Timeline: 1895-1905


O and O Tea.
  • 1895
  • Cuban nationalists living in the United States and other countries return to Cuba to launch revolution against Spanish rule
  • In boundary dispute between British Guiana and Venezuela, US asserts right to interfere in such disputes in the Western Hemisphere; resolved with British agreement to accept arbitration
  • South Carolina adopts disfranchisement legislation
  • In Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust, Supreme Court rules federal progressive income tax unconstitutional unless the tax can be apportioned by state rather than by individual, a stipulation that proves unworkable
  • In US v. E. C. Knight Company, Supreme Court rules that Sherman Antitrust Act does not give the federal government power to regulate the sugar monopoly
  • Race riot in New Orleans leaves six blacks dead
  • Haverhill, MA, shoe factory workers’ strike over wage cuts
  • National Association of Manufacturers holds first meeting in Ohio
  • Native Sons of the Golden West, a Chinese civil rights group, founded in San Francisco
  • Boston Public Library opens
  • At Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Booker T. Washington delivers “Atlanta Compromise” address
  • Katherine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful”
  • Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al, The Woman’s Bible
  • George B. Selden develops and patents an internal combustion engine; Frank Duryea introduces gasoline-driven motors, key to development of the automobile
  • The Baltimore & Ohio begins to use electric locomotives, the first US railroad to do so
  • First pneumatic tires manufactured by Hart Rubber Works, Connecticut
  • Volleyball invented by YMCA athletic instructors
  • First United States Golf Association amateur championship and first US Open in golf held back-to-back at Newport, R.I.; first USGA Women’s amateur held at Westbury, NY
  • Cotton States Exposition, Atlanta
  • Evangelist Billy Sunday begins his preaching career
  • Formation of National Baptist Convention of the USA, largest black denomination in the country
  • Shiloh community (Church of the Living God) founded in Maine
  • Vedanta Movement forms first communal ashrams in US cities
  • Willard Cooperative Colonies (Christian Prohibitionist) founded in North Carolina and Tennessee
  • Fairhope colony (Single-Tax) formed in Alabama
  • Salvation Army denounces lynching
  • 1896
  • William McKinley, Republican, defeats William Jennings Bryan, Democrat, in the US presidential election; popular vote 7,102,246 to 6,492,559, electoral vote 271 to 176; Populist party also endorses Bryan but he does not acknowledge their support; minor candidates include Joshua Levering on the Prohibition ticket and John Palmer on the Gold Democratic (National Democratic) ticket
  • Utah enters the Union (45th state)
  • Congress provides rural free mail delivery (RFD); all Americans can now receive mail at home free of charge
  • Congress passes resolution condemning Sultan Abdul Hamid II for massacre of Armenians; first US international human rights resolution
  • In Ward v. Race Horse, Supreme Court upholds right of government to prosecute Indians caught hunting on unoccupied public lands
  • Hardrock miners’ strike in Leadville, CO, precipitates violence as mine owners and state leaders vow to clean out union; gun fights, dynamiting incidents, and attack on Coronado Mine (1896-1897)
  • George Washington Carver appointed director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama
  • Atlanta University holds first Conference on Negro Problems
  • Brooks Adams, The Law of Civilization and Decay
  • Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto
  • Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
  • “Yellow Kid” color comic appears and popularizes Sunday newspaper comics
  • Fannie Farmer, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book
  • National Association of Colored Women founded
  • First meeting of American Negro Academy in Chicago
  • Home Colony (Anarchist) founded in Washington
  • Guglielmo Marconi demonstrates wireless telegraph, soon to be the basis of radio
  • X-ray first used to treat breast cancer
  • Charles M. Sheldon, In His Steps, or, What Would Jesus Do?
  • Father John Zahm publishes Evolution and Dogma; suppressed by the Vatican
  • Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary founded, first yeshiva in the country
  • Christian Commonwealth Colony founded in Columbus, Georgia
  • Christian Corporation, a socialist colony, founded in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • 1897
  • Massacre of Slavic coal miners in Lattimer, PA, as miners march for higher wages and an end to “scrip” pay; 50 dead or wounded
  • Social Democracy of America founded, forerunner of Social Democratic Party
  • National Congress of Mothers founded
  • William James, The Will to Believe
  • Edward Arlington Robinson, The Children of the Night (poetry)
  • Klondike gold rush begins
  • Jell-O introduced
  • First Boston Marathon
  • Jewish Daily Forward begins publication in New York
  • Theosophical Movement founds Temple of the People in Syracuse, New York, and Point Loma Colony in San Diego, California
  • 1898
  • In U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, Supreme Court rules that all people born in the United States are US citizens irrespective of race
  • In Holden v. Hardy, Supreme Court lets stand state regulations for health and safety in notably dangerous industries (such as mining)
  • South Carolina segregates railroad cars
  • Louisiana adopts disfranchisement legislation
  • In Spanish-American War, US enters Cuban revolution on side of revolutionaries against Spanish rule, but displaces them on the battlefield and in treaty negotiations; claims Guam and Puerto Rico, pays Spain $20 million for the Philippines
  • Teller Amendment passes Congress, asserting that US seeks full Cuban independence and will not interfere in the affairs of Cuba as a free nation
  • US annexes Hawai’ian Islands, Wake Island, and Palmyra in the Pacific Ocean
  • Anti-Imperialist League founded in Boston to oppose US imperialist policies
  • Marlboro, MA, shoe workers’ strike over wage levels
  • Blacks terrorized and murdered and Republican/Populist officials forcibly removed from office in Wilmington, NC
  • National Afro-American Council created
  • National Consumers’ League founded
  • Biltmore Forest School created for study of forestry
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Woman and Economics
  • Peter Finley Dunne, Mr. Dooley in Peace and War
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
  • James Luther Long, “Madame Butterfly” (story)
  • Boston begins operating the first US subway system
  • Last year for decades that any African-American professional baseball player appears in National League games
  • Christian Commercial Men’s Association (Gideons International) founded
  • Christian Cooperative colonies founded in Kansas, Georgia, and Washington
  • Burley Cooperative Commonwealth (socialist) founded in Washington
  • Salvation Army forms unemployment colonies in California, Colorado, and Ohio
  • Shaker colony founded in White Oak, Georgia
  • 1899
  • Philippine-American War (1899-1902, with sporadic episodes of resistance continuing over the next three decades)
  • US sends troops to Samoa to assert US rights

