United States and American History: 1820

About the United States and American history in 1820, the population, the Missouri Compromise, and the land act of 1820.


--U.S. population--9,638,453.

--New York City's population had swelled to 123,000.

--Pennsylvania and Massachusetts permitted all who paid State or county taxes to vote.

. . . is there is single line in the Old or New Testament either censuring or forbidding it [slavery]? I answer without hesitation, no. But there are hundreds speaking of and recognizing it. . . . Hagar, from whom millions sprang, was an African slave, brought out of Egypt by Abraham, the father of the faithful and the beloved servant of the Most High; and he had besides, 318 male slaves.

--Rep. Charles Pinckney of South Carolina, one of the framers of the Constitution

--Trade between the U.S. and England was now flourishing. Lord Liverpool told England's House of Lords that whoever wishes prosperity to England must also wish it to the U.S.

Jan. 5 Rachel Konkapot, a 26-year-old Indian woman, gave birth to a daughter 2 hours after being shot through the thigh bone. Rachel had been returning to New York with her husband and other members of the Stockbridge tribe who were dissatisfied with the tribe's new home in Indiana. Rachel's child survived, but Rachel lingered for 2 months and died. In February, the Licking County Court of Common Pleas at Newark indicted 2 white men, J. M'Lean and James Hughes, for Rachel's murder. Rachel, a Christian, called for forgiveness for her murderers before she died.

Mar. 3 The Missouri Compromise passed, prohibiting slavery north of the 36deg37' line except in Missouri. Maine entered the Union as a free State, but Arkansas would enter as a slave State in 1836.

Mar. 21 Connecticut's Hartford Courant was among several newspapers to print a Black List of those members of Congress from free States who had voted for the Missouri Compromise, or had vacated their seats during the time of the final vote.

April. 24 The Land Act of 1820 abolished sale of land on credit but reduced the minimum price for public land to $1.25 per acre (minimum purchase, 80 acres). The previous 1804 Land Act called for a $1.64 minimum charge per acre (minimum purchase, 160 acres). While the reduction was considerable, settlers during this period still could not afford the new terms and it was the speculators who benefited from this act.

May 12 A letter from Turk's Island, from "Capt." Sebor to his former owner, is the 1st information from "people of color" who had left on the ship Elizabeth to establish a settlement in Africa. Sebor reported that the ship had arrived at the Sherbo River on March 19 but that "landing" passengers and cargo had taken until April 6, as the settlement, Campellar, was 25 mil. inland. He added that there had been little sickness among the new settlers and he foresaw no problems with the climate or the natives.

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