Unit 5 Overview: Contextualization

2 min readmay 30, 2020

Caleb Lagerwey

Caleb Lagerwey

AP US History 🇺🇸

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During Period 4, the westward expansion of the United States continued, spurred on by ideas of Manifest Destiny (see 5.2). Period 4 also saw the Market Revolution and the Antebellum Reform Movements that profoundly changed the US.
The Market Revolution increased the connectedness of the North and West through communication and transportation innovations like the telegraph and railroad. The railroad increased the amount of urbanization in the United States while Industrialization was moving people away from farms and into the cities.
The Antebellum Reform Movements changed the US after the Second Great Awakening by urging Americans to change their society for the better through movements like Temperance, Women’s Rights, and, most consequently for Period 5, abolitionism
These changes were not uniform throughout the US, however, and sectional tensions began to develop between the North and South as they grew increasing apart on a variety of issues: the North was changing far faster than the South thanks to the Market Revolution and Antebellum Reform Movements. The South grew increasingly protective of its more traditional way of life. Tensions mounted as the 1840s continued...
🎥 Watch: AP US History - Putting Period 5 into Context


1844 – Election of Polk; Manifest Destiny 
1846 – Mexican-American War begins 🇲🇽vs.🇺🇸
1848 – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; Mexican Cession; end of Mexican-American War 🕊; Seneca Falls Convention👩🏼‍🦱
1850 – Compromise of 1850
1854 – Kansas Nebraska Act; creation of Republican Party🐘
1857 – Dred Scott v. Sanford 👨🏻‍⚖️
1860 – Election of Abraham Lincoln; secession begins
1861 – Beginning of Civil War🔫; Battle of Fort Sumter 
1862 – Homestead Act; Pacific Railway Act; Antietam
1863 – Battle of Gettysburg; Gettysburg Address; Battle of Vicksburg; Emancipation Proclamation takes effect 
1865 – Civil War ends; the assassination of Lincoln; 13th Amendment ⛓➡️🚫
1877 – End of Radical Reconstruction; Compromise of 1877; Jim Crow begins
🎥 Watch: AP US History - Period 5 Review

Major Trends Between 1844-1877

  • New immigrants like Germans🇩🇪 and Irish🇮🇪 continue to play a role in the US economy
  • The US federal government grew more powerful, mostly thanks to the Civil War
  • The US continued to expand westward, leading to more conflicts as compromises lasted for shorter and shorter time periods
  • The US economy continued to grow and became more industrialized
  • African Americans continued to fight for rights and equality
  • Questions about who counted as an American continued to be hotly debated
🎥 Watch: AP US History - Test Review Session for Period 5
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🌽Unit 1 – Interactions North America, 1491-1607
🦃Unit 2 – Colonial Society, 1607-1754
🔫Unit 3 – Conflict & American Independence, 1754-1800
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💣Unit 5 – Civil War & Reconstruction, 1848-1877
🚂Unit 6 – Industrialization & the Gilded Age, 1865-1898
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🥶Unit 8 – The Postwar Period & Cold War, 1945-1980
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