Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
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1850 - 1859
History at a Glance
1850 Part I
Compromise of 1850
Constitution of Prussia
The eight Kaffir War, 1850-1853
Masaryk Tomas
Kitchener Horatio Herbert
Erfurt Union
Fillmore Millard
Taiping Rebellion
Hong Xiuquan
Feng Yunshan
Yang Xiuqing
Shi Dakai
1850 Part II
Protestant churches in Prussia
Public Libraries Act 1850
Schopenhauer: "Parerga und Paralipomena"
Herbert Spencer: "Social Statics"
E. B. Browning: "Sonnets from the Portuguese"
Emerson: "Representative Men"
Hawthorne: "The Scarlet Letter"
Herzen Aleksandr
Ibsen: "Catiline"
Loti Pierre
Maupassant Guy
Guy de Maupassant
Stevenson Robert Louis
Robert Louis Stevenson  
"Treasure Island
Turgenev: "A Month in the Country"
1850 Part III
Corot: "Une Matinee"
Courbet: "The Stone Breakers"
Menzel: "Round Table at Sansouci"
Millais: "Christ in the House of His Parents"
Millet: "The Sower"
Bristow George Frederick
George Frederick Bristow - Dream Land
George Frederick Bristow
Schumann: "Genoveva"
Wagner: "Lohengrin"
1850 Part IV
Bernard Claude
Clausius Rudolf
Stephenson Robert
Chebyshev Pafnuty Lvovich
Barth Heinrich
Galton Francis
Anderson Karl John
McClure Robert
McClure Arctic Expedition
Royal Meteorological Society
University of Sydney
1851 Part I
Victoria, state of Australia
Murdock Joseph Ballard
Machado Bernardino
Bourgeois Leon Victor Auguste
Foch Ferdinand
Bombardment of Sale
French coup d'état
Danilo II
Hawthorne: "The House of Seven Gables"
Gottfried Keller: "Der grune Heinrich"
Ward Humphry
Ruskin: "The Stones of Venice"
1851 Part II
Herman Melville: "Moby Dick"
Corot: "La Danse des Nymphes"
Walter Thomas Ustick
Ward Leslie
Crystal Palace
Falero Luis Ricardo
Luis Ricardo Falero
Kroyer Peder
Peder Kroyer
Hughes Edward Robert
Edward Robert Hughes
1851 Part III
Gounod: "Sappho"
D’Indy Vincent
Vincent D'Indy - Medee
Vincent d'Indy
Verdi: "Rigoletto"
Bogardus James
Cast-iron architecture
Kapteyn Jacobus Cornelius
Helmholtz's ophthalmoscope
Neumann Franz Ernst
Ruhmkorff Heinrich Daniel
Singer Isaac Merrit
Cubitt William
Thomson William
Royal School of Mines
Carpenter Mary
"The New York Times"
1852 Part I
Joffre Joseph
Second French Empire
Second Anglo-Burmese War
New Zealand Constitution Act
Asquith Herbert Henry
Pierce Franklin
Delisle Leopold Victor
Fischer Kuno
First Plenary Council of Baltimore
Vaihinger Hans
Gioberti Vincenzo
1852 Part II
Bourget Paul
Creasy Edward
Creasy: "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo"
Charles Dickens: "Bleak House"
Theophile Gautier: "Emaux et Camees"
Moore George
Reade Charles
Harriet Beecher Stowe: "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Thackeray: "History of Henry Esmond"
Turgenev: "A Sportsman's Sketches"
Zhukovsky Vasily
1852 Part III
Fopd Madox Brown: "Christ Washing Peter's Feet"
William Holman Hunt: "The Light of the World"
John Everett Millais: "Ophelia"
Bryullov Karl
Karl Bryullov
Stanford Charles
Charles Villiers Stanford - Piano Concerto No.2
Charles Stanford
Becquerel Henri
Gerhardt Charles Frederic
Van’t Hoff Jacobus Henricus
Mathijsen Antonius
Michelson Albert
Ramsay William
Sylvester James Joseph
United All-England Eleven
Wells Fargo & Company
1853 Part I
Eugenie de Montijo
Crimean War
Battle of Sinop
Rhodes Cecil
Peter V
Nagpur Province
1853 Part II
Mommsen: "History of Rome"
Matthew Arnold: "The Scholar-Gipsy"
Charlotte Bronte: "Villette"
Caine Hall
Elizabeth Gaskell: "Ruth"
Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Tanglewood Tales"
Charles Kingsley: "Hypatia"
Tree Herbert Beerbohm
Charlotte M. Yonge: "The Heir of Redclyffe"
1853 Part III
Haussmann Georges-Eugene
Larsson Carl
Carl Larsson
Hodler Ferdinand
Ferdinand Hodler
Van Gogh Vincent
Vincent van Gogh
Steinway Henry Engelhard
Verdi: "Il Trovatore"
Verdi: "La Traviata"
Wood Alexander
"Die Gartenlaube"
International Statistical Congress
1854 Part I
Bloemfontein Convention
Orange Free State
Battle of the Alma
Menshikov Alexander Sergeyevich
Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855)
Kornilov Vladimir Alexeyevich
Battle of Balaclava
Battle of Inkerman
Perry Matthew Calbraith
Gadsden Purchase
Bleeding Kansas (1854–59)
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Elgin-Marcy Treaty
Republican Party
Said of Egypt
Ostend Manifesto
1854 Part II
Herzog Johann
Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau
Youthful Offenders Act 1854
Immaculate Conception
Patmore Coventry
Patmore: "The Angel in the House"
Sandeau Leonard
Guerrazzi Francesco Domenico
Rimbaud Arthur
Arthur Rimbaud "Poems"
Tennyson: "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
Thackeray: "The Rose and the Ring"
Thoreau: "Walden, or Life in the Woods"
1854 Part III
Courbet: "Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet"
Frith William Powell
William Frith
Millet: "The Reaper"
Angrand Charles
Charles Angrand
Gotch Thomas Cooper
Thomas Cooper Gotch
Berlioz: "The Infant Christ"
Humperdinck Engelbert
Humperdinck - Hansel und Gretel
Liszt: "Les Preludes"
1854 Part IV
Poincare Henri
Eastman George
Ehrenberg Christian Gottfried
Paul Ehrlich
Goebel Henry
George Boole: "The Laws of Thought"
Riemann Bernhard
Wallace Alfred Russel
Southeast Asia
"Le Figaro"
Litfass Ernst
Northcote–Trevelyan Report
Maurice Frederick Denison
1855 Part I
Alexander II
Istomin Vladimir Ivanovich
Somerset FitzRoy
Nakhimov Pavel Stepanovich
Treaty of Peshawar
Bain Alexander
Droysen Johann
Gratry Auguste
Milman Henry
Le Play Pierre
1855 Part II
Charles Kingsley: "Westward Ho!"
Nerval Gerard
Charles Dickens "Little Dorrit"
Ganghofer Ludwig
Longfellow: "The Song of Hiawatha"
Corelli Marie
Pinero Arthur Wing
Tennyson: "Maud"
Anthony Trollope: "The Warden"
Turgenev: "Rudin"
Walt Whitman: "Leaves of Grass"
Berlioz: "Те Deum"
Verdi: "Les Vepres Siciliennes"
Chansson Ernest
Chausson - Poeme
Ernest Chausson
1855 Part III
Hughes David Edward
Lowell Percival
Cunard Line
"The Daily Telegraph"
Niagara Falls suspension bridge
Paris World Fair
1856 Part I
Victoria Cross
Doctrine of Lapse
Oudh State
Ottoman Reform Edict of 1856
Congress of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1856)
Napoleon, Prince Imperial
Sacking of Lawrence
Pottawatomie massacre
Second Opium War (1856-1860)
Anglo–Persian War (1856-1857)
Buchanan James
1856 Part II
Froude: "History of England"
Goldstucker Theodor
Lotze Rudolf Hermann
Motley: "Rise of the Dutch Republic"
Flaubert: "Madame Bovary"
Haggard Henry Rider
Victor Hugo: "Les Contemplations"
Charles Reade: "It Is Never Too Late to Mend"
Shaw George Bernard
Wilde Oscar
1856 Part III
Berlage Hendrik Petrus
Ferstel Heinrich
Sargent John
John Singer Sargent
Vrubel Mikhail
Mikhail Vrubel
Cross Henri Edmond
Henri-Edmond Cross
Bechstein Carl
Dargomyzhsky Alexander
Alexander Dargomyzhsky: "Rusalka"
Alexander Dargomyzhsky
Maillart Aime
Aime Maillart - Les Dragons de Villars
Sinding Christian
Sinding - Suite in A minor
Christian Sinding
1856 Part IV
Bessemer Henry
Bessemer process
Freud Sigmund
Sigmund Freud
Peary Robert Edwin
Pringsheim Nathanael
Siemens Charles William
Hardie James Keir
Taylor Frederick Winslow
"Big Ben"
1857 Part I
Treaty of Paris
Indian Rebellion of 1857
Italian National Society
Manin Daniele
Taft William Howard
1857 Part II
Buckle Henry Thomas
Buckle: "History of Civilization in England"
Charles Baudelaire: "Les Fleurs du mal"
Conrad Joseph
Joseph Conrad 
"Lord Jim"
George Eliot: "Scenes from Clerical Life"
Hughes Thomas
Thomas Hughes: "Tom Brown's Schooldays"
Mulock Dinah
 Pontoppidan Henrik
Adalbert Stifter: "Nachsommer"
Sudermann Hermann
Thackeray: "The Virginians"
Anthony Trollope: "Barchester Towers"
1857 Part III
Klinger Max
Max Klinger
Millet: "The Gleaners"
Dahl Johan Christian
Johan Christian Dahl
Leoncavallo Ruggero
Ruggero Leoncavallo - Pagliacci
Ruggero Leoncavallo 
Elgar Edward
Edward Elgar - The Light of Life
Edward Elgar
Kienzl Wilhelm
Wilhelm Kienzl - Symphonic Variations
Wilhelm Kienzl
Liszt: "Eine Faust-Symphonie"
1857 Part IV
Coue Emile
Hertz Heinrich
Wagner-Jauregg Julius
Ross Ronald
Newton Charles Thomas
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Burton Richard
Speke John Hanning
The Nile Quest
McClintock Francis
Alpine Club
"The Atlantic Monthly"
Baden-Powell Robert
Matrimonial Causes Act
North German Lloyd
1858 Part I
Orsini Felice
Stanley Edward
Treaty of Tientsin
Government of India Act 1858
Law Bonar
William I
Karageorgevich Alexander
Roosevelt Theodore
1858 Part II
Bernadette Soubirous
Carey Henry Charles
Thomas Carlyle: "History of Friedrich II of Prussia"
Hecker Isaac
Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle
Rothschild Lionel Nathan
Schaff Philip
Benson Frank
Feuillet Octave
Oliver Wendell Holmes: "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table"
Kainz Joseph
Lagerlof Selma
1858 Part III
Corinth Lovis
Lovis Corinth
William Powell Frith: "The Derby Day"
Menzel: "Bon soir, Messieurs"
Segantini Giovanni
Giovanni Segantini
Khnopff Fernand
Fernand Khnopff
Toorop Jan
Cornelius Peter
Cornelius: "Der Barbier von Bagdad"
Jaques Offenbach: "Orpheus in der Unterwelt"
Puccini Giacomo
Giacomo Puccini: Donna non vidi mai
Giacomo Puccini
1858 Part IV
Diesel Rudolf
Huxley Thomas Henry
Planck Max
Mirror galvanometer
General Medical Council
Suez Canal Company
S.S. "Great Eastern"
Webb Beatrice
Webb Sidney
Transatlantic telegraph cable
1859 Part I
Second Italian War of Independence
Battle of Varese
Battle of Palestro
Battle of Magenta
Battle of Solferino
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Francis II of the Two Sicilies
Charles XV of Sweden
German National Association
Jaures Jean
Roon Albrecht
William II
1859 Part II
Bergson Henri
Henri Bergson
Bergson Henri "Creative Evolution"
Charles Darwin: "On the Origin of Species"
Dewey John
Husserl Edmund
Karl Marx: "Critique of Political Economy"
John Stuart Mill: "Essay on Liberty"
Tischendorf Konstantin
Codex Sinaiticus
Villari Pasquale
1859 Part III
Dickens: "A Tale of Two Cities"
Doyle Arthur Conan
Arthur Conan Doyle  
Duse Eleonora
George Eliot: "Adam Bede"
Edward Fitzgerald: "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"
Ivan Goncharov: "Oblomov"
Hamsun Knut
Heidenstam Verner
Housman Alfred Edward
A.E. Housman 
"A Shropshire Lad", "Last Poems"
Victor Hugo: "La Legende des siecles"
Jerome K. Jerome
Tennyson: "Idylls of the King"
1859 Part IV
Corot: "Macbeth"
Gilbert Cass
Millet: "The Angelus"
Hassam Childe
Childe Hassam 
Seurat Georges
Georges Seurat
Whistler: "At the Piano"
Daniel Decatur Emmett: "Dixie"
Gounod: "Faust"
Verdi: "Un Ballo in Maschera"
1859 Part V
Arrhenius Svante
Kirchhoff Gustav
Curie Pierre
Drake Edwin
Drake Well
Plante Gaston
Lead–acid battery
Smith Henry John Stephen
Brunel Isambard Kingdom
Blondin Charles
Lansbury George
Samuel Smiles: "Self-Help"

