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  1840s 1850s 1860s 
Timelines - Decade
28y Physical 36y Emotional 44y Intellectual
American Cycles 1850s
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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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See the Matrix links above left for navigating through all Overviews and Timelines by Time, Subject, or Cycle as described in Introduction to Part II).

Note to readers: Work from the Kala-Rhythm archives is being offered here in the Timelines for the first time. We are allowing a view into the Timelines now by posting both the finished and the unfinished pages of the Timelines as editing from our references continues.  Unfinished pages (like this one) contain raw data from history sources to which we give credit in our "biblio/webography". Check back for updates to this and other pages.

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1850 Pres. Taylor dies and Fillmore becomes Pres.

1850 Clayton-Buler Treaty is signed. US and Brit agree to neutrality of canal project across the Isthmus of Panama; neither country is to occupy any part of Central Am.

7/9/50 Pres Taylor, who has opposed Clay’s compromise measure, dies of cholera and Vice-President Millard Fillmore assumes the office.  Fillmore will appoint Daniel Webster.

9/9/12/50 Congress adopts five bills based on the original resolutions of Henry Clay, and they come to be known as the Compromises of 1850.  The bills include the following:  VA is admitted to the Union as a free state; the territories of New Mexico and Utah are org without any restriction on slavery; Texas, also not restricted as to slavery, has boundaries set, w Texas being reimburse $10 million by the US government for relinquishing claims to land that is now New Mexico; slave trade in the District of Columbia is abolished after Jan 1, 1851; a new Fugitive Slave Act provides fed jurisdiction to strengthen the act of 1793.  The bill that continues to give Northerners the most trouble is the strict Fugitives Slave Act.  Pres Fillmore signs all the acts.

September 1850  A convention of Whigs in Syracuse splits over the Compromise of 1850.  A group of conservatives led by Francis Granger hold their own convention, condemning Senator Seward’s radical position and supporting Fillmore’s.  Eventually they will gain control of the Am nativist group in NY.  [Phy Low and Emo High - similar to Viet Nam conflict of 1960s?]

1851 Lt. William Lewis Herndon makes an expedition to explore the Amazon R.

1852 Franklin Peirce and William R. King are elected Pres and VP, respectively, on the Democratic ticket.

11/2/52 Democrat Franklin Pierce defeats Gen Winfield Scott for the presidency.  Pierce receives 254 electoral votes to Scott’s 42.

1853 Washington Territory is formed from part of the Oregon Territory.

1853 US fleet under Commodore Matthew C. Perry arrives in Edo Bay (now Tokyo Bay), Japan. Perry seeks protection for shipwrecked US seamen and the opening of Japanese ports to trade.

1853 US purchases from Mexico for $10 mil a 30,000-square-mile area (the Gadsden Purchase) in what is now southern New Mexico and Arizona. The territory was the last addition to the US continental boundaries (the contiguous states).

1853 Congress authorizes survey for a transcontinental railroad route to the Pacific.

1854 US and Japan sign the Treaty of Kanagawa, declaring peace, friendship, and commerce.

1854 US ministers to Brit, Fr. and Spain draw up the Ostend Manifesto saying that the US should seize Cuba by force if Spain refuses to sell it.

1854 Native American, or Know-Nothing Party, wins many local offices in NY, Mass. and Del.

5/26/54 After much debate, the Kansas-Nebraska Act has already passed in the House, and now passes w “squatter” or “popular sovereignty,” passes w a clear majority, and is signed by Pres Pierce.  The territories can be admitted w or without slavery, and Stephen A. Douglas seems to have sponsored this bill for three major reasons:  he believes in self-government; he wants Southern support for his political ambitions; and he wants to build a transcontinental railroad along a central route.  Many Northerners denounce the Act.  In particular, Northerners threaten to stop obeying the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.  On this same day, Wendell Phillips and others lead and anti-slavery mob to attack a Federal court house in Boston where an accused fugitive slave, Anthony Burns, is held.  They are thwarted by authorities, but call attention to the case, and 50,000 citizens turn out a few days later to watch Burns walk to a ship headed for Va.

7/6-13/54 In Michigan, anti-slavery men meeting to join the new Republican Party demand that both the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Fugitive Slave Law be repealed.  the party is made up of Whigs, Free-Soilers and anti-slavery Democrats.  Similar meetings are held in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Vermont.  Leaders of the party include Charles Sumner, George Julian, Salmon P. Chase and Whigs Edward Bates and Orville Browning.

7/19/54 The Wisconsin Sup Ct declare the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional and frees a Mr. Booth who had been convicted of rescuing an accused runaway.

1855 William Walker with a small force lands in Nicaragua, overthrows the government, and makes himself pres in 1856. He is forced out of power by coalition of Central Am states in 1857.

