Progress Day by Day~ January 1876


Women activists have returned to their patterns of antebellum activities seeking the vote and other civil rights. Workers and farmers will make economic issues part of the campaign this year. Discord stirred up by the Civil War continues to stir partisan politics and will also play a major role in the year’s elections. Americans look at world-wide events in new ways.

January 1– Saturday– New York City– Hundreds of people are walking about or riding in carriages well into the early hours of the morning, celebrating the coming of the New Year and the arrival of the Centennial of American independence.

January 1– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– The Reichsbank opens for business.

January 2– Sunday– New York City– The New York Times reports that workers at a shoe factory in Lynn, Massachusetts, are protesting a severe reduction in their wages.

January 5– Wednesday– Belmont, Ohio– Local farmers who are owed a great deal of money by a local businessman named A. C. Williamson who has fled to Canada, raid Williamson’s factory and store, carrying off everything of value. When the local sheriff attempts to stop them, the farmers lock up the sheriff and his deputies.

January 6– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– Representative James G. Blaine of Maine, a leading Republican and potential presidential candidate, opposes granting amnesty to the 750 former Confederate leaders, particularly those educated at West Point or Anapolis.


James G Blaine


January 10– Monday– New York City– A large number of workers gather at Cooper Institute to hear a speech from 84 year old Mr Peter Cooper, manufacturer, inventor and philanthropist. Cooper calls for action by the federal government to American industry and provide jobs for the unemployment. The audience reacts with enthusiasm.

January 10– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Congress Blaine expresses opposition to Jeff Davis, former president of the Confederacy, receiving amnesty, declaring that Davis was responsible for the mistreatment of Union prisoners held at the infamous Andersonville, Georgia, prison camp.

January 11– New York City– The New York Times reports that a number of government jobs held by Republican veterans of the Union Army have been given to Democratic Confederate veterans instead.

January 11– Tuesday– San Francisco, California– Birth of Jack London, novelist, journalist and social activist, involved with socialist politics from 1896 to 1916. [Dies November 22, 1916.]


Jack London


January 12– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– The House Judiciary Committee considers a bill to limit the president to one term in office.

January 13– Thursday– New York City– The New York Times attacks the Democratic Party for its efforts at an amnesty bill as a way to bring former Confederates, who remain hostile to the federal government, back into politics.

January 14– Friday– Washington, D. C.– Congress receives a petition signed by 22,626 women and girls in Utah asking for admission of Utah as a state, repeal of the federal law banning polygamy, and relief from “unjust and law-breaking officials forced upon us by the Government.”

January 15– Saturday– Greeneville, Tennessee– Eliza McCardle Johnson, widow of former President Andrew Johnson, dies at age 75.

January 16– Sunday– Lynn, Massachusetts– Reports indicate that the strike of shoemakers may spread to close most or all of the factories.

January 17– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The state legislature begins consideration of abolishing the death penalty as well as ending imprisonment for debt.

January 17– Monday– Jersey City, New Jersey– Birth of Frank Hague, politician who will hold a number of elected offices and run Democratic machine politics in the state for decades with a reputation for menacing conduct. [Dies January 1, 1956.] [For a biography and analysis, see A Cycle of Power by Richard Connors (1971) and The Statesman and The Boss by George Rapport (1961).]

January 17– Monday– Caprera Island, Italy– The 68 year old Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of Italian unification, still meets with visitors from England and France, speaking to them in their own languages.

January 17– Monday– Prague, Austrian-Hungarian Empire [now Czech Republic]– Birth of Olga Fastrova, author, editor, translator, educator and pioneering journalist. [Dies August 8, 1965.]


Matilda Joslyn Gage


January 18– Tuesday– Albany, New York– Matilda Joslyn Gage and Lillie Divereux Blake testify before the state legislature’s judiciary committee calling on the legislature to enfranchise the women of New York state to vote in federal elections, citing the “humanizing influence” of women and declaring that the political party which grants woman suffrage will win the national elections in November.

