Blackface Jim Crow in minstrel show
Louisville, Kentucky, 1828
A new form of entertainment was born this year on a Louisville stage when Thomas “Daddy” Rice a comedian from New York performed a song-and-dance act with his face painted black to resemble a Negro. Rice portrayed a character named “Jim Crow” based on a stable boy who lived behind Rice’s theatre.
Cherokee agree to cede traditional lands.
Washington Dec. 20, 1828
The government announced today that the Cherokee Indians have decided to cede their traditional lands in the Arkansas Territory to the United States and to migrate voluntarily to lands west of the Mississippi River, which is known as Indian Territory. This peaceful group of Cherokees have lived in Arkansas for years. Increasing numbers of American citizens have moved into the area.
Jackson is President after tough race. Washington Dec. 3, 1828.
Backed by the fledgling Democratic Party, Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States today, defeating his long-time rival and sitting President John Quincy Adams. Jackson, a former senator from Tennessee and hero of the Battle of New Orleans, polled 187 electoral votes to 89 for Adams, the son of a former President.
While either man campaigned formally, their backers turned the election into perhaps the most viscous yet. Jackson forces pictured Adams as an aristocrat with European leanings.
Unruly Jacksonians mob White House
Washington Mar. 4, 1829..
People of every colour, size and shape mobbed the first floor of the White house this afternoon to celebrate the inauguration of “their” President, Andrew Jackson. Last month Jackson swore to oust from office “all men appointed “against the will of the people or are incompetent”. Still, his critics note that Jackson’s best friend, John Eaton, has been named Secretary of War even though he has no experience of war.
British Crew raises Union Jack at Astoria. Oregon Dec. 13, 1830
History was made today as Captain Black, a British naval officer aboard the Racoon, landed here and took charge of Fort Astoria. With 4 soldiers and 4 sailors, Black raised the Union Jack, broke a bottle of Madeira on the flagpole and declared the post Fort George. three rounds were fired and the fort was officially British. More importantly it signals the end of John Jacob Astor’s venture, the Pacific Fur Co.
Population nears 13 million. 1830
The latest census has recorded the population of the United States at 12,866,020, an overall increase of more than 3 million people (including 150,000 immigrants) since the last census a decade ago.
Catlin, on journey up the Missouri River, depicts lives of Indians. St. Louis Oct. 1832
The artist George Catlin has returned with sensational and sometimes shocking illustrations of Indian life along the Missouri River. In March Catlin set out on a voyage of more than 2,000 miles up river to remote Fort Union with trappers from the American Fur Company on the steam boat Yellowstone. The artist befriended the Sioux and Mandan tribes, whose colourful figures, villages and ceremonies he depicted in paint. His temerity was richly rewarded by permission to document the Mandan’s gruesome but sacred Okee-pa torture ritual.
Jackson slays the Bank. Washington Sept. 26, 1833.
The “Big Bank War” switched from talk to action today when President Jackson carried out his threat to withdraw federal funds form the Second Bank of the United States.
After ordering his Treasury secretary. William J. Duane, to reorganise the bank, and firing him for refusing to do so, the President has found a replacement eager to go along. Three days after moving to the Treasury from the Justice Department, Roger Taney carried out the President’s order and shifted funds to the Girard Bank of Philadelphia. Today’s move is the latest in a series of blows to the bank that President Jackson called “a Hydra-Headed Monster” and “a threat to our liberty.”
Minister introduces the potato in Idaho. Idaho 1833
The potato, a native South American tuber vegetable that has become a staple of the poor in Ireland and increasing popular in the United States, has been planted in the Idaho territory of Oregon country. Credited with introducing the vegetable here is the Rev. Henry R. Spaulding, a missionary to the Indians.
Cyrus McCormick grain reaper patented. Washington. June 21, 1834
Cyrus Hall McCormick of Virginia was awarded a patent today for the automatic grain reaping machine that is expected to bring great economic benefits to American farmers and consumers. If it is successful, the McCormick reaper will eliminate the need for hiring large numbers of labourers for harvesting, thus reducing the cost of producing food.
Race riots terrorise N.Y. & Philadelphia Philadelphia Oct. 1834
Riots that destroyed 31 houses and two churches in the city’s Negro section this summer have been condemned by a town meeting in which citizens voted in favour of reimbursements for damage done by white mobs. The riots began when nearly 500 whites entered an amusement area in the Negro quarter and attempted to drive the residents out of town. A free-for-al broke out and the whites were eventually chased from the neighbourhood. But they regrouped and returned the next night, beating Negroes and destroying their homes. On the third night of violence, a posse led by the mayor and sheriff dispersed the rioters.
Alamo falls; all 187 defenders killed. San Antonio, Texas, March 6 1836
The Alamo, defended by 187 Texans who have been besieged by up to 5,000 Mexican regular forces, has been captured. Reports indicate that no prisoners were taken and all Texan combatants were killed. The struggle began on February 26, when General Santa Ana led his huge Mexican force into San Antonio to put down the Texas rebellion the same day, Colonels William B Travis of South Carolina and James Bowie of Tennessee and their Texas forces retreated to the Alamo, an old Spanish mission, to make their stand against Santa Ana’s advancing cavalry. After refusing Santa Ana’s demand for unconditional surrender, the Mexicans ran up the red flag, the traditional
Military symbol that the Mexican army would offer no quarter to the Alamo defenders.
