Kickin' Down Route 66 :: June - October, 1997

Subject: The last of that history wall; I bet you're pleased - Part IV
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 08:09:26 -0700

08:48 Cherry Valley Park; Tulsa, Oklahoma :: 11 SEP 97

Text of the History Wall Timeline
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
St. Louis, Missouri

1800-1819 . 1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900

[abridged...and expanded]

[Navigational Note: Finding historical documents with the '§' character.]


map (120K): Territorial Growth 1880.

A US-China treaty gives the US the right to regulate, limit, or suspend immigration of laborers from China. Cheap immigrant labor has led to pressure for abrogation of the Burlington Treaty of 1868 which allowed unlimited Chinese immigration.

Gold is discovered near Juneau, Alaska.

Tenth census: US population - 50,156,000


James A. Garfield is inaugurated§ as the twentieth President of the United States.

President Garfield is shot in the Washington, DC railroad station by Charles J. Guiteau§, a disgruntled office seeker. Garfield dies two months later from the effects of the bullet would. Guiteau is hanged in Washington.

Chester A. Arthur is inaugurated as the twenty-first President of the United States.

Clara Barton, who worked in Civil War hospitals and with the international Red Cross in Geneva during the Franco-Prussian War, returns to the US to establish the American Red Cross.

Sitting Bull and his band of 187 return to the United States from Canada, surrendering to officials at Fort Buford, North Dakota.

Helen Hunt Jackson publishes A Century of Dishonor in the effort to publicize the desperate plight of American Indian people that has resulted from US Indian policy.

The second transcontinental railroad is completed with the linking of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads at Deming, New Mexico.


The Standard Oil Trust, the most famous American cartel, is organized. Using laws governing trust funds, John D. Rockefeller and his associates create a monopoly within the oil industry, evading anti-monopoly laws of the time by becoming "trustees" of the stock and absorbing many rival oil companies.

The Pearl Street Electric Power Station, operated by steam and built by Thomas A. Edison, goes into operation in New York City. It supplies power for four hundred incandescent lights in fifty-nine buildings.

Immigrants totaling 250,630 arrive in the US as a result of severe economic depression in Europe. Immigrants settle mostly in established colonies in the Mid-West.


Gold is discovered in the Coeur D'Alene region of northern Idaho.

The Civil Service Commission is established by the Pendleton Act, legislation which seeks to replace the spoils system by a merit system.

The US Navy is founded when Congress authorizes the construction of three steel cruisers and one dispatch boat.

The Southern Immigration Association is formed in order to promote European Immigration to the South.

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody organizes the first Wild West Show.

Mark Twain publishes Life on the Mississippi, recollections of the heyday of steamboating on the great river before the Civil War.


Belva A. Lockwood, a lawyer, is nominated for the Presidency of the United States by the Equal Rights Party formed by a group of suffragettes.

Otto Mergenthaler patents his mechanical typesetter, which casts and sets type for printing. Called the linotype machine, it revolutionizes mass circulation newspaper production.

An American Indian tries to vote in an election in Omaha, Nebraska, but a federal court rules in Elk v. Wilkins that the 14th Amendment does not apply to Indians; a tribal member cannot simply become a citizen of the US.

The US Bureau of Labor is created as part of the Department of the Interior.

The cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal at Bedloe's Island in New York harbor is laid.

Mark Twain publishes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a profound study of race relations and tolerance.


Grover Cleveland is inaugurated§ as the twenty-second President of the United States.

Beef Prices crash as a result of the over-stocking of ranges during the cattle boom of previous years.

Congress passes the Contract Labor Act, under which the immigration of laborers under contract to work for the cost of passage is forbidden. Exceptions are allowed for skilled, professional and domestic workers.

The largest lead source in the world at the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mines, is discovered in Kellogg, Idaho. The Sunshine silver mine in Shoshone County is found at the same time.

Mark Twain publishes the first edition of Ulysses S. Grant's personal memoirs. Grant, almost penniless, dies before the success of his book, but his family receives nearly $500,000 from its sale.