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Harper’s Weekly, Feb. 1899, p.180.


  • In Addystone Pipe case the Supreme Court upholds government right to prosecute corporations for price-fixing
  • Mt. Rainier National Park created
  • Nation’s first juvenile court established in Chicago
  • Delaware loosens corporate law, creating the “Delaware corporation”
  • North Carolina segregates railroad cars
  • Hague Conference on armaments and war held in the Netherlands
  • Grain shovelers’ strike in Buffalo, NY, over wages and system of using saloons as labor centers
  • Street railway workers’ strike in Cleveland, OH, over speedup and safety issues; strikers attack and beat strikebreakers
  • Hardrock miners’ strike in Couer d’Alene district, Idaho, over union recognition and wages; precipitates armed clashes and dynamiting of Bunker Hill Mine property; US Army imposes martial law, large numbers of striking miners are
  • rounded up and held for extended periods in stockades
  • Newsboys in New York strike over pay; spreads to other parts of New York state, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and to bootblacks and messenger boys
  • Brotherhood of Teamsters founded
  • Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • John Dewey, The School and Society
  • W.E.B. DuBois, The Philadelphia Negro
  • Frank Norris, McTeague
  • John Philip Sousa, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (music)
  • Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” helps popularizes ragtime nationwide
  • Harmony Colony (Populist/Socialist) founded in Washington
  • Niksur Cooperative Association (Socialist) founded in Minnesota
  • Straight Edge Industrial Settlement founded in New York City
  • Enrico Marconi demonstrates wireless technology by broadcasting news of the America’s Cup yacht race
  • Pope Leo XIII issues Testem Benevolentiae, warning against “theological Americanism”
  • Christian Social Association colony founed in Sarona, Wisconsin
  • 1900
  • William McKinley, Republican, wins re-election as US president over William Jennigns Bryan, Democrat; popular vote 7,218,491 to 6,356,734 , electoral vote 292 to 155; minor candidates include John C. Wooley on the Prohibition ticket, Seth Ellis on the Unio Reform ticket, Wharton Barker on the Anti-Fusionist People’s ticket, and Eugene Debs on the Social Democratic ticket
  • US establishes “protectorate” in American Samoa
  • US troops join European and Japanese forces to put down patriotic revolt of “Boxers” in China, protesting foreign domination
  • Lacey Act provides federal wildlife protection
  • Robert LaFollette elected as progressive governor of Wisconsin; implements “Wisconsin idea” of using social science expertise for better government
  • North Carolina adopts disfranchisement legislation
  • Virginia segregates railroad cars
  • Riot in Akron, Ohio
  • Race riot in New Orleans
  • Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese sugar-cane workers strike, Hawai’i, over low pay
  • Anthracite coal strike in PA, over working conditions, leads to armed battles between sheriff’s men and strikers in Shenandoah and Oneida; National Guard called in
  • Machinists’ strike in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Paterson, N.J., for union recognition, minimum wage, and a nine-hour day (1900-1901)
  • National Negro Business League created
  • International Ladies Garment Workers Union founded
  • L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • David Belasco, "Madame Butterfly" (play)
  • Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • Jack London, The Son of the Wolf
  • Josiah Strong, Expansion
  • Olds Motor Works begins large-scale production of automobiles in Detroit
  • Walter Reed demontrates that yellow fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes
  • Sisters of St. Francis (Roman Catholic) formed
  • Arden colony (Single Tax) founded in Delaware
  • Roycrofters colony (semi-communal, craft-oriented) founded in Erie County, New York
  • Southern Cooperative Association of Apalachicola (Swedenborgian) founded in Florida
  • Vedanta Movement forms first rural commune in California
  • 1901
  • President William McKinley assassinated, V.P. Theodore Roosevelt assumes the office
  • President Theodore Roosevelt invites Booker T. Washington to dine with him at the White House, the first time a black American has done so; Roosevelt’s action meets a firestorm of criticism from white supremacists
  • Through Platt Amendment, Congress restricts Cuban independence and asserts US right to intervene as it wishes in Cuban affairs
  • Philippine nationalist leader Emilio Aguinaldo captured by US troops
  • Hay-Pouncefote Treaty
  • “Open Door” policy toward China advoated by United States
  • US sends troops to Samoa to assert US rights; Germany and US divide the islands into two “protectorates”
  • In the Insular Cases, Supreme Court rules that Puerto Rico is neither a foreign country nor a state and Congress may decide the status of its inhabitants, as citizens or “dependents” of the United States (1901-1904)
  • Last remaining African-American US Congressman, George H. White of North Carolina, gives up his seat; no black Congressman will serve for the next 28 years, and none from the South until the advent of the civil rights movement
  • Congress creates National Bureau of Standards
  • “Scientific Temperance” curriculum mandated in all states by this date
  • US Army War College founded at Washington, DC
  • Alabama and Virginia adopt disfranchisement legislation
  • Streetcar boycotts undertaken by African-Americans in cities across the South, to protest segregation (1901-1906)
  • National Cash Register Co. strike in Dayton, OH, for union recognition; workers locked out
  • San Francisco restaurant workers strike over wages and for a six-day workweek
  • Major steelworkers’ strike against newly created US Steel Corp., seeking union recognition
  • Federación Libre de los Trabajadores is admitted to the American Federation of Labor, marking the first entry of Mexican-Americans to this major union
  • United Textile Workers founded
  • Rockefeller Institute for Medican Research founded in New York City
  • First College Board examinations are given
  • Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
  • John Muir, Our National Parks
  • Frank Norris, The Octopus
  • Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery
  • J. P. Morgan creates U.S. Steel Corporation
  • Oil struck at Spindletop, Texas, beginning oil extraction in the state
  • Jokichi Takamine, Japanese-American researcher at Johns Hopkins University, isolates the hormone adrenaline
  • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo
  • American Standard Version of the Bible is published
  • Pentacostal movement begins at Charles Fox Parnahm’s Bible School, Topeka, KS
  • Brotherhood of Light movement (Spiritualist) founds colonies in Colorado

The Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge, looking across the River from the Top of the Brooklyn Pier.


