to elect our next president.

Module 5: The Problem of Slavery

  1. On June 5, 1829, the British ship, HMS Pickle, a 5 gun schooner, captured an armed slave ship, the Voladora, off the coast of Cuba.

Module 6: The Civil War

  1. On June 4, 1855, Major Henry C. Wayne got on board the USS Supply in New York Harbor and headed to the Mediterranean Sea to procure camels (29 of the Dromedary or one-hump variety and 2 of the Bactrian or two-hump kind) for use by the US Army in the Western United States.
  2. On April 1, 1861, the municipality called East St. Louis was established.
  3. On June 3, 1861, in the first organized land battle (barely a battle in reality) of the American Civil War, the Union Army with 3000 men routed an untrained force of 800 Confederate volunteers in what it now West Virginia at Philippi, a small town that today has only about 3000 residents.
  4. On July 26, 1861, Major General George McClellan was appointed the commander of the Army of the Potomac, a move President Lincoln hoped would instill professionalism and competence to that Army.
  5. On October 23, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln, defender of the Union of the United States, illegally suspended the rule of Habeas Corpus, the Constitutional protection of Americans against being held in confinement without charges and due process.
  6. On March 8, 1862, during the American Civil War, perhaps the most important naval battle of the war began, a battle that would see the first clash of ironclad or armored warships.
  7. On July 16, 1862 and July 16, 1882, we commemorate the birthdays of 2 significant African-American women, Ida B. Wells (who first developed statistics on lynching in the US) and Violette Neatley Anderson (the first African-American woman to practice law before the United States Supreme Court).
  8. On July 23, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln finally found a replacement for General George B. McClellan as General-in-Chief of the Union Army when he appointed General Henry W. Halleck.
  9. On July 1, 1863, the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania began, perhaps the most important battle of the US Civil War.
  10. On July 3, 1863, the Army of the Potomac fought a defensive battle against the Army of Northern Virginia at the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.
  11. On July 30, 1864, Union forces exploded 8,000 pounds of black powder in a tunnel underneath Confederate trenches at Petersburg, Virginia, creating a crater 170 feet long and 120 feet wide, and 30 feet deep.
  12. On November 30, 1864, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood set what has to be a record for an American general for getting his subordinate generals killed and wounded after ordering an epic fail charge against Union forces led by Major General John M. Schofield at the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee during the American Civil War.
  13. On May 31, 1866, Irish nationalists known as Fenian Brotherhood invaded Canada in an attempt to force Britain into granting Ireland independence.
  14. On December 25, 1868, much maligned and embattled President of the United States Andrew Johnson issued a blanket pardon for all Confederate veterans of the US Civil War.

Module 7: The Final Assignment

  1. On July 4, 2018, 242 years after Americans declared their independence from Great Britain’s King George III, Dr. Zar and Major Dan journeyed to the Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio to celebrate.

Question for students (and subscribers): What is the most interesting event from this timeline?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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About Author

Dr. Zar

Dr. Zar graduated with a B.A. in French and history, a Master’s in History, and a Ph.D. in History. He currently teaches history in Ohio.