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Ch 3: 19th Century American Presidents

About This Chapter

If you're struggling to remember the American presidents from the 19th century, our engaging chapter can help. You can review our lessons and quizzes 24 hours a day on your mobile device or computer as an easy way to finish your homework or catch up on missed class time.

19th Century American Presidents - Chapter Summary

Our instructors profile some of the American presidents from the 19th century in this fun chapter. You'll study Thomas Jefferson, Martin van Buren, John Quincy Adams and many more in these informative lessons. Once you've reviewed the lessons, take the multiple-choice quizzes to see how well you've understood. Or, take the quizzes before reading the lessons as a great way to prepare for an exam. If you have questions, you can contact one of our instructors to help. After you complete this chapter, you should be ready to:

  • Explore the relationship between Jefferson and his vice president, Aaron Burr
  • Detail the early life of John Quincy Adams, his role as Secretary of State and his policies
  • Describe Martin van Buren's campaign slogan and his role in the Panic of 1837
  • Outline van Buren's early life, his role in the Trail of Tears and his domestic policies
  • Explain the relationship between Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren
  • Give a summary of Martin van Buren's inaugural address
  • Discuss William Henry Harrison's early life and role in the War of 1812
  • Identify James K. Polk's role in Manifest Destiny and the Mexican-American War
  • Outline Polk's foreign policies, his election and his early life and education
  • Summarize Polk's inaugural address
  • Describe the early life and presidential campaign of Franklin Pierce
  • Detail the early life of James Buchanan
  • Discuss the early life and foreign policies of Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Identify Hayes' cabinet members
  • Explain William McKinley's role in the Spanish-American War and Civil War
  • Discuss McKinley's early life

77 Lessons in Chapter 3: 19th Century American Presidents
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Thomas Jefferson & Aaron Burr

1. Thomas Jefferson & Aaron Burr

In this lesson, we will learn about the relationship and the dynamics between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. We will explore their roles in the Election of 1800 and their leadership as the third President and Vice President of the United States.

John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State

2. John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State

John Quincy Adams was President of the United States from 1825-1829, but that's not what we want to talk about. In this lesson, we're going to look at Adams' years as Secretary of State, and see why the most important years of his career came under this office.

John Quincy Adams: Foreign & Domestic Policies

3. John Quincy Adams: Foreign & Domestic Policies

In this lesson you will learn about John Quincy Adams' career as an U.S. diplomat, president and member of the House of Representatives. You will also learn about his domestic and foreign policies.

John Quincy Adams: Childhood & Early Life

4. John Quincy Adams: Childhood & Early Life

John Quincy Adams was one of America's most scholarly presidents. You'll find out why that was the case in this lesson about his childhood and early life.

Martin Van Buren: Presidential Election, Opponent & Campaign Slogan

5. Martin Van Buren: Presidential Election, Opponent & Campaign Slogan

The Election of 1836 was unlike any other election in U.S. history. The growing opposition to President Jackson and the Democratic Party resulted in the creation of the Whig party. However, due to a lack in unity, the Whigs would run four candidates against a unified Democratic ticket, led by vice president Martin Van Buren.

Martin Van Buren & the Panic of 1837

6. Martin Van Buren & the Panic of 1837

President Martin Van Buren faced one of the greatest economic recessions in U.S. history. In this lesson, we will learn how he tried to ease the Panic of 1837.

Martin Van Buren's Early Life & Childhood

7. Martin Van Buren's Early Life & Childhood

This lesson goes over the early life and childhood of Martin van Buren, before his political career. You'll learn where he was born, went to school and what kind of early life he had.

Martin Van Buren's Role in the Trail of Tears

8. Martin Van Buren's Role in the Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears was one of the most inhumane moments in American interactions with Amerindian nations, but who was responsible? In this lesson, we'll see how Martin van Buren played into this history.

Martin Van Buren's Domestic Policy

9. Martin Van Buren's Domestic Policy

Martin Van Buren's single term as president was plagued by an inter-sectional dispute over the annexation of Texas, the forced removal of the Cherokee and Seminole from the Southeast, and the Panic of 1837.

Andrew Jackson & Martin Van Buren: Relationship & Comparison

10. Andrew Jackson & Martin Van Buren: Relationship & Comparison

An historical 'Odd Couple,' Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren appear to have little in common. Despite this, they were great political allies. With Jackson's charm and Van Buren's skill, both men became President of the United States.

