May~Election Year 1876

3334091662_46ee00f1a5

President Ulysses Grant would like to serve another term but his administration is wracked with scandal and the economy still suffers from the depression of 1873. Politicians debate about changes to the currency while workers look for help in emerging labor unions and third party movements. Neither major party seems to have a “big name” candidate in contention and critics find little differences between the two parties. The country begins the national celebration of one hundred years of independence as the Centennial Exposition opens in Philadelphia. The U S 7th Cavalry sets out upon a meeting with destiny

May 6– Saturday– New York City– “The schemers of the Republican Party take small heed of innoxious and ineffectual reformers in whose bosoms a deep-rooted prejudice against the Democratic opposition is stronger than the hatred of Republican corruption. The attitude in which these Republican protestants have placed themselves is of commanding significance only as a sign of the evil times upon which we have fallen. Whether they shall have strength and wisdom enough to rise to the height of the political emergencies thrust upon the country, will remain to be seen in the results of their deliberations.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

May 6– Saturday– Batak, Bulgaria– Irregular Ottoman soldiers complete several days of pillaging, burning and massacring local Christians, killing about 4100 or more people.

May 7– Sunday– Flushing, New York– Reverend William Buell Sprague, Presbyterian clergyman and author of the 9 volume Annals of the American Pulpit, dies at 80 years of age.

caroline_chapman

Caroline Chapman

 

May 8– Monday– San Francisco, California– Caroline Chapman, a prominent stage actress during the 1840’s and 1850’s, dies at 58 years of age.

May 9– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– An editorial in today’s Pittsburgh Press declares that “The Molly McGuires [sic] represented the spirit of French Communism . . . [they desired] to dictate the operation of labor.” [The Molly Maguires functioned as a secret or semi-secret fraternal organization and labor union among Irish coal miners in eastern Pennsylvania. The extent of their violence against mine owners, mine management and local authorities remains in dispute as Pinkerton detectives hired by the mine owners infiltrated the group and most likely fabricated some evidence against them. The last trial of the alleged ring leaders concluded a month ago (April, 1876) and next spring six of these men will hang. On the debated history, see: The Molly Maguires (1932) by Anthony Bimba; Labor Disturbances in Pennsylvania, 1850-1880 (1936) by J Walter Coleman; From the Molly Maguires to the United Mine Workers; the Social Ecology of an Industrial Union, 1869-1897 (1971) by Harold W Aurand; The Labor Wars: from the Molly Maguires to the Sitdowns (1973) by Sidney Lens; Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (1998) by Kevin Kenny; A Molly Maguire on Trial– the Thomas Munley Story (2002) by H T Crown; The Sons of Molly Maguire: the Irish Roots of America’s First Labor War (2015) by Mark Bulik.

May 10– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Centennial Exposition, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United States, opens today. [It will run until November 10, 1876 and draw 9,910,966 visitors.] [For more information, see, Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition (2005) by Linda P Gross and Theresa R Snyder and Culture as Curriculum: Education and the International Expositions– 1876-1904 (2012) by Eugene F Provenzo, Jr.]

Centennial_Exhibition,_Opening_Day

Opening Day of the Centennial Exposition

 

May 13– Saturday– New York City– “The scheme now before Congress to drive out the gold coins and replace them with silver dollars proposes a more important change in the money of the country than has been made since the issue of the legal-tender notes. There are so many conclusive objections to this rapacious and dishonest project, that we cannot even enumerate them here. It may be said, in the first place, that there is no good reason for any legislation at all on the subject of silver at this time. It is true that the inflationists on one side and the impracticable hard-money men on the other are clamoring for something to be done with the currency, but it is impossible to find any half-dozen men of either faction who agree as to the precise things they would do if they could have things their own way. The conclusion at which we arrived long ago was, that in the present state of business and of popular intelligence on the currency question the only safety consisted in letting things alone. Not that a statesmanlike measure could not be devised for assisting the nation out of its troubles, but that with Congress constituted as it is, such a measure was not to be hoped for. We think this silver-dollar scheme, which is not at all unlikely to become a law, fully justifies us in having advocated a policy of inaction.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

May 16– Tuesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The National Convention of the Greenback Party opens with 239 delegates from 17 states in attendance.

