American Literature 1855-1932

  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitnan published

    Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitnan published
    The workingman's poet who defied convention while controlling his sensual, reverent verse through a number of poetic devices published this first volume after working as a teacher and later as literary and political journalist.
  • Darwin's Origin of Species published

    An important scientific work that would have shape the way people thought about the natural world and society.
  • Period: to

    Emily Dickinson writes several hundred poems

  • Period: to

    United States Civil War

  • Homestead Act of 1862

    Opened up the west to development. Homesteaders could lease land for 5 years at 3 dollars an acre providing they "made improvements" upon it.
  • "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain

    "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain
    Twain was a highly popular lecturer, renouned for his inventive takes on tall tales such as this one.
  • 13th Amendment ratified.

    13th Amendment ratified.
    Prohibited slavery in the United States.
  • Transcontinental Railroad completed

    Transcontinental Railroad completed
    Though it was largely completed by Chinese laborers, no Chinese are featured in the famous photo taken at the end of its construction.
  • Women's Christian Temperance Movement forms

    Would be instrumental decades later in getting Congress to pass 18th and 19th amendments.
  • Period: to

    The Long Depression

    US moves from silver to gold standard, hurting silver mining industry. Over investment on railroads leads to several hundred bank failures. 18,000 companies go bankrupt along with several state governents.
  • The Battle of Little Big Horn

    The Battle of Little Big Horn
    Cavalry Commander George Armstrong Custer greatly underestimated the size of the Native American encampment that at the Little Big Horn River. He and every one of his men were killed.
  • Reconstruction ends.

    Reconstruction ends.
    1876 was an election year. Rutherford B. Hayes, supported by the Republican north, won by a single electoral vote, while southern-favored Samuel Tilden won the popular vote. A compromise was made to let Rutherford take the presidency on the condition that he remove troops from the southern states, effectively ending Reconstruction and paving the way for the Jim Crow era.
  • Daisy Miller by Henry James

    Daisy Miller by Henry James
    James explores the new American upper class by juxtoposing a young tourist with an expatriate in Europe.
  • A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson

    A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson
  • Tuskegee Institute established

    Tuskegee Institute established
    Founded by Booker T. Washington, it was a school for African American students.
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    The masterwork of Twain's literary career, it tells the story of Huck Finn, who has faked his death and his accompanying a runaway slave, Jim, as he flees towards the north. The novel explores issues of racial prejudice in the south as Huck becomes more acquanted with Jim and his quest for freedom.
  • Dawes Act passes

    Denied Native Americans the right to own property communally. It was to divided evenly with any extra going to the federal government. Indians lost much more of their land as a result.
  • Ellis Island Immigration Station opens

    Ellis Island Immigration Station opens
    Newly orphaned Vito Corleone soon passes into the U.S. through here.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    The U.S. Army, growing fearful of the Ghost Dance spiritual revival on the Sioux reservation, demand the Sioux turn over all their weapons. A shot was fired, and the unarmed Native Americans were gunned down.
  • "The Yellow Wall-Paper" by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman

    "The Yellow Wall-Paper" by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman
    Perkins Gilman calls upon her own experiences with depression to tell the story of a young wife driven further into madness by the recommended rehabilitating practices prescribed by her physician husband.
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane

    Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane
    Crane's morbid naturalist tale follows the dissent of a group of young people into personal ruin, depravity, and death in a big city.
  • Désirée's Baby by Kate Chopin

    Désirée's Baby by Kate Chopin
    In this regional tragedy, Chopin shows us the devastating effects of racism and assumption.
  • John Mooney publishes Ghost Dance Songs

    John Mooney publishes Ghost Dance Songs
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Homer Plessy is refused to exit a "whites only" train car. He sued, but the Supreme Court sided with railroad company. Set a legal precedent for "separate but equal."
  • Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

    Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
  • U.S. population exceeds 75 million

    Much of this growth is due to immigration frorm Europe into American cities.
  • Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington

    Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
    Washington recounts his days as young slave leading up to emancipation, describes the African American response to freedom, and projects the means necessary for racial equality.
  • Theodore Roosevelt becomes President

    Went on a progressive blitz, introducing his "Square Deal" and setting up National Parks all over the country.
  • Ford Motor Company founded

    Henry Ford's company would produce the Model T in 1908 using factory pracctices that would make it incredibly affordable. 15 million of them would be sold. Demand for oil skyrockets.
  • Wright Brothers' first flight

  • Triangle Shirtwaist fire

    Triangle Shirtwaist fire
    A devasting factory fire that killed 146 people. Management had locked the workers in before the fire started to keep out union reps. It led to higher safety standards through legislation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ulaG9x4GpE
  • 18th Amendment ratified

    Prohibited the sale of alcohol.
  • 19th Amendment ratified

    Prohibits the denial of voting rights based on sex.
  • Cogwea, the Half-Blood by Mourning Dove

    Cogwea, the Half-Blood by Mourning Dove
    Cogwea wins not one, but two races. Her status as half-Indian gets her disqualified in race against her white opponents, even though at the finish line she was there first (wink).
  • Black Elk Speaks

    Black Elk Speaks
    Black Elk remembers, upon returning home from traveling abroad to learn his younger brother and sister had died, hearing about the Ghost Dance and the spiritual power it had on his Oglala Lakota tribe.