United States and American History: 1849

About the history of the United States in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman doctor, the Department of the Interior is formed and David Rice Atchison becomes president for a day.


--New York State granted married women equal property rights with men.

--Elizabeth Blackwell, onetime resident of New York, was the 1st woman doctor to practice medicine in the U.S.

--One thousand sixty-six vagrancy arrests of children between the ages of 6 and 16 were reported in Boston this year.

Mar. 3 A 6th Cabinet post--that of Secretary of Home Dept., later called Dept. of the Interior--was created. The Home Dept. included the Office of Census, Office of Indian Affairs, General Land Office, and Pensions Office.

Mar. 3 Minnesota was established as a Territory with slavery prohibited.

Mar. 4 David Rice Atchison served as President of the U.S. for this one day. President Polk's term had expired, but because it was a Sunday, President-elect Zachary Taylor chose to be inaugurated the following day, a Monday. Since the nation could not be leaderless for even 24 hours, the next in line of succession, the President pro tempore of the Senate, Senator Atchison, took over the office. When asked what he did during his time as President, Atchison said that because he had been exhausted by his work in Congress he slept soundly all through his term as Chief Executive.

June 15 James Polk died at the age of 53.

Sept.-Oct. Californians, tried of waiting for a congressional decision, decided on their own to prohibit slavery in their territory.

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