6/5/55 The Know-Nothing Party holds a national council meeting in Philadelphia and Southerners seize control. [p 4th?]

23 Oct - 12 Nov 1855  Free Soil Kansans hold a convention of their own in Topeka and adopt a constitution that outlaws slavery.  *But they will also adopt a law that bars all blacks fr Kansas.)  A virtual civil war now exists, with frequent classes between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery elements in Kansas.

1856 James Buchanan and John C. Breckinridge are elected Pres and VP, respectively, on the Democratic ticket.

6/17-19/56 The new Rep party holds its first National Convention in Philadelphia. It nominates Leavenworth, Kansas, disperse the Free-state legislature in Topeka. [E 4TH?]

8/18/56 In a sweeping gesture, Congress acts to authorize US annexation of any small guano island that is unclaimed by other governments.  In 1857, they will annex Jarvis Island and Baker’s Island, located in the mid-Pacific, and in 1858, Howard’s Island as well. [in contrast to Olstead Manifesto]

1857 Indians and Whites under John D. Lee, Mormon fanatic, massacre about 140 non-Mormon emigrants at Mountain Meadows, Utah.

1857 US and Japan sign treaty opening port of Hagasaki to US trade, (Shimoda and Hakodate were opened in 1854).

1858 Minnesota becomes 32nd state.

1858 US and China sign treaty of peace, friendship, and commerce.

1858 US troops suppress the Mormon militia and restore order in the Utah Territory. Opposed to non-Mormon settlers, the Mormons had rebelled in 1857 against the appointed non-Mormon territorial government.

Autumn 1858 Gold is discovered in the Kansas Territory on Cherry Creek, about 90 miles from Pike’s Peak in an area that is part of present-day Colorado.  The discovery launches a new gold rush.

June 1859 A huge deposit of silver is discovered in what will be called the Comstock Lode, located near present-day Virginia City, Nevada.  It is the first major discovery of silver in the US and adds fuel to the rush of people to the goldfields near Pike’s Peak in the Kansas Territory.  The slogan “Pike’s Peak or Bust” becomes popular.

1859 Oregon becomes 33rd state.

1. Political  1850s Physical Cycle top    


Physical Low (1845 - 1859)

1851 Gen. Narciso Lopez leads an expedition of Spanish refugees and Southerners from New Orleans to Cuba in an unsuccessful attempt to free the Cubans from Spanish rule. Lopez is captured and executed.

10/22/51 Pres Fillmore enjoins Americans against participating in further military exploits in Mexico.

12/1/51 Congressional elections indicate that many Southerners feel the Compromise of 1850 is an acceptable alternative to secession.  Unionists win elections in Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama.  In the North, however, radicals gain a triumph w the election of abolitionist Charles Sumner of Massachusetts to the US Senate.

10/18/54 US European ministers Buchanan, Mason and Soule meet in Ostend, Belgium, to discuss Am acquisition of Cuba.  The ministers decider that the US needs to annex Cuba for the security of slavery and that if Spain refuses to sell the island it should be taken by force: They write, “we shall be justified in wresting it from Spain if we posses the power.”  The document becomes known as the Ostend Manifesto.  It arouses the ire of both Northerners and the Spanish who already resent Pierce's policy of expansion.

3/3/55 The Ostend Manifesto is pub in Am and pub reaction is so negative that Secretary of State Wm L. Marcy refuses to support it.

12/6/58 A group of students from Oberlin College, led by one of their professors, successfully rescues John, an accused fugitive slave, and helps him travel to Canada.

Physical 3rd Qtr. Review (1852 - 1859)

9/28/50 Congress abolishes flogging in the Navy, yet it is still legal for schoolteachers to resort to flogging and other painful punishments to make their young charges behave in class.

October 1850 The nation responds to the new Fugitive Slave Act.  On Oct 21 the Chicago City Council refuses to endorse it, and on Oct 30 a meeting of New Yorkers resolves to sustain it.

Physical XXXward Crossover (March 21, 1859- March 21, 1860)

Oct. 16-18 1859  At Harper’s Ferry, VA (now West Virginia), John Brown, one of the most radical of the abolitionists, leads an armed group (5 blacks, 16 whites, including his 3 sons) that seizes the Federal arsenal.   Although this is the first action in his vague plan to establishes a “counrty” for fugitives slaves in the Appalachian, there is no armed support from outside people.  Within 24 hours Brown and 4 other survivors are captured by a force of US Marines led by Col Robert E. Lee.  (Buchanan had put a price of $250 on Brown’s head; Brown had put a price of $2.50 on Buchanan’s).  Brown felt he had been foreordained by God to break up slavery-he hoped for a massive slave insurrection, but if he failed at that, he knew that he could chock and stun people enough to cause a sectional blow-up, perhaps start a civil war, and in that war slavery might die.  Within six weeks Brown is tried for criminal conspiracy and treason, convicted and hanged.  Although most Northerners condemn the way the Brown went about his plan, Southerners not that many Northerners admire Brown and his goals.  They see Brown’s raid as confirming their worst fears about the violence and upheaval that would prevail if blacks are not held firmly down.

