Thursday, November 15, 2007

1850 to 1852


The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1850. Novel. Theme: All men are guilty of secret sin; invasion of another''s soul is the unpardonable sin.

1851. France's Third Republic ends after 3 years in a December coup d'etat engineered by President Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.

1851. A mob of Boston blacks defies last year's Fugitive Slave Act and rescues the fugitive Shadrach from jail February 15.

1851. Men and women are treated equally and all classes of work are viewed as equally honorable in the Oneida Community which has 300 converts living in communal buildings mad of timber from the community's farms.

1851. The London Great Exhibition that opens May 1 is the world's first world's fair and in 141 days attracts more than 6 million admissions. It is intended to show British industrial achievement and prosperity.

1851. The New York Times begins publication September 18.

1851. Reuters News Service is started by German entrepreneur Paul Julius Reuter.

1851. Fire damages the Library of Congress in the Capitol at Washington December 24, destroying two-thirds of the collection acquired from Thomas Jefferson in 1814.

1851. Ireland suffers widespread blindness as a result of the malnutrition experienced in the potato famine that began n 1846.

1851. The first U.S. state prohibition law is voted in Maine.


Moby-Dick, or The Whale. Herman Melville. American. 1851. Novel. The whale hunted by Ahab at the cost of his own dehumanization and sacrifice of his crew. Does the whale equal knowledge of reality? Symbolic study of god and evil? Too complex for one definition?

The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1851. Novel. Curse affects generations of family. Weight of past guilt. Unpardonable sin: violate another's soul.

Lavengro: The Scholar, Gypsy, Priest. George Borrow.l British. 1851. Novel. Philologist wanders with a family of gypsies.


1852. U.S. Democrats nominate "dark horse" Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire for president and he wins the election by defeating Whig candidate Winfield Scott of Mexican War fame.

1852. The first Boston street railway begins operations with a single horsecar.

1852. Massachusetts adopts the first effective compulsory school-attendance law.

1852. Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases is published by English-physician-scholar Peter Mark Roget.

1852. The safety elevator invented at Yonkers, NY, by master mechanic Elisha Graves Otis will lead to development of high-rise buildings.

1852. Napoleon III gives Paris the Bois de Boulogne as a public park and begins his reign with a huge program of public works.

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