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American Cycles 1840s
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These Timelines are a detailed look at the time and the influence of Cycles. Significant events of the decade are analyzed through Twelve categories that serve as a kaleidoscopic lens through time, (see the clickable links above), as well as the position of Cycles at the time, (see the clickable folder links in the upper left corner). You can read and link up and down vertically through this Timeline, or, you can go any Category and link horizontally to the same Category in other Timelines (links are provided at the head of each Category). This cross linking is designed to provide a fast and easy way to make reading fun and interesting.

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1840 US Britain, Holland, and Belgium recognize Texas independence. Congress.

1840 William Henry Harrison (Whig) is elected Pres using the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," John Tyler (Whig) becomes VP.

4/1/40 The abolitionist Liberty Party holds its first national convention in Albany, NY.  By now the membership in various abolitionist and anti-slavery societies in the US is over 150,000.  The convention confirms the November 1839 nomination of Earle of Pennsylvania for vice-president.  Birney is the first anti-slavery candidate for Pres.

7/7/40 The pres campaign is underway.  Daniel Webster is stumping in the Whig Campaign for Harrison and Tyler.  On Stratton Mountain, Vermont, he addresses 15,000 people.  the Whigs are using campaign methods and devices that will become common in later am elections.  They cleverly change a derisive Democratic remark about Harrison into an entire campaign theme.  One of the Democratic newspapers, the Baltimore “Republican,” suggested on March 23 “that upon condition of his receiving a pension of $2000 and a barrel of cider, Gen Harrison would no doubt consent to withdraw his pretension, and spend his days in a log cabin on the banks of the Ohio.”  Whigs develop what becomes known as the “Log Cabin and Hard Cider” campaign as they use these symbols to portray Harrison as a sturdy man of the frontier.  They enthusiastically employ campaign hats, placards, effigies, floats and transportable log cabins w barrels of cider.  They sing “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” including the refrain, “Van, Van is a used up man.”  Thus they focus the election solely on the basis of personality and ignore discussions of the leading issues.  Whigs portray Ban Buren as a man of aristocratic, extravagant taste.  Eventually the campaign deteriorates into exaggerated misrepresentation, abuse and irrelevancy.  It also marks the beginning of a distinct two-party political system in America.

1841 Harrison dies one month after inauguration. Tyler becomes first VP to succeed to Pres.

1841 Congress passes Preemption Act. Settlers on surveyed government land have the right, after about 14 months of residence, to buy it before anyone else can.

4/4/41The rigors of the pres campaign and the cold he caught while outdoors for his inauguration prove too stressful for the 68-year-old Wm Henry Harrison.  after only one month in office, he dies of pneumonia.  Vice-Pres John Tyler becomes the first Am to succeed to the presidency.

1841 Dorr's Rebellion in Rhode Island leads  to new state constitution with liberalization of voting requirements.
In 1841, suffrage supporters, led by Dorr, gave up on attempts to change the system from within. In October, they held an extralegal People's Convention and drafted a new constitution that granted the vote to all white males with one year's residence. At the same time, the state's General Assembly formed a rival convention and drafted the Freemen's Constitution, making some concessions to democratic demands.

1843 US sends diplomatic representative to Hawaii.

1843 Mexican Pres. Santa Anna declares the US annexation of Texas will mean war with Mexico. Brit. an Fr. intrigues to make Texas an independent buffer state against US expansion arouse US concern. Southerners push for the annexation of Texas.

1844 Sec of State John C. Calhoun negotiates treaty of annexation with Texas government.

1844 James K. Polk (Democrat) is elected Pres; George M. Dallas (Democrat) is elected VP.

1844 US and China sign treaty of peace, friendship, and commerce.

1845 Florida becomes 27th state.

1845 Texas accepts annexation to the US and becomes the 28th state.

1845 US envoy is sent to Mexico to settle Texas boundary and to negotiate the purchase of New Mexico and Col. Mexico refuses to see him and begins military operation to stop US annexation of Texas.

1846 Mexico War begins. US forces under Gen. Taylor defeat the Mexico at Palo Alto and Resaca del la Palma and capture Monterrey (Mexico). US naval force occupies Monterey (Calif.) and San Francisco.

1846 Michigan becomes first state to enact laws abolishing capital punishment.

1846 Mex War begins. US forces under Gen. Taylor defeat the Mexico at Palo Alto and Resaca del la Palma and capture Monterrey (Mexico). US naval force occupies Monterey (Calif.) and San Francisco.

1846 Michigan becomes first state to enact laws abolishing capital punishment.

1846 US and New Granada sign commercial treaty, giving US right of way across the Isthmus of Panama.

1846 Iowa becomes 29th state.

5/3/46 Mexican forces attack Fort Texas, constructed by Taylor’s men.  En route to relieve the fort, Taylor defeats a groups of Mexicans at Palo Alto on May 8 and then followed the numerically superior retreating Mexicans to attack again at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma on May 9.  One report of this battle holds that the Americans last 39, w 83 wounded, and the Mexican lost 262 w 355 wounded and 150 others captured.  It makes Taylor a popular hero.

5/13/46 at the request of Pres Polk on May 11, Congress approves a declaration stating that “Byy the act of the Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists between that Gov and the US.”  Congress authorizes the recruitment of 50,000 soldiers and $10 million to fight the war.  In the debate leading up to the declaration of war and in the months to follow, it is clear that the war w Mexico is yet another divisive issue between the North and the South: Southerners tend to support the war as they see it leading to more territory to be worked by slaves, while Northerners oppose the war for that very reason.

7/7/46 Commodore John Sloat lands at Monterey and claims possession of Ca for the US. He hoists an Ma flag.

8/13/46 Commodore David Stockton has succeeded Commodore Sloat and joins w John Fremont to take Los Angeles.  On Aug 17 Stackton will declare that the US has annexed Ca and will establish himself has annexed Ca and will establish himself as governor of the area.

12/28/46 The free state of Iowa joins the Union as the 29th state.

1847 US forces under Gen. Taylor defeat the Mexico under Gen. Santa Anna at Buena Vista, US forces under Gen. Winfield Scott capture Veracruz, defeat the Mexico at Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, Molin del Tey, and Chapultepec, and enter Mexico City. Peace negotiations with Mexico begin.

1847 All of Ca comes under US control.

2/22-23/47 The Battle of Buena Vista takes place after Gen Taylor refuses Santa Anna’s demand for surrender.  Gen Taylor’s 4800 men are mostly inexperienced volunteers, yet they soundly defeat Santa Anna’s equally untrained 15,000 men.  Santa Anna will return to Mexico City.

4/8/47 Gen Scott leaves Vera Cruz and heads in the direction of Mexico City.  He will defeat Santa Anna’s med at Cerro Gordo on April 8, take Jalapa on April 19 and Puebla on May 15.

1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends Mexico War. Mexico gives up claims to Texas, recognizes Rio Grande as the border, and cedes to the US present-day CA, AZ, NV UT, and parts of NM.

1848 Free-Soil Party is formed, opposing slavery in new US territory.

1848 Wisconsin becomes the 30th state.

1848 Zachary Taylor (Whig) is elected Pre. Millard Fillmore (Whig) is elected VP.

1/24/48 A New Jersey mechanic named James Marshall is building a sawmill for Johann Sutter and discovers gold in the Ma R, about 40 miles from Sutter’s Fort, which is the site of present-day Sacramento, Ca.  The news spreads quickly and provides the impetus for the Ca gold rush.

2/2/48 The US signs the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the war w Mex.  The US gests over 5000,000 square miles that include what will become that states of Ca, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico and Arizona, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado.  Texas is also conceded to the US, w the boundary at the Rio Grande.  The US will pay $15 million and an additional $3.25 million in claims of the Rio Grand.  This makes the US a transcontinental republic, but it also opens up new land to be disputed by pro- and anti-slavery forces.

5/29/48 Wisconsin, a free state, joins the Union as the 30th state.

8/9/48 A colony of anti-slavery groups assembles in Buffalo, NY, to form the Free Soil party.  It nominates Martin Van Buren for pres and Charles Frances Adams of Mass for vice-pres.  Charles Summer and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio are among those attending.  The Free Soil party platform opposes slavery and upholds the substance of the Wilmot Proviso.  It also favors internal improvements and free homestead to settlers.  Its campaign slogan is “Free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men.”

11/7/48 Gen Zachary Taylor, a Whig and hero of the Mexico War, is elected pres.  Taylor is a slaveholder but is not especially committed to the principle of slavery.  Millard Fillmore is elected vice-pres.  the Free soil candidate Van Buren wins 291,263 popular votes and noticeably contributes to Taylor’s victory by taking Demo votes.

1849 US Dept of the Interior is created to meet the needs of Western settlers.

1849 Congress establishes to Minnesota Territory.

1. Political  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical High (1831 - 1845)

1842 US troops, after destroying the Seminoles' crops and villages, force the Indians to sign peace treaty. Seminoles are moved to Indian Territory in the West (eastern Oklahoma).

1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty between the US and Britain ends Northeast boundary dispute and establishes US-Canadian border from Main to Lake of the Woods (northern Minn.)

May 1842 Colonel John C. Fremont heads an expedition to explore the Rocky Mountains in southern Wyoming.  He will make a national reputation for himself as he begins what will be a four-year journey.

6/10/42 Lieutenant Charles Wilkes has led his exploration team over 90,000 miles during the past four years in the Pacific and Antarctic oceans.  He returns to NYC.

12/30/42 Daniel Webster advises Pres Tyler to take a stand on the Hawaiian island.  In a message to Congress Tyler warns that the US would not approve of any power trying to take control of the islands.  In 1843 he will send a diplomatic rep to Hawaii.

1842 A major party of 130 people in 18 wagons heads for the Oregon territory from Independence, Missouri.  The newly appointed Indian Agent for that territory, Dr .Elijah White, leads the party to Whitman’s mission in Walla Walla.

1842 US troops, after destroying the Seminoles' crops and villages, force the Indians to sign peace treaty. Seminoles are moved to Indian Territory in the West (eastern Oklahoma).

1843 Settlers begin great migration westward over the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Territory.

1843 Alexander Bache, Ps. physicist, heads the reorganized US Coast Survey.

March 1843 John C. Fremont’s expedition crosses through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to arrive at Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento.

8/14/43 The Second Seminole War ends after years of deliberate massacres against the Seminoles in Florida.

7/3/44 Caleb Cushing negotiates the Treaty of Wang Hiya, the first treaty between America and China.  It opens five ports for trading by Am merchants and gives legal rights to those Am living in China.

1844 Britain and US argue about Oregon boundary, which was unofficially set at lat 54 degrees 40 minutes by US settlers.

6/27/44 Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormons, is killed by a mob in Nauvoo, Illinois.  Brigham Young becomes head of the church.

8/13/44 A newly ratified constitution in New Jersey allows only white male citizens to vote.

2/28/45 The House of Reps and the Senate, acting on the proposal for the annexation of Texas.  This is essentially a procedure to bypass the requirement of a two-thirds vote of the Senate alone, traditionally used to ratify a treaty.  The resolution also authorizes the Pres to negotiate a new treaty w Texas, one that could be approved by either procedure, but the Pres does not immediately exercise this choice.