  • "The Last Cable Laid - Views of the new Brooklyn Bridge taken on the occasion of the completion of the first great stage of work, when on June 26 the last strand of the last cable was strung across the river", Haper's Weekly, July 1902, p.895.
  • 1902
  • Congress extends Chinese exclusion for another decade; follows up in 1904 by making this indefinite
  • United States and Mexico are first nations to submit a dispute to the Hague Court of Arbitration for settlement, the first nations to do so
  • Newlands Recolmation Act allows public lands in arid West to be sold if irrigation is made available; creates Bureau of Reclamation
  • Crater Lake National Park created
  • Anthracite coal strike, PA, for eight-hour day, UMW recognition, minimum wage; strikers shot by company guards, precipitating violent clash in Shenandoah and calling of National Guard; houses are burned and strikebreakers stoned before President Theodore Roosevelt intervenes and pressures mine owners for settlement
  • Chicago teamsters’ strike versus packing houses over wages and working conditions; consumer boycott accompanies strike; three days of riots in Chicago against the “beef trust”
  • Henry James, The Wings of the Dove
  • William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • Helen Keller, The Story My Life
  • Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities
  • Ida Tarbell, History of the Standard Oil Company
  • Owen Wister, The Virginian
  • Photographer Alfred Stieglitz begins journal Camera Work
  • American Automobile Association founded
  • Inventor Willis Carrier patents an air conditioner
  • Inventor Arthur Little patents rayon
  • Researcher Walter Sutton establishes the basis for modern genetics by demonstrating that chromosones come in pairs and carry inherited traits
  • Rabbi Solomon Schechter assumes leadership of Jewish Theological Seminary, New York; develops ideas that will underlay Conservative Judaism
  • Zitkala-Sa, “Why I Am a Pagan,” Atlantic Monthly
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art founded in New York

Art Students and Copyists.

Winslow Homer (American, 1836-1910). Art Students and Copyists, Wood engraving. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. Purchase, Louise Woodruff Johnston (class of 1922) Fund, 1974.22.1


  • 1903
  • In Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock the Supreme Court provides wide latitude for federal government to confiscate tribal lands without due process
  • Violent pogroms in Russia stimulate immigration of Russian Jews seeking refuge in the United States
  • US facilitates Panamanian revolution against Colombia; under resulting Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, US pays Panama for indefinite lease on a six-mile strip of land on which to build an isthmaian canal (1903-1904)
  • Department of Commerce and Labor created at the Cabinet level in the federal executive branch
  • National Wildlife Refuge System created; Pelican Island, Florida, made nation’s first wildlife refuge
  • Wind Cave National Park created in South Dakota
  • Massachusetts becomes the first state to issue license plates for automobiles
  • Japanese and Mexican sugar beet workers in Oxnard, California, unite in strike over wage reductions; in gunfights, four members of the new Japanese Mexican Labor Association are shot
  • Copper miners strike in Clifton-Morenci, Arizona, led by Mexican miners, is put down by military force wielded by Phelps Dodge Co.
  • Hardrock mining strike in Cripple Creek, CO, in sympathy with a strike of refinery workers in Colorado City, over wages; armed battles are followed by military occupation of the district, burning and destruction of union halls in Cripple Creek area, and forcible expulsion of WFM miners from the district (1903-1904)
  • Hardrock mining strike in Telluride, CO, over wage cuts and eight-hour day; violence on both sides , National Guard called in, strike is forcibly ended amid mass arrests (1903-1904)
  • Italian, Finnish,and Slavic coal miners in Utah strike for union recognition; pitted against Utah Fuel Company with secret support of Mormon church; violence against strikers occurs, National Guard called in (1903-1904)
  • Women’s Trade Union League founded
  • Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain
  • W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
  • Henry James, The Ambassadors
  • Jack London, The Call of the Wild
  • Frank Norris, The Pit
  • Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  • “The Great Train Robbery,” film
  • New York publisher Joseph Pulitzer establishes Pulitzer Prizes
  • First commercial wireless broadcast station opens on Cape Cod
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright succeed in first flight of an aircraft at Kitty Hawk, NC
  • William Harley designs and introduces the Harley-Davidson motorcycle
  • Ford Motor Company founded in Detroit
  • First World Series in baseball pits Boston Pilgrims (American League) against Pittburgh Pirates (National League); Pilgrims win, 5 games to 3
  • 1904
  • Theodore Roosevelt, Republican, defeats Alton Parker, Democrat in the US presidential election; popular vote 7,628,461 to 5,084,223, electoral vote 292 to 155; minor candidates include Eugene V. Debs on the Socialist ticket and Silas C. Swallow on the Prohibition ticket
  • In Northern Securities case, the Supreme Court upholds Justice Department action to break up a monopoly operating “in restraint of trade”
  • Roosevelt Corollary
  • Maryland segregates railroad cars
  • Transit workers’ strike in New York City over wages and hours of work
  • Packinghouse workers strike in Midwestern cities for minimum wage; violence erupts and black strikebreakers area ttacked in Chicago, Kansas City, and St. Joseph, MO, and militia are called in to Sioux City, Iowa
  • National Child Labor Committee formed to oppose child labor
  • National Tuberculosis Association mobilizes national education and public health campaign
  • Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), An Indian Boyhood
  • Ellen Glasgow, The Deliverance
  • G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence
  • O. Henry, Cabbages and Kings
  • Robert Hunter, Poverty
  • Jack London, The Sea Wolf
  • Henry James, The Golden Bowl
  • George M. Cohan, Little Johnny Jones, musical show which is the source of “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Give My Regards to Broadway”
  • Lewis Hine begins his career photographing immigrants at Ellis Island
  • Thomas Edison introduces motion-pictures with sound

