Beginning Year:       Ending Year:      
1783
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
War
Revolutionary War: Great Britain recognizes the independence of the U.S. and the war is officially over with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
War
Revolutionary War: George Washington (1732-1799) resigns as Commander-in-Chief and the Continental Army is disbanded.
Science
Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) suggests that water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
Inventions
John Broadwood (1732-1812) patents his piano pedals.
Inventions
D. Domenico Salsano invents the seismograph for measuring the strength of earthquakes.
Education
Higher Education: Enrollment at Yale College is 270.
Education
Education of Women: Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1803) publishes "De l’éducation des femmes" (On the Education of Women).
Education
Noah Webster (1758-1843) publishes "The American Spelling Book," called the “Blue-Backed Speller,” which helps standardize spelling of American English.
Arts and Letters
The first works of Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) are published.
Washington, Martha
As the Revolutionary War ends, Martha (1731-1892) and George Washington (1732-1799) return to Mount Vernon.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Madison’s (1764-1849) father, John Payne, influenced by his Quaker tenets and desiring a better education for his children, frees his slaves, sells his plantation, and moves his family to Philadelphia.
Van Buren, Hannah
Hannah Hoes (1783-1819) is born on March 8th in Kinderhook, New York. She is the first First Lady to be born an American citizen. All First Ladies before her were British subjects.
Economics
Population: Population of the U.S. is estimated at 2.4 million.
Daily Life
Newspapers: At the war's end, there are forty-three newspapers in print. The press plays a vital role in the affairs of the new nation; many more newspapers are started, representing all shades of political opinion.
Daily Life
Society of the Cincinnati, an elite American Revolutionary group, is established.
Daily Life
Newspapers: The first daily newspaper in the U.S., "The Pennsylvania Evening Post," begins publication.
Daily Life
Transportation: It takes Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) five days to travel from Philadelphia to Baltimore, about 90 miles.
Popular Culture
Hot Air Balloons: The first recorded manned flight in a hot air balloon takes place in Paris; the Montgolfier brothers pilot their paper and silk balloon for 22 minutes.
Social Issues
Slavery: Virginia emancipates those slaves who served in the colonial forces against Britain, provided that the slave's master gives permission.
Social Issues
Slavery: Affluent free blacks in New Orleans, Louisiana, organize the Perseverance, Benevolence and Mutual Aid Association to support their own interests and assist the poor.
1784
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Slavery: Congress narrowly defeats Thomas Jefferson’s (1743-1826) proposal to ban slavery in new territories after 1800.
Government
Presidents: Zachary Taylor (1784-1950), 12th President of the U.S., is born November 24, near Barboursville, Virginia.
Government
North Carolina cedes its western lands to the U.S. The state of Franklin (present-day east Tennessee) exists until 1888, when settlers accept renewed jurisdiction of North Carolina.
War
Revolutionary War: The U.S. ratifies the treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.
Medicine
Johann von Goethe (1749-1837) discovers the human intermaxillary bone.
Inventions
Swiss inventor Aimé Argand (1755-1803) designs an oil burner.
Inventions
Joseph Bramah (1748-1814), English engineer, invents a pick-proof lock.
Education
Special Education: The first school for the blind is established in Paris.
Education
Higher Education: King’s College in New York City becomes Columbia University.
Ideas
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) publishes "Notes on Virginia."
Adams, Abigail
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) joins husband, John (1735-1826), in Paris, where he is an ambassador.
Jefferson, Martha
Lucy Elizabeth II (1782-1784), daughter of Thomas and Martha Jefferson, dies October 13 from the "complicated evils of teething, worms and hooping cough."
Economics
The "Empress of China" sails from Salem, Massachusetts to Canton, China, establishing a route for the New England-China trade.
Daily Life
The first political cartoons by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) are published.
Daily Life
Magazines: "Gentlemen and Ladies’ Town and Country Magazine" begins publication as does "The American Mercury."
Sports
Deer hunting at night in the Carolinas is made a misdemeanor because of the accidental slaughter of many cows and horses.
Popular Culture
Hot Air Balloons: Vincent Lunardi (1759-1806) first ascends in a hot air balloon in England.
Popular Culture
Hot Air Balloons: Elisabeth Thible becomes the first woman to go aloft as a passenger in a hot air balloon over Lyons, France.
Religion
The first American bishop for the colonies is appointed.
Religion
The Great Awakening: John Wesley (1702-1791) publishes his Deed of Declaration, and Weslayan Methodism is chartered.
Religion
Women''s Firsts: Hannah Adams (1755-1832), the first American woman to support herself as a writer, publishes "An Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects."
back to top ^
1785
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Congress passes the Land Ordinance of 1785 (Northwest Ordinance).
Government
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) becomes Minister to France and John Adams (1735-1826) becomes Minister to Great Britain.
Inventions
Chlorine bleach is invented.
Inventions
The steam-powered loom is invented.
Education
The London Society for the Establishment of Sunday Schools is founded.
Education
Public Education: The Northwest Ordinance stimulates the establishment of public schools through land grants by stipulating that certain amounts of land must be set aside for public education purposes.
Ideas
Hot Air Balloons: Philip Freneau (1752-1832) suggests that hot air balloons could be used to travel to other planets.
Adams, Abigail
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) continues as a diplomatic wife in London when John (1735-1826) is appointed the first U.S. minister to Great Britain.
Economics
American Money: The dollar becomes the official currency of the United States.
Economics
Ann Timothy holds the post Printer to the State of South Carolina.
Economics
Transportation: Regular stagecoach routes linking New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia begin operations.
Popular Culture
Hot Air Balloons: The first hot air balloon flight across the English Channel takes place.
Social Issues
Slavery: New York passes a gradual emancipation law, prohibits the importation of slaves, and allows masters to manumit slaves without posting bonds.
Social Issues
Slavery: Virginia deems any person with black blood to be a mulatto and declares that the use of the term Negro is understood to include mulattos.
1786
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Science
German chemist M. H. Klaproth (1743-1817) discovers uranium.
Medicine
Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) suggests that some illnesses may be psychosomatic.
Medicine
Pennsylvania Hospital opens an outpatient dispensary, a forerunner of free clinics.
Inventions
American inventor James Rumsey (c.1743-1792), designs the first mechanically driven boat.
Education
Education of Women: A government boarding school for girls is founded in Vienna for the education of teachers and governesses.
Education
Museums: The Philadelphia Museum is founded by Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827).
Arts and Letters
Poetry: Robert Burns (1759-1796) publishes "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect."
Arts and Letters
Opera: Mozart’s (1756-1791) "The Marriage of Figaro" is produced in Vienna.
Monroe, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Kortright (1768-1830) marries James Monroe (1738-1851) in February when she is seventeen.
Monroe, Elizabeth
Eliza Kortright Monroe (1817-1825), daughter of President James Monroe and Elizabeth Monroe, is born.
Economics
Debt-ridden farmers in western Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shays (c.1745-1825), revolt against the state government, protesting high taxes, shortage of money, and insistent creditors. Shays’ Rebellion is crushed in 1787.
Economics
The first ice cream is made commercially in New York City.
Sports
Golf: The Charleston, NC Golf Club is established.
Sports
Mt. Blanc in the Alps is climbed for the first time.
Religion
A collection of sacred music for schools is the first book in the U.S. published with moveable type.
Religion
The Religious Freedom Act abolishes religious tests for voting in Virginia.
Social Issues
Native Americans: The U.S. establishes first Native American reservation and policy of dealing with each tribe as an independent nation.
back to top ^
1787
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
A constitutional convention meets in Philadelphia to frame a Constitution; the Constitution of the U.S. is signed.
Government
New State: Delaware ratifies the Constitution and becomes the 1st state in the Union; Pennsylvania is 2nd state in the Union; New Jersey becomes the 3rd.
Government
Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
Government
National Capital: The new Constitution provides the the creation of a separate national capital, and the search for a site begins.
Inventions
American inventor John Fitch (1743-1798) launches a steamboat on the Delaware River.
Education
Higher Education: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia opens.
Education
Children''s Books: The first American edition of "Mother Goose Rhymes" is published by Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831
Arts and Letters
Mozart (1756-1791) composes "Don Giovanni;" it premieres in Prague.
Ideas
John Adams (1735-1826) writes "A Defense of the Constitution of Government of the U.S.A."
Ideas
James Madison (1751-1836) writes "The Vices of the Political System of the United States."
Washington, Martha
George Washington (1732-1799) attends a concert given by Alexander Reinagle (c.1750-1809), finest pianist in the U.S. at the time; he later engages Reinagle to give music lessons to his daughter.
Economics
The first American cotton mill opens in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Daily Life
One of the first non-religious song books, A Select Collection of the Most Favorite Scots Tunes, is published in the U.S. by Alexander Rienagle.
Religion
Lucy Wright (1760-1821), successor to Ann Lee, dominates the period of the Shaker society’s greatest growth.
Religion
Black preacher Richard Allen (1760-1831) founds the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reform
Abolition Movement: The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is formed by British Quakers.
1788
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
New State: Georgia ratifies the new Constitution and becomes the 4th state admitted to the Union; Connecticut becomes the 5th; Massachusetts is the 6th; Maryland is the 7th; South Carolina is the 8th; New Hampshire is the 9th; Virginia is the 10th; New York is the 11th.
Government
National Capital: New York City becomes the federal capital of the U.S.
Government
National Capital: Maryland and Virginia give land for a new federal capital.
Science
The Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-1827) writes "Laws of the Planetary System."
Medicine
Mobs riot in New York and Boston protesting the use of cadavers for dissection in medical schools.
Inventions
Andrew Meikle (1719-1811), Scottish millwright, patents a thrasher for removing husks from grain.
Education
Hannah More (1745-1833) opens a school for illiterates in England and receives much opposition for educating laborers.
Education
Public Education: The Constitution gives the power to establish schools and license teachers to individual states rather than to the federal government.
Ideas
"The Federalist Papers" are published.
Ideas
Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) writes "A Critique of Pure Reason."
Adams, Abigail
Abigail (1744-1818) and John Adams (1735-1826) return to Braintree, MA from abroad.