1845 US Naval Academy ("Naval School") opens at Annapolis, Md.

3/3/45 Florida, the 27th state, joins the Union as a slave state.  The Postal Act reduces postage rates to five cents per one-half ounce for 300 miles.  It also provides for government subsidies to steamships which carry mail.

12/29/45 Texas joins the Union as the twenty-eighth state.

1846 Oregon boundary is established at lat 49 degrees north.

Physical 2nd Qtr. Expansion (1838 - 1845)

7/5/43 The Oregon settlers meeting at Champoeg adopt a constitution modeled on the laws of Iowa.  It will serve for a provisional government until the US establishes jurisdiction over the area.  This month a convention in Cincinnati calls for 54 degrees 40' as the Am line in that territory.       

Physical Downward Crossover (March 21, 1845- March 21, 1846)

5/28/45 Pres Polk believes Texas will agree to annexation, so he simply decides to treat it as a state, even though it remains Mexican territory under international law.  Polk sends a detachment of the US army, led by Gen Zachary Taylor, to the southwestern border of Texas to guard the state against an “invasion” from Mex.

6/15/45 Sec of State James Buchanan guarantees protection by US Troops if Texas consents to the terms of annexation.  This same day Pres Polk orders Gen Zachary Taylor to move to a point on or near the Rio Grande to be able to defend Texas.  Taylor stops on the Nueces River near Corpus Christi on July 31.

12/2/45 Pres Polk makes his first annual message to Congress and his opinions are clear; he claims all of Oregon and will not tolerate any future European colony or domination on the continent without North American consent.  He also recommends revisions of the tariff and restoration of the Independent Treasury.  His elaboration of the Monroe Doctrine becomes know as the “Polk Doctrine.”

1/12/46 John Slidell’s report on his unsuccessful attempt to negotiate w the Pres of Mexico reaches Pres Polk.  The following day Polk orders Gen Zachary Taylor to move from the Nueces R to a position on or near the left bank of the Rio Grande R.  Taylor’s “Army of Observation” now nearly 3500 troops, about one-half of the US Army.

Physical Low (1845 - 1859)

12/22/47 Abe Lincoln makes his first speech in the House and sharply disagrees w Pres Polk over the Mexican War.

6/13/48 Representatives of labor orgs hold a meting at Philadelphia to nominate their own candidates for the pres election.  They choose Gerrit Smith of NY for president and Wm S. Waitt of Illinois for vice-pres.

6/22/48 The Barnburners. who have left the Demo Party, hold their own convention in Utica, NY, and nominate martin Van Buren for pres and Henry Dodge of Wisconsin for vice-pres.

1848 Pres Polk wants to purchase Cuba from Spain and is willing to pay $100 mil.  The leader of Ma’s peace movement, Elihu Buritt, calls an international congress in Brussels where delegates agree to support a court of arbitration.

1. Political  1840s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1838 - 1847)

27-29 May 1844 The Demos meet at Baltimore and nominate James K. Polk for pres.  Polk wins only after the eight ballot and is the first “dark horse” candidate for the presidency, filling the role when Van Buren cannot win enough supporters.  Anti-slavery man Silas Wright of NY refuses the nomination for vice-pres, and the Demos then choose George M. Dallas of Pa.  Their platform stresses the “reannexation” of Texas and the “reoccupation” of Oregon.  By choosing the campaign motto, “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight,”  the Demos intensify the Anglo-US dispute over the Oregon boundary.  On these same days, those Demos who support Pres Tyler also meet in Baltimore.  He accepts their nomination but withdraws from the campaign on Aug 20.

Emotional Upward Crossover (March 21, 1847- March 21, 1848)

1/31/48 Captain John C. Fremont is found guilty of the charges placed by Gen Kearney;  mutiny, disobedience and prejudicial conduct.  He is dismissed form the army.  Pres Polk approves most of the sentence, omitting mutiny, but restores Fremont to duty.  Fremont eventually resigns and the situation causes opposition between Polk and Thomas Hart Benton, who is Fremont’s father-in-law.

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

The Women's Movement effectively began on July 19, 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convene a woman's right convention at Seneca Fall, New York. It was the first such convention in the world and would lead to one of the world's most peaceful revolutions.

1848 Women's Rights Convention is held at Seneca Fall, NY. This is the beginning of the modern feminist movement, led by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

7/12-19/48 Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are the two main organizers of the first Am women’s rights convention held at Seneca Falls, NY.  The tow women have previously worked successfully to pass a NY law allowing a married woman to have control over her own property.  The convention attracts both men and women.  Among Stanton’s resolutions are declarations that all people are equal, women must be educated in the laws, women should have suffrage and women should be free to speak in public without incurring the warmth of their families.

1. Political  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

Intellectual Downward Crossover (March 21, 1841- March 21, 1842)

4/9/41 The Whigs as a group have never solidly endorse Tyler.  Now that he is pres, he openly differs w them on both practical issues and constitutional principles.  In a public address, he promises to follow strict construction principles in changing government fiscal structure.  Much of Congress disagrees with him, and they label his supporters as “the Corporal’s Guard.”

9/11/41 Pres Tyler’s veto of the bank bills angers his cabinet member.  Except for Sec. of State Daniel Webster, they all resign.  Almost without exception, the departing Cabinet members publicly charge Tyler w changing his former commitment to support a bank bill, even though the record does not show e had supported it in the way they suggest.  Tyler makes new Cabinet appointments, but these will change often during the next few years.  Most conspicuous will be the appointment of John C. Calhoun as Secretary of State on March 6, 1844, an indication that Southerners will have more and more influence in the Democratic party.

1/24/42 Citizens in the northeastern Mass town of Haverhill have John Quincy Adams submit a petition to Congress that requests the peaceful dissolution of the Union.