May 16–Tuesday– Matamoros, Mexico–American sailors and marines land to protect American interests.

May 17– Wednesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The National Convention of the Greenback Party concludes. The party’s platform declares “It is the paramount duty of the government, in all its legislation, to keep in view the full development of all legitimate business– agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and commercial. . . . We most earnestly protest against any further issue of gold bonds for sale in foreign markets, by which we would be made for a long period ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ to foreigners, especially as the American people would gladly and promptly take at par all bonds the government may need to sell, providing they are made payable at the option of the holder, and bearing interest at 3.65 per cent per annum, or even a lower rate. . . . We further protest against the sale of government bonds for the purpose of purchasing silver to be used as a substitute for our more convenient and less fractional currency, which, although well calculated to enrich owners of silver mines, yet in operation it will still further oppress, in taxation, an already overburdened people.”

May 17– Wednesday– Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory [now North Dakota]– Elements of the 7th U S Cavalry leave the fort headed for General Alfred Terry’s command along the Powder River with the aim of forcing the Lakota and Cheyenne people back onto reservations.

soldiers of 7th cavalry

soldiers of the 7th Cavalry

 

May 20– Saturday– New York City– “The event to which the whole nation has been looking forward with eager expectation passed off with all the éclat and splendor that the most ardent lover of his country could desire. For the last few days the busy hum of preparation has been heard from early morning until late at night, and so much remained to be done, that only by dint of superhuman exertion could the buildings be put in any suitable order for the inaugural ceremonies. The exhibitors, aided by the Commissioners, showed themselves equal to the occasion, and by nine o’clock on the 10th of May everything was in as great a state of forwardness as was witnessed on the first day in Paris or Vienna. Long before the hour appointed for the opening the entrances were besieged by a crowd of people who were prepared to pay the exact charge required for admission, and who were anxious to secure good positions for witnessing the ceremonies, and for gazing at the distinguished guests who were to occupy the seats of honor on the platform. The multitude was free to march through the Park, but the buildings were closed to them until the Exhibition had been declared open by the President of the United States.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

MainBuilding

Main Building of the Exposition

 

May 20– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Grant orders that “the several Departments of the Government will be closed on Tuesday, the 30th instant, to enable the employees to participate in the decoration of the graves of the soldiers who fell during the rebellion.”

May 27– Saturday– New York City– “Happily, the Centennial Exhibition comes just in the right time to mitigate the ferocity of our Presidential contest this year, as there is no knowing what might happen if there were no sideshow to divide the exasperation and energies of journalistic writers and political spouters. The Centennial serves as a tub for the whale. There is no lack of good, strong political objurgations, it must be confessed, but it must also be admitted that, in the general skirmishing preliminary to the great work of making the nominations for the Presidency, there is less bitterness of feeling exhibited than has ever been known before. This is not wholly owing to the diversion of popular sympathies and attention by the Centennial, but a good deal is owing to this cause beyond a question, and this is an additional reason for entertaining a jubilant feeling in this year of our great jubilee. The chief cause, however, of the moderate tone of the contest between the two great contending parties is that there is really so little difference between them, so far as any essential principle is involved, the contest being narrowed down to a choice of men rather than to an assertion of principles. And even in the choice of men there is so little to contend for that there is a widespread opinion entertained that the two leaders under whose banners the fight is to be conducted are both Great Unknowns; and there will hardly be time, after the nominations shall have been made, to get up much enthusiasm on either side. Certainly neither of the distinguished citizens whose names are now publicly discussed in connection with the nominations to be made are men calculated to create much popular enthusiasm.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

Machinery hall

Machinery Hall at the Exposition

 

May 28– Sunday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of Katharine Blunt, educator, home economist, nutritionist and author who will serve as president of Connecticut College from 1929 to 1943. [Dies July 29, 1954.]

May 29– Monday– Somerville, Massachusetts– Birth of Helen Woodard, home economist, researcher, author, and journal editor who will serve in the U S Department of Agriculture from 1909 to 1923 as well as on a number of committees relating to food, health, children and women. [Dies June 26, 1947.]

helen woodard-7df3

Helen Woodard

 

May 30– Tuesday– Constantinople, Turkey– Sultan Abdulaziz, age 46, ruler of the Ottoman Empire since June, 1861, is deposed by a group of his ministers.

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: