Thursday, September 27, 2007

1804 to 1805

1804. Napoleon is proclaimed emperor.

1804. The Code Napoleon goes into force. It is a code of civil laws common to the whole realm as promised in the constitution of 1791 and will have great influence on legal codes of most of Europe and even of countries as distant as Japan. It combines Roman law with some of the radical reforms brought by the French Revolution with respect to conditions affecting the individual, tenure of property, order of inheritance, mortgages contracts, and the like. It will make French law as much admired as French culture.

1804. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton is mortally wounded in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, who has heard of insults directed at him by Hamilton and demanded satisfaction.

1804. The Code Napoleon regards an accused person as guilty until proven innocent. The tenet will be rejected in Britain and the United States.

1804. The Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory begins its ascent of the Missouri River.

1804. Congress permits 160-acre tracts of U.S. public lands to be sold at auction.

1804. The first steam locomotive is tried on rails. Richard Trevithick has built the locomotive and will be the first to apply high pressure steam power to agriculture.

Oberman. Etienne Senancour. French. 1804. Novel. Describes the author's wanderings and moods. Restlessness, disillusionment, torment. Analytical. Introspective. Foreshadows modern fiction.

Wilhelm Tell. Friedrich Schiller. German. 1804. Play. Legend of famous Swiss hero. Vehicle for Schiller's own idealism.

"Milton." William Blake. British. 1804. Poetry. Milton returns to earth to correct misinterpretations of his works. Enters the spirit of Blake.

"Jerusalem." William Blake. British. 1804. Poetry. Theory that the world of imagination is the world of eternity after death.

1805. The emperor Napoleon crowns himself, but a Third Coalition mobilizes against him. Austria, Russia and Sweden make alliances with Britain.

1805. French troops mass at Boulogne to cross the Channel and invade the British Isles.

1805. The Battle of Trafalgar ends French pretensions as a sea power. The British Royal Navy commanded by Lord Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet. Nelson takes 60% of the enemy fleet as prizes, but he is killed by a French sharpshooter during the engagement.

1805. The Battle of Austerlitz gives Napoleon a resounding victory over combined Austrian and Russian forces.

1805. The Lewis and Clark expedition survives a bitter winter by eating wild roots which the men have been taught to find by Sacajawea, a Shoshone teenager whose French-Canadian husband serves as the expedition's guide and interpreter.

1805. The first American covered bridge spans the Schuylkill River.

"The Lay of the Last Minstrel." Sir Walter Scott. British. 1805. Narrative poetry. Lady Margaret and Baron Henry love each other, but a feud between their families is a problem. Features the martial prowess and the amorous success of the Baron.

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