Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes
| Population: 39,818,449| Statehood: Colorado
About the 19th Century Decades Pages
In 1800 everyday life had changed
little since the year 1000. By 1900 the Industrial Revolution had
transformed the world's economy. To see the whole picture, we encourage
users to browse all the way through these decades. Then visit the
suggested links for more information. As librarians, we must point
out that the best way to immerse oneself in a topic is to use both
Internet and the library. ENJOY!
Big business moves Americans into the second
industrial revolution | American society led by Mrs. J.J. Astor, grand
dame of New York social scene | Philanthropy grows | The great fire of
Chicago | P.T. Barnum's The Greatest Show on Earth | first public
telephones | John D. Rockefeller founds Standard Oil Company | U.S.
General Amnesty Act pardons ex-Confederates | First American zoo is
established in Philadelphia | Tennis introduced to Americans | Football
The 1870's saw increasing belligerence by Native Americans as
more and more of their land was taken away by white migration. Now
settlers were coming not only from the east but from the populated
areas of the west and southwest. When gold was
discovered in 1874 in the Black
Hills of South Dakota, federal
efforts to keep miners off the sacred
Indian land failed. The Indian's main source of livelihood, the buffalo, was being
hunted to extinction. The buffalo which had numbered four million in 1870
were reduced to only a half million in 1874. The Native
American way of life was disappearing and their efforts to protect and
preserve their lands failed. There were victories for them such as the Battle of Little
Big Horn, but the outcome was inevitable. The Indian Wars were essentially
over with the surrender of Chief
Joseph and the Nez Perce on
October 5, 1877. The coming
of the railroads had only hastened the demise. The federal government
was making some attempt to preserve the disappearing wilderness with the
establishment of the first national park - Yellowstone.
The total number of immigrants
into the country in 1877 was 141, 857. The greatest number
of immigrants of this decade came from Germany
(691, 813) with Great
Britain (548,043) and Ireland
(436,871) not far behind. In some states the immigrants
could vote within a few months without
citizenship, while in other states it took the five years necessary
a citizen in order to vote. The newcomers influenced life in the country in
many ways. In politics, especially on the state and local level, the
voting blocks of the different ethnic groups allowed control of the government.
Hall regime of New York City was one of the more infamous. In 1874 Mennonite
immigrants from Russia came to Kansas with seeds for "Turkey Red" wheat.
This drought-resistant strain was to turn the Great American Desert into
the "Breadbasket of the World." Resentment toward the immigrants was
present and led to legislation at times. The Chinese were
willing to work for lower wages and a backlash against them led to
legislation in Nevada
banning Chinese labor and in California
to providing separate schools.
Frontier Ways: Sketches of Life in the Old West
Precious Dust: the American Gold Rush Era,
1848-1900 E45.M27 1994
Another World Peace
Jubilee was held in 1872 but was not as successful as the previous Peace
Jubilee in 1869. The 1876 Centennial of
American Independence at Philadelphia was attended by crowned heads of
Europe. It included an old folk dance, the cakewalk, originally a
competition by slave couples, sometimes with pails of water on their heads.
Philip Sousa published his first composition, Moonlight on the Potomac
Waltzes, in 1872. John Knowles
Paine became a professor of music at Harvard, establishing the first
department of music in an American university in 1875.
Music was about to be brought into the
home with the phonograph, Thomas
Edison's favorite invention. At this point, in 1877, however, it was
difficult to operate and the foil "records" only lasted for a few playings.
The art of figure skating (a combination of ice skating
and dance) was developed by Jackson
Haines. A duplex
wedding was a ceremony for two couples who were being married during one
ceremony. People attending the wedding would wear their most fashionable clothing. Food
preparation was going through changes. Margarine was
developed to be used in place of butter. To add spice, Tabasco Pepper
Sauce could be added to foods. P. T. Barnum opened his “Greatest Show on Earth” in 1871
in Brooklyn. The circus became a popular family show.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The new field of bacteriology
allowed scientists to attack diseases once thought to be unconquerable.
Hospital Service, forerunner of the Public Health Service, was directed to
prevent the spread of infectious diseases in 1878. The American Public Health
Association presumed that diseases such as cholera were caused by miasma or
filth and persuaded cities to clean
up garbage, horse droppings and human waste. While they may have
misjudged the cause of diseases, their efforts paid off by removing the breeding
grounds for infectious organisms. A yellow
fever epidemic began in New Orleans and worked its way up the Mississippi on
the John D.
Porter, a towboat towing barges. Memphis was one of the hardest