Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
Civil War & Reconstruction (1860 - 1875)
1860 1860
  • Garibaldi proclaims unified Italy
  • South Carolina secedes
  • Robert Franz: Op. 9, 10, 14, 17, & 18 songs
  • George F. Root: Belshazzar's Feast (cantata)
  • Louis Gottschalk: Escenas campestres (chamber opera)
  • Wagner: Lohengrin
  • Jacob Burckhardt: The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
  • George Eliot: The Mill on the Floss
  • Frederic Edwin Church paints Twilight in the Wilderness
  • Anton Chekov born
  • Folk artist Grandma Moses born
  • Gustav Mahler born
  • Hugo Wolf born
  • Arthur Schopenhauer dies
1861 1861
  • Abraham Lincoln inaugurated
  • Civil War begins with the Battle of Bull Run
  • Emancipation of Russian serfs
  • Yale University gives the first Ph.D. in America
  • Italian unification begins with the crowning of Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia
  • Robert Franz: Sechs Lieder, Op. 34 (Heine settings, including "Die Rose, die Lilie")
  • Liszt's marriage to Carolyne falls through in Rome
  • John Philip Sousa receives his first musical instruction
  • Verdi: Rigoletto
  • Wagner's Tannhäuser is a scandal in Paris
  • George Ives (Charles Ives' father) encounters Stephen Foster in New York and helps him to his lodgings
  • Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
  • Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The House of the Dead
  • Australian soprano Nellie Melba born
  • Frederic Remington born
1862 1862
  • Otto von Bismarck elected Premier of Prussia
  • Robert Franz: Op. 35 & 36 songs
  • Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder published (Mainz, Germany)
  • Debut of Boston conductor B.J. Lang
  • Verdi: La Forza del Destino (St. Petersburg)
  • Wagner given amnesty in Saxony
  • Walt Whitman goes to the Civil War front
  • Mathew Brady's photographs of the Civil War
  • Victor Hugo: Les Misérables
  • Sarah Bernhardt's debut
  • Claude Debussy born
  • Gustav Klimt born
  • Maurice Maeterlinck born
  • William S. Porter (O. Henry) born
  • Edith Wharton born
1863 1863
  • Emancipation Proclamation takes effect
  • Battle of Gettysburg; "Gettysburg Address"
  • President Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day
  • Hector Berlioz: Les Troyens
  • Jules Bizet: Les Pecheurs de Perles
  • Wagner and Cosima pledge their love
  • Manet paints Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe
  • Bierstadt begins paintings of the American West
  • Edvard Munch born
  • Lucien Pissarro born
1864 1864
  • Sherman's March to the Sea takes place in Georgia
  • Confederate soldiers try to burn New York City by setting fire to the Barnum Museum and Astor House
  • Ludwig II ascends throne of Bavaria & summons Wagner
  • Italian archaeologist de Rossa publishes results of exploration of Roman catacombs
  • "In God We Trust" first appears on American currency
  • Robert Franz: Sechs Lieder, Op. 33 (Goethe settings)
  • Edvard Grieg: Hjertets melodier [Melodies of the Heart] (Hans Christian Andersen texts)
  • Henri Toulouse-Lautrec born
  • Richard Strauss born
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer dies
1865
  • Henry Clay Work: "Marching Through Georgia" and about 30 other songs
  • Pease: “Stars of the Summer Night” (Longfellow)
  • The spiritual "Go Tell It on the Mountain" is collected in a hymnal by John W. Work
  • The anonymous hymns "Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen" and "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" are published in African American hymnals
  • Whitman publishes Drum-Taps
  • Madison Cawein born
  • Arthur Symons born
1865
  • Abraham Lincoln is assassinated; he is succeeded by Andrew Johnson
  • Civil War ends
  • Reconstruction begins
  • 13th Amendment abolishes slavery
  • Ku Klux Klan is formed by six ex-Confederate soldiers
  • First oil pipeline, six miles long (PA, U.S.A.)
  • Robert Franz: Sechs Dichtungen, Op. 13 (Waldau settings), Op. 20, 21
  • Berlioz publishes Memoirs
  • Liszt becomes Abbé; composes Missa Solemnis
  • Schubert's Unfinished Symphony receives its first performance (Vienna)
  • Wagner premieres Tristan und Isolde
  • Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • Mark Twain: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County
  • Thomas Carlyle completes Frederick the Great
  • General William Booth founds Salvation Army--part of the second wave of revivalist Great Awakening
  • Rudyard Kipling born
  • Jean Sibelius born
  • William Butler Yeats born
1866 1866
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is passed, declaring that everyone born in the United States is a citizen, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of slavery or indentured servitude (Native Americans living on reservations are not included)
  • Bismarck creates North German Alliance/Prussian-Italian Alliance against Austria; Austro-Prussian war (Seven Weeks War; 14 June-23 August)
  • Underwater torpedo invented
  • Robert Franz: Sechs Gesänge, Op. 37
  • Jacques Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne
  • Ambroise Thomas: Mignon
  • American composer J. P. Webster composes The Great Rebellion, a cantata about the Civil War
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Ferruccio Busoni born
  • Vasili Kandinsky born
  • Erik Satie born
  • Friedrich Rückert dies
1867 1867
  • Seward's Folly: U.S. acquires Alaska
  • John D. Rockefeller forms the Standard Oil Company
  • Alfred Nobel invents dynamite
  • Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary established; Joseph I becomes Emperor of a new Austrian-Hungarian Empire
  • Canada becomes a state in the British Commonwealth
  • Karl Marx: Das Kapital
  • Robert Franz is almost completely deaf and resigns from official positions; composes Op. 38 (Heine settings), 39 (Heine settings), 40, & 41 songs
  • Johann Strauss: "Blue Danube Waltz"
  • Henrik Ibsen: Peer Gynt
  • Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick is serialized and launches his popularity
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: May-Day and Other Pieces
  • Sidney Lanier: Tiger Lilies
  • Frank Lloyd Wright born
1868
  • Dudley Buck publishes his first song, “Where Are the Swallows Fled?” (text by Adelaide Proctor). Buck is known mostly for his cantatas and works for organ.
  • Charles E. Pratt and W. H. Lingard write the popular song "Walking Down Broadway" about the vibrancy of New York life in the mid-19th-century
  • Henry F. Gilbert born
1868
  • Andrew Johnson is impeached but not convicted
  • 14th Amendment grants citizenship to former slaves
  • 8-hour day instituted for government employees
  • Rail lines begin to offer dining car service
  • Johannes Brahms: A German Requiem
  • Richard Wagner meets Nietzsche; Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
  • Louisa May Alcott: Little Women
  • Feodor Dostoyevsky: The Idiot
  • W. E. B. DuBois born
  • Stefan George born
  • Scott Joplin born
  • Austrian theorist Heinrich Schenker born
  • Gioacchino Rossini dies
1869 1869
  • Ulysses S. Grant inaugurated
  • Transcontinental railroad completed
  • Suez Canal opens
  • Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore's National Peace Jubilee in Boston, which brought together more than 12,000 musicians, including 10, 926 singers
  • Loewe: 5 Lieder, Op. 145
  • Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad
  • Johannes Brahms: Liebeslieder Waltzes
  • Modest Mussorgsky: Boris Goudunov
  • Peter Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Julliet
  • Richard Wagner: Siegfried
  • Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad
  • Paul Verlaine: Fêtes Gallantes
  • Kensett paints Lake George
  • Henri Matisse born
  • Hans Pfitzner born
  • Hector Berlioz dies
  • Carl Loewe dies
1870
  • “John Henry,” the folk song pitting a hero against a modern machine, is written in the 1870's
  • Henry Clay Work: "Georgie Sails To-morrow!"