3/1/42 The Us Sup Ct rule, in “Prigg v. Commonwealth of Pa,”  that a Pa law forbidding the seizure of fugitive slaves in that state is unconstitutional.  But the opinion goes on to state that the enforcement of fugitive slave laws is entirely a federal responsibility, so various Northern states use this as a loophole and adopt personal liberty laws.

3/21-23/42 Abolitionist Representative Joshua Giddings, an Ohio Whig, presents several resolutions to the House following the controversy over the “Creole” mutiny and subsequent Brit freeing of slaves from that Am vessel.  Sec of State Daniel Webster, among others, has demanded that the Brit return the slaves because they were to “property” of Am citizens.  Giddings, however, disagrees and opposes both slavery and the shipment of slaves in America’s coastal trade.  This angers Southern Reps who are able to garner a healthy majority to vote censureship of Giddings in the House.  On March 23 Giddings resigns his seat,  In April voters in his home district will reelect Giddings; he will return to his seat in the House on May 8.

5/8/43 [yes, 1843!] Daniel Webster resigns from his position as Sec of State.  He is the last of the Cabinet originally appointed by Pres Wm Henry Harrison to do so.  Abel P. Upshur takes over the job on July 24.

1. Political  1840s Polyrhythms top    

Physical High with
     Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives
(1838 - 1845)

12/4/44 James K. Polk defeats Henry Clay for the Presidency.  Polk is virtually an unknown politician, but his somewhat aggressive-expansionist views on acquiring Texas, Oregon and Ca strike a receptive chord among Americans.  He owes his very nomination, in part, to the fact that the more obvious Demo candidate, Martin Van Buren, had earlier in the year published a letter opposing the annexation of Texas.  James Birney of the anti-slavery Liberty party wins 62,3000 popular votes, and thereby contributes to Clay’s defeat.

Physical Downward Crossover with
Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives
(March 21, 1845- March 21, 1846)

1845 Two factions of the Demo party in NY state are in open conflict this year as they run opposing candidates in races for the state leg.  The radical wing of the party is called the “Barnburners” by their opponents who compare them to the Dutch farmer who got rid of his rats by burning the barn.  The other wing is known as the “Hunkers,” from the Dutch word “hunkerer,” in this case, one who “hunkers” or “hankers” after office.  Eventually the Barnburners will withdraw and join the Free-Soilers because of their anti-slavery views.

Physical 3rd Qtr. Review with
     Emotional High
(1847 - 1852)

January 1852  A rather amorphous group called “Young American.” which evolved from the Democratic party in the 1840s, is highlighted in the first of a series of articles by George N. Sanders.  These appear in the movement’s organ, “Democratic Review,” Younger men such as Stephen A. Douglas are leaders of the group which espouses a philosophy of a romantic, yet aggressive nationalism, manifest destiny and strong support for European revolutions.  Sanders lays out a program of Am expansion to the south, free trade and US assistance to republican revolutionaries in foreign countries.

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1840 Congress enacts Independent Treasury Act, establishing sub-treasuries for the deposit of federal funds in major US cities. All government payments are to be in specie (coined money) by 1843.

1848 Samuel M. Kier Pa businessman, sells bottled petroleum as a medicine.

1849 Pacific Railroad Company is chartered. It becomes the first RR west of the Miss River.


2. Business & Economy  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical High (1831 - 1845)

1840 An order by the Pres establishes the 10-hour day for federal employees. this has long been a goal of US labor.

1841 Earliest commercial use of oil begins about this time, "Tock oil" skimmed from the surface of streams in northwestern Pa is renames Seneca Oil," and sold as patent-or "Indian"-medicine.

1842 Mass. law regulates the work day for children under 12 yrs. They are limited to a 10-hour day.

1842 Congress passes Whig tariff law with high protective levels.

1843 New word "millionaire" is used by newspapers for the first time in reporting the death of Pierre Lorilard, banker and tobacco grower.

1843 Mass Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw rules in “Commonwealth v. Hunt” that a trade union is a lawful org; further, a union is not responsible for the illegal acts of individuals, and a strike that might occur in a closed shop is a legal act.

1845 One of the earliest labor orgs, the Industrial Congress of the US, is org in NYC.

Aug 1845 Agrarian unrest over leases dating back to Dutch and Eng rule in the Albany, NY, area is creating problems.  An anti-rent war broke out in 1839-40 when heirs of Stephen Van Rensselaer tried to collect $40,000 in back rent.  Residents are revolting against the patronship system, and farmers disguised as Indians are attacking the militia called out by the governor to keep the peace.  A deputy sheriff is murdered this month and Delaware County is now under martial law.

Physical 2nd Qtr. Expansion (1831 - 1845)

1840 First steamship line with scheduled transatlantic sailings is established by Samuel Cunard, a Canadian.

1840-33 Advances in Iron & Coal Tech. Hot basket iron furnace for anthracite coal *+(David Thomas, Conn.), anthracite coal breaker (Gideon Bast, 1840), roller and crusher for coal. (J. and S. Battin, 1844).

1841 Coke, a coal product, is manufactured in Connellsville, Pa.

1843 Soap powder, "Babbitt's Best Soap," is introduced by Benjamin T. Babbitt.

1843 Fremont's second expedition surveys the route to Oregon and he maps and names the Great Basin, the independent system of lakes and rivers divided from the ocean by the mountains.

Physical Downward Crossover (March 21, 1845- March 21, 1846)

Anti-rent wars in NY state lead to legislation that restricts the duration of farm leases by replacing perpetual leases w fee-simple leases.  Theses issues are included in a more liberal constitution adopted by the state.