12/2/59 John Brown is hanged in the public square of Charlestown, VA.  He leaves a last note indicating that only by using blood can the country be rid of slavery.

1859 Abolitionist John Brown with 21 men seizes the US arsenal at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., hoping to start slave insurrection. US Marines capture the raiders. Brown is hanged for murder, treason, and conspiracy. He becomes a martyr to the North, a traitor to the South.

1. Political  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional High (1847 - 1865)

1850 First national convention of women advocating woman suffrage is held in Worcester, Mass. In July the first woman's rights convention meets in Seneca Falls, NY.

2/15/50 A mob of blacks, angry over the new Fugitive Slave Law, rescue Shadrach, an accused fugitive, fr a Boston jail.  On Feb 18 Pres Fillmore insists that the law must be followed by both officials and citizens.  Many northerners are angry about this law that requires only an affidavit from a claimant to prove ownership.  It allows great power to commissioners authorized to arrest fugitives for pay, but the accused fugitives themselves cannot have a trial by jury and cannot speak in their own behalf.  Marshals who fail to hold slaves can be sued, and citizens who conceal or rescue fugitives are subject to a harsh fines an imprisonment.  Yet resistance to the law is strong and Southern slave-holders traveling in free states to find runaways could be mobbed or jailed for kidnapping.  Other rescues to gain national attention this year include that of Rachel Parker in Baltimore, Thomas Simms in Boston, Jerry in Syracuse and Christiana in Pa.

1850 Congress bitterly debates the right of states and territories to permit or prohibit slavery. Compromise of 1850 passes: CA is admitted as a free stats; NM and UT territories are formed and allowed to make their own decision about slavery; more effective Fugitive Slave Act is set up; and slave trade is abolished in the District of Columbia.

1850 Fugitive Slave Act requires citizens of the free states to turn in runaway slaves.

1851 Charles Sumner becomes US Senator from Mass. He leads the fight against slavery.

1852 Democrats and Whigs adopt party platforms accepting Compromise of 1850. Democrats also endorse Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. Free Soil Party opposes the Compromise and slavery itself.

8/11/52 Members of the Free Soil Party meet in their national convention at Pittsburgh.  They nominate John P. Hale of New Hampshire for pres and George W. Julian of Indiana for vice-pres.  Their platform soundly condemns both slavery and the Compromise of 1850, claiming, “Slavery is a sin against God and a crime against man.”  They further support free homesteads for settlers and easy entry to this country for immigrants.

1853 Mrs. Amos Bronson Alcott, who has assisted her husband in organizing the  Fruitlands Community, presents a petition w 73 other women to the Mass Constitutional Convention to urge suffrage for women.  Policemen in NYC beg wearing uniforms and official caps.  The Police Departments in Boston and Philadelphia will soon follow w similar uniforms.

1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, introduced by Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, repeals the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Congress establishes the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. All territories can decide whether to permit or prohibit slavery. Act is condemned by abolitionists.

1854 Mass. Emigrant Aid Society is org to encourage anti-slavery emigration to Kansas.

1855 Settlement of Kansas under Douglas doctrine of "popular sovereignty" leads to bloody war between pro- and anti-slavery factions for control of the territorial government ("Bleeding Kansas").

1854 Republican Party is formed as a reaction against the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It calls for the abolition of slavery, high protective tariffs, and a transcontinental railroad.

1855 Pres Pierce signs act establishing the first US Court of Claims. Citizens can press claims against the federal government without petitioning Congress.

1856 Pre. Pierce recognizes pro-slavery legislature in Kansas Territory.

1856 Border Ruffians (pro-slavery) sank Lawrence, Kans. In return, abolitionist John Brown, with four of his sons and three other men, murders five pro-slavery colonists at Pottawatomie Creek. Civil war continues between Free State and pro-slavery factions until federal troops restore peace.

1856 Sen. Sumner makes anti-slavery speech bitterly criticizing Sen. Andrew P. Butler and Stephen A. Douglas. Rep. Preston S. Brooks, Butler's nephew, severely beats Sumner with a cane in the Senate chamber. Sumner's slander and Brook's brutality show the deep rift between North and South.

1857 Dred Scott decision by the US Supreme Court holds that a Negro slave's residence in free territory does note make him free. It declares the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional and says that Congress has no right to prohibit slavery in the territories.