Taylor, Margaret
Margaret “Peggy” Mackall Smith (1788-1852), wife of Zachary Taylor, is born in Calvert County, MD on September 21.
Economics
"Northwest America," the first American ship built on the west coast, is launched.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Botany Bay in Australia becomes an English penal colony.
Daily Life
The first hortensia and fuchsia are imported to Europe from Peru.
Daily Life
Disasters: Fire destroys more than 800 buildings in New Orleans.
Social Issues
Slavery: Connecticut and Massachusetts forbid residents from participating in the slave trade.
Social Issues
Slavery: New York passes a new comprehensive slave law, confirming that all current slaves are slaves for life.
back to top ^
1789
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Constitution of the United States goes into effect; the first ten amendments to the Constitution are introduced by the Congress.
Law
The Federal Judiciary Act creates the Supreme Court.
Law
Chief Justices: President George Washington (1732-1799) nominates John Jay (1745-1829) as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on September 24th. The Senate confirms the appointment on September 26th. After serving as Chief Justice for five years, Jay resigns from the Supreme Court on June 29, 1795. He is elected Governor of New York in 1796.
Politics
George Washington (1732-1799) is elected President of the U.S., and John Adams (1735-1826)is elected Vice President.
Politics
First Political Parties: The Federalist Party is formed.
Politics
Tammany (Hall) is founded in New York City.
Politics
Political buttons first appear.
Government
New State: North Carolina ratifies the Constitution and becomes the 12th state admitted to the Union.
War
French Revolution: The French Revolution begins.
Medicine
Edward Holyoke (1728-1829), physician, publishes life expectancy table showing the Americans live longer than Europeans.
Inventions
Englishman William Jessup designs first wagons with flanged wheels.
Education
The first modern chemistry textbook, "Elements of Chemistry," is published by Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794); all illustrations are provided by his wife, Marie.
Education
One of the earliest complaints about a textbook is made by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison against a geography book written by Jedidiah Morse, who object to the popular text’s characterization of the young men of Virginia, as “gamblers, cockfighters, and horse-jockies”.
Education
Higher Education: Georgetown University is established in what is now Washington, D.C.
Ideas
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), English barrister, publishes "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation."
Washington, Martha
Martha Washington (1731-1802) becomes the nation’s first First Lady. She does not attend her husband''s presidential inauguration, but joins him several weeks later in New York City, the nation''''s first capital.
Adams, Abigail
John Adams (1735-1826) becomes Vice President; serves two terms under George Washington.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Paine’s (1764-1849) father loses his business in Philadelphia and is expelled from the Pine Street Monthly Meeting for failure to pay his debts.
Economics
Christopher Colles (c.1738-1821) publishes the first American road map.
Economics
Women''s Firsts: Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) opens a Baltimore bookstore, probably the first woman in America to do so.
Daily Life
Chrysanthemums are introduced to Britain from the Orient.
Daily Life
Holidays: Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as a national holiday for the first time.
Daily Life
Magazines: The first periodical designed for children, "The Children’s Magazine," is published in Hartford, CT.
Reform
Temperance Movement: The first organized temperance group is formed by 200 farmers in Connecticut, who pledge not to drink alcoholic beverages during farming season.
Reform
Abolition Movement: The Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes and Others Unlawfully Held in Bondage is founded.
1790
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The first session of the Supreme Court takes place.
Government
The Copyright Act is passed with the help of Noah Webster.
Government
Congress gives George Washington (1732-1799) the power to choose the site for the new capitol.
Government
U.S. President George Washington (1732-1799) delivers the first State of the Union address.
Government
New State: Rhode Island becomes the 13th state to ratify the Constitution and join the United States.
Government
Presidents: John Tyler (1790-1862), 10th President of the U.S., is born in Greenway, Virginia.
Medicine
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) rages against the prevalent practice of bloodletting as a universal cure and founds homeopathy.
Inventions
A foot-powered dental drill is invented by John Greenwood (1760-1819).
Education
Education of Women: Catherine Macaulay’s (1731-1791) "Letters on Education" influences Mary Wollstonecraft’s thinking in "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" (1792).
Education
Public Education: Pennsylvania state constitution calls for free public education but only for poor children. It is expected that rich people will pay for their children's schooling.
Washington, Martha
The Washingtons move to Philadelphia when the capital does.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Payne (1764-1849) marries John Todd, Jr., a Quaker lawyer, on January 7.
Tyler, Letitia
Letitia Christian Tyler (1790-1842), first wife of John Tyler, is born on her family's plantation, Cedar Grove, in Virginia on November 12.
Economics
The first American steam-powered cotton-processing machines are built, marking the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.
Economics
Population: The first national census shows the American population at 4 million—about 25% in New England, 25% in the Middle States, and 50% in the South.
Religion
The first Roman Catholic bishop consecrated in America is John Carroll (1735-1815) of Baltimore.
Religion
Women’s Firsts: Mother Bernardina Matthews (1732-1800) establishes a Carmelite convent near Port Tobacco, Maryland, and the first community of Roman Catholic nuns in the Thirteen Colonies.
Religion
The first Roman Catholic Bible is published in the U.S. by Mathew Carey.
Social Issues
Immigration: The federal government requires two years of residency for naturalization.
Social Issues
Slavery: The First United States Census reveals that nearly 700,000 slaves live and toil in a nation of 3.9 million people.
Social Issues
Slavery: Congress denies naturalization to anyone who is not a free white.
Social Issues
Slavery: Congress advocates the expansion of slavery into the Southwest.
Reform
Women''s Rights Movement: French philosopher Condorcet (1743-1794) writes "On the Admission of Women to Citizens’ Rights."
back to top ^
1791
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution (Bill of Rights) are ratified and become known as the Bill of Rights.
Government
Congress passes the first internal revenue law, a tax of 20 to 30 cents on a gallon of distilled spirits.
Government
New State: Vermont becomes the 14th state in the U.S., ending 14 years as a republic.
Government
National Capital: The design of Washington, DC is developed by Pierre-Charles L’Enfant (1754-1825); President Washington (1732-1799) chooses a site along the Potomic River for the federal district; Congress names it the Territory of Columbia and the capital the City of Washington.
Government
Presidents: James Buchanan (1791-1868), 15th President of the U.S., is born April 23 in Cove Gap (near Mercersburg), Pennsylvania.
Science
M.H. Klaproth (1743-1817) names the element titanium.
Education
Higher Education: The Philadelphia Academy becomes the University of Pennsylvania.
Arts and Letters
Opera: The first performance of Mozart’s (1756-1791) "Magic Flute" takes place in Vienna.
Arts and Letters
The first opera house in the U.S. opens in New Orleans.
Ideas
Thomas Paine (1737-1806) writes "The Rights of Man, Part I" in defense of the French Revolution.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Payne Todd’s father, John Payne, dies.
Jackson, Rachel
Rachel Donelson Robards (1767-1828) marries Andrew Jackson )1767-1845) in New Orleans.
Economics
The first successful sugar refinery is opened in New Orleans.
Economics
American Money: After adoption of the Constitution in 1789, Congress charters the First Bank of the United States until 1811 and authorizes it to issue paper bank notes to eliminate confusion and simplify trade.
Daily Life
Newspapers: The ratification of the Bill of Rights at last guarantees the freedom of the press, and America's newspapers begin to take on a central role in national affairs.
Daily Life
Dancing: The waltz becomes fashionable in England.
Reform
Women''s Rights Movement: The first French feminist magazine, Etrennes nationales des dames is founded on the principle that “women are equal to men in rights and in pleasure.”
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Etta Palm d’Aelders (1743-1799) speaks before the French National Assembly, promoting equal education for girls and equal rights for women.
1792
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
First Political Parties: The Democratic-Republican Party is formed under Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).
Politics
George Washington (1732-1799) and John Adams (1735-1826) are re-elected President and Vice President of the U.S.
Government
A U.S. mint is established in Philadelphia.
Government
New State: Kentucky becomes the 15th state in the U.S.
Government
National Capital: The cornerstone of the White House is laid.
War
Congress passes a national conscription act to require “each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the republic” to serve in the U.S. militia.
War
Slavery: Congress excludes blacks from military service.
Arts and Letters
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) begins studying with Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) in Vienna.
Arts and Letters
Architecture: Irish-American architect James Hoban (1762-1831) begins to build the White House in Washington, DC.
Arts and Letters
Women’s Firsts: Dance: Suzanne Vaillande (1778-1826) appears in "The Bird Catcher," in New York, the first ballet presented in the U.S. She was also probably the first woman to work as a choreographer and set designer in the United States.
Ideas
Thomas Paine (1737-1806) writes "The Rights of Man, Part II."
Ideas
Education of Women: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) writes "A Vindication of the Rights of Women."
Madison, Dolley
Dolley and John Todd, Jr. have a son, John Payne Todd (1792-1852) on February 29. He was later adopted by James Madison after Dolley and Madison were married.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Payne Todd's father, John Payne, dies; her mother opens a boarding house in Philadelphia.
Economics
Twenty-four merchants meet on what is now Wall Street, signing the Buttonwood Agreement, creating the New York Stock Exchange.
Economics
American Money: The federal monetary system is established with the creation of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, and dollar coins are minted for the first time in the U.S.
Discovery
The Columbia River is discovered by Captain Robert Gray (1755-1806).
Popular Culture
The French national anthem, "La Marseillaise," is composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836).
Religion
The Baptist Missionary Society is founded in London.
Reform
Women''s Rights Movement: Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) begins a series of essays titled "The Gleaner.”
back to top ^
1793
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
George Washington (1732-1799) and John Adams (1735-1826) are inaugurated as President and Vice President of the U.S.
Government
Slavery: The Fugitive Slave Act compels escaped slaves to be returned to their masters.
Government
National Capital: The cornerstone of the Capital Building is laid by President Washington (1732-1799).
War
French Revolution: The Reign of Terror begins.
Science
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) links fossils with similar living organisms.
Medicine
Epidemics: Yellow fever kills 5,000 people in Philadelphia.
Inventions
Eli Whitney (1765-1825) invents the cotton gin.
Inventions
French engineer Claude Chappe (1763-1805) invents the mechanical semaphore.
