A Year In History: 1856

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This Year in History:


Discover what happened in this year with HISTORY’s summaries of major events, anniversaries, famous births and notable deaths.

May 22

Southern congressman beats Northern senator with a cane in the halls of Congress

Southern Congressman Preston Brooks savagely beats Northern Senator Charles Sumner in the halls of Congress as tensions rise over the expansion of slavery. When the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was passed, popular sovereignty was applied within the two new territories and people were given the right to decide the slavery issue by vote. Because […]

June 6

Sitting president Franklin Pierce denied his party’s nomination for reelection

On June 6, 1856, the fifth and final day of the Democratic Party’s national convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, President Franklin Pierce becomes the first elected president of the United States not to be nominated by his party for a second term. Instead, the party chooses James Buchanan, who will go on to win the presidency […]

August 23

Eunice Foote’s research on global warming is presented publicly

On August 23, 1856, Eunice Foote’s work is presented to a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Albany, New York. She is the first to articulate the possibility of global warming from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Eunice Foot was a scientist, inventor, women’s rights campaigner, wife and mother. Her […]