Wikipedia Wednesdays - 1862


Yes, you read that right, 1862. The year. I was hoping to avoid years .I apologize if this one seems rushed, but my laptop’s in the shop and I’m being forced to use my mother’s, which is running Windows 7, which I am not used to, as I’ve never gone past XP. Furthermore, she hasn’t actually purchased MS Word, meaning I can only run the program 22 more times, so I’d really like to finish this in one go.

Anyway, 1862. Apparently, a professor at NYU once called 1862 “the best year to read a newspaper,” which seems like a bit of a large assumption, especially given that newspapers of the time tended to cater to smaller audiences and thus contained more regional news items, such as the developing story surrounding the oven fire at the local bakery, or the current state of Mrs. Henderson’s cows. Personally, I would assume that the best year to read a newspaper would be 1440 (notable headline: TEST COPY).

Getting back to 1862, the year marks the early stages of the American Civil War, which rather dominated the news of the time period. It features both the first Union victory and the passage of the Homestead Act. It also features the May fifth victory of the Mexican army over their oppressors, and thus winning independence for the nation. It is now remembered yearly as Cinco de Mayo, and is usually celebrated by the excessive drinking of tequila. Which is just unnecessary, because – let’s face it – they were fighting the French, which isn’t all that big a deal.

Actually, reading further, I’m inclined to agree that 1862 was an awesome year for news. I mean, it’s got Cinco de Mayo, the Emancipation Proclamation, the patenting of the Gatling gun, the formation of the precursor to the IRS, the first meeting between a president and a group of African-Americans, Otto von Bismark’s Blood and Iron speech, and Ulysses S. Grant’s demand that all Jews leave his land.

Wait, what?

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