Inventions
Women's Firsts: Mrs. Samuel Slater obtains the first patent given to a woman in the U.S. for a method of producing cotton thread.
Education
African American Education: Katy Ferguson (c.1774-1854), an ex-slave, founds her school for the poor in New York City; students include 28 Black children and 20 white children.
Education
Higher Education: African American Education: Lucy Terry Prince (1724-1821) defends her son’s admission to Williams College, eloquently presenting African-American people’s desire for an education.
Arts and Letters
The Louvre in Paris becomes a national art gallery.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: William Wordsworth (1770-1850) publishes his first poems.
Madison, Dolley
A second son, William Temple Todd (1793-1793), is born to Dolley and John Todd, Jr. Several months later, an epidemic of yellow fever takes the life of this baby, as well as that of his father and his paternal grandparents.
Economics
American Money: The first American coins are struck.
Daily Life
The first public zoo opens in Paris.
Daily Life
France becomes the first country to use the metric system.
Popular Culture
Hot Air Balloons: French aeronaut Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) makes the first hot air balloon flight over the North American continent.
Religion
Roman Catholicism is banned in France.
1794
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution, limiting the power of the federal courts, is passed by Congress.
Government
American Flag: The Act of January 13, 1794 states that15 stripes and 15 stars will be added to the flag after May 1795.
War
The U.S. Navy is established.
Science
Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), English physician, suggests the theory of evolution 50 years before his grandson, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) writes his own theory.
Inventions
The cotton gin is patented by Eli Whitney (1765-1825).
Technology
The first "telegraph"--a visual semaphore system--is developed by Claude Chappe (1763-1805) and established between Paris and Lille in France.
Education
Teacher Education: The Ecole Normale is founded in Paris to educate teachers.
Education
Higher Education: The world’s first technical college, the Ecole Polytechnique, opens in Paris.
Education
"Elements of Geometry," by French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre (1752-1833) becomes the standard geometry text in Europe and North America.
Ideas
Thomas Paine (1737-1806) writes "The Age of Reason."
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Payne Todd (1764-1849) is introduced to James Madison (1751-1836) by Aaron Burr (1756-1836) Madison and Dolley Todd are married on September 15 at her sister's estate in what is now West Virginia. Mrs. Madison is disavowed by the Quakers.
Jackson, Rachel
Rachel (1767-1828) and Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) marry a second time in Nashville on January 17.
Economics
The “Whiskey Rebellion”—a protest over the excise tax place on liquor--occurs in Pennsylvania.
Daily Life
Duncan Phyfe (c.1768-1854), a cabinetmaker in New York, brings the elegant Sheraton and Regency furniture styles to the U.S.
Daily Life
Postal rates are usually paid by the person receiving the mail; amount is set by length of distance the mail travels.
Daily Life
Fashion: Men no longer powder their hair.
Popular Culture
The song, "Auld Lang Syne" is published; it was written by Robert Burns (1759-1796) in 1781.
back to top ^
1795
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President George Washington (1732-1799) nominates John Rutledge (1739-1800) as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He serves in that position as a recess appointee for four months, but the Senate refuses to confirm him.
Law
The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution, limiting the power of the federal courts, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Government
The Naturalization Act establishes a five-year residence requirement for citizenship. Members of the nobility entering the U.S. must give up their titles.
Government
The Treaty of San Lorenzo between the U.S. and Spain draws the boundary with Florida and gives the U.S. the right to navigate the Mississippi River.
Government
Presidents: James Knox Polk, 11th President of the U.S., is born in Mecklanburg County, North Carolina.
Science
Martin H. Klaproth (1743-1817) names the element titanium.
Inventions
Robert Fulton (1765-1815) patents the first power-shovel for digging canals.
Technology
Francois Appert (1750-1841) designs a preserving jar for foods.
Education
Higher Education: The University of North Carolina, the first state university in the U.S., accepts its first student, Hinton James.
Education
Public Education: Connecticut sells its land in the Western territories for $1.2 million and uses the proceeds to establish a permanent school fund.
Arts and Letters
The American Academy of Fine Arts holds its first exhibition in Philadelphia.
Economics
Transportation: Railroad History: The first horse-drawn railroad appears in England.
Economics
The metric system is officially adopted in France.
Daily Life
Women’s Firsts: Anne Parrish establishes, in Philadelphia, the House of Industry, the first charitable organization for women in America.
Religion
Freedom of worship is declared in France.
Reform
Labor Movement: The Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) is founded, one of the earliest unions in the U.S.
1796
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President George Washington (1732-1799) nominates Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807)as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He is immediately confirmed by the Senate as remains as Chief Justice until his resignation in 1800.
Politics
George Washington (1732-1826) refuses a third term, warns against the dangers of foreign entanglements.
Politics
John Adams (1735-1826)and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) are elected President and Vice-President.
Government
New State: Tennessee becomes the 16th state in the U.S.
Science
Horace de Saussure (1740-1799) coins the term geology in his work Travels in the Alps.
Medicine
English physician Edward Jenner (1749-1823) introduces vaccination against smallpox.
Technology
James Finley (1768-1822) builds America’s first suspension bridge across Jacob’s Creek in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania.
Technology
Battery Technology: From 1796 - 1799, Alessandro Volta (1745 – 1827) experimented with zinc and silver plates to produce electric currents at the Pavia University. Volta stacked the two to form a "pile", the first "dry" battery.
Arts and Letters
Literature: The first complete works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) are published in the U.S.
Harrison, Anna
Elizabeth "Betsey" Bassett Harrison Short (1796-1846), the oldest daughter of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born September 29.
Economics
Zane’s Trace, which becomes one of the main routes traveled by migrants to the west, begins construction.
Daily Life
The elephant is brought to the United States from India.
Sports
Billiards is a popular game in the South.
back to top ^
1797
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
John Adams (1735-1826) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) are inaugurated as President and Vice-President of the United States.
Government
Tennessee Senator William Blount (1749-1800) becomes the first senator to be impeached.
War
The U.S.S. Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” is launched in Boston Harbor.
Medicine
The Royal Society in England rejects Edward Jenner’s (1749-1823) smallpox vaccination technique.
Technology
A washing machine is patented by Nathaniel Briggs.
Technology
America’s first iron plow is patented by Charles Newbold, amid rumors that the iron would poison the soil and increase weeds.
Technology
The vacuum bottle is designed.
Washington, Martha
Martha (1731-1802) and George (1732-1799) Washington retire to their home at Mount Vernon. Martha wrote to a friend, “The General and I feel like children just released from school.”
Madison, Dolley
James (1751-1836) and Dolley Madison (1764-1849) move from Philadelphia to their home at Montpelier, in Orange County, the Virginia piedmont.
Economics
One pound notes are issued for the first time by the Bank of England.
Sports
Hot Air Balloons: The first parachute jump from a balloon is made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin (1770-1823).
Religion
Ann Griffiths (1776-1805) joins the Methodists and begins composing hymns for them.
Religion
The Pocket Hymn Book, containing words but not music, is published; it is widely used at revival camp meetings.
1798
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
The Federalist majority in Congress adds nine years to the requirement for citizenship.
Government
Congress passes the Alien and Sedition Acts, permitting the arrest and deportation of any “dangerous” alien and restricting political opposition.
Government
The U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S. Marine Hospital is authorized.
Science
Louis Nicholas Vauquelin (1763-1829) discovers the element beryllium.
Medicine
Epidemics: A yellow fever epidemic kills over 2,000 people in Philadelphia.
Medicine
The English dermatologist, Robert Willan (1757 ~ 1812) recognizes psoriasis as an independent disease.
Inventions
German inventor Aloys Senefelder (1771-1834) invents lithography.
Inventions
Eli Whitney (1765-1825) invents a milling machine.
Inventions
Robert Fulton (1765-1815) invents a four-man, hand-operated submarine.
Education
Hannah More (1745-1833) is forced to close her school for working-class children on a trumped-up charge of being an unregistered meeting place for Dissenters.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is published by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834).
Ideas
Thomas R. Malthus (1766-1834) writes his "Essay on the Principle of Population."
Fillmore, Abigail
Abigail Powers (1798-1853), wife of Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) is born in Stillwater, New York, on March 13.
Harrison, Anna
John Cleves Symmes Harrison (1798-1830), son of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born October 28.
Popular Culture
Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842) writes the patriotic song, “Hail Columbia.”
Religion
Catholic women forced to do penance for kindling Sabbath fire for Jews.
back to top ^
1799
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
The first U.S. printed ballots were authorized in Pannsylvania.
Government
Congress standardizes U.S. weights and measures.
Government
Gracie Mansion, home of New York City mayors, is completed.
Science
The Rosetta Stone is found near Rosetta, Egypt; when it is translated, it makes the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics possible.
Technology
Airplanes: Sir George Cayley (1773-1857), a baronet in Yorkshire, near Scarborough, England, conceives a craft with stationary wings to provide lift and "flappers" to provide thrust. It also has a movable tail to provide control.
Education
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) opens his school in Burgdorf, Switzerland.
Education
A 14-year-old boy graduates from Rhode Island College. Such ability among children is not uncommon; infants of 3 are sometimes taught to read Latin as soon as they are taught English.
Washington, Martha
George Washington (1732-1799), first President of the U.S., dies of a throat infection at his home at Mount Vernon.
Monroe, Elizabeth
J.S Monroe (1799-1801), the only son of President James Monroe and Elizabeth Monroe, is born.
Economics
Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) describes American industry in "Report on the Subject of Manufactures."
Economics
Russia grants the Russian-American Company a monopoly of trade in Alaska.
Discovery
A perfectly preserved mammoth is found in Siberia.
Daily Life
The metric system is established in France.
Social Issues
Slavery: Virginia banishes white mothers of mulattos with their children.
Reform
Labor Movement: The first recorded use of the term scabs, used to refer to those who take the place of striking workers, occurs during a Philadelphia shoemakers’ strike.
1800
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) is elected the 3rd President of the U.S. and Aaron Burr (1756-1836) is elected the 3rd Vice President.
Government
National Capital: Washington, DC is established as the capital of the United States; Congress meets there for the first time.
