Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events
- James Monroe is almost unanimously reelected as
president over John Quincy Adams, winning 231 of 232 electoral votes.
- Missouri Compromise balances slave and free states
admitted to the union. Missouri is admitted as a slave state, but no
slavery will be permitted anywhere north of Missouri's southern border.
- Congress makes trade in foreign slaves an act
- Daniel Boone dies at age 85.
- Spring. In Palmyra in western New York state,
Joseph Smith has the first in a series of religious visions that ten years
later, on April 6, 1830, lead to the organization of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). After removing first to
Kirtland, Ohio, and Commerce (later Nauvoo) Illinois, Smith was shot to death
by a mob in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844.
- U. S. population: 9,638,453
- 20 November. The whaling
ship Essex is rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific ocean.
The survivors are found 94 days later, after a gruelling ordeal that includes
near starvation and cannibalism. As a sailor aboard the Acushnet in
Melville hears the story and reads Owen Chase's narrative of the disaster,
an account that will later influence Moby-Dick.
- In the Edinburgh Review (volume 33, January
1820) Sydney Smith writes, "In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an
American book? Or goes to an American play? Or looks at an American picture
Irving, The Sketch Book (1819-20)
- Missouri enters union as 24th state,
thus balancing the union at 12 slave and 12 free states
- Opening of Santa Fe trail.
- Republic of Liberia in West Africa is established
as a refuge for freed American slaves.
- The Waterford Academy for Young Ladies, later
the Emma Willard School, opens in Waterford, N.Y, the first college-level
school for women in the United States.
Fenimore Cooper, The Spy
- After a hunting accident in 1809, Sequoyah (1730?-1843)
develops a written alphabet for the Cherokee language. It is approved
by the Cherokee chiefs in this year.
- Denmark Vesey, a free African American,
is convicted and hanged along with 35 others in Charleston, S.C. when his
plans to lead a slave uprising are revealed.
- President James Monroe asks Congress to recognize
several newly independent republics in Latin America, among them Argentina,
Mexico, Colombia, and Peru.
2 December. President Monroe presents Monroe Doctrine
stating that U.S. will not tolerate European interference in Western Hemisphere.
- John Quincy Adams is elected president (1824-28)
in a contested election that ends in the House of Representatives on 9 February
1825. Speaker of the House Henry Clay uses his influence to elect Adams,
an action bitterly resented by candidate Andrew Jackson, whose 99 electoral
votes make him a logical choice. Adams names Clay his Secretary of State.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs is established.
- Great Salt Lake explored by scout Jim Bridger.
Irving, "Tales of a Traveller"
- Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok
(romance glorifying the "noble savage")
- James Seaver, A Narrative of the Life of Mrs.
Mary Jemison (captivity
- Creek chief William McIntosh signs treaty ceding
Creek lands to the U.S. and agrees to vacate by 1826; other Creeks repudiate
the treaty and kill him.
- Completion of the Erie Canal linking the Great
Lakes with New York City; first load of grain shipped in 1836
- John Trumbull, William Dunlap, and Asher B. Durand
discover Thomas Cole's
Lake with Dead Trees in a show window; Cole and Durand become associated
with the Hudson
River School of painters.
Wright, a Scottish reformer, publishes a Plan for the Gradual Abolition
of Slavery and establishes the Nashoba Community in Tennessee (1825-28)
as a cooperative in which slaves could earn their freedom.
- First American railroad completed in Quincy, Massachusetts
- Death of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July
- 12 September. Former Freemason William Morgan
of Batavia, N.Y, who had exposed Masonic secrets in Illustrations of Masonry,
disappears from the Canandiagua, N.Y. jail under mysterious circumstances
and is never seen again. A general belief that the Freemasons had killed him
for revealing their secrets leads to the formation of the Anti-Masonic party,
the first third party in American politics. (For a description
from the Freemasons' point of view, visit http://www.freemason.org/ims/morgan.htm)
The Last of the Mohicans
- Graham's Magazine (1826-58)
- 26 May. Elias Boudinot, "An Address to the Whites"
- Creek Indians sign a second treaty ceding lands
in western Georgia
- Fort Leavenworth, Kansas established to protect
Santa Fe Trail.
- Cooper, The Prairie
Allan Poe, Tamerlane and Other Poems
Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie
- Noah Webster publishes American Dictionary
of the English Language.
- John James Audubon publishes the first volume
of Birds in America.
- Andrew Jackson is elected president, winning
178 electoral votes to incumbent John Quincy Adams's 83.
- 21 February. Elias Boudinot and Sequoyah begin
publishing the Cherokee Phoenix, the first American newspaper published
in a Native American language.
Fanshawe (suppressed by the author)
- Creek Indians receive orders to relocate across
the Mississippi River
- First steam-powered locomotive in America.
- Mexico resists the efforts of Andrew Jackson
to purchase Texas.
Al Araaf, Tamerlane, and Other Poems
of African-American Literature, Part I from 1734-1860 at the Cultural
Studies in the African Disapora Project (UCLA)
Page for American History and Literature contains lecture notes and links
to documents from this and other eras of American history.
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