Martin Van Buren's Inaugural Address: Summary & Quotes

11. Martin Van Buren's Inaugural Address: Summary & Quotes

On March 4, 1837, President Martin Van Buren delivered his inaugural address. Facing a divided nation, Van Buren needed to appeal to the people, while laying out the ground work for his presidency.

William Henry Harrison & the War of 1812

12. William Henry Harrison & the War of 1812

William Henry Harrison was a politician and military commander who earned fame in the 19th Century by fighting on the frontier of the United States. In this lesson, we will learn how Harrison used his experience to gain victories in the War of 1812.

William Henry Harrison's Early Life

13. William Henry Harrison's Early Life

William Henry Harrison was born into a very well-off family and seemed destined for greatness. But the pinnacle of his political career was cut short. Who was he? What happened? Find out more about him and his early life in this lesson.

James K. Polk & Manifest Destiny

14. James K. Polk & Manifest Destiny

In this lesson, we'll learn how incoming President of the United States James Polk used an expansionist fervor in the 1840s to justify spreading the country west by any means necessary. Polk risked war with Great Britain and Mexico to alter the course of the United States.

James K. Polk & the Mexican-American War

15. James K. Polk & the Mexican-American War

In this lesson, we will learn how President James Polk led the United States into a war with Mexico that redrew the North American Map in 1848. We will learn how the conflict started and how the outcome of the war affected both countries.

President James K. Polk's Foreign & Domestic Policies

16. President James K. Polk's Foreign & Domestic Policies

The Polk administration set four goals: reduce tariffs, re-establish the Independent Treasury System, obtain New Mexico and California from Mexico, and obtain some or all of Oregon Country. All were accomplished during his single term.

James K. Polk's Inaugural Address: Summary & Meaning

17. James K. Polk's Inaugural Address: Summary & Meaning

The inaugural address of President James K. Polk stated all of his administration's goals and gave philosophical support for each. What were his goals? Why did he feel that they were important? This lesson answers these questions.

James K. Polk: Election & Campaign Slogan

18. James K. Polk: Election & Campaign Slogan

The election of James K. Polk was notable in American history for a few interesting, and very different reasons. In this lesson, we'll explore this campaign and consider the legacies it left in American politics.

James K. Polk: Birthplace, Early Life & Education

19. James K. Polk: Birthplace, Early Life & Education

James K. Polk endured a pretty unfortunate childhood but that didn't stop him from becoming the 11th President of the United States. In this lesson, you will learn more about his early life and education.

President Franklin Pierce: Birthplace, Early Life & Education

20. President Franklin Pierce: Birthplace, Early Life & Education

This lesson will look at the early life and education of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States. You'll learn who he was, where he was born, and how he came to be involved in politics.

Franklin Pierce: Presidential Election & Campaign

21. Franklin Pierce: Presidential Election & Campaign

Franklin Pierce attended the Democratic Convention in 1852 and left as the surprise nominee for President of the United States. He campaigned without making a single public statement ... and won in a landslide that left the opposing party so splintered that it never ran someone for president again. Read on to find out more.

James Buchanan's Early Life

22. James Buchanan's Early Life

Not the most famous U.S. politician, James Buchanan has a lot of fun trivia attached to him nonetheless. Learn more about him, who he was, the trivia and his early life in this lesson.

Rutherford B. Hayes: Birthplace, Early Life & Education

23. Rutherford B. Hayes: Birthplace, Early Life & Education

Pronounced dead, he actually became President of the United States. Curious? Read more about the fascinating early life of our nation's nineteenth president, Rutherford B. Hayes.

President Hayes: Foreign & Domestic Policies

24. President Hayes: Foreign & Domestic Policies

The administration of Rutherford Hayes had several facets to its domestic and foreign policy. Let's look at some of the more memorable milestones of his presidency.

President Hayes: Cabinet Members

25. President Hayes: Cabinet Members

Rutherford Hayes' Cabinet was largely composed of respected people with lots of accomplishments. Two of them led especially interesting lives. Read on to learn about them.

President William McKinley & the Spanish-American War

26. President William McKinley & the Spanish-American War

President William McKinley took office with grand plans on expanding the influence of the United States at the end of the 19th century. In this lesson, we will learn how McKinley led the country in a war with Spain.

William McKinley: Birthplace & Early Life

27. William McKinley: Birthplace & Early Life

One of the most beloved U.S. Presidents, William McKinley also had an interesting background. Find out more about his birthplace and early life in this lesson.

