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American Passages: A Literary Survey

Masculine Heroes – Timeline

This timeline places literary publications (in black) in their historical contexts (in red).


– James Fenimore Cooper, Precaution: A Novel (1820), The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground(1821), The Pioneers, The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Red Rover (1828)
– Catharine Maria Sedgwick, A New-England Tale (1822), Redwood (1824), Hope Leslie (1827)
Missouri Compromise (1820)
Slave rebellion suppressed in Charleston, South Carolina (1822)
Bureau of Indian Affairs established (1824)
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die on July 4, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (1826)
Democratic Party formed (1828)


– Catharine Maria Sedgwick, “Cacoethes Scribendi” (1830)
– Caroline Stansbury Kirkland, A New Home–Who’ll Follow? (1839)
Indian Removal Act (1830)
Anti-Slavery Society founded (1833)
Texas gains its independence from Mexico (1836)
U.S. troops force the removal of Cherokee Indians (1838)


– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Poet” (1844)
Migration to Oregon over the Oregon Trail begins (1843)
U.S.-Mexican War; annexations include California (1846-48)
Seneca Falls convention on universal suffrage (1848)
California Gold Rush begins (1849)


– John Rollin Ridge, The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit(1854)
– Louise Amelia Smith Clappe, “California in 1851, 1852. Residence in the Mines” (1854)
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)
Compromise of 1850 strengthens Fugitive Slave Act while admitting California as a free state and abolishing slave trade in the District of Columbia (1850)
Sioux Indians give up land in Iowa and Minnesota to U.S. government (1851)


– Walt Whitman, Drum-Taps (1865)
Transcontinental telegraph service established between New York and San Francisco (1861)
American Civil War (1861-65)
Homestead Act (1862)
Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet at Promontory Point, Utah (1869)


– Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Who Would Have Thought It? (1872)
Battle of Little Bighorn (“Custer’s Last Stand”) (1876)

[7411] Juanita, CURIO LOOM WITH UNFINISHED WEAVINGS (ca. 1874) courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History.


– Walt Whitman, Specimen Days (1882)
– Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, The Squatter and the Don (1885)
President James Garfield assassinated (1881)
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)

[3717] Charles D. Kirkland, COW BOY (ca. 1880) courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.

[1891]Rand McNally & Co., NEW AND ENLARGED SCALE RAILROAD AND COUNTY MAP OF CALIFORNIA SHOWING EVERY RAILROAD STATION AND POST OFFICE IN THE STATE (1883) courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division [LC Railroad maps, 189].


Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota (1890)


– Nat Love, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love (1907)
Orville and Wilbur Wright achieve first powered flight, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (1908)
Ford Model T goes into production (1908)