1854 in the United States
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|1854 in the United States|
|Years:||1851 1852 1853 – 1854 – 1855 1856 1857|
31 stars (1851–1858)
Events from the year 1854 in the United States.
- President: Franklin Pierce (Democratic)
- Vice President: vacant
- Chief Justice: Roger B. Taney
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Linn Boyd (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 33rd
- January 4 – Senator Stephen Douglas introduces a bill to form the Nebraska Territory. The bill sparked major debates related to slavery issues and evolved into the Kansas–Nebraska Act.
- February 14 – Texas is linked by telegraph with the rest of the United States, when a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas is completed.
- February 28 – The Black Warrior Affair: A ship destined for New York City is detained in Havana, Cuba (under Spanish control at the time). The incident strains U.S.–Spanish relations.
- March 20
- March 30 – Battle of Cieneguilla: The U.S. First Regiment of Dragoons attacks a larger force of Jicarilla Apache and Ute Native Americans near present-day Pilar, New Mexico. The Americans are forced to retreat after losing more than half their number.
- March 31 – Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy signs the Treaty/Convention of Kanagawa with the Japanese government (the Tokugawa Shogunate), opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade (see History of Japan).
- April 16 – The American packet ship Powhattan is wrecked off the shore of New Jersey with a loss of more than 200 lives.
- May – Elisha Otis publicly debuts his safety elevator at the New York World's Fair.
- May 27 – Taiping Rebellion: United States minister Robert McLane arrives at Nanjing aboard the U.S. Navy warship USS Susquehanna.
- May 30 – The Kansas–Nebraska Act is signed into law, creating the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands, repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and allowing settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries.
- June 10 – The first class of the United States Naval Academy graduates at Annapolis, Maryland.
- July 6 – In Jackson, Michigan, the first convention of the U.S. Republican Party is held.
- July 8 – An anti-Catholic riot in Bath, Maine, destroys a church used by Irish Catholics.
- July 13 – Bombardment of San Juan del Norte: The USS Cyane attacks San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua.
- August 7–8 – Know Nothings riot against immigrants in St. Louis, Missouri, leading to 10 deaths.
- August 19 – Grattan massacre: A group of U.S. Army soldiers in Nebraska Territory are killed by Lakota Sioux warriors after they killed Chief Conquering Bear, starting the First Sioux War.
- October 1 – The watch company founded in 1850 in Roxbury, Massachusetts by Aaron Lufkin Dennison relocates to Waltham to become the Waltham Watch Company, pioneer in the American System of Watch Manufacturing.
- October 9–11 – The controversial Ostend Manifesto is secretly drafted. The document implies that the U.S. should acquire Cuba from Spain by any means necessary.
- October 16 – Abraham Lincoln, in his "Peoria speech", expresses opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, Popular Sovereignty, and slavery in the United States.
- November 29 – Bleeding Kansas: A pro-slavery Democrat, John Wilkins Whitfield, is elected as the Congressional Delegate for Kansas Territory.
- December 26 – The Treaty of Medicine Creek is signed in Washington Territory. The U.S. acquires land from various Native American tribes and in return creates three reservations.
- Professor Benjamin Silliman of Yale University becomes the first person to fractionate petroleum into its individual components by distillation. Thus, petroleum products like gasoline and kerosene were first produced.
- Waterbury, Connecticut brass manufacturer Benedict & Burnham Manufacturing Company created the department, and eventual independent company, Waterbury Clock Company. This became the predecessor of the present Timex Group USA manufacturer of timepieces.
- Achulet Massacre: More than 65 Tolowa people were killed by American settlers in California.
- June 9 – John F. Shafroth, United States Senator from Colorado from 1913 till 1919. Died in 1922.
- July 30 – John Sharp Williams, United States Senator from Mississippi from 1911 till 1923. (died 1932)
- August 18 – James Paul Clarke, Governor of Arkansas from 1895 till 1897 and United States Senator from Arkansas from 1903 till 1916. Died in 1916.
- August 29 – John Black, United States Senator from Mississippi from 1832 till 1838. Died in 1854.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2011)|
- January 18 – Robert M. Charlton, United States Senator from Georgia from 1852 till 1853. (born 1807)
- August 14 – Solomon W. Downs, United States Senator from Louisiana from 1847 till 1853. (born 1801)
- August 21 – Thomas Clayton, United States Senator from Delaware from 1824 till 1827 and from 1837 till 1847. (born 1777)
- October 8 – Gideon Tomlinson, United States Senator from Connecticut from 1831 till 1837. (born 1780)
- December 28 – James Morehead, United States Senator from Kentucky from 1841 to 1847. (born 1797)
- Today in History: September 20, The Library of Congress, American Memory.
- "Irish immigrants fight back in 1854 nativist riots", stltoday.com
- "Peoria Speech, October 16, 1854". National Park Service. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
- McDermott, Kathleen (1998). Timex: A Company and Its Community. ISBN 0-9675087-0-3.
- Media related to 1854 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons