Wednesday, December 19, 2007


1870. The first black U.S. legislators take their seats at Washington, D.C., in the Senate and House.

1870. Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution forbids denial of the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

1870. The first through railway cars from the Pacific Coast reach New York City, July 24.

1870. DNA is discovered by chemistry students Friederich Miescher at Tubingen but is not yet suspected of being the basic genetic material involved in conveying heritable characteristics.

1870.The Vatican Council votes that the pope is infallible when he defines doctrines of faith or morals ex cathedra (from his throne).

1870. Only two Americans in 100 of 17 years and older are high school graduates, a figure that will rise to 76% by 1970.

1870. The donkey symbol that will identify the Democratic party in the U.S. appears in Harper's Weekly where cartoonist Thomas Nast caricatures "Boss" Tweed and his cronies in New York. Nast will create the elephant symbol for the Republican party in 1874.

1870. Some 4 million buffalo roam the American plains south of the Platte River. They will be virtually wiped out in the next 4 years.

1870. Cattle drives up the Chisholm Trail from San Antonio, Tex., to Abilene, Kan., begin on a huge scale.

The Story of a Bad Boy. Thomas Bailey Aldrich. American. 1870. Novel. Semi-autobiographical; not bad, just human; youth in New Hampshire. Early years in New Orleans. Forerunner to Tom Sawyer.

"Plain Language from Truthful James." Bret Harte. American. 1870. Poetry. Chinese card shark gets the better of "Truthful" and Bill Nye.

"Miriam." John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1870. Poetry. Christian maiden and her Muslim lord.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Charles Dickens. British. 1870. Novel. Forced to marry Rosa Bud, Edwin Drood and she agree that they can never love each other and break off the engagement. He disappears. She is pursued by someone she is terrified of. A stranger appears and frustrates the pursuer's efforts. Dickens didn't finish. Was Edwin Drood the stranger? We'll never know.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Jules Verne. French. 1870. Romance. Predicts the invention of deep-sea submarines. Megalomaniacal Captain Nemo.

The Eternal Husband. Fyodor Dostoevsky. Russian. 1870. Novel. Psychological study of relations between a cuckolded husband and his wife's ex-lover.

"Sister Helen." Dante Gabriel Rossetti. British. 1870. Poetry. Young woman destroys false lover by melting waxen image of him.

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