The first "skyscraper" is completed; Chicago's Home Life Insurance Building is made possible by the new us of all-iron frame construction.


A bomb is thrown at police dispersing a meeting of labor leaders at Haymarket Square in Chicago. Eight policemen are killed and seventy policemen as well as other participants are injured.

The American Federation of Labor is organized in Columbus, Ohio, and Samuel Gompers becomes its first President.

The Apache Chief, Geronimo, is captured in Arizona by Federal troops commanded by General Miles. The last major Indian War is ended.

The US Supreme Court invalidates a state railroad regulation law, ruling that only Congress can control interstate commerce, in Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad Company v. Illinois.

The great "die-up" of underfed cattle in overstocked ranges during the disastrous winter of 1886-87 signals the end of the cattle boom.


The Dawes Severalty Act§ provides for the division of Indian Lands among Indian families, with 160 acres granted per head of household. Intended as a way to make American Indian people live in the style of Euro-American farmers, the act instead breaks up the large Indian reservations, with surplus land going to white settlers. Indians lose millions of acres of land.

The American Protective Association, a powerful anti-Catholic, Pro-isolationist movement, is founded in Clinton, Iowa.

The free delivery of mail is provided in all communities with a population of at least ten thousand.

George Eastman of Rochester, New York, patents the first successful roll film for cameras.

President Cleveland signs a routine War Department order authorizing the return to the South of captured Confederate battle flags. The protest from Union veterans and Republican politicians is so great that Cleveland cancels the order.


The first electric automobile designed by Philip W. Pratt is demonstrated in Boston.

Congress authorizes a commission to mediate labor disputes between interstate railroads and their workers.

The Department of Labor, without Cabinet status, is established.

First the Great Plains, then New York City and the East Coast are paralyzed by a March blizzard which lasts thirty-six hours. Four hundred die.


Benjamin Harrison is inaugurated§ as the twenty-third President of the United States.

The first Oklahoma land rush officially begins at noon, April 22, as more than twenty thousand people line up at the border for the rush into unstaked territory. This and subsequent land rushes were made possible by the Dawes Act of 1886§, which reduced the acreage of Indian Lands.

Nellie Bly, a reporter for The New York World, sets out on a round-the-word trip in an attempt to better the record of Jules Verne's fictional journey in Around the World in Eighty Days. Bly is successful when she reaches home in seventy-two days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds.

North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the thirty-ninth and fortieth states in the Union.

Montana is admitted as the forty-first state in the Union.

Washington is admitted as the forty-second state in the Union.


map (124K): Territorial Growth 1890.

The Sherman Antitrust Act is the first federal legislation directed at control of monopolies.

The Lakota chief Sitting Bull is killed by soldiers in South Dakota during a US Army effort to curb the influence of the "Ghost Dance," a religious rite thought to be dangerous to the white population in the area.

The last armed conflict between the US Army and the Lakota Indians takes place at Wounded Knee Creek. In the fight the Indians suffer over 200 dead (including 44 women and 18 children) and 51 known wounded. The army has 25 killed and 39 wounded. Wounded Knee ends the long history of the Indian wars.

Through the efforts of environmentalist John Muir, two million acres in the Sierra Mountains behind the Yosemite Valley, as well as the areas surrounding groves of giant Sequoia trees, are declared National Parks by Congress and signed into law by President Harrison.

Idaho is admitted as the forty-third state in the Union.

Wyoming is admitted as the forty-fourth state in the Union. As a territory it had given women the right to vote in 1869. It thus becomes the first state in the US to grant women suffrage.

Eleventh Census: US population - 62,948,000. The census declares that a frontier has ceased to exist in the US.


The political successes of the Farmer's Alliance, and the desperate plight of farmers with crops at a no-profit stage, precipitate the formation of the People's or Populist Party in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Nine hundred thousand acres of Indian land in Oklahoma are opened for general settlement by a presidential proclamation.

The General Revision Act of 1891 provides for the repeal of the Timber Culture and Pre-emption Acts and authorizes the President, under the Forest Reserve Act, to create forest preserves "wholly or in part covered with timber or undergrowth, whether of commercial value or not..."