The United States Senate, A.D. 1850, (engraving by Peter F. Rothermel)
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1850 Part I
Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850, which defused a four-year political confrontation between slave and free states regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). The compromise, drafted by Whig Senator Clay Henry of Kentucky and brokered by Clay and Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, reduced sectional conflict. Controversy arose over the Fugitive Slave provision. The Compromise was greeted with relief, although each side disliked specific provisions.

-Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico, over which it had threatened war, as well as its claims north of the Missouri Compromise Line. It retained the Texas Panhandle and the federal government took over the state's public debt.
-California was admitted as a free state with its current boundaries.
-The South prevented adoption of the Wilmot Proviso that would have outlawed slavery in the new territories, and the new Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory were allowed, under the principle of popular sovereignty, to decide whether to allow slavery within their borders. In practice, these lands were generally unsuited to plantation agriculture and their settlers were uninterested in slavery.
-The slave trade (but not slavery altogether) was banned in Washington D.C.

The Compromise became possible after the sudden death of President Zachary Taylor, who, although a slaveowner, had favored excluding slavery from the Southwest. Whig leader Henry Clay designed a compromise, which failed to pass in early 1850, due to opposition by both pro-slavery southern Democrats, led by John C. Calhoun, and anti-slavery northern Whigs. Upon Clay's instruction, Douglas then divided Clay's bill into several smaller pieces and narrowly won their passage over the opposition of those with stronger views on both sides.

Before the Compromise:
Gold Rush California applies to become free state
Texas claims territory as far as the Rio Grande
New Mexico resists Texas, applies to be free country.
Soon after the start of the Mexican War, when the extent of the territories to be acquired was still unclear, the question of whether to allow slavery in those territories polarized the Northern and Southern United States in the most bitter sectional conflict up to this time. Since Texas was a slave state, not only the residents of that State, but the pro- and anti-slavery camps on a national scale had an interest in the size of the state of Texas. Texas claimed land north of the 36°30' demarcation line for slavery set by the 1820 Missouri Compromise.

The Texas Annexation resolution had required that if any new states were formed out of Texas’ lands, those north of the Missouri Compromise line would become free states.

Senator Joseph Underwood referred to "the threatened civil war, unless we appease the hot bloods of Texas."

According to historian Mark Stegmaier, "The Fugitive Slave Act, the abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia, the admission of California as a free state, and even the application of the formula of popular sovereignty to the territories were all less important than the least remembered component of the Compromise of 1850--the statute by which Texas relinquished its claims to much of New Mexico in return for federal assumption of the debts." Stegmaier also refers to "the principal Southern demand for a division of California at the line of 35° north latitude" and says that "Southern extremists made clear that a congressionally mandated division of California figured uppermost on their agenda."

During the deadlock of four years, the Second Party System broke up, Mormon pioneers settled Utah, the California Gold Rush settled northern California, and New Mexico under a federal military government turned back Texas's attempt to assert control over territory Texas claimed as far west as the Rio Grande. The eventual Compromise of 1850 preserved the Union, but only for another decade.

Various proposals
Proposals during 1846–50 on the division of the Southwest included:

-The Wilmot Proviso banning slavery in any new territory to be acquired from Mexico, not including Texas, which had been annexed the previous year. Passed by the House in August 1846 and February 1847 but not the Senate. Later an effort failed to attach the proviso to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
-Extension of the Missouri Compromise line: Failed amendments to the Wilmot Proviso by William W. Wick and then Stephen Douglas extending the Missouri Compromise line (36°30' parallel north) west to the Pacific (south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California), allowing the possibility of slavery in most of present day New Mexico and Arizona, and Southern California. The line was again proposed by the Nashville Convention of June 1850.
-Popular sovereignty, developed by Lewis Cass and Douglas as the eventual Democratic Party position, letting each territory decide whether to allow slavery.
-William L. Yancey's "Alabama Platform," endorsed by the Alabama and Georgia legislatures and by Democratic state conventions in Florida and Virginia, called for no restrictions on slavery in the territories either by the federal government or by territorial governments before statehood, opposition to any

  candidates supporting either the Wilmot Proviso or popular sovereignty, and federal legislation overruling Mexican anti-slavery laws.
-Two free states: General Zachary Taylor, who became the Whig candidate in 1848 and then President from March 1849 to July 1850, proposed after becoming President that the entire area become two free states, called California and New Mexico but much larger than the eventual ones. None of the area would be left as an unorganized or organized territory, avoiding the question of slavery in the territories.
-Changing Texas's borders: Senator Thomas Hart Benton in December 1849 or January 1850: Texas's western and northern boundaries would be the 102nd meridian west and 34th parallel north.
-Two southern states: Senator John Bell (with the assent of Texas) in February 1850: New Mexico would get all Texas land north of the 34th parallel north (including today's Texas Panhandle), and the area to the south (including the southeastern part of today's New Mexico) would be divided at the Colorado River of Texas into two Southern states, balancing the admission of California and New Mexico as free states.
-First draft of the compromise of 1850: Texas's northwestern boundary would be a straight diagonal line from the Rio Grande 20 miles north of El Paso to the Red River (Mississippi watershed) at the 100th meridian west (the southwestern corner of today's Oklahoma).

Territorial results of the Compromise:
California is admitted free state
Texas trades some territorial claims for debt relief
New Mexico becomes New Mexico Territory with slavery undecided
Final proposed compromise
On January 29, 1850, Whig Senator Henry Clay gave a speech which called for compromise on the issues dividing the Union. However, Clay's specific proposals for achieving a compromise, including his idea for Texas' boundary, were not adopted in a single bill. Upon Clay's urging, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat of Illinois, divided Clay's bill into several smaller bills, and passed each separately. When he instructed Douglas, Clay was nearly dead and unable to guide the congressional debate any further. The Compromise came to coalesce around a plan dividing Texas at its present-day boundaries, creating territorial governments with "popular sovereignty" (without the Wilmot Proviso) for New Mexico and Utah, admitting California as a free state, abolishing the slave trade in the District of Columbia, and enacting a new fugitive slave law.

The Compromise of 1850 was formally proposed by Clay and guided to passage by Douglas over Northern Whig and Southern Democrat opposition. It was enacted September 1850:

1. California admitted as a free state;
2. Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory organized with slavery to be decided by popular sovereignty;
3. Texas dropped its claim to land north of the 32nd parallel north and west of the 103rd meridian west in favor of New Mexico Territory, and north of the 36°30' parallel north and east of the 103rd meridian west which became unorganized territory. Texas's boundaries were set at their present form. Senator James Pearce of Maryland drafted the final proposal where Texas ceded its claims to land which later became half of present day New Mexico, a third of Colorado, and small portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming to the federal government, in return for the assumption of $10 million of the old republic's debt. El Paso, where Texas had established county government, was left in Texas;
4. Slave trade was abolished in Washington, D.C. (but not slavery itself);
5. The Fugitive Slave Act was strengthened.


"The United States Senate, A.D. 1850" (engraving by Peter F. Rothermel):
Henry Clay takes the floor of the Old Senate Chamber; Vice President Millard Fillmore presides as John C. Calhoun (to the left of the Speaker's chair) and Daniel Webster (seated to the left of Clay) look on.
View of Seward and Northern Whigs
Most Northern Whigs, led by William Henry Seward who delivered his famous "Higher Law" speech during the controversy, opposed the Compromise as well because it would not have applied the Wilmot Proviso to the western territories and because of the newly strengthened fugitive slave act, which would have pressed ordinary citizens into duty on slave-hunting patrols. This provision was inserted by Democratic Virginia Senator James M. Mason to entice border-state Whigs, who faced the greatest danger of losing slaves as fugitives but who were lukewarm on general sectional issues related to the South into supporting Texas's land claims.

Zachary Taylor avoided the issue as the Whig candidate during the 1848 U.S. presidential election but then as President attempted to sidestep the entire controversy by pushing to admit California and New Mexico as free states immediately, avoiding the entire territorial process and thus the Wilmot Proviso question. Taylor's stand was unpopular among Southerners and surprised them because Taylor was a Southerner.