2. Business & Economy  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1848 The nation’s first department store is built on Broadway in NYC.

2. Business & Economy  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

Intellectual 2nd Qtr. Expansion (1830 - 1841)

7/4/40 With a signature from Pres Van Buren, the Independent Treasury Act becomes law.  It allows the government exclusive responsibility over its own funds and provides for government depositories to hold funds.  According to the act, all government transaction will be made in specie payments after June 30, 1843.  Sub-treasuries for deposits are established in Boston, NY, Philadelphia, Wash, Charleston, St. Louis and New Orleans.

Intellectual Downward Crossover (March 21, 1841- March 21, 1842)

1841 Tyler twice vetoes a bill creating a national bank with state branches. Whigs denounce Tyler, whose entire Cabinet except for Daniel Webster resigns. [what mo.?]

8/19/41 A sys of uniform bankruptcy law begins throughout the nation.  A person can now voluntarily declare bankruptcy.  Thee law s will be repealed on March 3, 1843, but during its three-year tenure 33,737 people will take advantage of it.

7/28/41 The Senate passes the Fiscal Bank Bill w a vote of 26-23.  This is a Whig proposal to incorporate a new fiscal organ in the District of Columbia.  It would be called the Radical Bank of the United States and is understood by most to be simply a revival of the Second Bank of the US.  The bill will pass the House of Reps on Aug 6, but on Aug 16 Pres Tyler will veto it as unconstitutional.  On Aug 19 the Senate will not be able to override the veto.

9/3/41 The Distribution-Preemption Act is passed.  It is a combination of Thomas Hart Benton’s preemption scheme and Clay’s goal to distribute proceeds from the sale of public lands.  After individuals have steeled public lands, they may purchase them for a minimum price.  If tariff rates rise above 20 percent, the distribution provision will be rescinded.

2. Business & Economy  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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1842 Henry discovers the oscillatory (back and forth movement) nature of an electrical discharge. He also experiments with wireless communication.

1843 A comet appears over North Am sparking new interest in astronomy.      

1843 Congress grants $30,000 for Morse to erect a 40-mile telegraph line between Baltimore and Wash DC.

1844 Morse sends the first telegraph message, "What hath God wrought!" from Wash. DC to Baltimore.

1846 Smithsonian Institution for scientific research is established by Congress with 1,000,000 pounds left by the will of James Smithson, an Eng. chemist.

1847 Am Med Ass is established in Philadelphia with Jonathan Knight, Conn. physician, as pres.

1847 Maria Mitchell, Mass. astronomer, discovers a comet and determines its orbit.

1848 Am Ass for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is established in Philadelphia with William Redfield, Conn. meteorologist, as pre.

1848 Gray pubs "Manual of Botany," listing all known plants in the northern US.

1848 George P. Bond, astronomer, discovers Hyperion, the eighth moon of Saturn.

1849 Benjamin Gould, Mass. astronomer, establishes the "Astronomical Journal." 1849 Henry analyzes the first weather data sent by telegraph

3. Science & Technology  1840s Physical Cycle top    


Physical 2nd Qtr. Expansion (1838 - 1845)

William Spencer Howe is the inventor who pioneered in the development of truss bridges in the US. An uncle of Elias Howe, the sewing-machine inventor. He made major alterations in precious truss designs and in 1840 received two patents for the Howe truss. After he built a bridge over the Connecticut River at Springfield, his truss proved so successful that henceforth her was primarily a bridge builder. His design, a truss with wooden diagonal members and iron vertical ties, was the most popular bridge system in the US during the last half of the 19th century. In 1842 he obtained a patent for an additional improvement in the Howe truss, incorporating in the design a curved timber extending from each buttress to the center of the truss.

1842 Crawford Long, Ga. physician, performs the first successful surgery on a patient anesthetized with ether, but does not pub his results until 1849.

1842 Samuel Dana, NH chemist, describes the usefulness of phosphates (in manure) as a fertilizer.

1842 Matthew F. Maury, Va. oceanographer, charts ocean currents.

1843 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mass. physician, suggested that since puerperal fever *a disease associated with childbirth is so contagious, doctors should be careful not to spread the disease from one patient to the next. He stresses that doctors should put on clean clothes and wash their hands before delivering a baby.

1844 Charles Wilkes, NY scientist, pubs the results of the US Exploring Expedition (1838-42) to Antarctica and the Pacific Northwest.

1845 A treat clipper ship, the “Rainbow,” is built and launched by John W. Griffiths in NY.  It ushers in the era of huge clipper ships.

3. Science & Technology  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1848 Maria Mitchell is the first woman elected to the Am Academy of Sciences.

3. Science & Technology  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

Intellectual 3rd Qtr. Foundation (1841 - 1852)

1847 Joseph Leidy, Pa. paleontologist, suggests that the environment affects changes (evolution) within a species.

1849 Jeffries Wyman, Mass. anatomist, describes the similarities in the skeletons of apes and human beings.

3. Science & Technology  1840s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 2nd Qtr. Expansion (1838 - 1841)

1840 Am Society of Dental Surgeons is organized in NYC.

1840 John W. Draper, Eng.-American chemist, takes the first photographs of the Moon. 1840 Graphite is produced commercially in Ticonderoga, NY.

Physical High with
     Intellectual Low
(1841 - 1845)

1845 Horace Wells, Conn. dentist, fails in a public attempt to remove a tooth painlessly from a patent amnestied with nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Although earlier private attempts were successful, this public demonstration failed because Wills began the operation before the patient was completely anesthetized. [ phy cross-over?] 1846 William T. G. Morton, Boston dentist, publicly demonstrates the effectiveness of ether as an anesthetic. John C. Warren, New England's Leading surgeon, performs the operation. Morton's claim that he discovered ether lead to years of controversy.