Edison's Quest and His Traveling Laboratory.

Edison and his Party on the Chain Bridge leaving Washington for Leesburg, Virginia; Mr. Edison is in the Centre; on his Right is his son Charles; on his Left, his two Laboratory Assistants. "Edison's Quest and His Traveling Laboratory", Harper’s Weekly, Jun. 1906, p.809.


  • Astronomer Charles Perrine discovers Jupiter’s sixth and seventh moons (1904-1905)
  • Invention of the ice cream cone
  • 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis; includes first Olympic Games held in the Western Hemisphere
  • 1905
  • Roosevelt implements “executive agreement” with Dominican Republic
  • Roosevelt helps mediate peace agreement to end Russo-Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Treaty of Portsmouth results
  • Roosevelt Administration and prime minister of Japan negotiate secret agreement, by which US relinquishes any claims in Japanese-controlled Korea and Japan does likewise for US-controlled Philippines
  • US Forest Service created
  • In Lochner v. New York the Supreme Court strikes down a state law setting maximum working hours for bakers, arguing that the law violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment
  • In Swift and Company the Supreme Court acknowledges some federal powers of regulation over manufacturers engaged in interstate trade
  • In Hale v. Hinkel the Supreme Court extends to corporations, as “persons,” the Fourth Amendment right against self-incrimination
  • Assassination of Frank Steunenberg, former governor of Idaho, in retaliation for suppression of Couer d’Alene strike; presumably carried out by members of WFM
  • International Workers of the World founded
  • African-American reformers and intellectuals, led by W.E.B. DuBois, meet in Ontario, Canada, and create the Niagara Movement for civil rights, culminating four years later in creation of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
  • National Audubon Society founded
  • David Belasco, “The Girl of the Golden West” (play)
  • Thomas Dixon, The Clansman
  • Dorothy Richardson, The Long Day
  • Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
  • First “nickelodeon” movie theater opens in Pittsburgh
  • Second World Series in baseball pits New York Giants (National League) over Philadelphia Athletics (American League); Giants win, 4 games to 1

© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


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New Spirits
Timelines in US History 1895-1905
Perceptions and Realities: The Victorian Age Inventions of the era Tramps and Millionaires Yellowstone Park Journals of the era White City/1893 Worlds Fair The Civil War President McKinley