El Centro History Department
to the Late 19th Century
The Magical History Tour
Back to Reconstruction
Step into El Centro's
Internet Time Machine. The year is 1877...
and Julia Grant leave office and Rutherford
B. and Lucy Hayes become the new President and First Lady. The election of 1876 was similar to the election of 2000 in that it was unclear who won when it was all over. There were examples
of fraud in several states including Florida. In this case,
Democrats and Republicans worked out a deal called the Compromise of 1877 in which Hayes got the presidency and he promised to
end Reconstruction in the South as a result. Here's a drawing of the inauguration.
About 200,000 of Longhorn
Cattle will be moved from Texas to northern markets on "Long Drives."
"Boss" Tweed, the first city boss in the U.S., is in jail for his New
York City crimes committed by his "Tweed Ring".
and Engels are popular authors as socialism, communism, and other radical
Despite the spread of radicalism,
many Americans are happy. John
D. Rockefeller will make 45 million dollars this year.
Other Americans, however will
continue to suffer through the Panic of 1873 with twenty percent unemployment
in many cities.
Young, leader of the Mormons, dies.
- The founder of Dallas, John Neely Bryan, also dies
in 1877 at the Austin Lunatic Asylum (see this brief biography).
- Cornelius Vanderbilt, railroad and shipping millionaire, dies, too.
On the other hand, Mark
Twain is still around and a popular author although his 1876 publication,
Sawyer, has not quite caught the public's attention yet.
- Another form of reading becomes more available with the founding of The Washington Post.
clubs reaches fad proportions including Moose, Elks, and many woman's clubs.
One new organization in 1877 will be the American Humane Association founded
in Cleveland for the protection of both animals and children from abuse and neglect. Animals also got
attention with the first
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
One reason for this joining phenomenon
is the availability of labor saving devices and better communications such
as those invented by Thomas
Edison including his 1877 invention, the
phonograph. Here's a YouTube version of his first recording.
But, his inventions will not be the only new developments
Baldwin Selden produces the first sketch of an automobile in 1877.
Graham Bell demonstrates his
invention, the telephone, patented in 1876.
We can't overlook the teenager
who invents ear muffs in 1877.
And, then there is Emile
Berliner who invents the microphone.
The mysteries of space are also
being revealed when the moons
of mars are discovered by Asaph Hall.
There are many "firsts" in 1877
First Wimbledon tennis match. Women did start to play until 1884, though.
- Sports also advance when the
Catcher's Mask is introduced in baseball.
- In a totally different kind of sport,
the first human cannonball act is performed (London).
And, the Metropolitan
Museum of Art opens in New York City.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the First
Flag Day was celebrated with our 37
star flag that became a 38
star flag in 1877 with the addition of Colorado.
Another first developed at West
Point when Henry
O. Flipper became the first African-American to graduate from that
- Other firsts for African-Americans include
Inman Page who becomes
the first African American to earn a bachelor's degree from Brown University. Also,
George Washington Henderson
becomes the first African American to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa
honor society (University of Vermont - Middlebury). He had been born a slave in Virginia
and graduated first in his class.
Other African-Americans, so-called
were also trying to find a better life by going West.
- African-Americans also are glad to see
Frederick Douglass appointed Marshall of Washington D.C.
With the end of Reconstruction
in 1877, violence is becoming more a part of African-American experiences,
but 1877 is a violent year for most Americans including Tejanos who were
involved in the Salt War of El
Paso or San Elarzio Salt War.
- There is some good news for Hispanics, though.
Romualdo Pacheco (R-CA) is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
winning by a margin of one vote.
- Texans acttually experience decreasing
violence along the Mexican border with Porfirio
Diaz as President since he wants to improve U.S./Mexico relations and
the federal government sends troops to pursue bandits into Mexico. He also arrests Tejano Juan Cortina who had
organized raids in Texas.
Laborers also faced violence in
Great Railway Strike of 1877, the most violent in U.S. history and
the first use of U.S. troops to stop a
Meanwhile, the secretive organization
of Irish coal miners, the Molly
Maguires, are being tried, convicted, and executed for their alleged
activities in the coal
mining fields of Pennsylvania despite the fact that the only evidence
was provided by a Pinkerton's
Criminals also will create havoc
in 1877 including Belle
Starr, the "bandit queen," who moved out of Dallas in 1876.
In 1877, Billy
the Kid commits his first murder during the Lincoln County War in New
Dallas has its problems with
Sam Bass who robs the Mesquite train in 1877. At the same time in 1877, Texas murderer John Wesley Hardin
is arrested and convicted of murdering a sheriff.
To combat crime, cowtowns hire
Americans seem less concerned
about other forms of violence such as attacks on Chinese immigrants in
California who are accused of destroying American society and threatening
virtuous white women and children with their opium
dens. San Francisco has already become the first government in the
U.S. to outlaw drugs, specifically opium, and in 1877, becomes the first
to pass a zoning law in the U.S. to restrict Chinese laundries. Violence
erupts in what was referred to Kearneyism.
Many Americans welcome violence
against Indians and celebrate the surrender of Chief
Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians in 1877. Also that year, many Americans
were happy to hear about the death of Crazy Horse who had been
an American Indian leader at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.
Other world violence does not
concern Americans who basically will ignore fighting in South Africa between
Dutch Boers & Zulus as Europe partitions Africa.
The British use this as an opportunity to take over although neither the Dutch nor the
Zulus wanted that outcome. This is about the time of
European partitioning of Africa that had also created the Belgian Congo
And, who cares if the Russo-Turkish
War ends with the creation of the sovereign nation of Serbia?
There is a lighter side to 1877.
Women's fashions were changing. Here's some
This picture shows women's fashion in 1872, 1872, and 1880.
Here's a picture of the cover of Harper's Bizaree in 1877.
becomes a fad despite the awkwardness of the contraption. And, you might
dances. Here's a YouTube video of the Galop (see YouTube Worksheet).
In classic dance, the ballet
"Swan Lake" debuts (by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky).
- In Texas, dancing was controversial among some who preferred
Sacred Harp music. In general, however, 1877 was not a very interesting year for music. It's part of the so-called the "deadzone" from after the Civil War until around 1890.
One of the few songs that you might know is Mary Had a Little Lamb which was the first thing Edison recorded on his phonograph.
- Here are some photos from 1877 that might clarify your understanding of that year:
Herbert Hoover, age 3 (President, 1928-32)
Graduation at Fordham University
Standing Buffalo Bull - Ponca Indian
White House Master Bedroom
Colt Double Action Pistol
- Here are some drawings from 1877:
Bull Durham Tobacco Ad
The Surrender of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
Rally of Unemployed in San Francisco
- Here are some international art examples from 1877:
A Girl Reading by Frank Duveneck
Paris Street: Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte
A Sea Spell by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Plum Brancy by Edouard Manet
Castle Rock by Alfred Thompson Bricher
Virgin of Consolation by
The Banjo Player by Thomas Eakins
Other 1877 Links:
- 1877 - Wikipedia
- 1877 - About.com
Political Graveyard: Politicians Who Were Born or Died in 1877
Georgia Constitution of 1877
Philadelphia Timeline: 1877
Louisiana Timeline - 1877
- Queen Victoria was proclaimed queen-empress of India.
Snow Storm at Mt. Shasta by John Muir
Page created by: Wanda Downing Jones, El Centro College
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