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1846 Elias Howe, Mass. inventor, patents a lock-stitch sewing machine.

1847 Richard M. Hoe, industrialist, develops rotary and web printing presses.

1848 "Air Conditioning" is installed in the Broadway Theater in NYC. The management promises "3000 Feet of Cool Air per Minute."

1849 George Carliss, NY inventor, patents and efficient steam engine with four valves (instead of one).

1847 Adhesive postage stamps are first used.

1848 John B. Curtis of Bangor, Me. manufactures the first chewing gum commercially sold.

1849 To satisfy a $15 debt owed to J. R. Chapin, Walter Hunt of NY spends 3 hrs. bending wire into various forms and designs the first modern safety pin.

4. Mechanical  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical 2nd Qtr. Foundation (1838 - 1845)

As early as August, 1841, his brothers, James C. and Edwin A. Stevens, representing Robert L., addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, proposing to build an iron-clad vessel of high speed, with all its machinery below the water-line, and having submerged screw-propellers. The armament was to consist of powerful breech-loading rifled guns, provided with elongated shot and shell. In the year 1842, having contracted to build for the United States government a steamer on this plan, Robert L. Stevens built his steamboat at Bordentown, for the sole purpose of experimenting on the forms and curves of propeller-blades, as compared with side-wheels, and, as already stated, worked many months. After some delay, the keel of an iron-clad was laid down. This vessel was to have been 250 feet long, 40 feet beam, and 28 feet deep. The machinery was 700 horse-power. The plating was proposed to be 4.5 inches thick, - the thickness adopted ten years later by the French.

1842 James Bogardus, NY inventor, designs a dry gas meter.

1843 in Buffalo, NY, the first grain elevator in the country is built

1844 Iron is used for RR tracks.

1844 First private bath in an Am hotel is installed in the NY Hotel, and the first bridal suite is available at the Irving House in NYC.

1845 Earatus Bigelow, Mass. inventor, builds power looms for weaving carpets and tapestries.

4. Mechanical  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

4. Mechanical  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

4. Mechanical  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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1845 First written examinations begin in elementary schools in Boston.

5. Education  1840s Physical Cycle top    

5. Education  1840s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1947 - 1856)

1848 medical school fro women opens with 12 students. Known as the Boston Female Medical School, it becomes part of the Boston U School of Med in 1874.

1849 Elizabeth Blackwell receives her medical degree from a med school in Geneva, NY. She is the first woman in the world to receive an M.D.

1849 Several new colleges are founded by religious groups.  The United Brethren charter Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.  The Baptists found Wm Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and the Presbyterians found Austin College in Huntsville, Texas.  Elizabeth Blackwell graduates from Geneva College, Geneva, NY, as the first woman in Am to receive a medical degree.

5. Education  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

5. Education  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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1843 Millerism, and Adventist movement, resulted from the preaching of Wm. Miller (1782-1849), who prophesized the 2nd coming of Christ between. 1843-44. His followers founded the Adventist Church (1845). The Seventh-Day Adventists separated from the parent body (1846).

Spring 1846 Beginning now and continuing though the summer, 12,000 Mormons move from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Council Bluggs on the Missouri R.

4/16/47 Leaving most of the Mormons at Council Bluffs, Brigham Young takes a small group of followers to look for suitable land in the West.

6. Religion & Spirituality  1840s Physical Cycle top    

6. Religion & Spirituality  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional Low (1829 - 1847)

1840 Prominent Mormon Brigham Young travels to England to speak about the Mormon Church.  His message is so convincing that between now and 1846 approx 4000 English converts to Mormonism will emigrate to Nauvoo, Illinois.

Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1838 - 1847)

1843 The country’s major Fourierist community, the North American Phalanx, is org in Red Bank, New Jersey.

4/4/44 The Fourierists are at their peak in membership.  at a large meeting in Clinton Hall, New York, they elect George Ripley of Brook Farm as their president.  Among vice-presidents are Horace Greeley, Charles A. Dana and Parke Godwin.

1845 Just as the Baptist church has split over the slavery question, the Methodist Episcopal church now splits as well into Northern and Southern conferences when their Bishop James O. Andrew of Georgia is asked by the General Convention to choose between his slaves or his position.

Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1847 - 1865)

1847 Theological Liberalism was exemplified by the pub of Rev. Horace Bushnell's (1802-76) "Christian Nurture," stressing mysticism, free will, and Christian nurture, rather than election, as the road to salvation.   

6. Religion & Spirituality  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

6. Religion & Spirituality  1840s Polyrhythms top    

Physical High with
     Emotional Low
(1831 - 1845)

6-8 May 1844 Increasing conflicts between native-born Am Protestants and immigrant Catholics result in violent clashes between these groups now and on July 5-8 in Philadelphia.  About 100 people are injured and 20 killed.  This year the American Republican Party is holding office or voting; they manage to elect a nativist mayor in NYC.

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1840 Sculptor Horatio Greenough  executes a statue of Washington in the Neoclassical style. Public outrage at the sandaled and semi-clad depiction of the first Pres prevents the statue from being placed in the Capitol building. [no 3rd qtr.]

1841 Andrew Jackson Downing, horticulturist and architect, pubs "Treatise on Landscape Gardening," which emphasizes the relationship between a dwelling and its surroundings.

1844 John Henry Belter, German born furniture maker, introduces the Victorian Rococo furniture styles to the US.

1848 Bogardus constructs a 5-story building using cast iron throughout.

7. Arts & Design  1840s Physical Cycle top    

7. Arts & Design  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

7. Arts & Design  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

7. Arts & Design  1840s Polyrhythms top    

Trirhythmic String of 3rd Quarters of Review
Physical 3rd Qtr.  (1845 - 1852)  /  Emotional 3rd Qtr. 3rd Qtr.   (1929 - 1938)  /
Intellectual 3rd Qtr.  (1841 - 1852) /  Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 3rd Qtr.   (1845 - 1852)

After 1820 the early Federal style waned, and Jeffersonian classicism was modified by the introduction of Greek and even Egyptian detail, constituting the so-called Greek Revival. Accompanied by furnishings and draperies in the heavier Sheraton-Empire tasted, the classic pattern established in the 1820's became the basic style in building and decorative design. Stimulated by the Greek struggle for national independence, it lasted until about 1850 and constituted for the time a national style without parallel in Europe. In its later decorative aspect, however, the Greek Revival became a fashion rather than a style. As such it marks not only the end of the 18th-century Neoclassicism but the beginning of the Romantic movement. [note: this paragraph is a duplicated entry to one put in 1830s]

1846 Arch James Renwick designs the Smithsonian Inst building in Gothic Revival style.

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James Russell Lowell poet, critic, and diplomat, whose major significance probably lies in the interest in literature he helped develop. His writing up to about 1850 was dominated by humanitarian interests, notably Abolition. In 1844, he was married to the poet Maria White, who had helped inspire his poems in "A Year's Life" (1841). After a three months' editorship (with Robert Carter) in 1843 of the abortive periodical "The Pioneer," which attracted work by Hawthorne, Poe, and Whittier, Lowell published "Conversations on Some of the Old Poets" (1845), which included pleas for Abolition and for the transcendence of nationalism over utopianism. From 1845 to 1850 he wrote about 50 anti-slavery articles for periodicals. Even more effective were his "Biglow Papers," which he began to serialize June 17, 1846 (first series collected in book form in 1848). Written in New England dialect, these satirized the Mexican War as an attempt to extend the area of slavery. The miraculous year" 1848 also saw the publication of the somewhat Tennysonian "Vision of Sir Launfal" and the witty "Fable for Critics," urging American reader to glorify native poets such as Whittier.

From 1850 to 1867, Lowell turned to nationalism, or Unionism. A trip to England in 1851-52 made him less anti-traditional, as "Leaves from My Italian Journal" (1854) suggests. His second series of "Biglow Papers" (1867), devoted to Unionism and collected from periodicals, include, "Sunthin' in the Pastoral Line," which, along with "New England Two Centuries Ago" (1865), drew upon his native Puritan heritage of ordered liberty, in contrast to the anarchy of disunion.

From about 1867 to the end of his life, Lowell was influenced by the corruption of the Grant administration, which proved that the Union did not automatically beget morally strong citizens. He now centered his work on making the individual man "sole sponsor of himself," on self-mastery in the midst of greed and perpetual temptation. One of the chief means was tradition, the examples of the heroes of the entire past, especially as embodied in literature. Thus, partly though his editorship (with Charles Eliot Norton) of the "North American Review" (1864-1872), Lowell published his critical essays on the great masters. Guided by Edmund Burke and by Coleridge (the "first of critics"_, Lowell exalted the Greeks' "sense of proportion, their distaste for the exaggerated"; Dante's sense of free-willed responsibility in the face of inward conflict between appetite and aspiration; and Shakespeare's view that this conflict can be resolved on the human rather than the theological plane.


1840 Cooper pubs "The Pathfinder," the fourth "Leatherstocking Tale."
1840 Poe pubs "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque," which includes his famous work, "The Fall of the House of Usher."

1841 Cooper pubs "The Deerslayer," the fifth "Leathersotcking Tale."

1841 Longfellow pubs "Ballads and Other Poems," which includes "The Wreck of the Hesperus."

"New York Tribune" is pub by Horace Greeley. It becomes the most influential newspaper in the North and West, until the Civil War.

1843 Poe pubs the short stories "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Pit and the Pendulum," and "The Tell-Tale Heart."

1844 Poe pubs the short story "The Premature Burial."

1845 Margaret Fuller pubs the feminist work "Woman in the Nineteeth Century."

1845 Poe pubs "The Raven and Other Poems" and "Tales."

1845 Alfred Beach, inventor, establishes "Scientific American" magazine.

1846 Herman Melville, writer, pubs his first novel, "Typee," dealing with his life among a primitive Polynesian tribe.

1846 Poe pubs the short story "The Cask of Amontillado,"

1847 Longfellow writes "Evangeline", one of his most famous poetic works.

1847 Melville's novel "Omoo" depicts life in Tahiti.

1848 Edward Jarvis, Mass. physician, pubs a widely read book that popularizes public health.

1848 J. R. Lowell pubs the poems "Vision of Sir Launfal" and "Fabel for the Critics."

1849 Melville shows his love for the sea in the novels "Mardi" and "Redburn."

1849 Henry David Thoreau pubs "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers," which sells only 200 copies.
1849 Poe pubs the poems, "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells."

8. Literature & Publication  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical Low (1845 - 1859)

6/17/46 James Russell Lowell pubs the first of his “Biglow Papers” in the “Boston Courier” to voice his opposition to the war with Mexico.

1849 Henry David Thoreau pubs “Civil Disobedience,”  an essay that grew out or his refusal to pay taxes supporting the Mexican War.  He advocates citizen action to protest unjust government deeds.  In Rochester, NY, Margaret and Kate Fox begin the Spiritualism movement.  Within a few months, at least six publication dealing exclusively a national cult.  Many people regularly hold séances.

8. Literature & Publication  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1838 - 1847)

1840 The known as the “Transcendentalists,” including Ralph Waldo Emerson and George Ripley, that has been meeting to discuss philosophy and literature, begins to pub their own journal, “The Dial,” in Boston.  Margaret Fuller, a member of the group, is the first editor, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.  first publishes “Two Years Before the Mast.”

