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Fast Facts

POP Culture: 1850

ICONS:Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dred Scott, John Brown
Harriet Beecher Stowe Dred Scott John Brown

  • The September 18, 1850, Fugitive Slave Act provides for the return of slaves brought to free states.
  • Millard Fillmore is sworn into office as the 13th President of the United States, following Zachary Taylor's death on July 9, 1850.
  • "America" wins the first America's Cup yacht race on August 22, 1851.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published in 1852.
  • The December 30, 1853, "Gadsden Purchase" gives the United States a strip of land in the Southwest that would later become the states of New Mexico and Arizona.
  • The Republican Party is founded in Ripon, WI, on February 28, 1854.
  • Poet Walt Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass on July 4, 1855.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court's March 6, 1857, "Dred Scott Decision" rules that Scott, a slave moved to a free state, never ceased to be a slave despite residing in a free state, denied him citizenship, and denied him the right to sue.
  • Elisha Otis installs the first elevator on March 23, 1857.
  • Drilling is completed on the first productive commercial oil well in Titusville, PA, on August 27, 1859.

The 1850 Census


10 Largest Urban Places

U.S. Resident Population: 23,191,876 Rank Place Population
Population per square mile of land area: 7.9 1 New York City, NY 515,547
Percent increase of population from 1840 to 1850: 35.9 2 Baltimore, MD 169,054
Official Enumeration Date: June 1 3 Boston, MA 136,181
Number of States: 30 4 Philadelphia, PA 121,376
Cost: $1,423,000 5 New Orleans, LA 116,375
Cost per Capita (cents): 6.1 6 Cincinnati, OH 115,435
Total Pages in Published Reports: 2,165 7 Brooklyn, NY 96,838
Number of Enumerators: 3,231 8 St. Louis, MO 77,860
Number of Office Staff: 160 9 Spring Garden District, PA 58,894
Census Bureau Director: Joseph C.G. Kennedy 10 Albany, NY 50,763
Number of Questions Asked: 13

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2022