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The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition
Paul Lauter, General Editor
Timeline - 1854

To jump to a new date on the timeline, enter a date between 1530 and 2000 and click Go.
Fanny Fern (Sara Willis Parton)
 from Fern Leaves, Second Series
   Apollo Hyacinth**
   Mrs. Adolphus Smith Sporting the 'Blue Stocking'**
   Soliloquy of a Housemaid** image file

George Fitzhugh
   Sociology for the South

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects

Caroline Lee Hentz
from The Planter's Northern Bride

John Wannuaucon Quinney (Mahican)
Quinney's Speech**

John Rollin Ridge (Cherokee)
Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit

Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney
  Past Meridian

Henry David Thoreau
from Walden
Higher Laws
Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
The Hudon River School,
Romanticism, and
American Painting

IMAGE file

Other literary publications
- Maria Susanna Cummins, The Lamplighter

- Elizabeth Oakes Prince Smith, Bertha and Lily; or, The Parsonage of Beech Glen
People v. Hall ruling forbids Chinese to testify in American courts.

In an antislavery demonstration, William Lloyd Garrison burns a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Republican party founded to oppose expansion of slavery.

Ostend Manifesto.

Fugitive slave Anthony Burns is freed when a mob attacks the Boston courthouse where he is being held; two thousand U.S. troops are called out to capture and return him to his master; he is freed by purchase one year later.

Scientific observation of a sperm and egg fusion provides evidence that men and women contribute equally to reproduction.

The American or Know-Nothing Party founded.

Commodore Matthew C. Perry negotiates the Treaty of Kanagawa, opening two Japanese ports to U.S. trade.

Kansas-Nebraska Act supercedes Missouri Compromise.

text file  First African-American college, Lincoln University, founded in Pennsylvania.

Kim Shan Jit San Luk (Golden Hill News) in San Francisco is the first Chinese newspaper to be published in North America.

First Chinese-American community association in Hawaii, a funeral society, founded.
The Provincial Freeman, an antislavery newspaper, begins publication; editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary is the first female African American editor

Yung Wing graduates from Yale University as the first Chinese American to receive a degree from a U.S. college.

The Boston Public Library and Astor Library in New York City open

image file  Photographs of Nineteenth-Century African American Life