Government
The U.S. Congress passes the first bankruptcy law; founding father Robert Morris is released from debtors’ prison.
Government
Spain cedes the Louisiana territory to France.
Government
Congress divides the Northwest Territory into two territories, Indiana and Ohio.
Government
Presidents: Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), 13th President of the U.S., is born in Locke Township (now Summerhill), New York.
Science
William Herschel (1738-1822) discovers infrared light.
Medicine
Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846) gives the first smallpox vaccination in the U.S. to his son.
Medicine
Humphry Davy (1778-1829) announces the anaesthetic properties of nitrous oxide.
Inventions
Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) invents the electric battery.
Inventions
An iron-framed printing press is invented by Charles Stanhope (1753-1816), thus allowing large sheet printing.
Inventions
Railroad History: Oliver Evans (1755-1819), an American, creates the earliest successful non-condensing high pressure stationary steam-engine
Technology
Battery Technology: By 1800 Volta (1745-1827) had created the "crown of cups", a modified arrangement of zinc and silver discs dipped in a salt solution.
Education
Libraries: The Library of Congress is proposed by John Adams.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: William Wordsworth (1770-1850) begins the period known as European Romanticism.
Arts and Letters
Parson Weems (1759-1825) writes "The Life of Washington," creating a number of myths about the first American president.
Arts and Letters
C.B. Brown (1771-1810) publishes "Arthur Mervyn," a realistic description of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia that took the lives of Dolley Madison’s husband and infant son.
Adams, Abigail
John Adams (1735-1826) and Abigail Adams (1744-1818) are the first U.S. President and First Lady to actually live in the new capital, Washington, DC. Abigal is also the first wife of a president to live in the White House.
Adams, Abigail
Charles Adams (1770-1800), son of Abigail and John Adams, dies at age 30 of cirrhosis of the liver.
Harrison, Anna
Lucy Singleton Harrison Este (1800-1826), daughter of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born in September.
Fillmore, Abigail
Abigail Powers' (1898-1853) father, a Baptist minister named Lemuel Powers, dies when she is two.
Economics
Population: The population of Washington, DC is 2,464 free citizens and 623 slaves.
Economics
Population: The second national census puts the U.S. population at 5.3 million, including more than 800,000 slaves.
Economics
William Young of Philadelphia is the first American shoemaker to make different shoes for the left and right feet.
Daily Life
Fireboats are in use in New York harbor.
Sports
Boxing: Bill Richmond (1763-1829), a former slave, becomes one of the first popular boxers.
Popular Culture
Mount Vernon Gardens becomes the site of the first summer theatre in the U.S.
Popular Culture
U.S. Marine Band gives its first concert near the future site of the Lincoln Memorial.
Religion
John Chapman (1774-1845) (Johnny Appleseed) begins spreading religious tracts and apple seeds in pioneer communities in the midwest.
Religion
The Church of the United Brethren in Christ is founded in the U.S.
Religion
The Boston Female Society for Missionary Purposes is founded to fund the education of missionaries, initially male, but later also female.
Social Issues
Slavery: A slave named Gabriel Prosser (1775-1800), believing himself called by God, organizes a plot to kill all whites in Virginia, sparing only Quakers, Methodists, and French. The conspirators meet under the pretense of holding religious meetings.
Reform
Elizabeth Peck Perkins (1735?-1807) founds the Boston Female Asylum, the first charitable institution for women there.
Reform
Utopian Movement: Robert Owen (1771-1858) takes over New Lanark mills in Scotland and begins social reforms there.
back to top ^
1801
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President John Adams (1735-1826) nominates John Marshall (1755-1835) as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He serves for 34 years, longer than any other Chief Justice.
Government
Great Britain and Ireland unite, creating the United Kingdom; its flag is the Union Jack.
Government
National Capital: Congress takes jurisdiction over the District of Columbia.
Government
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) presents his first annual message to Congress in writing.
Government
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Aaron Burr (1756-1836) are inaugurated as the 3rd President and Vice President of the U.S.
War
North African War: The North African state of Tripoli declares war on the United States to compel the young nation to pay tribute to commerce-raiding Arab corsairs.
Science
The first asteroid is discovered by Italian monk and professor of astronomy Giussepe Piazzi (1746-1826).
Science
J.J. Lalande (1732-1807) catalogues 47,300 stars.
Science
Lamarck (1744-1829) develops a classification system for invertebrate animals.
Inventions
Robert Fulton (1765-1815), civil engineer, produces the first submarine, “Nautilis.”
Inventions
Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) invents the first steam powered locomotive (designed for roads).
Education
Catholic Education: The first Roman Catholic school in New York is established.
Education
Libraries: The Library of Congress is established by a vote of the Congress.
Education
The Royal College of Surgeons is founded in London.
Arts and Letters
In France Napoleon opened the Louvre to the public.
Ideas
German philosopher Friedrich von Schelling (1755-1829) writes "System of Transcendental Idealism," a treatise on the philosophy of nature, which influences the development of Romanticism in Europe.
Adams, Abigail
John (1735-1826) and Abigail (1744-1818) Adams retire to Braintree.
Madison, Dolley
James Madison (1751-1836) becomes Secretary of State and the Madisons move to the new capital, Washington, DC. Dolley Madison (1768-1849) finds herself a social leader in the city.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Madison (1768-1849) becomes an unofficial White House hostess for Jefferson, whose wife, Martha, died in 1782.
Madison, Dolley
James Madison’s father dies; Madison inherits Montpelier.
Monroe, Elizabeth
J.S Monroe (1799-1801), the only son of President James Monroe and Elizabeth Monroe, dies on September 28 at age two. Cause of death is unknown.
Adams, Louisa
George Washington Adams (1801-1829), son of President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams, is born April 12.
Economics
Great Britain’s first complete census finds the population at 11 million, one quarter of it urban.
Discovery
Mastodon fossils are discovered on a New York farm, the first such fossils of the extinct mammal.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: Lewis (1774-1811) is asked by President Jefferson (1743-1826) to be his secretary-aide.
Daily Life
Newspapers: The New York "Evening Post" is first published.
Religion
The “Plan of Union” permits Congregationalists and Presbyterian ministers to serve in each other’s churches, thus helping to spread Protestantism to frontier communities.
Religion
Catholics are excluded from voting in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
1802
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
National Capitol: Congress passes an act calling for the establishment of a library within the U.S. capitol.
Government
Georgia cedes her western lands to the U.S., the last of the original states to do so.
War
Revolutionary War: The U.S. and Great Britain settle Revolutionary War claims for $2,664,000.
Science
Samuel Hutton explains the natural processes involved in changes in the earth’s crust.
Science
The role of capillaries in pumping blood is explained by Scottish physicist John Leslie.
Science
John Dalton (1766-1844) introduces atomic theory into chemistry.
Science
The term “biology” is coined by German naturalist Gottfried Treviranus (1776-1837).
Medicine
James Smith opens a clinic in Maryland that offers free smallpox vaccinations to the poor.
Education
Higher Education: The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is founded.
Education
Libraries: The Library of Congress issues its first catalog: total holdings, 964 volumes and 9 maps.
Education
Libraries: John Beckley (1757-1807) becomes the first Librarian of Congress; he is paid $2/day.
Ideas
Education of Women: German feminist Amalie Holst publishes "On the Capacity of Women for Higher Education."
Ideas
Daniel Webster (1782-1852) writes "The Rights of Neutral Nations in Time of War."
Washington, Martha
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802) dies of “severe fever” on May 22 at Mt. Vernon.
Harrison, Anna
William Henry Harrison (1802-1838), son of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born September 3.
Economics
Merino sheep are imported to the U.S. from Spain.
Discovery
Matthew Flinders (1744-1814) lands on a 96-mile-long island south-west of Adelaide and slaughtered 31 kangaroos for a feast. This 3rd largest island off Australia was thus named Kangaroo Island.
Sports
Horse Racing: New York State prohibits public horse races, only allowing them at private jockey clubs.
Popular Culture
The first comic book, "The Wasp," is published.
Popular Culture
The first chess book, "Chess Made Easy," is published in Philadelphia.
Religion
"The Genius of Christianity," by Chateaubriand (1768-1848), attempts to answer the attacks of the Enlightenment by stressing its role in the growth of European culture.
Reform
Labor Movement: The first important labor law protecting children is passed in Great Britain.
back to top ^
1803
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
In "Marbury v. Madison," the U.S. Supreme Court declares a law passed by Congress to be unconstitutional, thereby establishing the principle of judicial review.
Law
The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for separate ballots for President and Vice President, is passed by Congress.
Government
New State: Ohio becomes the 17th state in the U.S. on March 1.
Government
Land from the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and including Louisiana and New Orleans, is purchased from France for $27 million; the U. S. Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.
Science
John Dalton (1766-1844) arranges the atomic elements in a periodic table for the first time.
Science
John James Audubon (1785-1851) does the first banding of wild American birds.
Medicine
A detailed description of hemophilia is published by Pennsylvania physician John C. Otto (1774-1844).
Medicine
German pharmacist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Serturner (1783-1841) makes morphine from opium. Physicians are delighted that opium has been tamed. Morphine is lauded for its reliability and safety.
Inventions
Robert Fulton (1765-1815) powers a boat with steam.
Education
Alexander I of Russia (1777-1825) establishes free, universal education.
Education
The Englishman, Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838) writes "Improvements in Education as it Respects the Industrious Classes." His ideas will be known as the Lancastrian Method.
Education
Education of Women: Maria Dalle Donne (1778-1842) is appointed director of midwives at the University of Bologna, often lecturing in her own home.
Polk, Sarah
Sarah Childress (1803-1891), wife of James K. Polk (1795-1849), is born on a plantation near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on September 4.
Adams, Louisa
John Adams II (1803-1834), son of President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams, is born on the 4th of July.
Monroe, Elizabeth
Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur (1803-1850), daughter of President James Monroe and Elizabeth Monroe, is born in France. She was the first presidential child to be married in the White House.
Economics
The population of India is estimated at 200 million, about the same size as all of Europe.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: Lewis (1774-1811) is picked to be the commander of the expedition; he writes to ask William Clark (1770-1838) to join him and share command. Clark accepts.