"Innovation was unrestrained by custom, tradition or  timidity, "I simply experiment: said Emerson, the quintessential American, "An endless seeker, with no Past at my back."" (Schlesinger, "The Cycles in American History." [possibly exemplifying e 4th]

1842 Emerson becomes editor of "The Dial," the influential publisher of the Transcendentalist movement.

1846 Emerson's "Poems" include "Woodnotes" and "Give All to Love."

8. Literature & Publication  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

Intellectual 3rd Qtr. Review (1841 - 1852)

1848 Elizabeth Ellet authored her 2-volume work: “Women of the American Revolution.”

8. Literature & Publication  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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1842 The NY Philharmonic, is founded. It is the oldest symphony orchestra in America.

1842 Showman Edwin P. Christy founds the Christy Minstrels.

1844 Stephen Collins Foster, song composer, writes "Open Thy Lattice, Love."

1844 Chopin attends the European debut of Amer. pianist Louis Gottschalk and predicts his success.

1845 The Southern Musical Convention is organized to bring rural singers together for several days of singing.

9. Entertainment  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical High (1831 - 1845)

1842 Barnum' Am Museum opens in NYC. P. T. Barnum exhibits General Tom Thumb and other freaks as well as many hoaxes, attracting the public with extravagant advertising.

1842 in NYC, P. T. Barnum opens his Am Museum to the public.

Physical 2nd Qtr. Expansion (1838 - 1845)

1845 The transition from the 4-stringed "banjo" to the modern 5-stringed banjo occurs.

9. Entertainment  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1838 - 1847)

1846 The Seventh-Day Adventists broke from the Adventist Church, stressing legalism and Sabbatarianism, with strong views on diet, health and medicine A

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1848 Foster's "Oh! Susanna" becomes a popular song among the '49ers and established the songwriter's reputation.

1848 The Musical Fund Society begins its seasonal orchestra concerts in Boston's Tremont Temple.

1849 The Mendelssohn Quintet Club, the first chamber music organization in the US gives its first concert.

1847 The Christy Minstrels begin a ten year engagement at Mechanic's Hall on Broadway.

9. Entertainment  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

9. Entertainment  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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1849 Tom Hyer, the unofficial heavyweight boxing champion, fights Yankee Sullivan, an Englishman, and knocks him out.

10. Sports  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical High (1831 - 1845)

1842 Horse race at the Union Course on Long Island attract thousands of spectators. "Fashion" (the North's entry) beats "Boston" (the South's entry) for a purse of $20,000.

1843 Rowing is introduced at Harvard when William Weeks, a student, buys and outfits a shell.

1845 First formal rules for baseball are written by Alexander Hoy Cartwright.

1846 First recorded baseball games is played at Elysian Field in Hoboken, NY between the NY Nine and the Knickerbockers. The New York Nine win: 23-1.

10. Sports  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

10. Sports  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

10. Sports  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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1845        The style of button-fly pants was introduced to the US "despite protests from the religious community, who saw the flap as a license to sin."     (WSJ, 11/20/97, p.A20)

11. Fashion  1840s Physical Cycle top    

11. Fashion  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

11. Fashion  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

11. Fashion  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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population US 1940 almost 17.1 million

1840 Sixth national census shows a pop of more than 17 mil. About 600,000 immigrants have arrived since 1830.

1840 First use of the expression O.K. It referred to "Old Kinderhook," birthplace of Pres Martin Van Buren, and was the name of a Democratic Club in NYC.

1847 Irish immigration reaches 105,000 (3 times that of the preceding year) because of the potato famine in Ireland.

1849 More than 400 buildings (within 15 city blocks) and 27 steamships are destroyed in a St. Louis, Mo. fire, Damage is estimated at $6 mil.

1849 California's giant redwood trees are named Sequoias in honor of Sequoya.

1849 The Pacific Railroad is chartered in Missouri w plans to link St. Louis and Kansas City.  A stagecoach line opens to carry mail between independence.  Missouri and Santa Fe.

12. Lifestyles  1840s Physical Cycle top    

Physical High (1831 - 1845)

1841 The first large group to emigrate to CA travels over the Oregon Trail, the Humbolt River and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The 48 wagons in the party reach Sacramento.

May 1843 John C. Fremont leaves Missouri on his second expedition.  He will cross the Rocky Mountains into the Snake and Columbia R valleys and then explore Ca’s central San Joaquin Valley.  He will return to Missouri in July 1844.

5/22/43 One thousand Easterners leave from Independence, Missouri to settle in the Oregon territory.  This marks the be of a large migration westward.

12. Lifestyles  1840s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1838 - 1847)

1841 Brook Farm, a cooperative program based on an economy of farming and handcrafts, is founded in Mass. by George Ripley, a Unitarian Minister and a Transcendentalist.

1841 Largely as an outgrowth of discussions by the Transcendentalists, George Ripley and the Brook Farm Association set up a cooperative living experiment, the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education 9 miles from Boston.  It attracts Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles A. Dana.  Meanwhile, in Ohio, the Marlboro Association establishes the first Fourierist community in the country.

1844 Amos Bronson Alcott, who recently ran the experimental Temple School in Boston, founds an utopian community called Fruitlands near the rural community of Harvard, Mass.  His daughter, Louisa May, will later write about their idyllic family life in “Little Women.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson pubs his second series of “Essays.”

1848 John Humphrey Noyes establishes the Perfectionist Community at Oneida, NY.

12. Lifestyles  1840s Intellectual Cycle top    

12. Lifestyles  1840s Polyrhythms top    

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