United States and American History: 1876

About the history of the United States in 1876, Twain writes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the National League of Baseball is founded, Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone, country celebrates its centennial.


--Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, sold by subscription, and became a best seller. It was banned by the Denver Public Library.

--Baseball's National League was founded. Before the organization of the National League, amateur games were riddled with extralegal practices such as bribery and betting. The creation of professional teams, subject to one set of enforceable rules, resulted from the foundation of the League.

--The annual Republican National Convention was held. Frederick Douglass addressed the assembled party members:

What does it amount to if the black man, after having been made free by the letter of your law...is to be subject to the slaveholder's shotgun?...The question now is, do you mean to make good to us the promises in your Constitution?

Feb. 14 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.

Mar. 2 The Judiciary Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives recommended the impeachment of Secretary of War. William W. Belknap on 5 charges, one of which read that Belknap did "willfully, corruptly, and unlawfully take and receive from one Caleb P. Marsh the sum of $1,500, in consideration that he would continue to permit one John S. Evans to maintain a trading establishment at Fort Sill, a military post of the U.S..." The House voted to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. Although Belknap had already resigned his office, the Senate tried him and found him Not Guilty.

May The nation celebrated its Centennial Anniversary with a $10 million International Exhibition held in Philadelphia. The fairgrounds covered 236 acres and contained hundreds of exhibits dedicated to American social, industrial and cultural progress. On the opening day, President Grant and his invited guest, Dom Pedro, the Emperor of Brazil, the 1st major foreign potentate ever to visit the U.S., promenaded to the grandstand to the strains of the "Grand Centennial March," composed especially for the occasion by Richard Wagner. One thousand singers chanted John Greenleaf Whittier's "Centennial Hymn." At the start of the welcoming speech to Dom Pedro, 5 women, including Susan B. Anthony, rushed to the speaker's podium and presented a declaration of women's rights, completely disrupting the proceedings.

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