Northern Democrats and Southern Whigs supported the Compromise. Southern Whigs, many of whom were from the border states, supported the stronger fugitive slave law.

Debate and results
On April 17, a "Committee of Thirteen" agreed on the border of Texas as part of Clay's plan. The dimensions were later changed. That same day, during debates on the measures in the Senate, Vice President Millard Fillmore and Senator Benton verbally sparred, with Fillmore charging that the Missourian was "out of order." During the heated debates, Compromise floor leader Henry S. Foote of Mississippi drew a pistol on Senator Benton.

In early June, nine slave holding Southern states sent delegates to the Nashville Convention to determine their course of action should the compromise take hold. While some delegates preached secession, eventually the moderates ruled, and they proposed a series of compromises, including extending the geographic dividing line designated by the Missouri Compromise of 1820 to the Pacific Coast.

The various bills were initially combined into one "omnibus" bill. Despite Clay's efforts, it failed in a crucial vote on July 31, opposed by southern Democrats and by northern, anti-slavery Whigs.

He announced on the Senate floor the next day that he intended to persevere and pass each individual part of the bill. The 73-year-old Clay, however, was physically exhausted as the effects of the tuberculosis that would eventually kill him began to take its toll. Clay left the Senate to recuperate in Newport, Rhode Island, while Stephen A. Douglas wrote the separate bills and guided them through the Senate.

The situation had been changed by the sudden death of President Taylor and the accession of Vice President Millard Fillmore to the presidency, on July 9, 1850.

  President Fillmore, anxious to find a quick solution to the conflict in Texas over the border with New Mexico, which threatened to become armed conflict between Texas militia and Federal soldiers, reversed the administration's position late in July and threw its support to the compromise measures.

The Northern Democrats held together and supported each of the bills and gained Whigs or Southern Democrats to pass each one. All passed and were signed by Fillmore between September 9 and September 20, 1850.

1. California was admitted as a free state. It passed the House 150–56. It passed the Senate 34–18.
2. The slave trade was abolished (the sale of slaves, not the institution of slavery) in the District of Columbia.
3. The Territory of Utah was organized under the rule of popular sovereignty. It passed the House 97–85.
4. The Territory of New Mexico was organized under the rule of popular sovereignty. It passed the House 108–97. It passed the Senate 30–20.
5. A harsher Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the Senate 27–12, and by the House 109–76.
6. Texas gave up much of the western land which it claimed and received compensation of $10,000,000 to pay off its national debt.

Clay was still given much of the credit for the Compromise's success. It quieted the controversy between Northerners and Southerners over the expansion of slavery and delayed secession and civil war for another decade. Senator Henry S. Foote of Mississippi, who had suggested the creation of the Committee of Thirteen, later said, "Had there been one such man in the Congress of the United States as Henry Clay in 1860–'61 there would, I feel sure, have been no civil war."


Map of free and slave states c. 1856
The Compromise in general proved widely popular politically, as both parties committed themselves in their platforms to the finality of the Compromise on sectional issues. The strongest opposition in the South occurred in the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, but unionists soon prevailed, spearheaded by Georgians Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, and Howell Cobb and the creation of the Georgia Platform.

This peace was broken only by the divisive Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 introduced by Stephen Douglas, which had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise and led directly to the formation of the Republican Party, whose capture of the national government in 1860 led directly to the secession crisis of 1860-61.

Many historians argue that the Compromise played a major role in postponing the American Civil War for a decade, during which time the Northwest was growing more wealthy and more populous, and was being brought into closer relations with the Northeast. During that decade, the Whig Party had completely broken down, being replaced with the new Republican Party dominant in the North and the Democrats in the South.

  But others argue that the Compromise only made more obvious pre-existing sectional divisions and laid the groundwork for future conflict.
In this view, the Fugitive Slave Law helped polarize North and South, as shown in the enormous reaction to Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law aroused feelings of bitterness in the North.
Furthermore, the Compromise of 1850 led to a breakdown in the spirit of compromise in the United States in the antebellum period, directly before the Civil War. The Compromise exemplifies this spirit, but the deaths of influential senators who worked on the compromise, primarily Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, contributed to this feeling of increasing disparity between the North and South.

The delay of hostilities for ten years allowed the free economy of the northern states to continue to industrialize. The southern states, to a large degree based on slave labor and cash crop production, lacked the ability to industrialize heavily. By 1860, the northern states had added many more miles of railroad, steel production, modern factories, and population to the advantages it possessed in 1850. The North was better able to supply, equip, and man its armed forces, an advantage that would prove decisive in the later stages of the war.

Three major types of issues were addressed by the Compromise of 1850, to wit: a variety of boundary issues; status of territory issues; and the issue of slavery. While capable of analytical distinction, the boundary and territory issues were actually included in the overarching issue of slavery. Pro- and anti-slavery interests were each concerned with both the amount of land on which slavery was permitted and with the number of States which respectively would be in the slave or free camps. Since Texas was a slave state, not only the residents of that state, but the pro- and anti-slavery camps on a national scale had an interest in the size of the state of Texas.

The general solution that was adopted by the Compromise of 1850 was to transfer a considerable part of the territory claimed by the state of Texas to the federal government, to formally organize two new territories, the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah, which expressly would be allowed to locally determine whether they would become slave or free territories, to add another free state to the Union (California), adopt a severe measure to recover slaves who had escaped to a free state or free territory (the Fugitive Slave Law), and to abolish the slave trade in the District of Columbia.

The independent Republic of Texas won the decisive Battle of San Jacinto (April 21, 1836) against Mexico and captured Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He signed the Treaties of Velasco, which recognized the Rio Grande as the boundary of the Republic of Texas. The treaties were repudiated by the government of Mexico which insisted it was sovereign over Texas and promised to reclaim the lost territories. To the extent that there was a de facto recognition, Mexico treated the Nueces River as its northern boundary control.

A huge, largely unsettled area lay between the two rivers. Neither Mexico nor the Republic of Texas had the military strength to effectively assert its territorial claim. On December 29, 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed to the United States and became the 28th state.

Texas was staunchly committed to slavery, with its constitution making illegal the unauthorized emancipation of slaves by their owners. With this annexation the United States inherited the territorial claims of the former Republic of Texas against Mexico.
The territorial claim to the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande and Mexican resistance to it led to the Mexican-American War. On February 2, 1848, that war was concluded by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Among the provisos of the Treaty was the recognition by Mexico of the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande being a part of the United States.

The Republic of Texas had claimed ownership of the eastern half of present-day New Mexico, along with sections of Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming, but Texas had never effectively controlled the area, which was dominated by hostile Indian tribes. However, the federal government now controlled the area after 1846. The Compromise of 1850 solved the problem by setting the present boundaries of Texas in return for $10 million in federal bonds paid to the state of Texas.

The state of Texas was heavily burdened with debt, which had been contracted during its struggles as the Republic of Texas. The federal government agreed to pay $10 million of bonds in trade for the transfer of a large portion of the claimed area of the state of Texas to the territory of the federal government and for the relinquishment of various claims which Texas had upon the federal government. (These bonds bore interest at the rate of 5%, which interest was collectible by Texas every six months, and the principal was redeemable at the end of fourteen years.)

The Constitution (Article IV, Section 3) does not permit Congress to unilaterally reduce the territory of any state, so the first part of the Compromise of 1850 had to take the form of an offer to the Texas State Legislature, rather than a unilateral enactment. The Texas State Legislature did ratify the bargain and in due course the transfer of a large swath of land from the state of Texas to the federal government was accomplished. Texas was allowed to keep the following portions of the erstwhile disputed land: that which is south of the 32nd parallel, and that which is south of the 36°30' parallel north and east of the 103rd meridian west. The rest of the land which had been disputed between Mexico and the Republic of Texas was transferred to federal government.

  New Mexico and Utah Territories
The first law of the Compromise of 1850 also organized the Territory of New Mexico. The second law, also enacted September 9, 1850, organized the Territory of Utah.

Some of the land had been claimed by the Republic of Texas. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made no mention of the claims of the Republic of Texas; Mexico simply agreed to a Mexico-U.S. border south of both the "Mexican Cession" and the Republic of Texas claims. Before the Compromise of 1850, this disputed land had been claimed but never controlled by the state of Texas. Of importance in 1850 was land included in present-day eastern New Mexico.

From the Mexican Cession, the New Mexico Territory received most of the present-day state of Arizona, most of the western part of the present-day state of New Mexico, and the southern tip of present-day Nevada (south of the 37th parallel). From Texas, the territory received most of present-day eastern New Mexico, a portion of present-day Colorado (east of the crest of the Rocky Mountains, west of the 103rd meridian, and south of the 38th parallel), and a small portion of present-day Wyoming.

From the Mexican Cession, the Utah Territory received present-day Utah, most of present-day Nevada (everything north of the 37th parallel), a major part of present-day Colorado (everything west of the crest of the Rocky Mountains), and a small part of present-day Wyoming. This included the newly founded colony at Salt Lake of Brigham Young. From Texas, the Utah Territory received most of present day eastern New Mexico, and some of present-day Colorado that is east of the crest of the Rocky Mountains.

A key provision of each of the laws respectively organizing the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah was that slavery would be either permitted or prohibited as a local option (Popular Sovereignty). This was an important repudiation of the idea behind the Wilmot Proviso (which never passed Congress); it would have forbidden slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico.


Map of Mexico. S. Augustus Mitchell, Philadelphia, 1847. New California is depicted with a
north-eastern border at the meridian leading north of the Rio Grande headwaters.
California also became part of the U.S. as a result of the Mexican Cession. After the Mexican War, California was essentially run by military governors. President James K. Polk tried to get Congress to officially establish a territorial government in California, but the increasing North vs. South debates prevented this. The South wanted to extend slave territory to Southern California and to the Pacific coast, while the North did not.

Starting in late 1848, Americans and foreigners of many different countries rushed into California for the California Gold Rush, exponentially increasing the population. In response to growing demand for a better more representative government, a Constitutional Convention was held in 1849.

The delegates there unanimously outlawed slavery. They had no interest in extending the Missouri Compromise Line through California and splitting the state; the lightly populated southern half never had slavery and was heavily Hispanic.

The third statute of the Compromise of 1850 allowed California to be admitted to the Union, undivided, as a free state on September 9, 1850.

  Fugitive Slave Law
The fourth statute of the Compromise of 1850, enacted September 18, 1850, is informally known as the Fugitive Slave Law or the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. (It bolstered the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.) The new version of the Fugitive Slave Law required federal judicial officials in all states and federal territories, including in those states and territories in which slavery was prohibited, to actively assist with the return of escaped slaves to their masters in the states and territories permitting slavery. Any federal marshal or other official who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave was liable to a fine of $1,000. Law-enforcement officials everywhere in the United States had a duty to arrest anyone suspected of being a fugitive slave on no more evidence than a claimant's sworn testimony of ownership. The suspected slave could not ask for a jury trial or testify on his or her own behalf. In addition, any person aiding a runaway slave by providing food or shelter was to be subject to six months' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Officers capturing a fugitive slave were entitled to a fee for their work.

In addition to federal officials, the ordinary citizens of free states could be summoned to join a posse and be required to assist in the capture and/or custody and/or transportation of the alleged escaped slave.

This particular law was so rigorously pro-slavery as to prohibit the admission of the testimony of a person accused of being an escaped slave into evidence at the judicial hearing to determine the status of the accused escaped slave. Thus, if a freedman were claimed to be an escaped slave under the Fugitive Slave Law he or she could not resist his or her return to slavery by truthfully telling his or her own actual history.

The Fugitive Slave Act was essential to meet Southern demands. In terms of public opinion in the North the critical provision was that ordinary citizens were required to aid slave catchers. Many northerners deeply resented this requirement that they personally aid and abet slavery. Resentment towards this act continued to heighten tensions between the North and South, as inflamed by abolitionists such as Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her book Uncle Tom's Cabin stressed the horrors of recapturing escaped slaves, and outraged Southerners.

Banning slave trade in the District of Columbia
The fifth law, enacted on September 20, 1850, prohibited the slave trade (but not slavery itself) in the District of Columbia. Southerners in Congress were unanimous in opposing this provision, which was seen as a concession to the abolitionists, but were outvoted.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constitution of Prussia

The Constitution of Prussia (German: Verfassung von Preußen), was adopted on 31 January 1850, and amended in the following years. This constitution was far less liberal than the federal constitution of the German Empire.

The government was not responsible to the Abgeordnetenhaus (lower chamber), whose powers were small and whose members were elected by a suffrage system based on tax-paying ability. The Herrenhaus (upper chamber) was largely controlled by the conservative Junkers, who held immense tracts of generally poor land east of the Elbe (particularly in East Prussia). Endowed with little money and much pride, they had continued to form the officer corps of the Prussian Army. The rising industrialists, notably the great Rhenish and Westphalian mine owners and steel magnates, although their interests were often opposed to those of the Junkers, exerted an equally reactionary influence on politics. The "potential power of the Prusso-German crown was vast" (Christopher Clarke, Kaiser Wilhelm II); for example, the monarch held the power to nominate and dismiss Prussian officials (as well as federal ones). His assent was also necessary for legislation to pass into law, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and coming with this, the power to appoint or dismiss officials during peace time. In a decree William I of Prussia, stated that acts of the Prussian government were those of the King of Prussia, "from whose decision they originate, and who expresses his opinion and will constitutionally through them".
Prussia was transformed from a duchy to a kingdom on 18 January 1701 by Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg who declared himself King in Prussia. He was only allowed to be king in the Prussian kingdom to avoid offending the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I who had power over most of his lands. Brandenburg was treated as a separate state from the Prussian Kingdom. The state of Brandenburg was later considered as part of Prussia although most of its territories lay outside Prussia proper. The kingdom grew magnificently during King Frederick I reign.

The Kingdom
King Frederick II of Prussia succeeded Frederick I's son Frederick William. He considered himself as the first true servant of Prussia. He promoted the development of Prussia such as the Oderbruch. He also developed the military structure of the state and got involved in the First Partition of Poland with Austria and Russia. Frederick the Great became known as the first “King of Prussia.” During his reign, he practiced enlightened absolutism. He was a fair king who introduced the civil code and abolished torture. He applied the principle that the monarchy should not go in between and biased with the justice system.

In 1847, Prussia experienced crisis common to all German states. There were catastrophic crop failures, bread riots, serious business recession and government incapability.

In 1848, drastic changes in the Prussian kingdom began. Many bloody revolutions forced Frederick William IV to make transformations in the government. New ministers occupied a middle position in an unstable government structure. The King was gradually recovering power over his states with the aid of a set of advisers called the Kamarilla. An elected national assembly was challenging the reemergence of the King’s power.

There began a tug-of-war in the power over the governance of the Kingdom between the king and the national assembly. After a series of cabinet reshuffles and government transformations, a new constitution was approved. It excluded a systematic democratic influence which shows that revolutionary movements had not much power.
However, the king had lost his absolute powers. A new constitution was adopted which made the kingdom of Prussia a constitutional state. It was one of the most significant achievements of the revolutions.
Prussia's Constitution
In 1850, a new constitution was adopted by the Kingdom of Prussia. This was improved in the consequent years. The newly adopted constitution was less liberal compared with the federal constitution of the rest of the German empire. The Prussian constitution also included the Landtag or "State Diet". They had less power with the rest of the constitutional members. They were elected by a suffrage system based on the ability of the members to pay the taxes. The constitution also includes a Herrenhaus, ("House of Lords") which was mostly controlled by the conservative junkers. They held large areas of poor land in the east of Elbe in the east of Prussia.
  They formed the officer corps of the army of Prussia. The Rhenish and Westphalian rising industrialists also had equal political power with the Junkers.

In 1918, Prussian constitution became liberal after it was transformed into a republic. The Junkers lost most of their lands and the influence of Rhenish industrialist extended throughout the land. In 1932, Franz von Papen was appointed German chancellor and also became commissioner for Prussia. In 1932, he suspended the Landtag and ousted Otto Braun who was then the present social democrat premier of Prussia. Luckentheorie is a gap in the Prussian constitution after the 1848 revolutions. Otto von Bismarck exploited this to solve the crisis in taxes for military reforms.
Free State of Prussia
The Prussian constitution was liberalized after Prussia became a republic in 1918, and the Junkers lost many of their estates through the cession of Prussian territory to Poland. However, both the Junkers and the Rhenish industrialists continued to exert much power behind the scenes, and when Franz von Papen became German chancellor in 1932 and commissioner for Prussia, they came into their own. In July, 1932, Papen suspended the Prussian parliament and ousted the Social Democrat Otto Braun, who had been premier of Prussia (with brief interruptions) from 1920.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The eight Kaffir War, 1850-1853

The Xhosa Wars (also known as the Cape Frontier Wars or "Africa's 100 Years War"), were a series of nine wars or flare-ups (from 1779 to 1879) between the Xhosa tribes and European settlers in what is now the Eastern Cape in South Africa. These events were the longest-running military action in the history of African colonialism.

The reality of the conflicts between the Europeans and Xhosa involves a balance of tension. At times, tensions existed between the various Europeans in the Cape region, tensions between Empire administration and colonial governments, and tensions and alliances of the Xhosa tribes. Alliances with Europeans introduced to the Xhosa tribes the use of firearms; even so, the Xhosa lost most of their territory and were incorporated into the British Empire. The Xhosa include some groups that have adopted the Xhosa language and several groups that are now classed as being Xhosa, such as the Mfengu nation, that had an alliance with the Cape Colony.


Insurgents defend a stronghold in the forested Water Kloof during the
8th Xhosa war of 1851. Xhosa, Kat River Khoi-khoi and some army
deserters are depicted

Large numbers of Xhosa were displaced across the Keiskamma by Governor Harry Smith, and these refugees supplemented the original inhabitants there, causing overpopulation and hardship. Those Xhosa who remained in the colony were moved to towns and encouraged to adopt European lifestyles.

Harry Smith also attacked and annexed the independent Orange Free State, hanging the Boer resistance leaders, and in the process alienating the Burghers of the Cape Colony. To cover the mounting expenses he then imposed exorbitant taxes on the local people of the frontier and cut the Cape's standing forces to less than five thousand men.

In June 1850 there followed an unusually cold winter, together with an extreme drought. It was at this time that Smith ordered the displacement of large numbers of Xhosa squatters from the Kat River region.

The war became known as "Mlanjeni's War", after the prophet Mlanjeni who arose among the homeless Xhosa, and who predicted that the Xhosa would be unaffected by the colonists' bullets. Large numbers of Xhosa began leaving the colony's towns and mobilizing in the tribal areas.


A column of Xhosa gunmen, crossing a ravine in the frontier mountains
The Outbreak of War (December 1850)
Believing that the chiefs were responsible for the unrest caused by Mlanjeni's preaching, Governor Sir Harry Smith travelled to meet with the prominent chiefs.
When Sandile refused to attend a meeting outside Fort Cox, Governor Smith deposed him and declared him a fugitive.

On 24 December, a British detachment of 650 men under Colonel Mackinnon was ambushed by Xhosa warriors in the Boomah Pass. The party was forced to retreat to Fort White, under heavy fire from the Xhosa, having sustained forty-two casualties.

The very next day, during Christmas festivities in towns throughout the border region, apparently friendly Xhosa entered the towns to partake in the festivities. At a given signal though, they fell upon the settlers who had invited them into their homes and killed them. With this attack, the bulk of the Ngqika joined the war.
  Initial Xhosa victories
While the Governor was still at Fort Cox, the Xhosa forces advanced on the colony, isolating him there. The Xhosa burned British military villages along the frontier and captured the post at Line Drift. Meanwhile, the Khoi of the Blinkwater River Valley and Kat River Settlement revolted, under the leadership of a half-Khoi, half-Xhosa chief Hermanus Matroos, and managed to capture Fort Armstrong. Large numbers of the "Kaffir Police" — a paramilitary police force the British had established to combat cattle theft — deserted their posts and joined Xhosa war parties. For a while, it appeared that all of the Xhosa and Khoi people of the eastern Cape were taking up arms against the British.

Harry Smith finally fought his way out of Fort Cox with the help of the local Cape Mounted Riflemen, but found that he had alienated most of his local allies. His policies had made enemies of the Burghers and Boer Commandos, the Fengu, and the Khoi, who formed much of the Cape's local defences. Even some of the Cape Mounted Riflemen refused to fight.


The Cape Mounted Riflemen charging the enemy at Waterkloof during the 8th Frontier War
British counter-attack (January 1851)
After these initial successes, however, the Xhosa experienced a series of setbacks. Xhosa forces were repulsed in separate attacks on Fort White and Fort Hare. Similarly, on 7 January, Hermanus and his supporters launched an offensive on the town of Fort Beaufort, which was defended by a small detachment of troops and local volunteers. The attack failed however, and Hermanus was killed. The Cape Government also eventually agreed to levy a force of local gunmen (predominantly Khoi) to hold the frontier, allowing Smith to free some imperial troops for offensive action.
British reinforcements
By the end of January, the British were beginning to receive reinforcements from Cape Town and a force under Colonel Mackinnon was able to successfully drive north from King William's Town to resupply the beleaguered garrisons at Fort White, Fort Cox and Fort Hare. With fresh men and supplies, the British expelled the remainder of Hermanus' rebel forces (now under the command of Willem Uithaalder) from Fort Armstrong and drove them west toward the Amatola Mountains.