William McKinley during the Civil War

28. William McKinley during the Civil War

William McKinley was a crucial figure in American history. However, his presidency was largely shaped by earlier experiences, including his role in the Civil War. In this lesson, we'll explore that history and see how war shaped the future president.

Grover Cleveland & Civil Service Reform

29. Grover Cleveland & Civil Service Reform

President Grover Cleveland took office with the hope of removing a corrupt system of governmental hiring based on political favors. In this lesson, we will learn of Cleveland's efforts to improve the ethics of governmental employment.

Grover Cleveland's Failures

30. Grover Cleveland's Failures

This lesson will look at President Grover Cleveland's failures. Cleveland was generally a successful president, but he was unable to address labor unrest caused by the Panic of 1893, and therefore also unable to keep the Democratic Party unified.

Zachary Taylor's Economic Policies

31. Zachary Taylor's Economic Policies

Zachary Taylor was president from 1849 to 1850. His brief term was the start of a critical decade leading up to the Civil War. His policies for using the federal government's money led to a stronger America that continued to grow after the war.

Zachary Taylor's Failures

32. Zachary Taylor's Failures

This lesson provides a look into the failures of American President Zachary Taylor. President Taylor's biggest mistake occurred before his death in office, and we will examine how this further pushed the country toward an inevitable Civil War.

Zachary Taylor's Administration

33. Zachary Taylor's Administration

Anyone in search of information on U.S. presidents of the antebellum period will find it in this lesson. This lesson will cover Zachary Taylor's administration, which lasted from March 4, 1849 through July 9, 1850.

Why Did Zachary Taylor Oppose the Compromise of 1850?

34. Why Did Zachary Taylor Oppose the Compromise of 1850?

U.S. President Zachary Taylor served during a divisive debate over the issue of slavery. In this lesson, we will learn why Taylor opposed the Compromise of 1850.

Andrew Jackson: Accomplishments & Historical Significance

35. Andrew Jackson: Accomplishments & Historical Significance

Andrew Jackson was a war hero and political firebrand. This lesson explores Jackson's achievements and populist political philosophy, including his controversial Native American Removal Act.

The Presidential Policies of Andrew Jackson

36. The Presidential Policies of Andrew Jackson

Old Hickory, as President Andrew Jackson was known, had a reputation for being a no nonsense, rough around the edges individual. As President, Andrew Jackson was no different when applying his policies to the nation. Jackson would make many political enemies, but his promises to the American people would win him two terms and forever change the nation.

How Did Chester A. Arthur Become President?

37. How Did Chester A. Arthur Become President?

Chester A. Arthur was America's 21st president, but how did he manage to get into the Oval Office? In this lesson, we'll look at the history behind Arthur's rise to power and see how it represented political trends of the time.

Major Events During Chester A. Arthur's Presidency

38. Major Events During Chester A. Arthur's Presidency

This lesson will examine the major events of Chester A. Arthur's presidency. Arthur was president from 1881-1885, and his presidency was mostly unremarkable, except for a few major events.

Chester A. Arthur: Domestic & Foreign Policy

39. Chester A. Arthur: Domestic & Foreign Policy

Imagine that you are vice president of the United States. The president has just been shot, and, as the gunman is being apprehended, he yells that you are president now. For 80 days, the ailing president is bedridden. Then, he dies, making you president. Some people resent you as you take office. How would you feel? That happened to Chester A. Arthur. Read on to learn about his presidency.

President Chester A. Arthur's Failures

40. President Chester A. Arthur's Failures

Have you ever wanted to know more about the politics and politicians of the Gilded Age? This lesson may have what you are looking for. In this lesson we will discuss the accidental presidency of Chester A. Arthur and some of his failures while in office.

Chester A. Arthur & The Civil War

41. Chester A. Arthur & The Civil War

The Civil War impacted nearly every American, and future presidents were no exception. In this lesson, we'll look at Chester Arthur's experiences in the Civil War and see how they influenced his political career.

What did James Monroe Accomplish?

42. What did James Monroe Accomplish?

In this lesson, you will learn about the diplomatic accomplishments and domestic shortcomings of President James Monroe. You will also learn about the Monroe Doctrine and The Missouri Compromise.

James Monroe: Biography, Facts & Quotes

43. James Monroe: Biography, Facts & Quotes

This lesson is going to give you a quick run-down of the biography of one of America's early presidents, James Monroe. You'll learn a few facts and quotes along the way.