1857 Kansas elects Free State legislature. Pro-slavery delegates meet at Lecompton, KS, and draw up constitution rigged so that slavery could not be eliminated from the territory.

1857 Pres. Buchanan consents to Lecompton Constitution in KA, thus splitting the Democratic Party.

Aug 21 - Oct 15 1858 Lincoln and Douglas meet in towns across Illinois in a series of seven debates.  Although Lincoln is little known outside Illinois and Douglas is a national figure desperately trying to placate his own party, the debates help to define the most pressing issue confronting the nation.  Lincoln takes a strong stand against slavery on moral, social and political grounds, while Douglas defends not slavery as such but the right of Americans to vote their preference.  Douglas will be elected Senator by the Democratic majority in the Illinois legislation, but Lincoln emerges on the national stage as an articulate and respected spokesman for the anti-slavery position.

1858 Lincoln debates Sen. Douglas on the slavery issue during senatorial contest in Ill. Douglas wins reelection, but Lincoln gains national reputation.

1858 People of KS reject the Lecompton Constitution, and the territory becomes non-slaveholding.

1859 Kansas ratifies anti-slavery constitution at Wyandotte. 

1859 Southern convention at Vicksburg, Miss. urges repeal of all laws, state and federal, prohibiting the importation of slaves. President Buchannan's message to Congress asserts US enforcement of slave importation laws.

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1/24/54 A group of Democrats publish “The Appeal of the Independent Democrats in Congress, to the People of the United States” in strong opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Signers include Salmon P. Chase, credited with writing the document, and Charles Sumner.  The document will contribute to the organization of the Republican Party.

2/28/54 At Ripon, Wisconsin, anti-slavery opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska bill meet and recommend forming a new political party, the Republican Party.  In the months that follow, other meetings in various Northern states join in the formation of the new party.

1. Political  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

1. Political  1850s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1852 - 1859)

Nov-Dec 1852 As both the Free Soil and the Whig Parties decline, the American, or Nativist party begins to attract more supporter.  Originally founded as a secret society, it soon becomes known as the “Know-Nothing” Party because members claim to know nothing about its workings.  Its members oppose Catholics and foreigners; the party will be at its strongest in the next few years. [is this a good example of 4th Qtr.?]

1853 Mrs. Amos Bronson Alcott, who has assisted her husband in organizing the Fruitands community, presents a petition with 73 other women to the Mass. Constitutional Convention to urge suffrage for women.

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1854 depression?

1857 depression?   

1853 Charles Lewis Tiffany, jeweler, establishes Tiffany and Company, a firm which remains world famous for its exquisite jewelry designs.

1853 New York Central Railroad is formed by consolidating 10 small railroads connecting NYC and Buffalo, NY.

1853 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is completed to the Ohio R, and its first trains begin operating from Baltimore to Wheeling, W.Va. For the first time Chicago, Ill, is connected by rail to the East.

1855 Kier builds America's first oil refinery in Pittsburgh.

1855 First oil business in the US, the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Co., is formed by George H. Bissell and Jonathan J. Eveleth.

1856 Farmer discovers an inexpensive and commercially successful way of coating metal objects with aluminum by using electrolysis.

1856 Western Union Company is established

1856 H. L. Lipman receives a patent for a pencil with an eraser attached.

1857 William Kelly, Pa. inventor, patents a steelmaking process that is similar to that of Bessemer. The Kelly and Bessemer ideas are later combined and called the Bessemer Process.

1857 The last length of track is laid to connect NYC and St. Louis by rail.  All across the country people gather in railroad celebrations.  The Pa Railroad eliminates competition in transportation through that state when it purchases the main canal system there.

1858 Macy's department store is established in NYC. Its successful use on a large scale of a fixed-price policy, developed in smaller NYC stores since 1840, establishes an Am retail sales custom.

1858 Stagecoach service and mail delivery begins between San Francisco, CA, and St. Louis, Mo., over a 2812-mi. route.

8/27/59 Edwin L. Drake strikes oil while drilling a well near Titusville, Pa.  This will be the first oil well in the country and marks the beg of what will become a major industry.

2. Business & Economy  1850s Physical Cycle top    

Physical 1st Qtr. Foundation (1859 - 1866)

1859 Edwin L. Drake, NY industrialist, drills Americas first successful oil well at Titusville, Pa.

Sept 1859 Midwesterners want better methods of shipping their ever-increasing grain crops.  In Chicago, they org the Merchants Grain Forwarding Association.

2. Business & Economy  1850s Emotional Cycle top    

2. Business & Economy  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

2. Business & Economy  1850s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Low (1845 - 1859)

8/24/57 The NY branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and trust Co fails and signals the beginning of a commercial and financial panic that will be know as the Panic of 1857, as 4932 businesses fail this year. Conditions will improve by 1859.

