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Summary

Late 1700's

Judiciary Act (1789)
Tariff (1789)
Excise Tax (1791)
Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)

Early 1800's

Embargo Act (1807)
Non_Intercourse Act (1809)
Macon's Bill No. 2 (1810)
Sectional Tariff (1824)
Tariff of Abominations (1828)
Indian Removal Act (1830)
Tariff (1832)

Mid 1800's

Walker Tariff (1846)
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
Homestead Act (1862)
Freedmen's Bureau (1865)
Tenure of Office Act (1865)
Reconstruction Act (1867)

Late 1800's

Bland-Allison Act (1878)
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
Pendleton Act (1883)
Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
Dawes Act (1887)
McKinley Tariff (1890)
Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)
Sherman Silver Act (1890)
Wilson-Gorman Tariff (1894)

Early 1900's

Elkins Act (1903)
Hepburn Act (1906)
Meat Inspection Act (1906)
Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)
Gentleman's Agreement (1907)
Payne-Aldrich Tariff (1909)
Mann-Elkins Act (1910)
Underwood Tariff (1913)
Federal Reserve System (1913)
Federal Trade Commission (1914)
Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914)
Literacy Test Act (1917)
Espionage and Sedition Acts (1917)
Volstead Act (1919)
Fordney-McCumber Tariff (1922)
National Origins Act (1924)
Kellog Briand Act (1928)
Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930)
Relief and Construction Act (1932)
Neutrality Act (1935)

Mid 1900's

Selective Service Act (1940)
Taft-Hartley Act (1947)
McCarran Acts (1950)
Alliance for Progress (1961)
Civil Rights Act (1964)
Immigration Act (1965)
Voting Rights Act (1965)

Late 1900's

Clean Air Act (1990)
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
Brady [Gun Control] Act (1993)
Crime Control Act (1994)

Early 2000's

Patriot Act (2001)



Judiciary Act (1789)

Created different levels of courts (state and federal).

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Tariff (1789)

5% duty on all items entering the US (glass, hemp, and nails get higher).

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Excise Tax (1791)

8 cents per gallon on American whisky. This provoked the whisky rebellion, which President Washington put down.

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Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)

The Alien act allowed the president to deport any immigrant and changed the naturalization period from 5 years to 14. The Sedition act made it illegal to criticize the government. This was used to imprison Republican Critics unjustly. It also led to the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, stressing the policy of Nullification. They argued that the Sedition Act limited the freedoms of the press and speech.

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Embargo Act (1807)

Prohibited the US from trading with European nations. This invoked much indignation in New England and made Jefferson very unpopular.

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Non-Intercourse Act (1809)

Reopened trade with nations other than Britain and France.

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Macon's Bill No. 2 (1810)

The US will trade with all nations. But, whichever nation (Britain or France) stops attacking US ships, the US will stop trading with the other.

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Sectional Tariff (1824)

Previous Tariff rates were increased. This was denounced by representatives from the South.

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Tariff of Abominations (1828)

Raised tariffs to the highest rate that the country had ever seen. Fearing retaliation and unwilling to pay more for foreign goods, South Carolina followed the steps outlined in John C. Calhoun’s “Exposition and Protest” and nullified the law 1n 1832. This brought them into confrontation with President Andrew Jackson.

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Indian Removal Act (1830)

Gave permission to remove Native Americans (especially Cherokees) to beyond the Mississippi River. This led to the “trail of tears” in 1838.

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Tariff (1832)

Didn’t reduce the 1828 Tariff (of Abominations). This tariff made it evident to the South that the US had no intentions of abandoning its system of protective tariffs and actually sparked the “Nullification Crisis.”

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Walker Tariff (1846)

Repealed the “protective” provisions of previous tariffs, substantially reducing tariff rates.

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Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

Authorized the creation of the states of Kansas and Nebraska, separated at the 40th parallel. It allowed the slavery question to be decided by the idea of popular sovereignty. It also revoked the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In the state of Kansas, two capitols were set up, one in Lecompton (slave and fraudulent) and Topeka (free and illegal). The reason that Lecompton was fraudulent was that when voting on the slavery issue, Border Roughians from Missouri descended upon the state and voted. This led to Bleeding Kansas, and John Brown’s actions.

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Homestead Act (1862)

Anyone who was the head of the family and of at least 21 years could receive a 160 acre piece of land and farm it for 5 years to gain ownership.

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Freedman's Bureau (1865)

Helped emancipated slaves to adjust to their new freedom. It set up schools in the South and helped them to find work.

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Tenure of Office Act (1865)

Stated that a president could not fire a cabinet member without congressional authorization. This act was created especially to catch Andrew Johnson and provide grounds for impeachment (he wasn’t getting along with Congress).

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Reconstruction Act (1867)

Divided the South into five military districts over which a general presided and administered martial law. In order to regain statehood, they had to ratify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Also, a majority had to take an oath of loyalty.

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Bland-Allison Act (1867)

Allowed a limited amount of silver specie to be circulated, creating “limping” bimetallism, which relied partially on silver, but mostly on gold.

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Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)

Slowed Chinese immigration to a slow trickle. The act was originally supposed to be in action for 10 years, but it was extended indefinitely.

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Pendleton Act (1883)

Regulated government employment, and more than doubled the jobs that were “civil service” positions.

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Interstate Commerce Act (1887)

Provided for the regulation of commerce between states. This created the ICC, which though weak at first, was subsequently given greater regulatory power.

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Dawes Act (1887)

Divided Native American territorial lands into parcels, which though originally were “supposed” to be for Native American families, were sold for little money to contractors. It also stated that any Native American that wished to adopt “white” ways could become a citizen of the United States.

