Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events
- Mexico blocks further U.S. colonists
- U. S. population: 12,866,020
- 28 May. President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian
Removal Act authorizing the move of of several tribes to Western lands.
- The Republicans nominate Henry Clay for president.
- 15 September. The Choctaws sign a treaty exchanging
8 million acres of land east of the Mississippi for land in Oklahoma.
Lady's Book (1830-98)
- Birth of
Emily Dickinson (d. 1886)
- Former president John Quincy Adams takes a seat
in the House of Representatives.
- Nat Turner leads slave uprising in which 70 whites
are killed; 100 blacks are killed in a search for Turner. Thomas Gray records
the Confessions of Nat Turner
in early November.
- Black Hawk of the Sauk and Fox tribes agrees
to move west of Mississippi.
de Tocqueville and his friend Gustave de Beaumont spend nine months touring
America. The book that de Tocqueville writes after this trip, Democracy
in America, will be published in 1835.
Harding Davis born.
publishes "Israfel" in Poems by Edgar A. Poe
- James Kirke Paulding's The Lion of the West
features a character, Nimrod Wildfire, based on Davy Crockett (1786-1836).
- The Liberator (abolitionist paper, 1831-65).
In its first issue, William Lloyd Garrison writes, "On this subject [slavery]
I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation. No! No!
Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately
rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually
extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not
to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest--I will
not equivocate--I will not excuse--I will not retreat a single inch--AND I
WILL BE HEARD."> (Image courtesy of the
National Portrait Gallery.)
- Spirit of the Times (1831-58), which publishes
stories and sketches of the Southwestern
New-England Magazine (1831-1835)
- Democrat Andrew Jackson is re-elected president
over his opponents, gathering 216
electoral votes to National Republican candidate Henry Clay's 49. Also
running are Anti-Masonic candidate William Wirt (7) and Independent John Floyd
- Seminole chiefs cede Florida to the U.S. and
agree to move west of the Mississippi
- The Oregon Trail becomes a main route for settlers
- New England Anti-Slavery Society is founded
- 6 April-2 August. Black
Hawk War (Columbia
May Alcott born on her father's 33rd birthday.
"Roger Malvin's Burial"
- Americans in Texas territory vote to separate
Texas from Mexico.
- Britain prohibits slavery in her colonies.
- Oberlin College opens, the first co-educational
college and the first to admit blacks.
- 25 September. Following the instructions of President
Jackson, Treasury Secretary Roger B. Taney announces that the government will
shift its deposits from the Second
Bank of the United States to state banks, a move that as Jackson intended
weakens the Bank of the United States.
Apess, "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man"
- Knickerbocker Magazine (1833-65) founded
Fenno Hoffman (1806-1884)
- Child, Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans
- Black Hawk or Makataimeshekiakiak, selections
Speech of 1832 >also available online; iImage
courtesy of the National
- The Senate opposes Jackson over his removal of
funds to topple the Bank of the United States
- Cyrus McCormick patents the horse-drawn grain
- Anti-Catholic protestors burn the Ursuline
convent in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Literary Messenger (1834-64)
- National debt is paid off. To increase the amount
of available money needed for a growing economy, the state banks begin to
issue bank notes not backed by gold and silver. Inflation results from this
- Mob in Charleston, S.C. burns abolitionist literature,
and abolitionist writers are expelled from Southern states.
- Alexis de Tocqueville publishes Democracy
in America in France.
L. Clemens (Mark Twain) born in Florida, Missouri. (d. 1910)
Jacobs goes into hiding to escape Dr. Norcom (Dr. Flint in Incidents);
she will remain in hiding until her 1842 escape to New York.
appointed editor of the Southern Literary Messenger
- William Gilmore Simms,
The Yemassee (story of Indian warfare in Georgia)
- Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Georgia Scenes
- Crockett almanacs (1835-56)
- Beginning on February 23, Santa Anna leads 3,000 men in a siege
of the Alamo, killing all 187 Texans
inside on March 6; on March 27, his troops kill 300 soldiers defending Goliad.(To
see the Alamo today, visit the Alamo
- 21 April. Texans capture Santa Anna at the Battle
of San Jacinto.
- 11 July. The problems arising from growing inflation,
land speculation, and worthless currency lead President Jackson to issue the
Specie Circular, which requires that public lands be paid for in gold or silver
instead of paper money.
- 1 September. Settlers led by Dr. Marcus Whitman
reach Walla Walla in present-day Washington.
- Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that any slave
brought within its borders by a master is free.
Last of the Mohicans
- Graham's Magazine
Waldo Emerson, Nature
- Transcendental Club (1836-c.1844)
- Elizabeth Peabody edits Bronson
Alcott's Record of a School and Conversations with Children
on the Gospels.(1826-58)
- March. As one of his last acts as president, Andrew
Jackson recognizes the Lone Star Republic of Texas; the U.S. now consists
of 13 slave and 13 free states, with statehood pending for one slave territory
and three free territories.
- 4 March. Democrat Martin
Van Buren is inaugurated president, with Richard M. Johnson as vice president.
Van Buren won in part because he ran against a badly divided Whig party whose
three candidates--William Henry Harrison, Hugh L. White, and Henry Clay--split
- 10 May. Following several months of increasing
inflation and shrinking credit, the Panic
of 1837 begins, causing widespread bank failures and unemployment.
- Education reform by Horace Mann, Calvin Stowe,
Mary Lyon, and others.
- Ralph Waldo
Emerson, "An Oration" (revised in 1841 as "The American Scholar")
- Birth of William
Dean Howells in Ohio. (d. 1920)
- Birth of Edward Eggleston.
Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales (including "My Kinsman, Major Molineux"
- United States Magazine and Democratic Review
- Burton's Gentleman's Magazine (1837-40)
of 15,000-17,000 Cherokee Indians from Georgia on the "Trail
of Tears" results in 4,000 deaths
- Republic of Texas withdraws its offer of annexation
with the U. S.
- William Ellery Channing, Self Culture (promotes
"doctrine of self-improvement" as an alternative to strict Calvinism)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson,
"An Address . . . " (revised in 1841 as "The Divinity School Address")
- Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America
(first American edition)
Spanish slave ship Amistad, carrying 53 slaves, is
taken over in a mutiny by their leader, Cinque; before the Supreme Court, John
Quincy Adams argues their right to be freed ( Amistad
documents at the National Records site)
"The Fall of the House of Usher" in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine;
edits the magazine until 1840.
- Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Kirkland, A New Home--Who'll Follow?
of the West at pbs.org provides information on individuals, maps, quizzes,
and other resources.
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to D. Campbell.