1858 The financial panic continues.  this year 4222 businesses fail.  Many people hope religion might help them accept or change economic problems, and a religious revival sweeps the country.  In NYC, construction begins on the great Catholic edifice, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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1850 William and George Bond discover the innermost or "crepe" ring of Saturn. It is officially called the "c" ring.

1850 William Bond makes the first clear daguerreotype (a type of photograph) of the Moon.

1851 William Channing and Moses Farmer invent an electric fire alarm system and install it in Boston.

1851 When glass eyes are introduced, many people believe that they will restore sight to the blind.

1851 Donald McKay sets a record for clipper ship travel from NY to San Francisco that will never be bettered.  His “Flying Cloud”: makes the trip in 89 days, 8 hours.

1852 James Dana describes his theory of cephalization: the more advance (i.e. more highly evolved) animals have greater development in the head region.

1852 Samuel Wetherill, PA. chemist, develops a commercially successful way of removing zinc oxide from ore.

1852 Sparrows are imported from Germany to help control caterpillars in the US in an example of biological control.

1852 Mount Sinai Hosp opens in NYC.

1852 Am Society of Civil Engineers is founded in NYC.

1853 James Coffin, Mass. meteorologist, describes three distinct wind zones in the northern hemisphere.

1853 Charles Davis, Mass. naval officer, pubs the "American Nautical Almanac."

1854 David Alter, Pa. physician, discovers that the elements in a gas con be identified by using a spectroscope.

1854 NY Children's Hospital opens.

1855 Maury pubs "The Physical Geography of the Sea," the text that establishes the science of oceanography.

1855 John C. Dalton, Mass. physician, operates on living animals to demonstrate internal anatomy and physiology to his students.

1855 Benjamin Peirce, astronomer, pubs "Physical and Celestial Mechanics," the first text in this field.

1856 David E. Hughes, Brit-American inventor, patents a printing telegraph.

1856 Borax is discovered in CA.

1856 Gail Borden, Texas. inventor, receives patent for condensing milk.

1857 Charles Darwin writes to Asa Gray outlining for the first time his theories of evolution and natural selection.

1858 Cyrus W. Field, Mass. financier, lays the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable. Messages are exchanged between Queen Victoria and Pres Buchanan, but a few weeks later, the cable stops working.

3. Science & Technology  1850s Physical Cycle top    


Physical 1st Qtr. Foundation (1859 - 1865)

1859 Louis Agassiz establishes the Museum of Comparative Museum at Harvard.

1859 Samuel Gross, Pa. physician, pubs "System of Surgery."

1859 Farmer experiments with incandescent lighting and develops a platinum filament that burns briefly in what may be the world's first incandescent lamp.

3. Science & Technology  1850s Emotional Cycle top    

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1855 James Sims, surgeon, orgs the Women's Hosp of NYC.

3. Science & Technology  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

3. Science & Technology  1850s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1852 - 1859)

1857 Louis Agassiz publishes "Contribution to the Natural History of the United States" (-1862). In his "Essay on Classification," Agassiz proposes an early version of the biogenetic law stating that changes during the embryonic development of a single animal are similar to changes that occurred in that species over thousands of years.

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1851 Isaac Singer, NY inventor, patents a continuous-stitch sewing machine.

1851 Page designs an electric locomotive.

 10/8/51 NYC and Albany are now connected as the Hudson Railroad opens

 1852 Horse-drawn steam pumpers (fire engines) are invented by Alexander Latta, Ohio engineer.

 1852 Elisha Otis, Vt. inventor, designs a passenger elevator.

2/20/52 Completion of the Michigan Southern Railway enables a train to arrive in Chicago from the East.

 1852 Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are now connected by rail w the completion of the Pa Railroad., but Pa deliberately adopts a different gauge than that used by railroads in New York to prevent New York’s Erie Railroad from extending through Pa to Ohio.

 1853 Otis improves the elevator by adding safety devices to keep the car from falling if the ropes break.

 1853 The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad now extends as far as Wheeling, located on the Ohio R, Meanwhile, ten railroad lines that run between Albany and Buffalo merge to form the New York Central Railroad.

1854 Horace Smith and Daniel Webster invent the Smith and Wesson revolver and a device that is later used in Winchester repeating rifles.

1854 A railroad bridge suspension bridge is built at Niagara Falls. The first train crosses a year later.

 1855 James Francis, "Father of Modern Hydraulic Engineering," pubs "Lowell Hydraulic Experiments." [P 4th QTR/?]

 1856 First street trains in New England begin running between Boston and Cambridge, Mass. They are pulled by steam engines.

 1858 Hamilton E. Smith invents a mechanical washing machine.

 1859 Fifth Avenue Hotel in NYC installs the first passenger elevator in an American hotel. Many guests still prefer stairs.

