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Fast Facts

POP Culture: 1820

ICONS: Spain Cedes Florida, 1824 Presidential Election, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
Florida Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Smithsonian logo

  • Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson proves that tomatoes are not poisonous by eating one in public on September 28, 1820.
  • On November 20, 1820, the Nantucket, MA, whaling ship Essex sinks after being attacked by a sperm whale. The event inspires Herman Melville's 1851 novel, Moby Dick.
  • The Adams-Onís Treaty is ratified in 1821, in which Spain ceded Florida to the United States in exchange for America's renunciation of any claims on Texas following the Louisiana Purchase and $15 million.
  • The Saturday Evening Post is published for the first time as a weekly newspaper on August 4, 1821.
  • During his State of the Union Address on December 2, 1823, President James Monroe introduces the "Monroe Doctrine" declaring that European attempts to recolonize the Americas would be considered a hostile act towards the United States.
  • Although Andrew Jackson wins the popular vote, the 1824 presidential election is decided by the U.S. House of Representatives when none of the four candidates (John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay) wins a majority of the electoral votes. The House chooses Adams on February 9, 1825.
  • The first boat leaves Buffalo, NY, enroute to New York City via the Erie Canal on October 26, 1825.
  • Samuel Morey patents the internal combustion engine (named the "Gas or Vapor Engine") on April 1, 1826.
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad incorporates - becoming the first railroad in the United States to offer transportation for people and commercial goods - on February 28, 1827.
  • In 1829, Presbyterian minister Reverend Sylvester Graham develops "Dr. Graham's Honey Biskets," later known as "Graham Crackers."
  • The Smithsonian Institution is founded in 1829 when British scientist James Smithson bequeaths $500,000 for its initial funding.

The 1820 Census


10 Largest Urban Places

U.S. Resident Population: 9,638,453 Rank Place Population
Population per square mile of land area: 7.4 1 New York City, NY 123,706
Percent increase of population from 1810 to 1820: 33.1 2 Philadelphia, PA 63,802
Official Enumeration Date: August 7 3 Baltimore, MD 62,738
Number of States: 23 4 Boston town, MA 43,298
Cost: $209,000 5 New Orleans, LA 27,176
Cost per Capita (cents): 2.2 6 Charleston, SC 24,780
Total Pages in Published Reports: 288 7 Northern Liberties township, PA 19,678
Number of Enumerators: 1,188 8 Southwark district, PA 14,713
Number of Office Staff: 9 Washington, DC 13,247
Census Bureau Director: John Quincy Adams 10 Salem town, MA 12,731
Number of Questions Asked: 7

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