• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A manual offering information on the most important laws and treaties approved by Congress in more than 200 years since the first session in 1789. Each Congress is covered in a separate chapter introduced by a historical essay setting the actions of the legislators in the context of their times.

Thirty-Third Congress: March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1855
Thirty-third Congress: March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1855
  • First session—December 5, 1853, to August 7, 1854
  • Second session—December 4, 1854, to March 3, 1855
  • Special session of the Senate—March 4, 1853, to April 11, 1853
  • (Administration of Franklin Pierce, 1853–1857)
Historical Background

In his inaugural address of March 4, 1853, President Franklin Pierce proclaimed that further territorial acquisition is “eminently important for our protection,” the “preservation of the rights of commerce,” and perhaps the “peace of the world.” During the next two years, the actions of the Pierce administration confirmed his espoused intention of further expanding the boundaries of the United States.

When Pierce assumed the presidency, several transcontinental railroad routes were being actively debated. Most attractive to the new administration, favored ...

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