James Monroe as Secretary of State

44. James Monroe as Secretary of State

James Monroe was a president who was deeply influenced by his Secretary of State. But before that, he actually was a Secretary of State. In this lesson, we'll explore Monroe's experiences in this office, and see how he shaped American history before his presidency.

President James Monroe's Domestic Policy

45. President James Monroe's Domestic Policy

In this lesson we will learn about the domestic policy of President James Monroe. We will highlight the key themes and developments surrounding the Monroe Administration, including politics during the Era of Good Feelings, the Missouri Compromise, and the Panic of 1819.

James Monroe During the Revolutionary War

46. James Monroe During the Revolutionary War

In this lesson we will learn about President James Monroe's service in the Revolutionary War. We will explore the battles he took part in, and we will highlight key themes and developments surrounding his service in the Continental Army and the Virginia Militia.

James Monroe's Early Life & Childhood

47. James Monroe's Early Life & Childhood

This lesson goes over the early life of one of America's presidents, James Monroe. You'll learn a bit about his family, where he was born and what he did as a young man.

President James Monroe's Cabinet

48. President James Monroe's Cabinet

In this lesson, you will learn about the distinguished men who served in the Cabinet of President James Monroe. You will learn about their achievements while serving in the Monroe administration and throughout their lifetimes.

Ulysses S. Grant: Early Life, Education & Facts

49. Ulysses S. Grant: Early Life, Education & Facts

Much has been written about Ulysses S. Grant as a general and as a president. But do you know anything about his early years? If not, then read this lesson to find out more!

President Ulysses S. Grant's Foreign Policy

50. President Ulysses S. Grant's Foreign Policy

During President Grant's two terms he had a good Secretary of State who counseled him in foreign relations. They avoided war with Spain and settled claims with Britain, leaving America at peace and respected in the world. Read on to learn more about Grant's foreign policy during his presidency.

Ulysses S. Grant: West Point & the Mexican-American War

51. Ulysses S. Grant: West Point & the Mexican-American War

Learn more about the early life of Ulysses S. Grant! This lesson covers the early life of Ulysses S. Grant's childhood to his time at West Point through his service in the Mexican-American War.

The Cabinet of President Ulysses S. Grant

52. The Cabinet of President Ulysses S. Grant

In this lesson we will learn about President Ulysses S. Grant's cabinet members. We will highlight some of Grant's most influential advisers and explore their notable achievements.

President Andrew Johnson: Biography, Accomplishments & Quotes

53. President Andrew Johnson: Biography, Accomplishments & Quotes

Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States. In this lesson, find out more about Johnson's history, his remarkable rise to the vice presidency, and his appointment to the office of the president. Without any formal education, Johnson rose through the political ranks to become a champion for poor, white populations in the south.

President Andrew Johnson's Domestic Policy

54. President Andrew Johnson's Domestic Policy

After the Civil War, the US was faced with readmitting the Confederate states into the union. But, how? Andrew Johnson dealt with this uncertainty during his presidency. Let's look at how he addressed this, as well as other domestic issues.

President Andrew Johnson: Early Life & Education

55. President Andrew Johnson: Early Life & Education

While not the most popular president, you have to give Andrew Johnson some credit for his rise in politics. Find out why as you learn about his early life and education in this lesson.

James Madison & the Federalist Papers

56. James Madison & the Federalist Papers

In this lesson we will learn about James Madison's role in writing some of the essays contained in the Federalist Papers. We will examine some of the specific essays he wrote, and analyze his role as a leading Federalist.

James Madison in the American Revolution

57. James Madison in the American Revolution

James Madison was the nation's fourth president, but before that he had played his own role in the Revolution. In this lesson, we'll explore this history, and see what impact Madison had on the war that established American freedom.

James Madison and Alexander Hamilton

58. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton

In this lesson, we will learn about the relationship between two important American Founding Fathers, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. We will explore the ways they worked together and highlight the source of their disagreements.

James Madison & Slavery

59. James Madison & Slavery

James Madison was one of America's top defenders of liberty. However, like many founding figures he was also a slave owner. In this lesson, we'll examine this contradiction and see how Madison grappled with it.

James Madison & Thomas Jefferson

60. James Madison & Thomas Jefferson

In this lesson, you will learn about the friendship and collaboration between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. You'll learn a little bit about how they met, what they accomplished together, and how they influenced the political life of the United States.