4. Mechanical  1850s Physical Cycle top    

4. Mechanical  1850s Emotional Cycle top    

4. Mechanical  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

4. Mechanical  1850s Polyrhythms top    

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1851 Mass. passes the first law that allows towns to tax inhabitants for the support of free libraries.

 1852 Mass. passes the first effective school attendance law, requiring all children between ages 8 and 14 to attend school at least 12 weeks a year, 6 of them consecutive.

 1852 Educator George Ticknor and Edward Everett with a combination of private donation, civic funds, and gifts of books, help found the Boston Public Library.

1854 Astor Library opens in NYC. John Jacob Astor left $40,000 in his will to be used for its establishment.

1858 Harvard University establishes a chemistry dept and research lab.

1858 The first west Coast medical college is established at the U of the Pacific by Elias S. Cooper.

 1859 Industrialist and inventor Peter Cooper establishes the Cooper Union, an inst. mainly for adult education in the arts and sciences, in NYC.

5. Education  1850s Physical Cycle top    

5. Education  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1853 Antioch College, which welcomes male and female students, open in Ohio.

1855 The Elmira (NY) Female College is establishes it is the first institution of higher education to grant academic degrees to women.  Mrs. Carl Schurz, who studied the kindergarten methods of Friedrich Froebel in Germany, orgs the first Am kindergarten.  It is a German-speaking school, located in a Watertown, Wisconsin home.

(also from the 1850 entry above)   Henry Barnard of Connecticut begins reporting on kindergartens and other educational issues in his “American Journal of Education.”  The respected journal will be pub until 1882; it helps give form to the education profession as more individuals make life-time commitments to teaching careers.

5. Education  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

5. Education  1850s Polyrhythms top    

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6. Religion & Spirituality  1850s Physical Cycle top    

6. Religion & Spirituality  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional High (1847 - 1865)

1858 Religious revival, starting in NY and Pa, sweeps across the country. It is accompanied by daily prayer meetings in every major city, and conversion to the various churches reach great numbers.

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1851 First Am chapter of the Young Men's Christian Assoc (YMCA) is org in Boston. 24 chapters already exist in Great Britain.

1853 Norwegians who have settled in Wisconsin establish the Norwegian Evangelical Church of America.

1856 First recorded observance of Children's Day is held in the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Emotional 2nd Qtr. Foundation (1856 - 1856)

1858 The Ladies Christian Assoc is formed in NY.  This org will eventually become the Young Women’s Christian Association.

6. Religion & Spirituality  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

6. Religion & Spirituality  1850s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Low
     Emotional High
(1847 - 1859)

1858 The financial panic continues.  this year 4222 businesses fail.  Many people hope religion might help them accept or change economic problems, and a religious revival sweeps the country.  In NYC, construction begins on the great Catholic edifice, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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1850 James Renwick designs St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC.

 1851 Calvert Vaux and Andrew Downing collaborate on the landscape design of the US Capitol grounds.

1851 T. U. Walter designs the dome atop the US Capitol build.

 1854 First "fire-proof" building, Harper & Bros. publishing headquarters in NYC, is built using wrought-iron beams set in masonry walls.

 1857 Frederick Law Olmstead Calvert Vaux design Central Park in NYC.

1857 Upjohn helps found the Am Inst. of Architects and serves as its pres until 1876.

7. Arts & Design  1850s Physical Cycle top    

7. Arts & Design  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1855 George Inness, painter, executes "The Lackawanna Valley" in typical Hudson River School style.

1857 Frederick E. Church, painter of the Hudson Rover School, paints "Niagara," keeping with his theme of natural wonders.

7. Arts & Design  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

7. Arts & Design  1850s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 3rd Qtr. Review (1845 - 1852)

1851 Emmanuel Leutze paints "Washington Crossing the Delaware." Artist Thomas Worthington Whittredge posed as Washington.

Emotional High
Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 4th Qtr. Alternatives
(1852 - 1859)

1854 Henry David Thoreau publishes “Walden.”

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12/24/51 A huge fire in the Library of Congress leaves 35,000 volumes in ashes.  This represents two-thirds of the Library’s collection and included many of the books originally donated by Thomas Jefferson.

 1854 Whittier pubs the poem "Maud Muller."

1855 Evert A. Duyckinck and his brother George pubs the exhaustive two volume "Cyclopedaedia of American Literature."

 1855 Frank Leslie's "Illustrated Newspaper" (later "Leslie's Weekly"), most successful of the early illustrated papers, begins pub in NYC.

 1857 Melville pubs "The Confidence Man."

1857 "Atlantic Monthly," a periodical which evolved into a proving ground for many US writer, is founded. Oliver Wendell Holmes coins the magazine's name.

