Curtain Going Up on 1892

The year begins on a Friday. Around the world, leaders include Queen Victoria of Great Britain, age 72, reigning since 1837; her current prime minister is Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, age 62, in office since 1886; Queen Wilhelmia of the Netherlands, age 11, reigning since 1890 under the regency of Princess Emma, age 33; Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, age 61, ruling since 1848; Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, age 33, ruling since 1888; Emperor Guangxu of China, age 20, reigning since 1875 under the Dowager Empress Cixi, age 56, who rules de facto; Emperor Meiji of Japan, age 39, ruling since 1867; Tsar Alexander III of Russia, age 46, ruling since 1881; Emir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan, exact age unknown but probably about age 55, ruling since 1880; Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey, age 49, ruling since 1876; Sultan Ali bin Said of Zanzibar, age 38, ruling since 1890; King Leopold II of Belgium, age 56, ruling since 1865; King Naser al-Din Shah Qajar of Persia, age 60, ruling since 1848; King Christian IX of Denmark, age 73, ruling since 1863; King George I of Greece, age 46, reigning since 1863; King Umberto I of Italy, age 47, reigning since 1878; King Chulalongkorn of Siam, age 39, ruling since 1868; King Carlos I of Portugal, age 28, ruling since 1889; King Alfonso XIII of Spain, age 5, reigning since 1886 under the regency of Queen Maria Christina, age 33; King Oscar II of Sweden, age 63, ruling since 1872; John Abbott, Prime Minister of Canada, age 70, in office since 1891; President Marie Francois Sadi Carnot of France, age 54, in office since 1887; President Hilary Johnson of Liberia, age 54, in office since 1884; President Porfirio Diaz of Mexico, age 61, in office since 1884; President Carlos Pellegrini of Argentina, age 45, in office since 1890; President Aniceto Arce of Bolivia, age 67, in office since 1888; Acting President Floriano Peixoto of Brazil, age 52, in office since 1891; President Jorge Montt of Chile, age 46, in office since 1891; President Remigio Morales Bermudez of Peru, age 55, in office since 1890; President Raimundo Andueza Palacio of Venezuela, age 45, in office since 1890; President Benjamin Harrison of the United States, age 58, in office since 1889.

Queen  of spain

Queen Maris Christina of Spain


Religious leaders include Pope Leo XIII of the Roman Catholic Church, age 81, ruling since 1878; Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Church, age 62, in office since 1883; Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, age 52, in office since 1891; Pope Cyril V of the Coptic Orthodox Church, age 62, in office since 1874; Leonty, Metropolitan of Moscow of the Russian Orthodox Church, in office since 1891; John Williams, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, age 74, in office since 1868; William Booth, General of the Salvation Army, age 62, in office since 1865.

Around the world new movements for social and political change are beginning. In the past year a group of Turkish exiles formed the Young Turk movements to bring change to the Ottoman Empire. There has been agitation by workers for improved conditions and wages both in Europe and the United States. This year will see major labor disturbances. The German government has introduced the first old age pensions. Pan-Slav movement is gaining strength.

Belgian and British interests are looking for ways to exploit the huge copper reserves in central Africa. Railroads continue to expand across the globe. Industrial growth benefits from new inventions and new chemical and metallurgical developments. Famine ravages parts of the Russian Empire. France and Russia have made an alliance for mutual protection from Germany. Germany has renewed its alliance both with Italy and with the Austrian Empire.

The population of the United States is approximately 65,926,000 people, of whom 36.6% live in urban areas which the Census Bureau defines as places with 2500 or more people.

Of women over the age of 14, 24.4% are single, 59.4% are married, 15.9% are widowed and 0.4% are divorced. The average age at marriage is 22.

female factory workers

Of all school age children 13,255,921 attend public schools while another 1,299,600 attend private and parochial schools. High school graduates this year will number 53,039. Colleges and universities will confer 16,802 bachelor degrees, only 17.6% of them to women; 730 masters level degrees, none of record to women; 190 doctoral level degrees, none of record to women.


