Wednesday, November 14, 2007


1850. An "Omnibus Bill" introduced by Sen. Henry Clay contains compromise resolutions designed to reduce the growing polarity between North and South. John Calhoun attacks the Clay compromise in his "Speech on the Slavery Question," but Daniel Webster supports Clay in his speech "For the Union and Constitution."

1850. President Taylor dies at age 65 after 16 months in office. His vice president Millard Fillmore moves into the White House.

1850. The first national women's rights convention opens at Worcester, Mass., largely through efforts by reformer Lucy Stone who has graduated three years ago from Oberlin College and will organize annual conventions each year for years to come.

1850. A new Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress strengthens the 1793 act. A deputy U.S. marshal at New York arrests New York freedman James Hamlet as a fugitive from Baltimore in the first recorded action under the new act, but the arrest arouses so much public indignation that Hamlet is redeemed and freed.

1850. Congress abolishes flogging in the U.S. Navy.

1850. Britain enters a "Golden Age" of prosperity as she embraces free trade principles that remove tariffs on foodstuffs.

1850. Only half the children born in the U.S. until now have reached the age of 5. The percentage will increase dramatically.

1850. Fire damages San Francisco May 4, June 14 and September 17.

1850. Millard Fillmore installs the first White House cooking stove,but his cooks quit in protest, preferring to use the fireplace.

1850. The World's population reaches 1.24 billion by some estimates.

Representative Men. Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1850. Biography. Shakespeare (poet); Plato (philosopher); Swedenborg (mystic); Goethe (writer); Napoleon (man of the world); Montaigne (skeptic). "Uses" of great men. Modeled on Carlyle, but Emerson believed great men are representative of the time, not apart from it.

White Jacket, or The World in a Man-o-War. Herman Melville. American. 1850. Novel. Realistic account of life aboard a u.S. Navy man-of-war. Brutal and inhumane practices of the ship's officers. The white jacket almost drowns the hero, but he discards it and rises to the surface.

A Month in the Country. Ivan Turgenev. Russia. 1850. Play. Bored wife and her ward fall for tutor who is sent away; wife lapses into ennui.

Sonnets from the Portuguese. Elizabeth Barrett Browning. British. 1850. Poetry. Expresses poet's love for her husband. Title refers to a 16th-century Portuguese poet.

The Prelude. William Wordsworth. British. 1850. Poetry. Growth of a poet's mind--traces life from childhood.

"The Blessed Damosel." Dante Gabriel Rossetti. British. 1850. Poetry. Longing of lover in heaven for her lover on earth.

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