Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events

Pre-1650 1650 1700 1750 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840
Search 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920
Literature, Music, and Movies
1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s
Political and Social History Literature
  • Third national census records 7,239,881 people
  • John Jacob Astor founds the Pacific Fur Company. In 1811, this company establishes a trading post at Astoria at the mouth of the Oregon River.  Astor loses this post during the War of 1812. 
  • Charles Jared  Ingersoll (1782-1862), Inchiquin, the Jesuit's Letters, a volume defending the American scene against the criticisms of English travel writers.
    7 November. Battle of Tippecanoe at which William Henry Harrison and his troops engage Shawnee and Creek forces led by The Prophet.  Tecumseh has earlier sought allies among the Creek Indian tribes. 
  • State of Louisiana enters the union. 
  • 1 June.  Despite the opposition of most New England and Middle Atlantic states, President Madison asks for a declaration of war against Great Britain because of the impressment of seamen and the blockade of American ports. War is declared on 19 June. The British attack Sacketts Harbor, New York, on Lake Ontario in early July.
  • James Madison re-elected to a second term as president, defeating New York's DeWitt Clinton.
  • James Kirke Paulding (1778-1860), The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan, a satiric account of the founding and rebellion of the American colonies
  • War of 1812 continues as various negotiations break down.
    (Image of HMS Shannon firing a broadside at the US frigate Chesapeake off Boston Harbor on 1 June 1813 courtesy of the War of 1812 website.)
  • 5 October. Death of Tecumseh and defeat of the British in the Battle of the Thames (north of Lake Erie).
  • 17 December. Embargo on British trade becomes law.
  • 1814
  • Embargo Act is officially repealed.
  • Creek War ends with the Creek nation ceding two-thirds of its land in southern Georgia to the U. S. 
  • 24-25 August. British forces invade Washington and set fire to the Capitol, the White House, and other buildings. (Image courtesy of the Images of American Political History site.)
  • 11 September. American naval forces gain control of Lake Champlain.
  • Congress purchases Thomas Jefferson's 7,000-volume library to replace the books burned in the Library of Congress.
  • 24 December. Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812.
  • Francis Cabot Lowell builds the first American factory to combine cotton weaving and spinning in Waltham, Massachusetts.
  • Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner"
    8 January. Unaware that the War of 1812 has ended, the British attack Andrew Jackson in New Orleans, losing 2,036 soldiers. U. S. casualties include eight killed and 13 wounded. Philip Freneau, Poems
    The North American Review (1815-1939)
  • In Philadelphia, African Americans establish the first African Methodist Church.
  • This is the "year of no summer" in New England; 10 inches of snow fall in Massachusetts in June. 
  • Indiana is admitted to the union as a free state. 
  • Founding of American Colonization Society, the purpose of which is to return freed slaves to Africa. 
  • 1817
  • James Monroe is inaugurated as fifth president of the U. S. 
  • N. Y. legislature authorizes construction of the Erie Canal, which opens in 1825.
  • "Era of Good Feeling" ensues since both Democratic-Republicans and Federalists are pleased at Monroe's election.
  • William Cullen Bryant, "Thanatopsis"
  • First Pension Act provides for veterans of the Revolutionary War.
  • Congress limits the number of stripes on the flag to 13 for the original colonies.
  • Andrew Jackson begins his First Seminole War campaign in Florida. 
  • William Cullen Bryant, "To a Waterfowl"
  • Arkansas County of the Missouri Territory reorganized as the Arkansas Territory.
  • Congress offers a $50 reward for reporting the illegal importation of slaves into the United States. 
  • William Ellery Channing's sermon "Unitarian Christianity" underscores the differences between Unitarians and other Christian denominations. 
  • Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" appears in the May 1819 first installment of The Sketch Book
  • Mordecai Noah's drama She Would Be a Soldier is produced and then published. It is the story of Christine, who disguises herself as a soldier during the Battle of Chippewa (5 July 1814) and is rescued by the American soldier she loves. 
  • Related 
      The War of 1812 site (commercial site) contains brief descriptions  and images of the war.
    Comments to D. Campbell.
    About this site