Over the coming months, increasing numbers of Imperial troops arrived, reinforcing the heavily outnumbered British and allowing Smith to lead sweeps across the frontier country.

In 1852, HMS Birkenhead was wrecked at Gansbaai while bringing reinforcements to the war at the request of Sir Harry Smith.

As the ship sank, the men (mostly new recruits) stood silently in rank, while the women and children were loaded into the lifeboats. They remained in rank as the ship slipped under and over 300 died.

  Final stages of the conflict
Insurgents led by Maqoma established themselves in the forested Waterkloof. From this base they managed to plunder surrounding farms and torch the homesteads. Maqoma's stronghold was situated on Mount Misery, a natural fortress on a narrow neck wedged between the Waterkloof and Harry's Kloof. The Waterkloof conflicts lasted two years. Maqoma also led an attack on Fort Fordyce and inflicted heavy losses on the forces of Sir Harry Smith.

In February 1852, the British Government decided that Sir Harry Smith's inept rule had been responsible for much of the violence, and ordered him replaced by George Cathcart, who took charge in March. For the last six months, Cathcart ordered scourings of the countryside for rebels. In February 1853, Sandile and the other chiefs surrendered.

The 8th frontier war was the most bitter and brutal in the series of Xhosa wars. It lasted over two years and ended in the complete subjugation of the Ciskei Xhosa.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Masaryk Tomas

Tomas Masaryk, in full Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (born March 7, 1850, near Göding, Moravia, Austrian Empire [now Hodonín, Czech Republic]—died Sept. 14, 1937, Lány, Czech.), chief founder and first president (1918–35) of Czechoslovakia.


Tomas Masaryk
  Early life
Masaryk’s father was a Slovak coachman; his mother, a maid, came from a Germanized Moravian family. Though he was trained to be a teacher, he briefly became a locksmith’s apprentice but then entered the German Hochschule in Brno in 1865. Continuing his studies at the University of Vienna, he obtained his doctorate in 1876. He studied for a year in Leipzig, where he met an American student of music, Charlotte Garrigue, whom he married in 1878. He was appointed lecturer in philosophy in Vienna in 1879, and he became professor of philosophy in the Czech university of Prague in 1882.

Masaryk was a Neo-Kantian, but he was also strongly influenced by the English puritan ethics and the austere teaching of the Hussites. At the same time, he showed a critical interest in the self-contradictions of capitalism—e.g., in his first major work, a study of suicide as a mass phenomenon of modern civilization.

Masaryk’s early works on the Czech Reformation and the Czech revival of the early 19th century were intended to remind the Czechs of the “religious meaning” of their heritage. His treatise on the work of the Czech historian František Palacký, who favoured equal rights for Slavs within the Austrian state, was a profound analysis of Austrian-Czech tensions. Masaryk founded two periodicals, in one of which he proved after a bitter debate that two ostensibly early medieval Czech poems, regarded as Slavic counterparts of the German Nibelungenlied, were in fact patriotic forgeries by an early 19th-century Czech poet.

In 1889 Masaryk entered upon his political career after transforming a journal into a political review. In the early 1890s he began to turn his attention to the Slovaks in northern Hungary. By criticizing both the feudal nature of Hungarian sovereignty and the antiquated Pan-Slav tendencies of the Slovak politicians, he became the idol of the young Slovak progressives who played a decisive role in the Czech-Slovak union in 1918–19. After unmasking the forged medieval Czech poems, he demonstrated his willingness to risk unpopularity in pursuit of moral righteousness once again when he succeeded in 1899 in proving the innocence of Jews accused in a ritual-murder case.

Tomas Masaryk
  Although deeply involved in political controversies, Masaryk published two monumental works before 1914. In his work on Marxism (1898), he discussed the immanent contradictions of both capitalism and socialism. In Russia and Europe (1913) he provided a critical survey of the Russian religious, intellectual, and social crises—the contradictions and confusions of the “Byzantine” retardation of Russian society by the Orthodox church and reactionary ideas.

As a politician Masaryk was at first an adherent of the federative Austro-Slavism envisioned in 1848. But as a democrat he gradually became estranged from the loyal, conservative, and Roman Catholic concept of the Old Czech Party and accepted the invitation of the liberal, bourgeois Young Czech Party. In 1891 he was elected to the Austrian Reichsrat, but, after disagreeing with the Young Czechs’ emotional nationalism, he resigned his seat in 1893. In March 1900 he founded his own Realist Party, and, after his reelection in a more democratic Reichsrat, he became an outstanding figure of the left Slav opposition there. In both the Reichsrat and the standing committee of the Austrian and Hungarian parliaments, he attacked Austria-Hungary’s alliance with Germany and its imperialistic politics in the Balkans. He defended the rights of the Serbs and Croats—especially at the time of the annexation of Bosnia and Hercegovina by Austria.

Fight for Czech and Slovak independence
In early 1915, after the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk made his way to western Europe, where he was recognized as the representative of the underground Czech liberation movement and conducted a vigorous campaign against Austria-Hungary and Germany. His British and French friends helped him to establish contact with the Allied leaders, to whom he delineated the Czech aims: restitution of Bohemia’s independence on a democratic basis; establishment of Czech-Slovak unity; dismemberment of Austria-Hungary according to ethnic principles; and establishment of new states between Germany and Russia as a cordon sanitaire (“sanitary line,” or line drawn around an infected spot) against German imperialism.

After the overthrow of the autocratic tsarist regime in 1917, Masaryk transferred his activities to Russia in order to organize the Czechoslovak Legion, formed by Czechoslovak war prisoners, and to develop contacts with the new government. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he set out for the United States, where he was welcomed by Czech and Slovak groups and where he negotiated the terms of Czechoslovak independence with President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of State Robert Lansing.

The Lansing Declaration of May 1918 expressed the sympathy of the U.S. government with the Czechoslovak freedom movement, and Czechoslovakia’s liberation became one of Wilson’s Fourteen Points for the post-World War I peace settlement.

Tomas Masaryk
  Masaryk also concluded the so-called Pittsburgh Convention with the Slovak associations in the United States, which promised the Slovaks a large measure of home rule; the interpretation of this declaration led to controversies between the Slovak opposition and the Czechoslovak government during the life of the first Czech republic.

On June 3, 1918, Czechoslovakia was recognized as an Allied power, and its frontiers were demarcated according to Masaryk’s outline.

As Masaryk had promised, the new multinational state respected the minority rights of its large German and Hungarian ethnic groups. On Nov. 14, 1918, he was elected president of Czechoslovakia, and he was reelected in 1920, 1927, and 1934. As a true “liberator” and “father of his country,” he was constantly occupied in settling the crises resulting from the conflicts between the Czech and the Slovak parties, as well as from Slovakia’s minority status.

A philosopher and democrat, Masaryk was among the first to voice his anxiety over central Europe’s fate after the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. He resigned his post in December 1935 and died nearly two years later.

Ludwig von Gogolák

Encyclopædia Britannica

Kitchener Horatio Herbert

Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, in full Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome also known as Viscount Broome of Broome, Baron Denton of Denton, also called Baron Kitchener of Khartoum and of Aspall (from 1898) and Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, of the Vaal, and of Aspall (from 1902) (born June 24, 1850, near Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland—died June 5, 1916, at sea off Orkney Islands), British field marshal, imperial administrator, conqueror of the Sudan, commander in chief during the South African War, and (perhaps his most important role) secretary of state for war at the beginning of World War I (1914–18).

At that time he organized armies on a scale unprecedented in British history and became a symbol of the national will to victory.


Horatio Herbert Kitchener
  Educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Kitchener was commissioned in the Royal Engineers, and from 1874 he served in the Middle East. In 1886 he was appointed governor (at Sawākin [Suakin], Sudan) of the British Red Sea territories, and he subsequently was assigned to Egypt as adjutant general in Cairo. His energy and thoroughness led to his appointment as sirdar (commander in chief) of the Egyptian army in 1892. On September 2, 1898, he crushed the religious and politically separatist Sudanese forces of al-Mahdī in the Battle of Omdurman and then occupied the nearby city of Khartoum, which he rebuilt as the centre of Anglo-Egyptian government in the Sudan. His reputation in Great Britain was enhanced by his firm, tactful, and successful handling (from September 18, 1898) of an explosive situation at Fashoda (now Kodok), where Jean-Baptiste Marchand’s expeditionary force was trying to establish French sovereignty over parts of the Sudan. He was created Baron Kitchener in 1898. After a year as governor-general of the Sudan, Kitchener entered the South African War (Boer War) in December 1899 as chief of staff to Field Marshal Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, whom he succeeded as commander in chief in November 1900. During the last 18 months of the war, Kitchener combated guerrilla resistance by such methods as burning Boer farms and herding Boer women and children into disease-ridden concentration camps.
These ruthless measures, and Kitchener’s strategic construction of a network of blockhouses across the country to localize and isolate the Boers’ forces, steadily weakened their resistance.
On returning to England after the British victory in the war, he was created Viscount Kitchener (July 1902) and was sent as commander in chief to India, where he reorganized the army in order to meet possible external aggression rather than internal rebellion, which previously had been the primary concern. His quarrel with the viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, over control of the army in India ended in 1905 when the British cabinet upheld Kitchener and Curzon resigned. Remaining in India until 1909, Kitchener was bitterly disappointed at not being appointed viceroy. In September 1911 he accepted the proconsulship of Egypt, and until August 1914 he ruled that country and the Sudan. Protection of the peasants from seizure of their land for debt and the advancement of the cotton-growing interest were his basic concerns. Tolerating no opposition, he was about to depose the hostile Khedive ʿAbbās II (Ḥilmī) of Egypt when World War I broke out.
Kitchener, who was on leave in England and had just received an earldom and another viscountcy and barony (June 1914), reluctantly accepted an appointment to the cabinet as secretary of state for war and was promoted to field marshal. He warned his colleagues, most of whom expected a short war, that the conflict would be decided by the last 1,000,000 men that Great Britain could throw into battle.

Quickly enlisting a great number of volunteers, he had them trained as professional soldiers for a succession of entirely new “Kitchener armies.” By the end of 1915 he was convinced of the need for military conscription, but he never publicly advocated it, in deference to Prime Minister Herbert H. Asquith’s belief that conscription was not yet politically practicable.