Over 1,200,000 acres of forest lands are set aside for federal use in the Yellowstone region by Congress; President Harrison sets aside 14 other areas of forest land by proclamation.

The Office of the Superintendent of Immigration is created.


The Populist Party meets in Omaha, Nebraska and nominates James B. Weaver of Iowa for the presidency.

The Crow Indian reservation in Montana, consisting of 1,800,000 acres, is opened to settlers by presidential proclamation.

The Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation of 3,000,000 acres is opened to settlers.

The Geary Chinese Exclusion Act extends the exclusion of Chinese laborers for another ten years.

Ellis Island in New York harbor becomes the primary receiving station for immigrants.


Grover Cleveland is inaugurated§ as the twenty-fourth President of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.

The World's Columbian Exposition is dedicated in Chicago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the "discovery" of America. John Philip Sousa's band provides the music. At the fair, a historian named Frederick Jackson Turner proposes his "Frontier Thesis" about the settlement of the West.

The Cherokee Strip between Kansas and Oklahoma is opened for white settlement.

A financial panic is caused as the US gold reserve falls below the safe minimum of $100,000,000.

A revolution in Hawaii deposes Queen Lili'uokalani. American minister Stevens raises the American flag at Honolulu and lands US Marines; the US establishes a protectorate over the islands. President Cleveland apologizes for the invasion in a Special Message to Congress.

Henry Ford tests his first successful automobile.


The Pullman Palace Car Company reduces wages, and workers strike amid violence and bloodshed. The American Railroad Union, led by Eugene Debs, boycotts the servicing of Pullman cars as a sympathy gesture, causing a general railroad strike which paralyzes fifty thousand miles of western railroads.

The US Supreme Court issues an injunction against the railroad strikers, and President Cleveland orders US troops to Chicago on the constitutional grounds that the strike interferes with the US mails and interstate commerce.

Jacob S. Coxey, at the head of an "army of the unemployed," marches from Ohio to Washington, DC to demonstrate for legislation toward establishing emergency work projects. Coxey is arrested by Capitol guards for trespassing.

The first graduated income tax law is passed, and denounced as "socialism, communism, devilism."

An immigration restriction league is organized, emphasizing distinctions between "old" (northern and western European) and "new" (southern and eastern European) immigrants.


The US Treasury buys $62,000,000 in gold from the banking houses of Morgan and Belmont.

A revolt against Spanish rule breaks out in Cuba.

The song "America the Beautiful" is introduced.

Guglielmo Marconi invents the wireless telegraph.

Sears and Roebuck Company opens a mail-order business.

The Territory of Utah adopts a constitution calling for woman suffrage.

Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson begin to appear in reproductions, and "The Gibson Girl" becomes an American ideal.


At the Republican convention Marcus A. Hanna, a millionaire Cleveland industrialist, engineers the nomination of William McKinley for President. The Free-silver dominated Democrats and Populists nominate William Jennings Bryan.

The US Supreme Court espouses the policy of "separate but equal" facilities and accommodations for the races in Plessy v. Ferguson, thus legitimating more than a decade of Southern "Jim Crow Laws" and leading to nearly 60 years of legal segregation in America.

Gold is discovered in the Klondike River about three miles from Dawson in the Yukon Territory of northwest Canada.

Henry Ford and his associates complete the assembly of the first American automobile.

With Mormon religious dogma officially condemning polygamy, Utah is admitted as the forty-fifth state in the Union.

A National Forest Commission of seven members tours forests in the west for three months, and recommends adding 13 additional National Forests to federal holdings. The commission's report identifies fire and sheep as the chief destroyers of forests. President Cleveland proclaims the recommended forests, despite and outcry from Congress.


William McKinley is inaugurated§ as the twenty-fifth President of the United States.

A national monetary conference meets in Indianapolis, Indiana, and endorses the existing (unofficially) gold standard.

News of the gold strike on the Klondike River reaches the US and sets off the "Klondike Stampede."

