United States and American History: 1854

About the history of the United States in 1854, Japan and America becomes allies, German immigration at a high, spiritualism still popular, the Kansas-Nebraska Act leads to the Republican Party.


--William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, parent organization for other antislavery groups, publicly burned the Constitution at an open air meeting of Abolitionists in Framingham, Mass.

--Com. Matthew Galbraith Perry returned to Japan for a 3rd time, but now he was welcomed. Japan had opened its doors to America. A tipsy Japanese official at a celebration proclaimed, "Nippon and America, all the same heart."

--German immigration to the U.S. in 1854 provided 215,000 of the 400,000 immigrants arriving this year.

--The American party (Know-Nothings) reached its zenith as thousands of additional immigrants reached America's shores.

--A petition containing 15,000 signatures asking the Senate to establish a commission to investigate occult phenomena got a negative response.

--Prejudice was not confined to the North and South. As 13,000 Orientals reached California, Congress was asked by the California legislature to put a tax on all Chinese immigrants.

Jan. 23 Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act which violated terms of the Missouri Compromise, making Independent Democrats move toward a new political party.

Feb. 4 The name for this new party was suggested by Alvan Bovay, a Ripon, Wis., attorney, who in a letter to Horace Greeley, New York Tribune editor, proposed that the editor help slavery opponents organize a new party under the name of Republican, a name Bovay had suggested previously.

June 2 Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave, was sent back South from Boston. Streets were lined with troops and policemen and it was estimated that the U.S. Government cost of returning Mr. Burns was $100,000. Burns later was sold to people in Boston who wanted to see him freed.

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