In his recruitment of soldiers, planning of strategy, and mobilization of industry, Kitchener was handicapped by British governmental processes and by his own distaste for teamwork and delegation of responsibility. His cabinet associates, who did not share in the public idolatry of Kitchener, relieved him of responsibility first for industrial mobilization and later for strategy, but he refused to quit the cabinet. His career was ended suddenly, by drowning, when the cruiser HMS Hampshire, bearing him on a mission to Russia, was sunk by a German mine.

Encyclopædia Britannica

The iconic, much-imitated 1914 Lord Kitchener Wants You poster
Erfurt Union

The Erfurt Union (German: Erfurter Union) was a short-lived union of German states under a federation, proposed by the Kingdom of Prussia at Erfurt, for which the Erfurt Union Parliament (Erfurter Unionsparlament), lasting from March 20 to April 29, 1850, was opened. The union never came into effect, and was dealt the fatal blow in the Punctation of Olmütz (November 29, 1850; also called the Humiliation at Olmütz) under pressure from the Austrian Empire.

Conception of the Union
In the Revolutions of 1848, the Austrian-dominated German Confederation was dissolved, and the Frankfurt Assembly sought to establish new constitutions for the multitude of German states. The effort, however, ended in the Assembly's collapse, after King Frederick William IV refused the German crown. The Prussian government, under the influence of General Joseph Maria von Radowitz, who sought to unite the landed classes against the threat to Junker domination, seized the opportunity to initiate a new German federation under the leadership of the Hohenzollern monarch. At the same time, Frederick William IV acceded to his people's demands for a constitution, also agreeing to become leader of a united Germany.

A year before the convention of the Erfurt Union Parliament, the May 26, 1849 Alliance of the Three Kings was concluded between Prussia, Saxony and Hanover, the latter two of which explicitly made the reservation of departure unless all other principalities with the exception of Austria joined. From this treaty sprung the Prussian policy of fusion, and thence the ambition of the Erfurt Union, which in its constitution abandoned universal and equal franchise in favour of the traditional three-class franchise. The constitution itself, however, was only to come into effect after revision and ratification by an elected Reichstag, as well as approval by the participating governments. 150 former liberal deputies to the German national assembly had acceded to the draft at a meeting in Gotha on June 25, 1849, and by the end of August 1849, almost all (twenty-eight) principalities had recognised the Reich constitution and joined the union, due in varying degrees to Prussian pressure.

  Inceptive problems
Despite this, elections to the Erfurt parliament, held in January 1850, received very little popular support, or even recognition. Democrats universally boycotted the election, and with electoral participation below fifty percent, Saxony and Hanover exercised their reservation to leave the Alliance of Three Kings.

No government in the end agreed to the constitution, and even though the document was readily accepted by the Gotha Party (incidentally narrowly defeated in the elections), it never took effect. The Erfurt parliament never materialised.

Meanwhile, Austria, having overcome its difficulties — the fall of Metternich, the abdication of Ferdinand I and constitutional revolts in Italy and Hungary — began a renewed active resistance against Prussia's Union plan.

The Saxon and Hanoverian withdrawals from their alliance with Prussia can also be attributed in part to Austrian encouragement. Vienna contemplated restoration of the German Confederation recalling the German Diet, and rallied the Prussian nobility and feudal-corporate and anti-national groups around the Prussian General Ludwig Friedrich Leopold von Gerlach to increasingly successfully oppose Union policy.

In Prussia itself, a congress of princes held in Berlin in May 1850 explicitly decided against the merits of introducing a constitution at the point in time. Following the Prussian king's (and his ministers') weakening volition for German unification, Radowitz's influence declined. Prussia's union policy was further weakened by Austrian urges for the restoration of the Federal Assembly in Frankfurt in September the same year.

Prussian humiliation
The Prussia-Austria conflict worsened by autumn that year, as disagreements over the question of federal executions in Holstein (dispute with Denmark) and the Electorate of Hesse almost escalated into a military conflict. Since 1848 the Austrians had been allied with the Russian Empire; after the Berlin government refused Austrian demands at the Warsaw Conference of October 28, 1850, the souring relations degenerated further on Prussia's November 5 announcement that it was mobilising its army and preparing for war, in response to troops of the German Confederation advancing into the Electorate of Hesse. War was avoided, however, when Prussian leaders closely associated with the nobility threw their support behind Gerlach in the form of the Kreuzzeitungs Partei, which supported Austria in advocating a return to the Confederation.
Punctation of Olmütz
On November 29, 1850, the Treaty of Olmütz was concluded between Austria and Prussia with Russian participation. The treaty, seen by many as a humbling capitulation on Prussia's part to the Viennese Hofburg, saw Prussia submitting to the Confederation, reversing tack to demobilise, agreeing to partake in the intervention of the German Diet in Hesse and Holstein and renouncing any resumption of her union policy, and hence abandoning the Erfurt Union.

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U.S. President Taylor Zachary d.; Millard Fillmore becomes 13th president
Fillmore Millard

Millard Fillmore, (born January 7, 1800, Locke township, New York, U.S.—died March 8, 1874, Buffalo, New York), 13th president of the United States (1850–53), whose insistence on federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 alienated the North and led to the destruction of the Whig Party. Elected vice president in 1848, he became chief executive on the death of President Zachary Taylor (July 1850).


Millard Fillmore
  Early life and career
Fillmore was born in a log cabin to a poor family and was apprenticed to a wool carder at age 15. He received little formal education until he was 18, when he managed to obtain six consecutive months of schooling.

Shortly afterward he secured his release from apprenticeship and started work in a law office, and in 1823 he was admitted to the bar. He married his first wife, Abigail Powers (Abigail Fillmore), in 1826.

Fillmore entered politics in 1828 as a member of the democratic and libertarian Anti-Masonic Movement and Anti-Masonic Party.

In 1834 he followed his political mentor, Thurlow Weed, to the Whigs and was soon recognized as an outstanding leader of the party’s Northern wing.

Following three terms in the New York state assembly (1829–32), he was elected to Congress (1833–35, 1837–43), where he became a devoted follower of Senator Henry Clay.

Losing the New York gubernatorial election in 1844, he was easily elected the first state comptroller three years later. At the national Whig convention in 1848, Zachary Taylor, hero of the Mexican War (1846–48), was nominated for president and Fillmore for vice president, largely through Clay’s sponsorship.

Fillmore believed that Whig success at the polls heralded the rise of a truly national party that would occupy a middle ground between sectional extremists of both North and South. This outlook was embodied in Clay’s Compromise of 1850, which sought to appease both sides on the slavery issue. Fillmore, though personally opposed to slavery, supported the compromise as necessary to preserving the Union.

Official White House portrait of Millard Fillmore
  When the legislation was finally passed two months after Taylor’s death, the new President Fillmore felt obligated to respect the provision that required the federal government to aid in the capture and return of runaway slaves to their former owners (the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850), and he publicly announced that, if necessary, he would call upon the military to aid in the enforcement of this statute.

Although this section of the compromise assuaged the South and had the effect of postponing the Civil War for 10 years, it also meant political death for Fillmore because of its extreme unpopularity in the North.

Fillmore was an early champion of American commercial expansion in the Pacific, and in 1853 he sent a fleet of warships, under the command of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, to Japan to force its shogunate government to alter its traditional isolationism and enter into trade and diplomatic relations with the United States. The resulting Treaty of Kanagawa (1854) led to similar agreements between Japan and other Western powers and marked the beginning of Japan’s transformation into a modern state.

In 1852 Fillmore was one of three presidential candidates of a divided Whig Party in its last national election, which it lost. He ran again in 1856 as the candidate of the Know-Nothing party (also known as the American Party), finishing third behind Democrat James Buchanan and Republican John C. Frémont. Fillmore then retired to Buffalo, where he became a leader in the city’s civic and cultural life. In 1858, some five years after the death of his wife Abigail, he married Caroline Carmichael McIntosh.

Encyclopædia Britannica
California becomes a state of the U.S.

California, constituent state of the United States of America. It was admitted as the 31st state of the union on September 9, 1850, and by the early 1960s it was the most populous U.S. state. No version of the origin of California’s name has been fully accepted, but there is wide support for the contention that it derived from an early 16th-century Spanish novel, Las sergas de Esplandián (“The Adventures of Esplandián”), that described a paradisiacal island full of gold and precious stones called California. The influence of the Spanish settlers of the 18th and 19th centuries is evident in California’s architecture and place-names. The capital is Sacramento.

California is bounded by the U.S. state of Oregon to the north, by the states of Nevada and Arizona to the east, by the Mexican state of Baja California to the south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. From the rainy northern coast to the parched Colorado Desert in the south, and from the Mediterranean-like central and southern littoral to the volcanic plateau of the far northeast, California is a land of stunning physical contrasts. Both the highest and lowest points in the 48 conterminous states are in the state of California—Mount Whitney and Death Valley, respectively. The former is the culminating summit of the Sierra Nevada, one of the major mountain ranges of North America.

The fluid nature of the state’s social, economic, and political life—shaped so largely by the influx of people from other states and countries—has for centuries made California a laboratory for testing new modes of living. California’s population, concentrated mostly along the coast, is the most urban in the United States, with more than three-fourths of the state’s people living in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego metropolitan areas. Despite its urbanization and the loss of land to industry, California still leads the country in agricultural production. About one-half of the state’s land is federally owned. National parks located throughout the state are devoted to the preservation of nature and natural resources. Area 158,608 square miles (410,793 square km). Population (2010) 37,253,956; (2014 est.) 38,802,500.


When Spanish navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo became the first European to sight the region that is present-day California in 1542, there were about 130,000 Native Americans inhabiting the area. The territory was neglected by Spain for more than two centuries (until 1769) because of reports of the region’s poverty and a general slowdown of Spanish exploration.

The merchant Sebastián Vizcaíno sailed from Mexico to the southern California coast in 1602, naming San Diego, Santa Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, and Monterey. Working with inaccurate maps, Vizcaíno and several later explorers believed that California was an island and were discouraged when they were unable to chart its surrounding seas.

Pressure for settlement came from missionaries eager to convert the Native Americans to Christianity, from the intrusion of Russian and British traders, primarily in search of sea otter pelts, and from the quest for the Northwest Passage across the North American continent. In 1769 the Spanish viceroy dispatched land and sea expeditions from Baja California, and the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra established the first mission at San Diego.

Gaspar de Portolá set up a military outpost in 1770 at Monterey. Colonization began after 1773 with the opening of an overland supply route across the southwestern deserts that was intended to link other Spanish settlements in what are the present-day states of Arizona and New Mexico to the coast.

The 21 missions established by Serra and his successors were the strongest factors in developing California. While attempting to Christianize the Mission Indians, the padres taught them farming and crafts.

With the forced labour of the Mission Indians, the padres irrigated vast ranches and traded hides, tallow, wine, brandy, olive oil, grain, and leatherwork for the manufactured goods brought by Yankee trading vessels around Cape Horn.