  • Howard Brockway born
1870
  • Women vote in Utah
  • First black member of Congress: Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels of Mississippi
  • Franco-Prussian War (to 1871); creation of German Empire; Bismarck first German Chancellor
  • Robert Franz: Op. 22 (includes a Goethe setting) Sechs Gesänge nach Texten deutscher Volkslieder, Op. 23; Sechs Lieder, Op. 25 (Heine settings, including "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai"), Sechs Gesänge, Op. 26, also Op. 27 (Mörike settings), 28 (some Mörike settings, including “Verborgenheit” & “Um Mitternacht”, 30, 31, 42, 43, 44
  • Wagner marries Cosima
  • Moody and Sankey begin to conduct Revivalist meetings
  • Jules Verne: Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • Charles Dickens dies
1871 1871
  • Great Chicago Fire
  • Boss Tweed's corruption is exposed by The New York Times
  • The Paris Commune, a brief, pro-worker government
  • William I proclaimed German Emperor at Versailles
  • New York Herald journalist Henry Stanley finds David Livingstone in Africa, coining the legendary phrase "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
  • Winston Churchill born
  • Liszt begins last song group
  • Fisk University Jubilee Singers give first concerts
  • Louisa May Alcott: Little Men
  • Verdi: Aida
  • Charles Darwin publishes The Descent of Man
  • Marcel Proust born
1872 1872
  • Yellowstone National Park created
  • First celebration of Arbor Day in Nebraska
  • George Frederick Bristow: The Pioneer (secular cantata)
  • Liszt publishes a book about his friend, composer Robert Franz
  • Schubert statue dedicated in Vienna
  • Peter Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2, "Little Russian"
  • Wagner lays cornerstone of Bayreuth
  • George Eliot: Middlemarch
  • Frank H. Murdoch: Davy Crockett (play)
  • Nietzsche publishes The Birth of Tragedy
  • Ivan Turgenev: A Month in the Country (play)
  • Sergei Diaghilev born
  • Ralph Vaughn Williams born
  • American artist George Catlin dies
  • Samuel B. Morse dies
1873
  • Daniel Kelley sets the text "Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam" by Dr. Brewster Higley. The song "Home on the Range" will become the state song of Kansas in 1947.
  • The popular songwriting team of Edward Harrigan (lyricist) and Dave Braham (composer) write "The Mulligan Guard." They will remain popular for the next two decades for their musical theater pieces and songs, often using humor to depict the ethnic neighborhoods of New York.
  • Willa Cather born
  • John Rosamond Johnson born
  • Walter de la Mare born
1873
  • The cable car is introduced in San Francisco
  • Liszt composes 5 Hungarian Folksongs
  • Joseph Rissé's Franz Schubert und Seine Lieder published
  • Theodore Thomas, influential conductor and impresario, founds the Cincinnati May Festival
  • Thomas Aldrich: Marjorie Daw
  • Thomas Hardy: A Pair of Blue Eyes
  • Arthur Rimbaud: Une Saison en Enfer
  • Jules Verne: Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Max Reger born
1874 1874
  • Barbed wire changes life on the Great Plains
  • Richard Wagner completes his Ring Cycle
  • Georges Bizet: Carmen
  • Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus
  • Giuseppe Verdi: Requiem
  • Richard Wagner: Götterdämmerung
  • First Impressionist exhibition in Paris
  • Sholes and Glidden's typewriter establishes the QWERTY keyboard
  • Gustav Holst born
  • Austrian soprano Selma Kurz born (first Zerbinetta)
  • Arnold Schoenberg born
  • Cornelius dies
1875 1875
  • Liszt gives a joint concert with Wagner in Budapest
  • The Paris Opera's Palais Garnier opens
  • Eakins paints The Gross Clinic
  • Daniel Chester French's statue The Minute Man
  • Carl Jung born
  • Thomas Mann born
  • Maurice Ravel born
  • Rainer Maria Rilke born
  • Hans Christian Anderson dies
  • Georges Bizet dies
  • Charles Kingsley dies
  • Edward Mörike dies
  • Alexei Tolstoy dies