 1858 Longfellow pubs "The Courtship of Miles Standish."

 1858 Holmes's "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," the first of his "Breakfast-Table" works, appears in "Atlantic Monthly."

 1859 Washington Irving  completes the five-vol biography, "George Washington."

1850 The Spanish introduce silver smithing to the Navajo Indians. It soon becomes one of their major art forms.

 1851 Hawthorne pubs "The House of the Seven Gables," based on a curse supposedly placed upon his family during the Salem witch trials.

1852 Hawthorne writes "Life of Benjamin Peirce," a campaign biography for the future president.

8. Literature & Publication  1850s Physical Cycle top    


Physical 3rd Qtr. Review (1845 - 1852)

1850 Herman Melville writes a novel, “White Jacket,” to reveal the poor conditions and inhumane treatment sailors receive on the US warships.

8. Literature & Publication  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional High (1847 - 1865)

1850 “Harper’s Magazine” begins serializing the novels of Dickens, Thackeray, and Eliot, often paying more than English publishers.

1851 Herman Melville pubs “Moby Dick,” a novel which captures some of the romance, power and mysticism many Americans feel for the sea.

6/5/51 “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, begins to appear as a serial in the “National Era,” an anti-slavery paper pub in Wash DC.

March 1852  The complete novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly,”  by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is pub in Boson.  Within a year it will sell over one million copies, and its critical portrayal of slave life serves to arouse both Northerners and Southerners.

1853 Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” has now sold 1,200,000 copies.  Many criticize her work, claming that her brutal depiction of slavery is exaggerated.  She writes the “Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin” to verify her sources of factual evidence in writing the original novel.

Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

Walt Whitman journalist, essayist, and poet whose "Leaves of Grass" (first edition 1855) was so radical in form and content that it made him a revolutionary figure in American literature. He was originally noted less as a poet than as a prophet of the democratizing trend in the Western world and as an enthusiast of the "common man."

In his poetry he sometimes referred to himself by name, and he used the first person singular pronoun lavishly; but he considered his life a manifestation-distinctive only in detail-of the general human condition and of a new American civilization. "I Sing the Body Electric," in the original edition of "Leaves of Grass," asserts the beauty of the human body, physical health, and sexuality; its title exemplifies Whitman's practice of placing adjectives after the nouns they modify. The second edition (1856) incorporates the poem that eventually became "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" and several other new poems, as well as anonymous, laudatory reviews of the first edition, written by the part himself.


1850 Emerson pubs "Representative Men."

1851 Melville pubs the classic "Moby Dick."

1854 Thoreau pubs "Walden; or, Life in the Woods," about his idyllic two years in the wilderness.

1854 Sega Smith pubs "Way Down East," a humorous portrayal of the New England Yankee.

1854 Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber, humorist, pubs "Life and Saying of Mrs. Partington."

1855 Longfellow writes "The Song of Hiawatha."

1855 Walt Whitman, poet, anonymously pubs "Leaves of Grass," a collection of 12 poems including "Song of Myself."

1855 Walt Whitman pubs his controversial collection of poems, “Leaves of Grass.”

1859 Stowe pubs "The Minister's Wooing," a romance loosely based on her sister's life.

8. Literature & Publication  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

8. Literature & Publication  1850s Polyrhythms top    

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

1850 Melville's novel "White-Jacket" causes an uproar about the abuses in the US Navy.

1850 Hawthorne pubs the classic novel "The Scarlet Letter," which attacks Puritan hypocrisy.

1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe, writer and philanthropist , pubs "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a novel that had a profound influence on the abolition of slavery. [example of the reform novel]

1853 Stowe defends the authenticity of her earlier work in "The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Physical High with
     Emotional Low
(1847 - 1865)

1850  Nathaniel Hawthorne pubs “The Scarlet Letter,” which immediately becomes a best seller.  All of 4000 copies are sold in the first ten days, probably because it discusses the daring subject of adultery.

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9. Entertainment  1850s Physical Cycle top    

9. Entertainment  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional High (1847 - 1865)

1850 Foster writes "Camptown Races."

1851 Stephen Foster pubs on of his songs that will become popular both in Am and in Europe -- the sentimental “Old Folks at Home.”

1852 Foster pubs "My Old Kentucky Home." The same year he makes his only trip to the South, an area with which he is often associated.

1852 Gottschalk makes his Am debut in NYC.

1854 Foster writes "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair."

1855 Carl Zerrahn, conductor, orgs the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

1859 Adelina Patti, Span. soprano considered the most popular singer of the time, makes her operatic debut in NYC.

1859 Daniel Emmett composes "Dixie" and "Turkey in the Straw."

1857 First pageant of decorated floats in the New Orleans Mardi Gras is instituted by the Mystic Kiewe of Lomus, a secret org established in that year.

