What Happened in American History in 1853?

In 1853, the United States of America was in a state of transition and change. This was a time when the country was expanding its territories, changing political landscapes, and facing challenges on multiple fronts. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key events that took place in American history in 1853.

California Gold Rush

In 1848, gold was discovered in California, which led to a massive influx of people from all over the world. By 1853, California had become a state and had a population of more than 200,000 people. The gold rush not only brought wealth to many individuals but also changed the economic landscape of the country forever.

The Gadsden Purchase

The Gadsden Purchase was signed in 1853 between Mexico and the United States. The treaty allowed the U.S. government to purchase land from Mexico for $10 million. This land included parts of present-day Arizona and New Mexico and was important for building a southern transcontinental railroad route.

The Crimean War

The Crimean War started in 1853 between Russia and an alliance consisting of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. Although America did not directly participate in this war, it had important implications for American foreign policy. The U.S government supported Britain and France during this conflict as they were seen as potential allies against Russia.

The Ostend Manifesto

The Ostend Manifesto was a document that proposed that America should acquire Cuba from Spain using military force if necessary. This document was drafted by three U.S diplomats who were sent to Belgium to negotiate with Spain regarding Cuba’s acquisition. However, this proposal met with strong opposition both within America and internationally.

Franklin Pierce Becomes President

In 1853 Franklin Pierce became the 14th President of the United States. He succeeded Millard Fillmore and was the youngest president to be elected at that time. Pierce’s presidency was marked by several controversial decisions, including his support for the Ostend Manifesto and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854 and allowed settlers in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether or not slavery would be legal within their boundaries. This act led to a violent conflict known as “Bleeding Kansas” between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups.


Overall, 1853 was a year of significant change in American history. The country was expanding its territories, facing challenges on multiple fronts, and grappling with issues related to slavery. By examining these events, we can gain a better understanding of how America transformed into the country that it is today.