Daily Life
Jane Aitkin (1764-1832), American printer, bookseller, and bookbinder, publishes the constitution of the Philadelphia Female Association.
Religion
Missionary Peter Cartwright (1785-1872) begins 50 years of circuit riding and preaching on the American frontier.
Social Issues
Slavery: Denmark becomes the first country to ban slave trade.
Social Issues
Native Americans: Louisiana Purchase brings a greater number of trading posts into Indian Territory.
Social Issues
Slavery: Ohio is admitted to the Union as a free state.
1804
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for separate ballots for President and Vice President, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Politics
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) is re-elected President of the U.S., and George Clinton (1739-1812) is elected as the 4th Vice President of the U.S.
Government
Napoleon Bonaparte (1869-1821) is crowned Emperor of France.
Government
Presidents: Franklin Pierce (1804-1869), 14th President of the U.S., is born in Hillsborough (now Hillsboro), New Hampshire.
War
North African War: Barbary pirates in Tripoli seize and hold the U.S. frigate Philadelphia; Stephen Decatur (1779-1820) and a small group of men destroy it.
Inventions
Railroad History: Matthew Murray of Leeds (1765-1826) , England invents a steam locomotive which runs on timber rails. This is probably the FIRST RAILROAD ENGINE.
Inventions
Railroad History: Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) of Cornwall builds 40 psi steam locomotive for the Welsh Penydarran Railroad.
Technology
Airplanes: Sir George Cayley (1773-1857), England, builds a miniature glider with a single wing and a movable tail mounted on a universal joint. It also has a movable weight to adjust the center of gravity. It is the first recorded fixed-wing aircraft of any size capable of flight.
Technology
John C. Stevens (c.1748-1838) builds a screw-driven boat.
Technology
A method of canning food is developed.
Technology
Shrapnel, named after British soldier Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), is used for the first time by the British in a war with the Dutch in Africa.
Education
Libraries: “Coonskin Libraries” come into being in Marietta, Ohio when settlers on the Ohio River barter coonskins for books from Boston merchants.
Education
Children''s Books: Ann (1782-1866) and Jane (1783-1824) Taylor of England write stories, nursery rhymes, and hymns; their best-known work is “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
Education
The first Board of Education in New York City comes into being.
Arts and Letters
Beethoven’s (1770-1827) "Third Symphony" (the "Eroica") establishes the symphony as a premier form of classical music.
Madison, Dolley
A portrait of Dolley Madison (1764-1849) is painted by Gilbert Stuart (1764-1849).
Jefferson, Martha
Mary "Polly" "Maria" Jefferson Eppes (1778-1804), daughter of Thomas and Martha Jefferson, dies from childbirth complications on April 17 at the age of 25.
Harrison, Anna
John Scott Harrison (1804-1878), son of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born October 4.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: President Thomas Jefferson commissions Merriweather Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and begin their journey; Sacajawea (1787-1812), the Shoshoni Indian wife of a French-Canadian trader, is one of their guides.
Daily Life
The first dahlias appear in England.
Daily Life
Bananas are imported from Cuba.
Sports
Women in Sports: Horse Racing: The first woman jockey was Alicia Meynell of England. She first competed in a four-mile race in York, England.
Social Issues
Slavery: Ohio passes black laws to deter runaway slaves from settling in the state.
Social Issues
Slavery: In Pennsylvania, the Underground Railroad is officially established.
Social Issues
Native Americans: The Sioux and other tribes encounter the Lewis (1774-1809) and Clark (1770- 1838) expedition.
back to top ^
1805
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) is inaugurated for his second term as President, and George Clinton (1739-1812) is inaugurated for his first term as Vice President.
Government
The Michigan Territory is created from the northern part of the Indiana Territory.
War
Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) defeats the French in the Battle of Trafalgar, making Great Britain the leading naval power in the world.
Science
Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850)proves that water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.
Medicine
The syndrome later called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue” is described by Richard Gallagher.
Technology
Rockets, originally constructed by Sir William Congreave (1772-1828), are reintroduced as weapons into the British army.
Technology
The first covered bridge is built in the U.S. over the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia.
Education
Public Education: New York State creates a permanent school fund.
Education
Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827) opens his school in Yverdon, Switzerland.
Education
Public Education: New York Public School Society is formed by wealthy businessmen to provide education for poor children. Schools are run on the "Lancasterian" model, in which one "master" can teach hundreds of students in a single room. The master gives a rote lesson to the older students, who then pass it down to the younger students. These schools emphasize discipline and obedience qualities that factory owners want in their workers.
Arts and Letters
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is organized.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), is the first full-length narrative poem in the Romantic tradition.
Economics
Shipping ice to Martinique in the West Indies becomes a profitable business.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: On November 24, by majority vote, the expedition decides to cross to the south side of the Columbia River to build winter quarters.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: The expedition reaches the three forks of the Missouri River, then on to Montana and the Columbia River, 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Sports
Women in Sports: Hot Air Balloons: Madeleine Sophie Armant Blanchard solos in the first of 67 gas-powered balloon flights. She made her living as a balloonist, was appointed official Aeronaut of the Empire by Napoleon, and toured Europe until she fell to her death in an aerial fireworks display in 1819.
Sports
Women in Sports: Horse Racing: Englishwoman Alicia Meynell, riding as Mrs. Thornton, defeats a leading male jockey, Buckle, in a race.
Sports
Boxing: Tom Cribb (1781-1848), the champion of English bare-knuckle boxers, first enters the ring.
Popular Culture
Ludwig Achim von Arnim (1781-1831), German folklorist, publishes Des Knaben Wunderhorn, setting the stage for the work of the Brothers Grimm.
Religion
Slavery: Virginia allows slaves to accompany white masters to religious services presided over by white preachers.
1806
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
The abdication of Emperor Francis II (1768-1835) signals the end of the Holy Roman Empire.
Government
Holland becomes a kingdom ruled by Louis Bonaparte (1778-1846).
War
The British seize the colony of Capetown in Africa from the French-dominated Dutch.
Medicine
Morphine becomes the first drug to be isolated from a plant.
Technology
Coal gas is first used for lighting at Newport, Rhode Island.
Education
Noah Webster (1758-1843) publishes "The Compendious Dictionary of the English Language," which becomes the recognized authority on American English. The letters i and j and u and v are established as separate letters.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: Lord Byron (1788-1824) privately publishes "Fugitive Pieces," which is immediately suppressed by the Church of England on grounds of immorality.
Jefferson, Martha
James Madison Randolph (1806-), the grandson of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), is the first child born in the White House.
Pierce, Jane
Jane Means Appleton (1806-1863), wife of Franklin Pierce (1804-1869), is born March 12 in Hampton, New Hampshire.
Harrison, Anna
Benjamin Harrison (1806-1840), son of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: January 4, President Jefferson welcomes a delegation of Missouri, Oto, Arikara, and Yankton Sioux chiefs who had met with Lewis (1774-1811) and Clark more than a year earlier.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: March 23, Fort Clatsop is presented to the Clatsop Indian, for which it was named, and the expedition begins the journey home.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: In the fall, Lewis (1774-1811) and Clark (1770-1838) are treated as national heroes. They return to Washington, D.C. The men receive double pay and 320 acres of land as reward, the captains get 1,600 acres. Lewis is named governor of the Louisiana Territory, Clark is made Indian agent for the West and brigadier general of the territory's militia.
Discovery
Zebulon Pike (1779-1813) identifies the Colorado peak that will eventually bear his name.
Discovery
Mungo Park’s (1771-1806) final Niger River expedition ends tragically when he and several other are attacked and killed by African tribesmen.
Sports
Horse Racing: “Yankee” becomes the first horse to trot a mile in under 3 minutes.
back to top ^
1807
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Scandal: Aaron Burr (1756-1836), Vice President under Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), is arrested for treason for planning to invade Mexico; he is later acquitted of all charges.
Government
In an effort to punish Great Britian for impressing American sailors, Congress passes the Embargo Act, which prohibits American vessels from landing in any foreign port without the express authorization of the President.
War
War of 1812: The U.S. frigate "Chesapeake" fires on the British man-of-war Leopard in conflict over the impressments of sailors.
Science
Potassium and sodium are discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829).
Science
A huge meteor lands in Connecticut.
Inventions
Isaac de Rivas makes a hydrogen gas powered vehicle - first with internal combustion power, however it is a very unsuccessful design.
Technology
London streets are lit by gas light.
Technology
Robert Fulton’s (1765-1815) paddle steamer, the Clermont, navigates on the Hudson River.
Education
Children''s Books: Charles (1775-1834) and Mary (1764-1847) Lamb publish "Tales from Shakespeare," a collection of children’s stories based on the plays.
Education
Libraries: The Athenaeum Library is founded in Boston.
Arts and Letters
Architecture: Napoleon (1769-1821) commissions the construction of the Arch de Triumphe.
Van Buren, Hannah
Abraham Van Buren (1807-1873), son of Martin and Hannah Van Buren is born on November 27.
Adams, Louisa
Charles Frances Adams (1807-1886), son of President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams, is born on August 18.
Economics
The manufacture of clocks with interchangeable parts is begun in Connecticut by Seth Thomas (1785-1859) and Eli Terry (1772-1852).
Economics
Transportation: Railroad History: The very first passenger train runs from Swansea to Mumbles in England on March 25th.
Economics
Transportation: The first steamboat with regular passenger service is instituted by Robert Fulton's Clermont (1765-1815).
Discovery
Zebulon Pike (1779-1813) leads first Anglo American expedition into New Mexico. He publishes account of way of life in New Mexico upon return to U.S.
Daily Life
Townsend Speakman 1st sells fruit-flavored carbonated drinks in Philadelphia
Daily Life
Townsend Speakman sells first fruit-flavored carbonated drinks in Philadelphia
Sports
Horse Racing: The first Ascot Gold Cup in horse racing is held in England.
Religion
The U.S. Evangelical Association, founded by Jacob Albright (1759-1808), holds its first convention.
Social Issues
Slavery: England prohibits the African slave trade.
Reform
Women's Suffrage Movement: New Jersey revokes the right of women to vote which it had granted in 1776.
