The Rebellions of 1837-1838 were insurrections against the oligarchic government of the British colonies of Lower and Upper Canada in 1837 and 1838. The rebellion began in Lower Canada but quickly spread to Upper Canada as well. [Read more…] about The Rebellions of 1837-1838: American Influence & The Formation of Canada
Panic of 1837
At the time construction of the Erie Canal was begun in 1817, Philadelphia (the second largest city in the United States) was the nation’s financial center. Although there were successful banks in New York, Philadelphia, one of America’s leading seaports, had been the capital during the American Revolution and of the nation (1790 to 1800), and so was considered the financial center of the country.
This is not to say there was not some rivalry between financial institutions located on Wall Street in New York and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, but the latter was the site of the first bank established in the nation in 1781, the Bank of North America, and more importantly became the site of the First Bank of the United States, which Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton had promoted. [Read more…] about Wall Street History: The Bank War & The Shift of Financial Power to New York
One of the familiar attacks on John Brown (and by extension his anti-slavery legacy) involves his failed business ventures and accusations that he was a swindler and a drifter, roaming from place to place – only briefly and uneventfully staying in North Elba, Essex County, NY.
“Over the years before his Kansas escapade Brown had been a drifter, horse thief and swindler,” Columbia University historian John Garraty once wrote. Garraty served as the president of the Society of American Historians and was co-author of the high school history textbook The American Nation (he died in 2007).
A closer look at Brown and the his family, however, reveals an experience typical of many Americans, then and today, and the importance of North Elba in Brown’s plans for a raid into Virginia. [Read more…] about The Last Days of John Brown: North Elba
Generally speaking, riots tend to happen on hot summer days but the Flour Riot erupted on a cold winter night in February of 1837. The attack on warehouses was sparked by a fear that food was being hoarded by wealthy merchants in lower Manhattan and people in the lower classes might face starvation.
In reality, the rumors which inflamed the crowd were greatly exaggerated, lasted about a day and the vandalism which resulted was fairly minor, especially when compared to such later disturbances such as the Astor Place Riot or the colossal Draft Riots. Nonetheless, the Flour Riot was a significant affair because it underscored a growing divide in the city between New York’s prosperous merchant class and a quickly growing lower class of newly arrived Irish immigrants. The riot was also memorable because new method of communication, the “penny press,” had helped to inflame tensions. These cheap newspapers, widely available to the poor, had spread dangerous rumors and provoked a mob to attack a warehouse where flour was stored. [Read more…] about The Flour Riot of 1837