January 18– Tuesday– New York City– The New York Times reports that the Universal Peace Union met last evening at the Rose Hill Methodist Chapel. Presentations included an account of treaty violations leading to war with the Modoc people in 1872-73 and a reflection on the duties of a Christian to work for peace. It was announced that Phebe Coffin Hanaford [1829– 1921], the Universalist minister will speak at the next meeting. [The Universal Peace Union was founded by Alfred Love in 1866; see, Alfred H Love and the Universal Peace Union by Robert Doherty (1962).]

January 19– Wednesday– New York City– About 55 representatives of working people hold a meeting calling for the formation of a new labor party, protection of the 8 hour work day and other measures in the interests of workers.

January 20– Thursday– Madrid, Spain– General elections to the Cortes Generales are held. At stake are all 391 seats in the Congress of Deputies. Conservatives win 329 seats, liberals 49 seats and other parties 13 seats. Of eligible voters, 58.9% vote. Antonio Canovas del Castillo, age 48, secures a second term as prime minister.

January 21– Friday– New York City– The New York Times reports that when three citizens complained about a black man delivering their mail and demanding that a white man take over the job, the post master informed them that if they find their mail carrier objectionable, they ought not to use the U S mails.

January 21– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Grant updates the House of Representatives regarding relations with Spain in regard to Cuba.

January 21– Friday– London, England– The British Anti-Slavery Society requests that Her Majesty’s government help settle the problems of Cuba where rebels have been fighting for independence from Spain since 1868.

January 24– Monday– St Paul, Minnesota– Reports say that large quantities of gold can be found in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. [The lands are holy to the Sioux and relegated to their control by a treaty made in 1868. The prospectors are trespassing but the army does nothing to stop them.]


Aaron Augustus Sargent


January 25– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Senator Aaron Augustus Sargent of California presents a petition signed by a large number of women asking for the creation of a local government for the District of Columbia which will give women the right to vote. The senator asserts that the “great movement of woman suffrage” will prevail and is “making progress day by day.” Further, he declares, the example of Wyoming Territory which gave women the right to vote in 1869 is “indorsed by the judiciary, by the press and by the people generally” and is an example to be followed.

January 25– Tuesday– Vienna, Austria– A dispatch says that the Sultan of Turkey intends to reject Austria’s proposal to settle the Ottoman Empire’s debts to various European powers.

January 26– Tuesday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Massachusetts Woman’s Suffrage Association concludes its two day convention. Julia Ward Howe and Reverend James Freeman Clarke made key presentations.

January 26– Wednesday– Rome, Italy– Garibaldi meets with surviving veterans of his campaigns. Visiting Englishmen and Americans greet Garibaldi with enthusiasm.

January 27– Thursday– Trenton, New Jersey– The State Temperance Alliance holds a large meeting, dominated by women active in the cause, and makes recommendations to voters on temperance issues both at the sate and national levels.

January 28–Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–Helen Benson Garrison, wife of William Lloyd Garrison dies at age 64 from pneumonia.

January 28– Friday– London, England– Government sources here and in Berlin report that it is expected that Queen Victoria will visit with the German Imperial Court during her trip on the European continent.


Queen Victoria


January 29– Saturday– New York City– “Mr. Blaine has just done and said his utmost to tear asunder the half-healed lacerations of our body politic, as recently rent and torn by intestine convulsions. Standing at the brink of that gulf which was about to be opened in our history, President Lincoln could but express the hope, in his first inaugural address, that ‘the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, would yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched,’ as he believed they would be, ‘by the better angels of our nature.’ But Mr. Blaine cannot find it in his heart to utter a prayer like this, or to breathe an invocation to ‘the better angels of our nature.’ He brings the vials of wrath, filled to the brim with the quintessence of sectional hate, and publicly breaks them over the heads of sixty-one members of the House of Representatives in the presence of the whole country.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly.

January 29– Saturday– Ottawa, Ontario, Canada– The Canadian Centennial Commission has reached final agreement with the United States Commissioners regarding Canada’s display at this summer’s celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

January 29– Saturday– the Wairau electorate, New Zealand– The last day of five weeks of polling throughout the country takes place here. As political parties do not yet exist in the country, precise numbers of political opinions are unavailable; however, the current government wins enough seats to remain in power.

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