1808
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
"The American Law Journal," America’s earliest law periodical, is published.
Politics
James Madison (1751-1836) is elected as the 4th President of the U.S., defeating Charles Pickney; George Clinton (1739-1812)is reelected as Vice President.
Government
Presidents: Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), 17th President of the U.S., is born December 29 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Government
Slavery: The United States bans slave trade that involves importing African slaves, but smuggling continues.
Science
Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) discovers the elements boron and strontium.
Inventions
Railroad History: Trevithick (1771-1833) builds a circular railway in London's Torrington Square. Steam carriage "Catch Me Who Can" weighes 10 tons and makes 15 mph.
Education
Higher Education: Andover Theological Seminary is established.
Education
Education of Women: Catholic Education: Elizabeth Seton (1774-1821) establishes a school for girls in Baltimore, Maryland.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1837) publishes the first section of his Romantic epic, "Faust," in Germany.
Arts and Letters
Beethoven (1770-1827) composes the "Fifth" and the "Pastoral" Symphonies.
Ideas
Women''s Rights Movement: Charles Fourier’s (1772-1837) "Theory of the Four Movements" relates social progress to the progress of women toward freedom.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Madison (1768-1849) accompanies her husband in his campaign for the presidency, influencing many with her charm and tact.
Jackson, Rachel
Andrew Jackson Jr. (1808-1865), Andrew and Rachel Jackson's adopted son (he was one of the pair of twins born to a sibling of Rachel Jackson), is born and named after his new father.
Economics
John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) incorporates the American Fur Company with himself as the sole stockholder.
Discovery
Extensive excavations begin at Pompeii and last until 1815.
Discovery
The source of the Ganges River is discovered.
Daily Life
Newspapers: The "Times" of London sends Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867) as the first war correspondent to cover Napoleon’s (1769-1821) campaign in Spain.
Religion
Napoleon (1769-1821) abolishes the Inquisition in Spain and Italy.
Religion
Women''s Firsts: Jane Aitken (1764-1832) publishes the only Bible ever printed by a woman in the U.S. up to this date.
Religion
The first Bible Society is established in Philadelphia.
back to top ^
1809
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
James Madison (1751-1836)is inaugurated as the nation's fourth President and George Clinton is inaugurated as the continuing Vice President.
Government
The Illinois Territory, including what is now Wisconsin, is established.
Government
Presidents: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the U.S. is born February 12 in Hardin (now Larue) County, Kentucky.
War
Indian Wars: General William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) obtains over 3 million acres of Indian lands with the Treaty of Fort Wayne.
Science
The first detailed geological survey of the United States is published by William McClure.
Inventions
The steamboat is patented by Robert Fulton (1765-1815).
Inventions
Airplanes: The first successful glider is built in England.
Technology
Women's Firsts: The first patent given to a woman was to Mary Kies of Connecticut, for a technique for weaving straw with silk and thread.
Arts and Letters
Architecture: Neoclassicism emerges as a dominant force in British architecture with the construction of Covent Garden Theatre.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Madison (1768-1849) becomes the first First Lady to attend her husband's inauguration and the first to host an inaugural ball.
Harrison, Anna
Mary Symmes Harrison Thornton (1809-1842), daughter of William Henry and Anna Harrison is born January 22.
Adams, Louisa
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) is appointed American minister to Russia.
Economics
The U.S. resumes trade with all countries except Britain and France.
Economics
The "Phoenix" becomes the first sea-going steamship, traveling from New York to Philadelphia.
Daily Life
Newspapers: The first newspaper published west of the Mississippi River, the "Missouri Gazette," is published in St. Louis.
Sports
Cricket: The first cricket club is founded in Boston.
Popular Culture
Washington Irving (1783-1859) writes "Rip van Winkle."
Religion
Napoleon (1769-1821) annexes the Papal States and takes Pope Pius VII prisoner.
Religion
Elizabeth Seton (1774-1821) founds the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph in the U.S.
Reform
The African Female Benevolent Society of Newport (RI) is founded.
1810
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) emerges as a major figure in South American politics.
Government
Chile declares its independence from Spain.
War
Southerners revolt against Spanish rule in West Florida; the U.S. annexes the area.
Science
John Dalton (1766-1844) publishes "New System of Chemical Philosophy," the foundation for modern chemistry.
Science
Charles Bell’s (1744-1842) "Anatomy of the Brain," studies the difference between sensory and motor nerves.
Science
Nicotine is identified and named after Jean Nicot (c.1530-1600), who sent tobacco back to France.
Medicine
The first American book on pediatrics, "The Maternal Physician," is published in Philadelphia.
Medicine
The field of homeopathy is founded by German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) ; it is not called by this name until 1826.
Technology
Airplanes: Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) tries three times to organize an aeronautical society to study the problem of flight, but finds little interest among scientists.
Education
Yale Medical School is established.
Education
Parochial Education: Elizabeth Seton (1774-1821) and her community of sisters founds the first American Catholic parochial school in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Education
Education of Women: German feminist and educator Betty Gleim publishes "On the Upbringing and Instruction of the Female Sex."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) writes "Lady of the Lake."
Arts and Letters
The Philharmonic Society in Boston is organized by Gottlieb Graupner (1767-1836).
Arts and Letters
The San Carlo Opera House is built in Naples, Italy.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: During this year, English stars begin to come in larger numbers to U.S.
Van Buren, Hannah
John Van Buren (1807-1873), son of Martin and Hannah Van Buren is born February 18.
Johnson, Eliza
Eliza McCardle (1810-1876), wife of Andrew Johnson, is born October 4 in Leesburg, Tennessee.
Economics
Population: The U.S. population is about 7,239,881, including 60,000 immigrants and about 1.2 million slaves; New York City becomes the largest city in the U.S.
Economics
Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) founds a ferry service between New York City and Staten Island.
Economics
The American cotton crop exceeds 175,000 bales; American cotton mills quadruple in one year to 269.
Sports
The first public billiards rooms open in London.
Sports
Boxing: Tom Molineaux (1784-1818), a freed Virginia slave and the first unofficial heavy-weight boxing champion, is defeated in the 40th round in a match in England.
Popular Culture
The first American county fair (a cattle show) is held in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Religion
The Cumberland Presbytery in Kentucky is excluded from the Presbyterian Church.
Religion
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions is established, beginning a wide missionary effort in the U.S.
Social Issues
Native Americans: The Shawnee, under Tecumseh (1768-1813), begin to establish a tribal confederacy to preserve their lands and culture.
Social Issues
Abortion: Abortion is made a criminal offense in France.
back to top ^
1811
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Scandal: U.S. Senator Timothy Pickering (1745-1829) becomes the first senator to be censured when he reveals confidential documents communicated by the President of the United States (John Adams).
Government
The Prince of Wales, later George IV (1762-1830), becomes Prince Regent of England after George III (1738-1820) is declared insane.
War
Indian Wars: William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), Governor of the Indiana Territories, defeats Indians under Tecumseh (1768-1813) at Tippecanoe, IN.
Science
Iodine is isolated by French chemist Bernard Courtois (1777-1838).
Science
William Herschel (1738-1822) suggests that a nebula is an early stage in the development of a galaxy.
Science
Mary Anning (1799-1847), British geologist, at age 12 is involved in the finding of the first identifiable icthyosaurus and later of a plesiosaur.
Medicine
Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842) writes "New Idea of the Anatomy of the Brain."
Education
Education of Women: Sarah Pierce (1767-1852), founder of the Litchfield Academy, publishes "Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors: For the Use of Schools."
Education
African American Education: Christopher McPherson (c.1763-?) , a free African American, opens a school for other free Blacks and slaves in Richmond, Virginia. Local white citizens, not only close the school as a public nuisance, but they also send him to the Williamsburg Lunatic Asylum.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Jane Austen (1775-1817) writes "Sense and Sensibility."
Adams, Louisa
Louisa Catherine Adams (1811-1812), the only daughter of John Quincy and Louisa Adams, is born.
Taylor, Margaret
Anne Margaret Mackell Taylor Wood (1811-1875), daughter of Zachary and Margaret Taylor, is born April 9.
Economics
Work begins on the Cumberland Road at Cumberland, Maryland; the road reaches Vandalia, Illinois in 1840, at a cost of $7 million, and becomes an important route for the westward expansion of the U.S.
Discovery
The eastern coast of Africa is explored by English naval captain Philip Beaver.
Daily Life
Disasters: Earthquakes beginning on December 16 cause the Mississippi River to flow upstream for several hours; the town of New Madrid, Missouri, is pushed into the river.
Sports
Women in Sports: Golf: On January 9, the first known women’s golf tournament is held at Musselburgh Golf Club, Scotland, among the town fishwives.
Sports
Competitive rowing races are popular; a race between Knickerbocker of New York City and Invincible of Long Island attracts thousands; Knickerbocker wins.
Religion
The “Great Schism” of Welsh Protestants occurs; two thirds leave the Anglican Church.
Religion
The Presbyterian Church in the U. S. formally states its support for “pious females,” who had begun organizing independent, female-run benevolent societies to support foreign and domestic missionaries, teachers, and doctors.
Reform
Labor Movement: “Luddites” destroy weaving machines in North England, trying to prevent conversion from hand looms.
1812
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
James Madison (1751-1836) is re-elected to a second term as President of the U.S. and Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) is elected the nation's 5th Vice President.
Politics
The term gerrymander is coined, meaning the practice of dividing a geographic area into voting districts in such a way that one political party is given unfair advantage in an election. The practice is named for Elbridge Gerry, who first thought of doing it, and salamander, because the original voting district resulting from the practice looked like a salamander.
Government
New State: Louisiana becomes the 18th state in the U.S.
Government
George Clinton (1729-1812), 4th Vice President of the United States, dies in office. He is not replaced until the general election in the fall, when Elbridge Gerry is elected.
War
War of 1812: The U.S. declares war on Britain.
War
War of 1812: The U.S. frigate Constitution, Old Ironsides, defeats the British ship Guerriere.
Science
Georges Couvier (1769-1832) discovers that fossils follow an increasing age sequence as one probes deeper into layers of rock and soil.
Medicine
Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) publishes "Medical Inquiries and Observation Upon the Diseases of the Mind."