  U.S. colonization and acquisition
Secularization of the missions was sought by Spanish Mexican settlers known as Californios when Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821. Between 1833 and 1840 the mission ranches were parceled out to political favourites by the Mexican government. The padres withdrew, and the Native Americans were cruelly exploited and diminished. In 1841 the first wagon train of settlers left Missouri for California. The colony grew slowly, but in 1846 the Northwest became a part of the United States, and settlers at Sonoma proclaimed an independent California republic during the Bear Flag Revolt. In May the United States declared war on Mexico, and in July the U.S. flag was raised at Monterey. Minor skirmishes occurred before the Californios surrendered to troops under John C. Frémont near Los Angeles in January 1847. Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ceding to the United States a vast area of the Southwest that included all of present-day California.

The Gold Rush
Early in 1848 James Wilson Marshall, a carpenter from New Jersey, picked up nuggets of gold from the American River at the site of a sawmill (John Sutter’s Mill) he was building near Coloma. (This discovery occurred just nine days before the end of the Mexican-American War.) By August the hillsides above the river were strewn with the tents and wood huts of the first 4,000 gold miners. From the East, prospectors sailed around Cape Horn or risked disease hiking across the Isthmus of Panama. The hardiest took the 2,000-mile (3,220-km) overland route, on which cholera proved a far greater killer than the Native Americans. About 40,000 people arrived at San Francisco by boat in 1849. Some 6,000 wagons, carrying about 40,000 more fortune seekers, moved west that year over the California Trail. Few of the prospectors struck it rich. The work was hard, prices were high, and living conditions were primitive. The wiser immigrants became farmers and storekeepers.

The Gold Rush hastened statehood in 1850 (as a part of the Compromise of 1850); and, though the Gold Rush peaked in 1852, the momentum of settlement did not subside. Nearly $2 billion in gold was extracted from the earth before mining became virtually dormant.


Merchant ships fill San Francisco harbor in 1850 or 1851
The Civil War and after
The Compromise of 1850 did not settle the slavery issue in California. Political parties were divided according to whether they believed that California should be a free state or a slave state. One movement, led by the backers of California Sen. William M. Gwin, sought to divide California into two states, one slave and one free. The same group also attempted to promote a Pacific Coast republic. At the onset of the Civil War, however, California sided with the North and provided it with materiel and soldiers.

After the war, control of the governor’s office passed back and forth between Democrats and Republicans to the end of the century. The political climate after 1876 was distinguished by labour problems and the activity of those seeking to control mining, irrigation, and fruit growing through state funding. An economic slump in the 1870s brought increased discontent among the labour unions, one result of which was a demand for the exclusion of Chinese labourers, who worked for lower rates of pay than did “whites.”

The problems and agitation of the period resulted in the constitution of 1879, which included reforms but discriminated against the Chinese. An exclusion law passed by the U.S. Congress that year was killed by presidential veto, but in the next year a treaty agreement with China allowed U.S. regulation of Chinese immigration. This was followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which suspended Chinese immigration for 10 years. In 1902 Congress reenacted exclusion legislation against the Chinese. By cutting off cheap labour, exclusion helped make the huge single-crop ranches unprofitable and led to the proliferation of smaller farms growing varied crops.

Japanese farmworkers were brought in to replace the Chinese, but as they grew successful the “yellow peril” outcry rose once again. Japanese agitation, focused largely in San Francisco, affected domestic and international policies. The Gentlemen’s Agreement between Japan and the United States in 1907 halted further Japanese immigration to the United States. In 1913 the Webb Alien Land Law, designed to keep the Japanese from owning land, was the culmination of anti-Japanese lobbying.

  California since c. 1900
Reform movements of the early 20th century promoted, among other things, greater influence of the people in government. The effects of the Great Depression were not as devastating in California as in most other parts of the country but were felt nonetheless. Migrant farmworkers from the Dust Bowl of the Great Plains flocked to the state to seek work, a situation that caused widespread social unrest. Depression conditions gave rise to a number of social welfare schemes, including the End Poverty in California (EPIC) reform movement, organized by muckraking author and gubernatorial candidate Upton Sinclair. The Democratic Party gained strength during the Depression era. Nevertheless, Republicans dominated the statehouse during the first half of the 20th century (the Democrats had control only during 1939–43). Notable among the Republican governors was Earl Warren, who resigned in 1953 to become chief justice of the United States and who was the first person of his state to hold the office.

In 1958 a Democratic victory installed Edmund Brown as governor. The Republican defeat reflected a national trend, and Democrats not only won gubernatorial and U.S. senatorial races but also received a majority of seats in both houses of the state legislature for the first time in the 20th century. In 1966 Republican Ronald Reagan, a former actor who in 1981 would become president of the United States, replaced Brown. From the 1960s on, the state seesawed between Democratic and Republican leadership.

Meanwhile, the economy advanced and the population grew. An influx of immigrants first moved to southern California about 1900, spurred by citrus, oil, and some wariness of San Francisco in the north after the earthquake and fire of 1906 (see San Francisco earthquake of 1906). Land booms came and went. Agriculture in inland valleys and industry in the cities increased. During World War II aircraft plants and shipyards expanded, and in the 1950s and ’60s research and educational facilities burgeoned as the movement of people to the West Coast came to include an unusual share of scientists and academicians who had migrated to the United States during World War II.


The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.
The 1970s and ’80s were marked by shifting demographics. New urban centres emerged, and smaller cities experienced the most rapid rate of growth. The population of San Diego’s metropolitan area rose past two million and included the highest proportion of college graduates of any of the 10 most populous North American cities. There was also rapid growth in new suburban areas near San Jose, Sacramento, and Riverside. For a century San Francisco had served as a financial and corporate centre, but most major corporations had relocated their headquarters to more populous southern California by the late 1980s.

California’s population continued to increase rapidly throughout the 1980s, after which a national economic recession caught up with the population boom. In the early 1990s the U.S. government decreased defense spending, shrinking the state’s expansive aerospace and military contracting industry. At the same time, California was plagued with a series of natural disasters—floods, fires, droughts, and earthquakes—which contributed to diminishing the allure of the Golden State. In 1994 California began moving toward economic recovery in the footsteps of the rest of the country.

Neil Morgan

Encyclopædia Britannica


World Countries

United States of America
Louis-Philippe, King of France (1830-1848), d. (b. 1773)

Louis Philippe, King of the French (1830–1848)
Cavour Camillo becomes minister in Piedmont
Taiping Rebellion

Taiping Rebellion, (1850–64), radical political and religious upheaval that was probably the most important event in China in the 19th century. It ravaged 17 provinces, took an estimated 20,000,000 lives, and irrevocably altered the Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12).


Greatest extent (maroon) of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
The rebellion began under the leadership of Hong Xiuquan (1814–64), a disappointed civil service examination candidate who, influenced by Christian teachings, had a series of visions and believed himself to be the son of God, the younger brother of Jesus Christ, sent to reform China.

A friend of Hong’s, Feng Yunshan, utilized Hong’s ideas to organize a new religious group, the God Worshippers’ Society (Bai Shangdi Hui), which he formed among the impoverished peasants of Guangxi province. In 1847 Hong joined Feng and the God Worshippers, and three years later he led them in rebellion. On Jan. 1, 1851, he proclaimed his new dynasty, the Taiping Tianguo (“Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”), and assumed the title of Tianwang, or “Heavenly King.”

Their credo—to share property in common—attracted many famine-stricken peasants, workers, and miners, as did their propaganda against the foreign Manchu rulers of China. Taiping ranks swelled, and they increased from a ragged band of several thousand to more than 1,000,000 totally disciplined and fanatically zealous soldiers, organized into separate men’s and women’s divisions. Sweeping north through the fertile Yangtze River Valley, they reached the great eastern China city of Nanjing. After capturing the city on March 10, 1853, the Taipings halted. They renamed the city Tianjing (“Heavenly Capital”) and dispatched a northern expedition to capture the Qing capital at Beijing. This failed, but another expedition into the upper Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) valley scored many victories.

Meanwhile, Yang Xiuqing, the Taiping minister of state, attempted to usurp much of the Tianwang’s power, and as a result Yang and thousands of his followers were slain. Wei Changhui, the general who had slain Yang, then began to grow haughty, and Hong had him murdered as well.
Another Taiping general, Shi Dakai, began to fear for his life, and he abandoned Hong, taking with him many of the Taiping followers.

  In 1860 an attempt by the Taipings to regain their strength by taking Shanghai was stopped by the Western-trained “Ever-Victorious Army” commanded by the American adventurer Frederick Townsend Ward and later by the British officer Charles George (“Chinese”) Gordon (Gordon Charles George). The gentry, who usually rallied to support a successful rebellion, had been alienated by the radical anti-Confucianism of the Taipings, and they organized under the leadership of Zeng Guofan, a Chinese official of the Qing government. By 1862 Zeng had managed to surround Nanjing, and the city fell in July 1864. Hong, ailing and refusing all requests to flee the city, had committed suicide in June, though before that he had installed his 15-year-old son as the Tianwang. Sporadic Taiping resistance continued in other parts of the country until 1868.

Taiping Christianity placed little emphasis on New Testament ideas of kindness, forgiveness, and redemption. Rather it emphasized the wrathful Old Testament God who demanded worship and obedience. Prostitution, foot-binding, and slavery were prohibited, as well as opium smoking, adultery, gambling, and use of tobacco and alcohol. Organization of the army was elaborate, with strict rules governing soldiers in camp and on the march. For those who followed these rules, an ultimate reward was promised. Zeng Guofan was astonished when, after the capture of Nanjing, almost 100,000 of the Taiping followers preferred death to capture.

Under the Taipings, the Chinese language was simplified, and equality between men and women was decreed. All property was to be held in common, and equal distribution of the land according to a primitive form of communism was planned. Some Western-educated Taiping leaders even proposed the development of industry and the building of a Taiping democracy. The Qing dynasty was so weakened by the rebellion that it never again was able to establish an effective hold over the country. Both the Chinese communists and the Chinese Nationalists trace their origin to the Taipings.

Encyclopædia Britannica
Hong Xiuquan

Hong Xiuquan, Wade-Giles romanization Hung Hsiu-ch’üan, original name Hong Renkun, literary name (hao) Xiuquan (born Jan. 1, 1814, Huaxian [now Huadu], Guangdong province, China—died June 1, 1864, Nanjing), Chinese religious prophet and leader of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64), during which he declared his own new dynasty, which centred on the captured (1853) city of Nanjing. This great upheaval, in which more than 20,000,000 people are said to have been killed, drastically altered the course of modern Chinese history.