Telegraph offices numbering 20,700 send 62,387,000 messages over 739,000 miles of wire. Post offices, 67,119 in total, will handle 4,776,575,000 pieces of mail and sell 2,543,270,000 stamps, generating $70,930,000 in revenues but expending $76,980,000 in operating costs. Across the whole country there are 261,000 telephones. The approximately 1675 daily newspapers have an average 8,500,000 daily circulation. Books published this year will total 4,862 new and reprinted titles.

Railroads operate 211,051 miles of track with 33,136 locomotives pulling 966,998 freight cars and 13,363 passenger cars.

The average worker in a factory or mill earns $495 in the year. [This equals $13,300 in today’s dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.] This year will see 1,359 work stoppages involving a total of approximately 239,000 workers; 50.7% of these stoppages will involve wage & hours issues, 19.2% about the right to organize and the others about an assortment of issues. In the mines 991 miners will die on the job. On the railroads, 2,554 workers will die in accidents and another 28,267 will be injured. Workers compensation does not yet exist in the United States.


Farms, mines and mills will produce 294,000,000 pounds of wool; 1,897,412,000 bushels of corn; 611,854,000 bushels of wheat; 721,824,000 bushels of oats; 95,170,000 bushels of barley; 28,718,000 bushels of rye; 6,700,000 bales of cotton; 756,845,000 pounds of tobacco; 114,120,000 bushels of potatoes; 120,536,000 bushels of apples; 126,857,000 tons of bituminous coal; 52,473,000 tons of anthracite coal; 50,515,000 barrels of crude ore; 172,499,000 tons of copper; 208,223,000 tons of lead; 87,260,000 tons of zinc; 1,597,000 troy ounces of gold; 63,500,000 troy ounces of silver; 11,000 tons of bauxite; $63,300,000 worth of vehicles [horse-drawn]; $196,600,000 worth of industrial machinery & equipment; $90,900,000 worth of locomotives and railroad cars; $75,400,000 worth of farm equipment; $30,100,000 worth of office & store furniture and fixtures; $230,500,000 worth of cigars and cigarettes; $632,800,000 worth of clothing; $263,800,000 worth of shoes & boots; $37,000,000 worth of household furnishings; 381,000 new housing units constructed.

Jim Crow laws limiting the rights of black people have increasing been enacted, particularly in the Deep South. Lynchings will take the lives of 161 black persons.

American colonists in Hawaii are plotting against the new queen and looking for a way for the United States to acquire the lush islands. Likewise, other Americans eye on-going troubles in Cuba and seek to build American influence.

The year opens with tensions between Chile and the United States over an incident last October in Valparaiso, Chile, when a mob attacked American sailors, killing two and wounding others. Some in the United States favor war with Chile.

The federal government will take in $354,938,000 while spending $345,023,000, leaving a budget surplus of $9,914,000. However the national debt stands at $968,219,000. Civil service employees of the federal government total 37,523 persons. The Army has 27,190 men on active duty, the Navy 9,448 and the Marine Corps 2,039.

The Fifty-second Congress began its first session on December 7, 1891. Republicans control the Senate, holding 47 seats, the Democrats having 39, the Populists 2. Democrats have a sizeable majority in the House of Representatives, having 238 seats to the Republicans 86 while the Populists have 8 seats. The Speaker of the House is Charles Crisp, age 47, a Democrat from Georgia.


Charles Crisp, Speaker of the House


Many farmers and workers are strongly dissatisfied with the two major political parties. Farmers feel that prices are too low for their crops. Many ordinary citizens believe that the government favor bankers and the titans of industry. In the spring of last year the People’s Party, a/k/a the Populist Party, formed in Cincinnati, Ohio. Benjamin Harrison, the Republican incumbent, intends to seek re-election but faces challenges within the party from James G Blaine and from William McKinley, governor of Ohio. Grover Cleveland, the Democrat who had been in office from 1885 to 1889 but lost the 1888 election to Harrison, wants another opportunity to recapture the White House. However he faces challenges from within his own party from Senator David Hill of New York, Senator Arthur Gorman of Maryland, Senator John Palmer of Illinois, and Governor Horace Boies of Iowa. The Socialist Labor Party and the Prohibition Party also intend to nominate candidates for president. Some women are active in organizations like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (“WCTU”), seeking limitations on or a total ban of the manufacture and sale of liquor. The seasoned campaigners for woman suffrage still mount spirited battles for the vote.

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