Medicine
Physician James Thatcher publishes a book about rabies.
Technology
Transportation: Transportation technology is advanced by Scotsman Henry Bell (1767-1830) with his new steamboat, the three-horsepower Comet, which sails on the River Clyde.
Education
Children''s Books: The Brothers Grimm--Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859)-- publish their "Fairy Tales," which include Tom Thumb, Little Red-Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Snow White, and Cinderella.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: Lord Byron (1788-1824) writes "Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage."
Arts and Letters
The final shipment of Elgin Marbles—a group of ancient sculptures and architectural details from the Parthenon obtained from the Turks by Lord Elgin (1776-1841)—arrives in England from Greece, giving Londoners their first taste of original classical Greek art.
Ideas
German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831) publishes "Die Objektive Logik."
Harrison, Anna
Carter Bassett Harrison (1812-1839), son of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born October 26.
Adams, Louisa
Louisa Catherine Adams (1811-1812), the only daughter of John Quincy and Louisa Adams, dies in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Van Buren, Hannah
Martin Van Buren (1812-1855), son of Martin and Hannah Van Buren, is born December 20.
Madison, Dolley
White House Wedding: At the first wedding in the White House, Dolley Madison's (1768-1849) widowed sister, Lucy Payne Washington (1777?-1846), is married to Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd.
Economics
The manufacture of lead pencils begins.
Economics
The City Bank of New York opens, the forerunner of today’s Citibank.
Economics
Transportation: The first steamboat to sail down the Mississippi River reaches New Orleans in January.
Economics
Large-scale drug production begins in Philadelphia.
Economics
Transportation: Railroad History: The first commercially successful steam locomotives, using the Blenkinsop rack and pinion drive, commenced operation on the Middleton Railway.
Discovery
Swiss historian J.L. Burckhardt (1773-1825) discovers the Great Temple at Abu Simbel in Egypt.
Discovery
Lewis and Clark: On December 20th Sacagawea (1790-1812/1884) dies at Fort Manuel. Clark (1770-1838), who is in St. Louis, assumes custody of Jean Baptiste, as well as her daughter, Lisette.
Popular Culture
The present Drury Lane Theatre in London is built.
Religion
Elizabeth Seton (1774-1821) formally establishes the Sisters of Charity, the first Catholic sisterhood founded in America, from her earlier community (1809).
Religion
Women''s Firsts: Ann Nancy Hesseltine Judson and Harriet Newell are the first two American women sent abroad as missionaries.
Religion
Mother Catherine Spaulding (1793-1858) founds the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky, a home-visiting order of nurses and teachers.
back to top ^
1813
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
James Madison (1751-1836) is inaugurated to a second term as President of the U.S. and Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) is inaugurated as the nation's 5th Vice President.
War
War of 1812: U.S. forces capture York (now Toronto); the British seize Fort Niagara and burn Buffalo, NY; the British blockade coastal ports.
War
War of 1812: The Battle of Lake Erie (under Captain Oliver Hazard Perry) and the Battle of the Thames (Ontario) provide two victories for the Americans.
Inventions
Railroad History: Englishman William Hedley (1773-1843) builds and patents a railroad locomotive which can haul 10 coal wagons at 5 mph, equal to 10 horses.
Inventions
J.F. Hummel patents rubber.
Education
Higher Education: Colby College in Maine is founded.
Education
Higher Education: McGill University in Montreal, Canada, is founded.
Arts and Letters
The London Philharmonic Society is founded.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1827) completes his first major work, "Queen Mab"—an anti-religious work, at the age of 21.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Jane Austen (1775-1817) writes "Pride and Prejudice."
Adams, Abigail
Nabby Adams Smith (1765-1813), daughter of Abigail and John Adams, dies on August 15, of cancer.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Madison (1764-1849) serves ice cream for the first time in the White House at the second Inaugural Ball.
Harrison, Anna
Anna Tuthill Harrison Taylor (1813-1845), daughter of William Henry and Anna Harrison, is born October 28.
Economics
Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) first employs young women workers to work at the spinning frames and looms at his mill in Waltham, Massachusetts; living in boardinghouses established by Lowell, they became the first large-scale women’s labor force in America.
Daily Life
Newspapers: An editorial in the Troy (NY) Post first uses the nickname, “Uncle Sam,” as a symbolic reference to the United States.
Daily Life
The Grand Freemason Lodge is founded in the U.S.
Daily Life
Dancing: The waltz becomes popular in Europe.
Daily Life
The game of craps is first introduced into New Orleans, adapted from a French dice game called “hazards.”
Popular Culture
Johann Rudolf Wyss (1782-1830) completes "The Swiss Family Robinson."
Religion
The Methodist Missionary Society is founded.
Religion
A choirbook is composed for use in the Spanish missions of the southwest.
Religion
American nun Mother Mary Rhodes (1782-1853) founds the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky after establishing two other communities for women west of the Allegheny Mountains.
Reform
Labor Movement: Leaders of the anti-technology Luddite movement in England are sentenced to hanging or deportation.
1814
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Elbridge Gerry, 5th Vice President of the United Sates, dies in office; he is not replaced until the election of 1816, when Daniel D. Tompkins is elected.
War
National Capital: War of 1812: The British burn the White House, the Capital, and many other buildings in Washington, DC.
War
War of 1812: The Treaty of Ghent ends the British-American War on December 24. The Treaty returned conditions between the two countries to those that existed before the war began. Neither side achieved a clear victory.
Science
Massachusetts physician Jacob Bigelow (1786-1879) publishes "Flora Bostoniensis," the standard botany manual for years.
Inventions
Railroad History: George Stephenson (1781-1848), British inventor, invents the first steam locomotive, which is used instead of horses and mules to haul coal.
Inventions
The metronome is invented in Vienna by J.N. Maelzel (1772-1838).
Inventions
Eli Terry (1772-1852) invents a 30-hour shelf clock that uses interchangeable parts.
Inventions
Railroad History: Englishman George Stephenson (1781-1841) builds Blucher, his first railway engine. Pulls 30 tons at 4 mph, but is not efficient.
Education
Libraries: Although the Library of Congress is destroyed when the British burn Washington, DC, Congress decides to start over by purchasing Thomas Jefferson’s (1743-1826) personal library.
Arts and Letters
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) begins composing Lieder, lyrical songs in the Romantic tradition.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Jane Austen (1775-1817) publishes the novel "Mansfield Park," creating the character of Fanny Brice.
Madison, Dolley
Dolley Madison (1764-1849) is responsible for saving the famous Peale portrait of George Washington, hanging in the White House, and the Declaration of Independence, from the British when they invade the capital. She leaves the city just ahead of the British troops, who then burn Washington, DC.
Fillmore, Abigail
Abigail Powers (Fillmore) (1798-1853) begins teaching in New Hope at age 16.
Harrison, Anna
James Findlay Harrison (1814-1817), is the last son born to William Henry and Anna Harrison.
Taylor, Margaret
Sarah Knox Taylor Davis (1814-1835), daughter of Zachary and Margaret Taylor, is born March 6.
Economics
Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) opens the first totally mechanized factory for processing raw cotton into finished cloth.
Daily Life
The term grapefruit is used for the first time in print, perhaps because its clusters resemble those of grapes.
Daily Life
Gas street lamps are installed in the first neighborhood—St. Margarets, Westminster, in London.
Daily Life
Newspapers: The "London Times" begins to be printed by a steam-operated press.
Popular Culture
Frances Scott Key (1779-1843) writes a poem about the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 called “Defense of Fort McHenry.” It is later set to music and becomes “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Popular Culture
Children’s Books: Johann David Wyss (1743-1818) added religious piety to the Rousseauian influence in his "The Swiss Family Robinson"(German original 1812-1813); first edited and translated for English readers by William (1756-1836) and Mary (1797-1851) Godwin.
Religion
Pope Pius VII (1740-1823) returns to Rome and restores the Inquisition.
Religion
Elizabeth Seton’s (1774-1821) Sisters of Charity take charge of orphanages in Philadelphia (and later, in 1817, in New York City), establishing the first Catholic orphanages in America.
Social Issues
Native Americans: War of 1812: General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) leads his troops to victory over the Creek Indians allied with Britain in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (Alabama), thus destroying all future Creek power in the West.
back to top ^
1815
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
National Capital: The Capitol Building and the White House are rebuilt after the burning of Washington, DC.
War
The first steam warship, the U.S.S. Fulton is built.
War
U.S. naval hero Stephen Decatur (1779-1820) stops attacks by Algerian pirates by threatening to bomb Algiers.
War
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) defeats the British at the Battle of New Orleans, fought two weeks after the Treaty of Ghent is signed.
Science
Sophie Germain (1776-1831) is awarded a gold medal from the Institute of France for her essay on elasticity.
Medicine
The Apothecaries Act in Britain bans the practice of medicine by unqualified doctors.
Inventions
A harder, smoother road surface made of crushed stones is invented by John McAdam (1756-1836).
Inventions
Davy invents the safety lamp for miners.
Inventions
Railroad History: Stephenson's (1781-1841) second engine: 6 wheels and a multitubular boiler.
Inventions
Railroad History: Englishman Julius Griffiths patents a passenger road locomotive.
Education
Libraries: Thomas Jefferson sells his book collection to the Library of Congress after its original collection was destroyed by the British army.
Education
Sunday school education is promoted in Boston.
Education
Education of Women: Margaret Bryan publishes An Astronomical and Geographical Class Book for Schools based on her girls’ school lectures.
Arts and Letters
The Biedermeier period in art and furniture design begins.
Arts and Letters
Magazines: "The North American Review" is established in Boston, soon to be the foremost literary journal in the U.S.
Tyler, Letitia
Mary Tyler Jones (1815-1848), is the first daughter born to John and Letitia Christian Tyler on April 15.
Economics
Leading imports in the United States are woolen and cotton items, sugar, and coffee. The leading export is cotton.
Daily Life
Transportation: The Conestoga wagon becomes a major method of transportation, especially among those headed west.