A modern subway system is completed in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Forest Management Act, an anti-conservation measure signed by President McKinley, turns the 13 National Forests proclaimed by President Cleveland back to open public land.


The battleship USS Maine is blown up in Havana Harbor in Cuba, with a loss of 260 American sailors. The battleship had arrived to protect American residents and property during the Cuban Revolution against Spain.

President McKinley asks for a Congressional resolution authorizing the use of the US Army and Navy to force Spain to leave Cuba.

McKinley recognizes Cuban independence on April 11.

Spain declares war on the US on April 11.

In the "splendid little war" with Spain, the United States acquires Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands, the start of a colonial empire abroad. Many of the policies of the frontier, particularly those applied to the American Indian people, are used in US relations with the inhabitants of these newly-acquired areas.


Congress authorizes an Isthmian Canal Commission to study plans for building an interoceanic canal in Central America.

The US attends a disarmament and arbitration conference with twenty-five other nations at the Hague at the invitation of Czar Nicholas II. A permanent Court of Arbitration is established. The US insists upon its right to uphold the Monroe Doctrine when disputes involve the Western Hemisphere.

Mount Rainier is established as a National Park.

John Dewey, an educator, revolutionizes American education with the publication of The School and Society.


map (124K): Territorial Growth 1900.

Germany, Russia, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan accept the US "open door§" policy in China, assuring commercial equality for all powers in the Chinese trade.

With encouragement of the Dowager Empress, the "Boxer Rebellion" begins in China, a revolt against foreign intrusions in the internal affairs of China. Peking is occupied, while foreign missionaries, thousands of Chines Christians, and the German Minister to China are killed.

An international military expedition, including US troops, occupies Peking, loots the city, rescues missionaries, and disperses the remnants of the "Boxers."

Orville and Wilbur Wright fly their first full-scale glider at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It's "wing-warping" technique is the first successful device built for lateral control of flight.

Twelfth census: US population - 75,995,000. New York is the largest US city, with a population of 3,437,000. Life expectancy is 48 years for males, 51 years for females. Immigration to the US since 1820 has numbered 17,286,000 from Europe, 370,000 from Asia, 1,219,000 from Canada and Latin America and 249,000 from all other places.

End of the History Wall

1800-1819 . 1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900

~~~ Responses Sought ~~~


Well, it's too late. And the owner men explained the workings and thinkings of the monster that was stronger than they were. A man can hold land if he can just eat and pay taxes; he can do that.

Yes, [said the tenant men,] he can do that until his crops fail one day and he has to borrow money from the bank.

But-you see, a bank or a company can't do that, because those creatures don't breathe air, don't eat side-meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. It is a sad thing, but it is so. It is just so.

. . .

And at last the owner men came to the point. The tenant system won't work anymore. One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families. Pay him a wage and take all the crop. We have to do it. We don't like to do it. But the monster's sick. Something's happened to the monster.

. . .And now the [tenant] men stood up angrily. Grampa took up the land, and he had to kill the Indians and drive them away. And Pa was born here, and he killed weeds and snakes. Then a bad year came and he had to borrow a little money. An' we was born here. There in the door-our children born here. And Pa had to borrow money. The bank owned the land then, but we stayed and we got a little bit of what we raised.

We know that-all that. It's not us, it's the bank. A bank isn't like a man. Or an owner with fifty thousand acres, he isn't like a man either. That's the monster.

Sure, cried the tenant men, but its our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it's no good, it's working it, dying on it. That makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.

We're sorry. It's not us. It's the monster. The bank isn't like a man.

Yes, but the bank is only made of men.

No, you're wrong there-quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it.

. . .

But if we go, where'll we go? How'll we go? We got no money.

We're sorry, said the owner men. The bank, the fifty-thousand acre owner can't be responsible. You're on land that isn't yours. Once over the line maybe you can pick cotton in the fall. Maybe you can go on relief. Why don't you go west to California? There's work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick an orange. Why, there's always some kind of crop to work in. Why don't you go there? And the owner men started their cars and rolled away.

  graphical element John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath