United States and American History: 1836
About the history of the United States in 1836, construction of the Washington monument, the attack of the Alamo by Santa Anna, Martin Van Buren becomes president.
--Maria Monk published her scandalous book entitled Awful Disclosure of Maria Monk, as Exhibited in a Narrative of Her Suffering during a Residence of Five Years as a Novice, and Two Years as a Black Nun, in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery at Montreal. Although the public eagerly swallowed her "disclosures," the book later proved to be an anti-Catholic hoax.
--The Rev. Thomas P. Hunt started a children's temperance crusade. Working through Sunday Schools, Hunt enlisted children to distribute pledge cards to drinkers in the community.
--Washington Monument was begun by Robert Mills, the noted government architect who was also responsible for designing the Treasury, Post Office, and Patent Office buildings in Washington. The Washington Monument was unique in its classic simplicity at a time when ornamentation was becoming more pronounced.
--Ernestine L. Rose, an early feminist, requested the New York State legislature to give married women the right to hold property in their own names.
Feb. 23-Mar. 6
I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continued bombardment for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy have demanded a surrender. . . I have answered the summons with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls.
--W. Barret Travis,
commander at the Alamo
Mar. 6 Three thousand Mexican troops under Santa Anna stormed the Alamo, a fortified mission in San Antonio, Tex. It was defended by 182 Texans, and Tennessean Davy Crockett, under command of Cols. William B. Travis and James Bowie. Contrary to opinion, Crockett led only a small force of Tennessee sharp-shooters, no more than 6 or 7. Within an hour the garrison was overpowered and every man killed. All the dead bodies were then stripped, thrown into a pile in the courtyard, and burned. The only survivors were the wife of Lieutenant Dickinson, her baby daughter, a Negro slave, and several Mexican women.
Little-known facts about the Battle of the Alamo: Santa Anna's "troops" included boys 13 and 14 from a nearby military academy. "Alamo" is the Spanish word for the cottonwood tree, many of which grew on the mission grounds. The Texans' War for Independence has been cited by some historians as U.S. aggression, since Texas was rightfully a Mexican province, but in the popular mind of the time it was seen as a revolt against Mexican injustice. "Remember the Alamo," one of our earliest war cries, was 1st used by Americans 6 weeks later at the victorious Battle of San Jacinto.
May 31 John Jacob Astor, fur trader and millionaire, opened the Astor Hotel in New York, forerunner of the fabulous Waldorf-Astoria.
July 4 Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Eliza Hart Spalding became the 1st women to journey clear across the continent. They accompanied their husbands, Dr. Marcus Whitman and the Rev. Henry H. Spalding, who set up a mission near present Walla Walla, Wash.
Dec. 7 Martin Van Buren, the "Little Magician" and political boss of New York, was elected President as the handpicked successor to Andy Jackson. For the 1st time the Senate had to choose a Vice-President, since none of the 4 vice-presidential candidates received a majority. It chose Richard M. Johnson. This action would not be repeated until the Congress affirmed Gerald Ford as successor to Spiro Agnew. "Little Van" began the 10-hour day on Federal public works. His enemies said he was so vain that he wore out the carpet in front of his mirror.
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