United States and American History: 1835

About the history of the United States in 1835, the invention of the Bowie knife, the only time the U.S. had no debt, Garrison is almost lynched and Jackson is almost assassinated.


--Sign of the times: Growth of the temperance movement was signaled by an address by the Rev. Charles Giles in which he thundered that "500,000 drunkards are now living in our blessed America, all moving onward to the dreadful verge. What a scene of immolation!"

--Down in Texas, Col. James Bowie invented the famed "bowie knife." Legend has it variously that he got the idea from Mexicans who had been using it; that in a battle with a Mexican, his sword broke off some 20" from the hilt; and that he made it out of a file. In any case, it was shorter than a regular sword, which made for easier handling, but longer than a knife. The "bowie knife" had but a single edge and a curved point. Bowie knives were also called "Arkansas toothpicks."

--Almost 30,000 spectators were drawn to a footrace at Union Course, Long Island. A $1,000 prize was offered to any who could run the 10-mi. course in less than an hour. Henry Stannard was the winner, covering the 1st and last miles in 5:36 and 5:54, and the entire course in 59:44.

--One of the largest protests in the history of the young nation took place when 27,000 people gathered in New York City's Hall Park to demonstrate against the conviction of 25 union tailors on a charge of "conspiracy."

Jan. It was the only time in our history that the U.S. was free from debt. And President Jackson commented: "Let us commemorate the payment of the public debt as an event that gives us increased power as a nation and reflects luster on our Federal Union." The national debt in 1976 was estimated to be 605 billion, 900 million dollars.

Jan. 30 First attempt on the life of a U.S. President occurred. President Jackson was fired on twice by Richard Lawrence, who brandished a pair of dueling pistols while attending the funeral of Warren Ransom Davis. Both pistols misfired. Lawrence was later judged to be insane.

July 8 The Liberty Bell cracked as it tolled the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.

Oct. 21 William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist editor of the Liberator, was mobbed and almost lynched by some 200 Boston proslavers who were enraged by his speech claiming "that all men are created equal. . . ." For his own safety, he was lodged in the Leverett Street Jail for the night.

Nov. 23 Henry Burden of Troy, N.Y., developed the 1st machine for manufacturing horseshoes, later making nearly all the horseshoes used by the Union cavalry during the Civil War.

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