Daily Life
Dancing: A French ballroom dance, the quadrille, becomes fashionable among the English aristocracy.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: The 1815 edition of the Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon lays out the division of the sexes: “Man obtains, woman sustains . . . man resists fate itself and defies force, even in defeat. Woman, however, submits willingly and finds comfort and succor, even in her tears.”
1816
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The right to review state court decisions is affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Politics
James Monroe (1758-1831) is elected 5th President of the U.S. and Daniel Tomkins (1774-1825) is elected as the nation's 6th Vice President.
Government
New State: Indiana becomes the 19th state in the U.S.
Government
The U.S. Congress passes the first protective tariffs.
Science
The first book on mineralogy in the U.S., "Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and Geology," is published by Parker Cleaveland (1780-1858).
Medicine
Epidemics: Ireland suffers a typhus epidemic that kills about a quarter of its population.
Inventions
The stethoscope is invented by French physician R. T. Laennec (1781-1826).
Inventions
The kaleidoscope is invented by Sir David Brewster (1781-1868).
Education
German educator Friedrich Frobel (1782-1852) moves his first educational community from Griesheim to Keilau, Thuringia.
Education
Children’s Books: "A Merry Method of Making Minor Mathematicians" is published by John Harris (1820-1884); this collection of mnemonic rhymes was designed to teach the multiplication tables.
Arts and Letters
Opera: "The Barber of Seville," by Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) opens in Rome.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Jane Austen (1775-1817) writes "Emma."
Arts and Letters
Poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1827) writes his first major poem, "Alastor."
Ideas
Hegel (1770-1831) completes his "Science of Logic;" his philosophy of idealism will dominate metaphysics for 25 years.
Tyler, Letitia
Robert Tyler (1816-1877), the first son of John and Letitia Christian Tyler, is born September 9.
Taylor, Margaret
Octavia Pannel Taylor (1816-1820), daughter of Zachary and Margaret Taylor, is born August 16.
Economics
Transportation: Regular clipper ship service across the Atlantic begins between New York and Liverpool, England.
Economics
The first Savings bank, The Provident Institute for Savings, is founded in Boston.
Economics
American Money: The second Bank of the United States is chartered for 20 years until 1836.
Daily Life
Disasters: The summer of 1916 is unusually cold in many parts of the world due to the eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia—perhaps the greatest in recorded history. In New England, there is 10 inches of snow in June 6, and half an inch of ice in Vermont and New Hampshire in July and August. It is recorded as “the year in which there was no summer.”
Sports
Boxing: Jacob Hyer beats Tom Beasley in a boxing match and calls himself America’s first boxing champion.
Popular Culture
Ananias Davisson (1780-1857) publishes "Kentucky Harmony," a collection of music of the South and Midwest U.S.
Religion
The American Bible Society is founded; one of its goals is to place a Bible in every American home.
Social Issues
Immigration: Large numbers of British immigrants come to the United States and Canada.
Social Issues
The American Colonization Society forms—assists in repatriating free African Americans to a Liberian colony on the west coast of Africa.
back to top ^
1817
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
James Monroe (1758-1831) is inaugurated as the 5th President of the U.S. and Daniel Tomkins (1774-1825) is inaugurated as the nation's 6th Vice President.
Government
New State: Mississippi becomes the 20th state in the U.S.
War
Indian Wars: The Seminole War begins on the border between the U.S. and Spanish Florida.
Science
Selenium and lithium are discovered.
Science
Cadmium is discovered independently by Friedrich Stromeyer (1776-1835) and Hermann (1765-1846).
Medicine
James Parkinson (1755-1828) describes the degenerative disease that will carry his name.
Education
Early frontier education is influenced by the American Tract Society which spreads religious literature by means of circuit riders.
Education
Public Education: A petition presented in the Boston Town Meeting calls for establishing of a system of free public primary schools. Main support comes from local merchants, businessmen and wealthier artisans. Many wage earners oppose it, because they don't want to pay the taxes.
Arts and Letters
Opera: "Cinderella," a comic opera by Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868), is first staged in Rome.
Ideas
David Ricardo (1772-1823) promotes liberal economic theory in his "Principles of Political Economy and Taxation;" his ideas are the foundation of modern economics as a science.
Ideas
G.F. Hegel (1770-1831) publishes the "Encyclopedia of Philosophy."
Madison, Dolley
The Madisons retire to Montpelier, their estate in Virginia, where Dolley continues her role as hostess and helps her husband, who suffers from arthritis, by taking dictation for his correspondence. She also helps him prepare his papers for future publication.
Harrison, Anna
James Findlay Harrison (1814-1817), the last son born to William Henry and Anna Harrison, dies.
Van Buren, Hannah
Smith Thompson Van Buren (1817-1876), son of Martin and Hannah Van Buren is born January 16.
Economics
The U.S. begins construction of the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Albany.
Economics
The New York Stock and Exchange Board is officially established, to be renamed the New York Stock Exchange in 1863.
Economics
John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) obtains a fur trade monopoly in the Mississippi Valley, founding his fortune.
Economics
Native Americans: American traders began to compete with Native American tribes for the buffalo fur business.
Daily Life
Baltimore becomes the first American city lit by gas.
Popular Culture
Stories of a sea serpent off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts tell of a creature 3 feet in diameter and from 70-100 feet long with a long tongue that shoots out of its mouth.
Religion
Construction of the Vatican Museum begins in Rome.
Social Issues
Slavery: The American Society for the Return of Negroes to Africa is founded in Richmond, Virginia; the Society first sends Negroes to Sierra Leone, then buys and establishes a neighboring area called Liberia.
Reform
Prison Reform: British reformer Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) founds a prisoner’s aid society focusing on the prison conditions of women and children.
1818
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
The border between the U.S. and Canada is agreed to be the 49th parallel.
Government
New State: Illinois becomes the 21st state in the U.S.
Government
American Flag: The Act of April 4, 1818 states that 13 stripes and one star for each state will be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state and is signed into action by President Monroe.
Science
F.W. Bessel (1784-1846) catalogs over 3,000 stars in his Fundamenta Astronomiae.
Science
Cadmium is discovered independently by Friedrich Stromeyer (1776-1835) and Hermann (1765-1846).
Medicine
Iodine is used as a treatment for goiter by French chemist Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800-1884).
Medicine
Marie Gillain Boivin (1776-1841) publishes her gynecological-obstetrical text, "Nouveau traité des maladies de l’uterus et des annexes."
Inventions
A lathe for making irregularly shaped items such as gun stocks is designed.
Education
Public Education: Boston public schools offer schooling for children as young as 4 years.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: Lord Byron (1788-1824) writes "Don Juan."
Arts and Letters
Poetry: John Keats (1795-1821) writes "Endymion."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) writes "The Heart of Midlothian" and "Rob Roy."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Mary Godwin Shelley (1797-1851) writes "Frankenstein."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) last two novels, "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion," are published after her death.
Adams, Abigail
Abigail Adams (1744-1818), second First Lady of the United States, dies of typhoid fever in October while residing in Braintree, MA.
Lincoln, Mary
Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882), wife of Abraham Lincoln, is born December 13 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Economics
Transportation: Packet boat lines begin to sail between New York and Liverpool, England.
Discovery
John Ross (1777-1856) leads an expedition to the Arctic to discover a Northwest Passage.
Daily Life
The tin can is introduced to the United States.
Sports
Horse Racing: The first professional horse racing occurs in the U.S.
Popular Culture
Englishman Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825) publishes a censored version of "The Family Shakespeare"; the expression to bowlderize becomes a term for the practice of omitting vulgar words from written works.
Religion
The lyrics for the hymn “Silent Night, Holy Night,” are written by the young curate, Joseph Mohr.
back to top ^
1819
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
'In "McCulloch v. Maryland," the Supreme Court expands federal powers by allowing Congress to charter a bank, an act not specifically permitted by the Constitution.
Government
Florida is ceded to the U.S. by Spain.
Government
New State: Alabama becomes the 22nd state in the U.S.
Government
The U.S. cities of Memphis and Minneapolis are founded.
Science
The American Geological Society is established at Yale College in Connecticut; it disbands in 1828.
Science
Electromagnetism is discovered by Danish physicist Hans C. Oersted (1777-1851).
Medicine
Mitscherlich discovers isomorphism.
Inventions
W.K. Clarkson patents the bicycle.
Education
Education of Women: Emma Hart Willard (1787-1870) writes "An Address to the Public: Particularly to the Members of the Legislature of New York, Proposing a Plan for Improving Female Education."
Education
Higher Education: Focusing on technical training, Norwich University opens in Vermont.
Education
Slavery: African American Education: Virginia outlaws blacks and a mulatto, whether free or slave, from meeting for the purposes of education and forbids teaching blacks to read and write.
Ideas
German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) publishes "The World as Will and Idea."
Van Buren, Hannah
Hannah Hoes Van Buren (1783-1819) dies of tuberculosis on February 5, eighteen years before her husband, Martin Van Buren, becomes President of the U.S.
Fillmore, Abigail
Abigail Powers (1798-1853) meets Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) at the Academy in New Hope, New York.
Taylor, Margaret
Margaret Smith Taylor (1819-1820), daughter of Zachary and Margaret Taylor, is born July 27.
Tyler, Letitia
John Tyler Jr. (1819-1896), son of John and Letitia Tyler, is born April 27.
Economics
The Bank for Savings in New York City opens as one of the first U.S. savings banks.
Economics
The first commercially produced eating chocolate is produced in Switzerland.
Economics
Transportation: The very first ship to use steam as support on an Atlantic crossing was the American sailing ship Savannah who had been equipped with auxiliary steam engines geared to two paddle wheels on the ship’s sides. Because of distrust in this new mode of transportation, the vessel does not carry either passengers or cargo.
Discovery
An expedition to the Rocky Mountains is led by explorer Stephen Long (1784-1864).
Religion
With roots in the Protestant Reformation and liberal New England Congregationalism, Unitarianism is founded in Boston by William Ellering Channing (1780-1842).
Social Issues
Immigration: Congress establishes reporting on immigration.
Social Issues
Slavery: Canada denies the American government the right to pursue runaway slaves within its borders.
Reform
Labor Movement: Children under the age of 9 are forbidden to work in mills in England; other young workers are limited to 12-hour days.