4/4/59 The song “Dixie” is first sung publicly in Mechanics Hall in NYC.  Dan D. Emmett wrote “Dixie” for Bryant’s Minstrels.

9. Entertainment  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

9. Entertainment  1850s Polyrhythms top    

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1851 First baseball uniforms are worn by the NY Knickerbockers. Outfits consisted of straw hats, white shirts, and blue full-length trousers.

1851 Schooner-yacht "America" beats 14 Brit vessels in a 60 mi. yacht race around the Isle of Wight. The trophy won becomes known as "The America's Cup."

1852 Yale and Harvard hold the first intercollegiate rowing race on a 2 mi. course at Lake Winnipesaukee, N. H. Harvard wins by 4 lengths.

1857 First baseball assoc is formed when 25 amateur baseball clubs become the National Association of Baseball Players.

1859 Michael Phelan of NYC becomes the first national billiards champion by defeating John Seereiter of Detroit, Michigan, in a 2000-point match for $15,000 prize.

1859 Amherst defeats Williams, 66 to 32, in the first inter-collegiate baseball game.

1859 Harvard wins the first intercollegiate regatta over Yale and Brown at Worcester, Mass.

1859 Students from Amherst College in Amherst, Mass, and from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass, meet in Pittsfield to play the first intercollegiate baseball game.

10. Sports  1850s Physical Cycle top    

10. Sports  1850s Emotional Cycle top    


Emotional 1st Qtr. Foundation (1847 - 1856)

1855 Horseback riding by women becomes popular. In Boston and NY many riding academies are set up to help women adjust to sidesaddle.

10. Sports  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

10. Sports  1850s Polyrhythms top    

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1854 Paper collars are invented by Walter Hunt.

1858 Belter opens a factory in New York City where he makes exquisitely carved furniture.

11. Fashion  1850s Physical Cycle top    


Physical Low (1845 - 1859)

June 1853 In order to promote a popular image of the US as a democracy, Secretary of State William Marcy instructs all American diplomats abroad to be modest in their dress while in court.  They are to appear in the “simple dress of an American citizen.”

11. Fashion  1850s Emotional Cycle top    

11. Fashion  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

11. Fashion  1850s Polyrhythms top    

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1851 Fire destroys 2500 buildings in San Francisco; property damage is estimated at $12 million.

pop US 1950 almost 23.2 million

 US pop us 23.1 mil, including about 3.2 mil salves and about 1.7 immigrants.

 1850 First overland mail delivery west of the Missouri R is org on a monthly basis from Independence, Mos. to Salt Lake City, Utah.

1850 Cholera epidemic sweeps through the Middle West after passing through the South the year before.

 1851 Congress authorizes the coinage of three-cent pieces an reduces postage rates. A half ounce letter can now be sent 3000 miles for three cents.

1851 Sioux Indians give all their land in Iowa and most of their land in Minnesota to the US.

1852 Caroline Fry Marriage Assoc advertises "wives for poor and deserving young men." Matrimonial agencies are becoming popular.

1852 Congress authorizes the coinage of three-dollar gold pieces and reduces the amount of silver in all coins except the silver dollar.

 1853 Yellow Fever epidemic bits New Orleans, La.. During the next two years more than 5000 people are killed by the disease.

1854 Arrival of 13,000 Chinese marks the beginning of large-scale immigration from China. The highest number in any previous year has been 42. Chinese workers are employed largely in building the transcontinental railroad.

 1855 US citizenship laws provide that all children born abroad of US citizens are assured of citizenship.

 1857 Am Chess Ass is formed at the First Am Chess Congress held in NYC. Paul Murphy, a 20-year-old from New Orleans, La. wins the chess championship, becoming the first Am international chess master.

12. Lifestyles  1850s Physical Cycle top    

12. Lifestyles  1850s Emotional Cycle top    

12. Lifestyles  1850s Intellectual Cycle top    

12. Lifestyles  1850s Polyrhythms top    

Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 3rd Qtr. Review (1845 - 1852)

1851 Maine enacts prohibition law, which forbids the manufacture and sale of alcoholic liquors in the state.

Physo-Intellectual Dbl. 4th Qtr. Alternatives (1852 - 1859)

He visited the United States several times and played with great success. In 1853, he obtained a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and founded a colony, which was called New Norway. On May 24, 1853, he formally purchased 11,144 acres for $10,388. The land consisted of four communities: New Bergen (now known as Carter Camp), Oleana (named for himself and his mother) six miles south of New Bergen, New Norway one mile south of New Bergen, and closeby, Valhalla. The high point of Valhalla Bull called Nordjenskald, which became the location of his unfinished castle. This venture was soon given up, as there was scarcely any land to till, and Bull went back to giving concerts.

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