For 12 days the Mexican forces bombarded the fortress with intense artillery fire, reducing the old mission to a ruin. Early this morning the massed Mexican infantry began its frontal attack on the Alamo. Reporters say that the beleaguered defenders inflicted more than 1,000 casualties on the Mexicans, but within an hour all the Texans were dead. Once Santa Ana had overrun the Alamo, he ordered that the bodies of the 187 defenders be piled up like cordwood and burned. Although sparing the lives of some 30 Texan non-combatants.
Texans seize Santa Ana. Apr. 21, 1836
Tghe Texas army commanded by General Sam Houston, launched a surprise attack on Mexico’s forces earlier today, routed them and took general Santa Ana prisoner. I addition to the massacre of the Alamo, this general, three weeks ago, this general captured 300 Texas soldiers at Goliad and executed them all by firing squad.
Houston is First President.
Texas Oct. 22, 1836.
General Sam Houston was sworn in last week as the first President of the new republic of Texas. Houston is originally from Tennessee where he served as Governor. A colourful character he lived with the Indians for several years. He took a squaw for his bride and was called “The Raven”.
Arkansas in union as a slave state.
Little Rock, June 15, 1836.
After a long wait, Arkansas became the 25th state to join the union today. President Andrew Jackson signed the act granting statehood. Free-state senators delayed approval of the admission until another free state, Michigan, could be admitted. This will mean the union will have 13 free-states & 13 slave states.
Jackson leaves office with $90 in his pocket. Tennessee March 17,1837
His days of glory behind him, Andrew Jackson returned to his home, The Hermitage, here today lamenting that he left Washington. “With barely $90 in my pocket” But the old soldier and war hero who served as the President for eight years left his nation a legacy far richer - and to some critics more controversial. His legacy, Jacksonian -Democracy, is based on the belief that there is a deep conflict between the haves and have-nots.
Non-slave Michigan 26th state in union. Detroit Jan 26,1837.
Three years after the territorial legislature first petitioned congress for permission to form a state, Michigan has joined the union. A delay was caused by the need to hold a convention, draw up a constitution, and have it ratified by the electorate.
Underground Railroad helps slaves flee. Philadelphia 1838.
The abolitionist Robert Puvis has been named president of the now formally established Underground Railroad. This network of private homes and establishments has long been at work helping slaves to escape and protecting fugitive Negroes from the violence of their pursuers. Southern slave owners put their losses at over £200,000 a year from slaves who flee across the Mason-Dixon line.
Oberlin is accepting women as students. Ohio Oct. 30, 1838.
With this years class, Oberlin College becomes the nation’s first institution of higher learning to admit women to its college programmes on an equal basis with men. Oberln had previously had boys and girls together in its primary and secondary programmes and older girls studied in its female seminary. When the four women who entered today, applied last spring, the authorities saw no reason not to admit qualified applicants simply because of their sex.
Morse makes 1st photographs in America. New York, Dec. 1839.
New Yorkers are flocking to have their portraits made by a technique that captures camera images on copper plates. The technique, developed in France by Louis Daguerre, as introduced here by two New Yorkers Draper and morse, the latter better known as a painter and inventor of the telegraph. A daguerrotype as the picture is called, is made by coating a copper plate with silver and exposing it to iodine fumes to make it light-sensitive.
17 Million people - new land a magnet. Washington 1840.
The nation’s population grew by nearly a third in the past decade, to just over 17 million, the latest census shows. Some 600,000 immigrants contributed to the growth, with the opening of new lands a major factor. Missouri nearly tripled its population to 383,000.
Anti-slavery meeting: women barred. London June 12, 1840
American abolitionist Wendell Philips made the first motion at the World Anti-Slavery Convention today, calling for a complete list of the delegates, including “all persons bearing credentials from any anti-slavery society” The word “person” was carefully chosen, for Phillips realised that a rejection of the women delegates from the American party was imminent.
1st Oregon Trail wagons cross the Rockies. Sacramento, California November 1841.
The first covered wagon train o cross the Rocky Mountains over the recently opened Oregon Trail arrived in Sacramento this month. The leader of the expedition is 25-year-old John Bidwell, who says he is from Missouri. Bidwell organised a group called the Western Immigration Society back home and more than 500 would-be adventurers signed on to make the journey. Most however abandoned the project
Californian seeks onions, strikes gold. Los Angeles Nov. 22, 1842
While scrounging about in search of gold, Francisco Lopez got hungry. So he plunged his sheath knife into the ground in search of wild onions. Lopez found onions and more. In the onion’s roots he found gold dust, and that has touched off a small gold rush in San Feliciano Canyon. Today, Abel Stearns, a trader, sent 20 ounces of the placer to the Mint in Philadelphia for assay. While experts say this field is “played out” there may be gold nearby.
Fremont & Kit Carson explore far West. 1842.
News has arrived that Lieutenant John Fremont has successfully completed the first major American scientific expedition into the Rocky Mountains. Fremont, the son-in- law of Senator Thomas Hart Benson of Missouri, left Wyoming on May 2, stopped in St. Louis May 22. For supplies and a guide, and began their march to the mountains on June 10. Principal reason for the success of the expedition is the expert guide Christopher “Kit” Carson!.
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