Hong Xiuquan
  Early life
Hong was the youngest son of four children in a poor but proud Hakka family. The Hakkas were an industrious people who had migrated into South China from the north several centuries earlier and still retained their original customs.
At an early age, Hong showed signs of great intelligence; his entire village sponsored him in his studies, hoping that he would eventually pass the Confucian civil service examination, enter the government bureaucracy, and bring wealth and honour to his family and friends.

Hong took the government examination for the first time in 1827 and failed to obtain even the lowest official degree, an outcome not surprising in view of the great number of candidates competing.

He took the test several times, each time traveling to the provincial capital in Guangzhou (Canton), which was also the centre for trade with the West. When he failed the exam for the third time in 1837, the strain was more than he could bear. He suffered an emotional collapse. During a delirium that lasted several days, he imagined himself to be in the presence of a venerable old man with a golden beard.

The old man complained that the world was overrun by evil demons, and he gave Hong a sword and seal to use in eradicating the bad spirits. Hong also believed himself to have encountered a middle-aged man who aided and instructed him in the extermination of demons.
Hong’s conversion to Christianity
When Hong recovered, he returned to his occupation as a village schoolteacher. In 1843 he took the examination for the fourth and last time, but again he failed. Shortly after this, Li Jingfang, a cousin, noticed on Hong’s bookshelves an unusual work entitled Quanshi liangyan (“Good Words for Exhorting the Age”). Written by a Chinese missionary, the work, which explained the basic elements of Christianity, had been given to Hong on his visit to Guangzhou in 1837. Apparently, Hong had briefly glanced at the book’s contents and then forgotten about it. When Li brought it to his attention, Hong reexamined the work and suddenly discovered the explanation for his visions. He realized that during his illness he had been transported to heaven. The old man he had spoken with was God, and the middle-aged man was Jesus Christ. Hong further understood that he was the second son of God, sent to save China. In reading the portions of the Bible contained in the Quanshi liangyan, Hong often translated the pronouns I, we, you, and he as referring to himself, as if the book had been written for him. He baptized himself, prayed to God, and from then on considered himself a Christian.

Hong began to propagate the new doctrine among his friends and relatives. One of his most important converts was his schoolmate Feng Yunshan. In 1844 Hong lost his job because he had destroyed the tablets to Confucius in the village school where he was teaching, and Feng accompanied him on a preaching trip to neighbouring Guangxi province. Hong returned from Guangxi after a few months, but Feng remained, establishing the Baishangdi Hui (“God Worshippers’ Society”), a religious group devoted to Hong’s new doctrines.

In 1847 Hong went to Guangzhou to study Christianity with the Rev. I.J. Roberts, an American missionary. The two months he spent with Roberts marked his sole formal training in the doctrines of Christianity; his writings show little understanding of concepts alien to Chinese culture. New Testament ideas of humility and kindness are ignored, as are the Christian ideas of original sin and redemption. Rather, Hong stressed a wrathful Old Testament God, one who was to be worshipped and obeyed. He demanded the abolition of evil practices such as opium smoking, gambling, and prostitution and promised an ultimate reward to those who followed the teachings of the Lord.

Hong’s contacts with Western Christianity did, however, teach him that there were other countries in the world. Rather than the traditional Chinese ethnocentrism, he postulated a world of many nations, all of them equal under God. Moreover, he was iconoclastic in his attitude toward the Chinese culture of his day, labeling it the work of evil demons and insisting that all symbols of it be destroyed.

  The Taiping Rebellion
After leaving Roberts, Hong joined Feng and the God Worshippers and was immediately accepted as the new leader of the group. Conditions in the countryside were deplorable, and sentiment ran high against the Qing dynasty rulers. As a result, Hong and Feng began to plot the rebellion that finally began in July 1850. Hong’s rebels expanded into neighbouring districts, and on Jan. 1, 1851, Hong’s 37th birthday, he proclaimed his new dynasty, the Taiping Tianguo (“Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”) and assumed the title of Tianwang, or “Heavenly King.” The Taipings pressed north through the fertile Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) valley.

As the rebels passed through the countryside, whole towns and villages joined them. They grew from a ragged band of a few thousand to a fanatical but highly disciplined army of more than a million, divided into separate divisions of men and women soldiers. Men and women were considered equal by the Taipings but were allowed no contact with one another—even married couples were forbidden sexual intercourse.

After Hong’s army captured the great central China city of Nanjing on March 10, 1853, he decided to halt his troops and make the city his permanent capital, renaming it Tianjing (“Heavenly Capital”). A northern expedition to capture the Qing capital at Beijing failed, but Taiping troops scored great victories in other places.

Meanwhile, Hong’s friend Feng had died en route to Nanjing, and Hong had placed much power in the hands of his minister of state, Yang Xiuqing. It was Yang who organized the new Taiping state and mapped the strategy of the Taiping armies. Eventually Yang began to chastise Hong and to usurp his prerogatives as supreme leader. To legitimize his authority, Yang occasionally lapsed into trances in which his voice supposedly became that of the Lord’s. In one of his trances, Yang claimed that the Lord demanded Hong be whipped for kicking one of his concubines (although Taiping followers were allowed no sexual relations with members of the opposite sex, Taiping leaders maintained enormous harems). On Sept. 2, 1856, Hong had Yang murdered by Wei Changhui, another Taiping general. Wei in turn became haughty, and Hong had him slain as well.

After this, Hong ignored his ablest followers and entrusted affairs of state to his incompetent elder brothers. He withdrew from all government matters for long periods, spending his time with his harem or in religious speculation. By 1862 Hong’s generals were telling him that the situation at Nanjing was desperate and that he ought to abandon the city. He refused, stating that he trusted in divine guidance. He even declined to lay in supplies in case of a siege because he was sure that God would provide. On June 1, 1864, Hong, despairing after a lingering illness, committed suicide.

His young son succeeded him on the throne. The city finally fell on July 19, 1864, and government troops initiated a terrible slaughter in which more than 100,000 people were said to have been killed. Sporadic Taiping resistance continued in other parts of the country until 1866.

Lee Nathan Feigon

Encyclopædia Britannica
Feng Yunshan

Feng Yunshan, Wade-Giles romanization Feng Yün-shan (born 1822, Huaxian, Guangdong province, China—died June 1852, Quanzhou, Guangxi province), Chinese missionary and social reformer, one of the original leaders of the Taiping Rebellion, an uprising that occupied most of South China between 1850 and 1864, brought death to an estimated 20,000,000 people, and radically altered governmental structure.


Feng Yunshan
  Feng was a neighbour and schoolmate of Hong Xiuquan, the religious mystic who became the supreme Taiping leader. Feng was one of the first converts to Hong’s unique version of Christianity, and in 1844 he accompanied the mystic on a preaching mission into their neighbouring southern province of Guangxi. Hong returned home after a few months, but Feng remained to organize the Baishangdi Hui, or God Worshippers’ Society, which combined Hong’s religious ideas with a program of social reform. In 1847 Hong rejoined Feng and was accepted as the leader of the society.

When government troops attacked the God Worshippers in July 1850, the Taiping Rebellion broke out. On Sept. 25, 1851, Hong proclaimed his new dynasty, the Taiping Tianguo (“Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”). Hong became the Tianwang, or “Heavenly King,” and Feng was given the title of Nanwang, or “Southern King,” and was made the general of the advance guard. A short time later, however, he was mortally wounded in battle.

Encyclopædia Britannica
Yang Xiuqing

Yang Xiuqing, Wade-Giles romanization Yang Hsiu-ch’ing, original name Yang Silong (born 1821, Guiping, Guangxi province, China—died Sept. 2, 1856, Nanjing), organizer and commander in chief of the Taiping Rebellion, the political-religious uprising that occupied most of South China between 1850 and 1864.


Yang Xiuqing
  A dealer in firewood, Yang joined the Taiping band shortly before the rebellion broke out and quickly rose to a high position. In 1851, when the supreme Taiping leader, Hong Xiuquan (1814–64), proclaimed his own dynasty and gave himself the title of Tianwang, or “Heavenly King,” he made Yang commander in chief of the armed forces with the title of Dongwang, or “Eastern King.” Yang organized the Taiping army and also developed a massive system to spy on the Taiping followers. Hong Xiuquan had formed the Taipings after a series of visions in which it was revealed to him that he was the younger son of God, sent down to earth to save China. Yang proceeded to buttress his own position by imitating Hong. He went into a series of trances, in which he claimed to speak as the mouthpiece of the Lord, an accomplishment confirmed by his seeming ability to reveal traitors to the Taiping cause and confront them with the details of their treason.
Under Yang’s direction, the Taipings advanced northward until in 1853 they took the large east-central city of Nanjing and made it their capital. Taiping armies continued north in an effort to take the imperial capital at Beijing. Meanwhile, Hong turned his attention increasingly to his harem and to religious affairs. He made Yang his prime minister, with authority to organize the Taiping administration.

Gradually, Yang also usurped Hong’s prerogatives as Heavenly King, and the resentful Hong ordered Yang’s execution. Not only was Yang put to death, but his entire family and thousands of his adherents were killed. After this attempted coup, Taiping leaders grew increasingly suspicious of one another, and the Taiping cause began to collapse.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Shi Dakai

Shi Dakai, Wade-Giles romanization Shih Ta-k’ai (born March 1831, Guixian, Guangxi province, China—died June 25, 1863, Chengdu, Sichuan province), one of the leaders of the Taiping Rebellion, the widespread uprising that gripped South China between 1850 and 1864.


Shi Dakai
  The most literate of the Taipings, Shi was an avowed enemy of the alien Qing (Manchu) rulers of China. In the early part of the 20th century, he came to be revered as a hero of the Chinese nationalist rebellion against foreign domination. As one of the original five Taiping rebel leaders, Shi assumed the title of yiwang (“assistant king”). In 1856, when the eastern king Yang Xiuqing attempted to usurp the throne of the supreme Taiping leader, Hong Xiuquan (1814–64), the northern king Wei Changhui was recalled by Hong from Jiangxi to kill Yang. The northern king killed not only Yang but thousands of his adherents and relatives as well. When Shi objected to the slaughter, the northern king plotted to kill him, but Shi discovered the plot and escaped. Hong finally had the northern king executed and recalled Shi to the capital, but Shi’s immense popularity with the Taiping troops aroused Hong’s suspicion. Disgruntled, Shi split from the Taiping movement in May 1857, taking with him a large personal following and some of the most able Taiping commanders. Although the Qing government offered him huge rewards and high rank, he refused to surrender, chiding the Qing officials for their cooperation with foreign barbarians. Shi, who had hoped to establish an independent kingdom in the western province of Sichuan, was unable to win a popular base and was eventually caught and executed by government forces.

Encyclopædia Britannica


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