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McKinley Tariff (1890)

Increased tariff rates on imports by 48% but added some items to the free import list. It also allowed the president to prohibit items on the free import list from coming into the country if he felt the exporting country was doing the same for goods manufactured in the US. The tariff was widely criticized.

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Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)

Declared that “every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations” was illegal. It was used more on unions than Big Business in the 19th century, though TR was able to use it to break up Northern Securities during the early 1900s.

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Sherman Silver Act (1890)

Required the US Treasury to purchase 127,575 kg of silver each month and to issue Treasury notes redeemable in gold or silver.

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Wilson-Gorman Tariff (1894)

Raised rates on certain items. President Cleveland refused to take a stand on the tariff, and therefore it became law without his signature.

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Elkins Act (1903)

Railroads are prohibited from giving secret rebates and charging discriminatory rates.

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Hepburn Act (1906)

ICC gets the power to set rates for those railroads that use discriminatory methods.

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Meat Inspection Act (1906)

Required the inspection of animals to be slaughtered, processed, and shipped for interstate commerce. It also regulated and supervised the slaughtering and processing of the animals.

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Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)

Made it illegal for the manufacture of drugs that didn’t do what they promised (miracle remedies) and the processing of unsafe food. Pure ingredients must be used and listed on the package. This was later strengthened in 1938.

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Payne-Aldrich Tariff (1909)

Made slight reductions in tariff rates, but nothing that gathered attention. Many felt it didn’t go far enough.

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Mann-Elkins Act (1910)

ICC is given further control over the railroads and is now in charge of telephone, radio, cable, and telegraph companies.

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Underwood Tariff (1913)

Reduced rates on manufactured and semi manufactured goods, eliminated those on most raw materials, and paved the way for a stop to sugar tax.

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Federal Reserve System (1913)

A central bank was reintroduced into American banking. It could dictate the forms of assets and how much of it a bank must hold (at least).

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Federal Trade Commission (1914)

Act with the general objective of promoting free and fair trade competition. The FTC investigates price-fixing schemes and possible monopolies.

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Clayton Antitrust Act (1914)

A new stronger antimonopoly and antitrust act that could not be used against labor unions and provided stricter penalties for violators.

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Literacy Test Act (1917)

Imposed a literacy test on immigrants from Asia.

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Espionage and Sedition Acts (1917)

The Espionage Act forbade anyone from hindering the war effort. The Sedition Act forbade anyone from criticizing the government. Charles Schenk was accused of violating the Espionage act for distributing antiwar pamphlets. In the 1919 Schenk vs. US case, Oliver Wendell Holmes established the “Clear and Present Danger” precedent [This is also the title of a Tom Clancy novel that I highly recommend]. Eugene Debs was also jailed for violating the Espionage Act. In 1919, he sued for his innocence, but his sentence was upheld by the 1919 Debs vs. US case.

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Volstead Act (1919)

Used to enforce the 18th Amendment for Prohibition. It defined an alcoholic beverage to have a 0.5% or higher alcoholic content.

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Fordney-McCumber Tariff (1922)

Increased the rates on some items to the highest rates in US history. It also gave the president the power to increase or decrease the duties to prevent unfair importation tactics and as a retaliatory response against foreign nations discriminating against US goods.

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National Origins Act (1924)

An extremely biased system of quotas that allowed a great amount of “desirable” NW Europeans in, few “less desirable” SE Europeans in, and 0 Asians in.

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Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930)

Raised tariff rates by 20%

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Relief and Construction Act (1932)

Used the trickle-down theory that tax cuts for businesses directly translated into wage increases for workers. Hoover’s attempt came too late to reelect him.

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New Deal Acts (1932)

CCC, NIRA, WPA, TVA, Wagner, etc.

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Neutrality Act (1932)

The US will trade no arms and give no loans to belligerents. Also, US citizens would travel on belligerent ships at their own peril.

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Selective Service Act (1940)

All males between 21 and 36 shall register for military service. There was to be 12 months of training followed by deployment in only the Western Hemisphere.

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Taft-Hartley Act (1947)

Made it illegal to force workers to join a union before they start at a job.

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McCarran Acts (1950)

Forced all communists to register with the Attorney General. It also said that they were barred from defense work and that they could be rounded up during times of national emergency.

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Alliance for Progress (1961)

JFK’s plan to aid developing countries in Latin America. Not much money was appropriated by Congress for it, and what money was appropriated was poorly managed.

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Civil Rights Act (1964)

Prohibited discrimination in hiring and public accommodations due to race, religion, gender, or age. It also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate claims into unfair hiring practices.

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Immigration Act (1965)

Removed the unfair quotas enacted by the 1924 National Origins Act and enacted new priorities for entering the nation (skills the US needs, family, and political asylum).It was originally advocated by JFK, whose father was an Irish Immigrant. After his assassination in 1963, LBJ was able to push it through by saying that the former president had desperately wanted it.

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Voting Rights Act (1965)

Stated that Literacy tests were not to be administered to voters. It also set up a committee that investigated the voting habits of areas where a low percentage of African Americans voted. The South deeply resented this.

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Clean Air Act (1990)

Legislation enacted to “improve the nation's air quality and to reduce or eliminate certain air pollutants that have been linked to problems for human health or the environment.”

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Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

Legislation designed to “prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and to guarantee them equal access to employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunication.”

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Brady [Gun Control] Act (1993)

Established licensing fees and a waiting period before an individual receives ownership of a handgun, during which law enforcement officers check to see if they are prohibited from owning one.

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Crime Control Act (1994)

Provided funds for more police officers and for programs to fight violence against women.

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Patriot Act (2001)

Law that expanded the federal government’s power to fight terrorism. It is used to investigate and prosecute suspects. It allows the government to detain suspected terrorists for months without filing a formal list of charges. The bill is still very controversial.

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