United States and American History: 1884

About the history of the United States in 1884, Granville Stuarts vigilantes, Mark Twain publishes the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Statue of Liberty is begun.


--In Alabama it became unlawful for black and white convicts to be chained together or confined in the same cell.

--In northern and eastern Montana, Granville Stuart led the deadliest vigilante movement in U.S. history. Thirty-five accused horse and cattle thieves were killed.

--The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was published. Said Lionel Trilling in 1965: "One might say of Huckleberry Finn that it is totally available to a man all through his life. It's a book that one can read at the age of 10 or even at 80; one can read and reread it from that time on, and always find something new in it."

May 14. A new political party, the Anti-Monopoly Organization of the U.S., was formed in Chicago. Its convention nominated Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, to be its standard-bearer for President. Two weeks later, the National Convention of the Greenback party also nominated Butler for President. Pudgy, cross-eyed Butler had been a Union general in the Civil War and military governor of New Orleans after the war. He was known as Beast Butler for his uncavalier attitude toward Southern womanhood. When the ladies of New Orleans insulted Northern soldiers, Butler announced that each female offender should "be treated as a woman of the town plying her vocation." This stopped the verbal insults, but the angered Southern belles turned their backs on Butler whenever they saw him, which provoked his memorable remark: "These women know which end of them looks best."

May 16 The 10th Kentucky Derby, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., was won by a black jockey, Isaac Murphy, astride the horse Buchanan. The winning stake was $3,990. In all, during 23 years of riding, Murphy won 3 Kentucky Derbies and 4 American Derbies. In 1956, he was elected to the Jockey's Hall of Fame and is enshrined at Pimlico in Maryland.

Oct. 28 The cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty was laid. The Statue itself was unveiled by President Grover Cleveland on Bedloe's Island (now Liberty Island) in Upper New York Bay 2 years later. The 152', 225-ton copper statue, a centennial gift from France to the U.S., was not actually a representation of Liberty but a likeness of the face of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's mother, as she appeared in her younger years. Today, one million sightseers visit the Lady--and the $2.5 million American Museum of Immigration at the base of the statue--annually.

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