President James Madison: Domestic & Foreign Policy

61. President James Madison: Domestic & Foreign Policy

In this lesson, we'll learn about the domestic and foreign policies of President James Madison. Along the way, we'll explore some key themes and developments, such as the War of 1812, the re-chartering of the national bank, Native American affairs, and others.

President James Garfield: Facts & Biography

62. President James Garfield: Facts & Biography

This lesson goes over the early and professional life of James Garfield. You'll learn where he was born, how he was raised, what war he served in, and what political positions he held.

Who Was Millard Fillmore? - Facts & Biography

63. Who Was Millard Fillmore? - Facts & Biography

Millard Fillmore was an American president at a very interesting time in American history. In this lesson, we'll examine Fillmore's life and legacy and see how he dealt with the challenges of the time.

Thomas Jefferson: Early Life & Education

64. Thomas Jefferson: Early Life & Education

In this lesson we will learn about the early life of Thomas Jefferson. We will highlight aspects of his childhood and we will learn about his educational experiences (and how he was shaped by them).

Thomas Jefferson's Role in the Revolutionary War

65. Thomas Jefferson's Role in the Revolutionary War

In this lesson, we will learn about the role Thomas Jefferson played in the Revolutionary War. We will highlight his activity as a revolutionary leader in Virginia, and we will understand how he helped to secure American independence.

Thomas Jefferson & the French Revolution

66. Thomas Jefferson & the French Revolution

In this lesson, we will learn about Thomas Jefferson's view of the French Revolution. We will see that Jefferson was an early enthusiastic supporter of the revolution, but that as it spiraled out of control, he was forced to defend it.

Thomas Jefferson: Inventions & Accomplishments

67. Thomas Jefferson: Inventions & Accomplishments

In this lesson we will explore the achievements of Thomas Jefferson. We will learn about his inventions and explore other notable accomplishments, such as the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson's Home at Monticello: History & Facts

68. Thomas Jefferson's Home at Monticello: History & Facts

In this lesson we will learn about Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. We will highlight its history and identify its unique characteristics and features, and learn why Monticello is a uniquely American structure.

Monticello, Jefferson's Home: Architecture & Garden

69. Monticello, Jefferson's Home: Architecture & Garden

In this lesson we will learn about the architecture and gardens of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. We will high key architectural points of interest and we will learn about the gardens surrounding his home.

Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: Relationship & Children

70. Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: Relationship & Children

In this lesson, we will learn about Sally Hemings and the investigation undertaken in 2000 to determine if Thomas Jefferson fathered her six enslaved children.

Thomas Jefferson: Domestic, Economic & Foreign Policies

71. Thomas Jefferson: Domestic, Economic & Foreign Policies

In this lesson we will learn about the policies of President Thomas Jefferson. We will explore his domestic, economic, and foreign policies, and understand the direction he believed the young United States should take.

Alexander Hamilton & Thomas Jefferson: Relationship & Differences

72. Alexander Hamilton & Thomas Jefferson: Relationship & Differences

In this lesson, you'll learn about the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. These two Founders were bitter political enemies and had very different views on how the young American Republic should be governed.

Thomas Jefferson & the Constitutional Convention

73. Thomas Jefferson & the Constitutional Convention

In this lesson, find out why Thomas Jefferson was not at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but how he conveyed his opinions on the document and had an impact on the final version nonetheless.

Thomas Jefferson & Religion: Views & Quotes

74. Thomas Jefferson & Religion: Views & Quotes

In this lesson we will explore Thomas Jefferson's views on religion. We will learn how he was influenced by Deism and we will highlight his views regarding religious tolerance.

President Thomas Jefferson's Cabinet: Members & Overview

75. President Thomas Jefferson's Cabinet: Members & Overview

In this lesson, we will learn about President Thomas Jefferson's Cabinet members. We will identify who they were and highlight their notable contributions and what they are known for.

Thomas Jefferson & Benjamin Franklin: Relationship & Comparison

76. Thomas Jefferson & Benjamin Franklin: Relationship & Comparison

In this lesson, we will learn about the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. We will highlight their interactions, notably their diplomatic work together in France, and we will also explore their commonalities.

Abraham Lincoln: Childhood & Education

77. Abraham Lincoln: Childhood & Education

Abraham Lincoln is well-known for the events of his presidency, but many of his actions were shaped by the experiences of his youth. In this lesson, we'll explore Lincoln's early years and see how they shaped his worldview.

Chapter Practice Exam
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