The 1870s would hold a celebration of the nation’s 100th birthday barely 10 years after a Civil War. But most remarkable was not the anniversary, but the intellectual and industrial progress the USA would make.

The 1870s continued the trends of the previous decade, as new empires, imperialism and militarism rose in Europe and Asia.  The United States was recovering from the Civil War. In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave the right to vote to black Americans. Race would officially no longer be a ban to voting rights.

Germany unified in 1871 and began its Second Reich.  Labor unions and strikes occurred worldwide in the latter part of the decade, and continued until World War I.

As the United States continued westward expansion, the Sioux battled the US Calvary, and resisted encroachment by white settlers on the Great Plains. In 1872, the world’s first national park was established – Yellowstone National Park. In 1873, Jesse James & the James-Younger Gang engaged in the first successful train robbery in the American West. In 1876, the US government ordered all Native Americans onto a system of reservations throughout the western lands of the United States. Later that year, the Battle of Little Big Horn occurred when Lt. Colonel George Custer and his 7th US Cavalry engaged the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians on the bluffs above the Little Big Horn River. All 264 members of the 7th Cavalry and Custer perished in the battle, the most complete rout in American military history. In 1877, the Indian leader of the Oglala Sioux, Crazy Horse, surrendered to the US Army.

By 1876, the genius of its inventors was being noticed around the world:

  • the prototype telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876;
  • the phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison;
  • the first version of the light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879;
  • the steam drill was invented in 1879.

Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, and Gilbert & Sullivan would see their greatest popularity in the 1870s.

In 1871, the first professional baseball league, the National Association, debuted; Major League Baseball would begin in 1876. In 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was run and the first hockey game would be played.

The Reconstruction era of the United States brought a legacy of bitterness and segregation that lasted until the 1960s.

Previously thought as a former rube colony well beneath the nations of Europe, the United States was beginning to show not only their equality, but that soon they would surpass them.

As the population continued to move west, churches did, too. And a new age of evangelicalism brought encouraged hymn-writers to write new hymns (and aren’t we glad new hymns continued to be written!). One of those hymns written in the 1870s may even be YOUR favorite!

1870   –  Take the Name of Jesus with You; To God Be the Glory

1871   –  Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me; I Gave My Life for Thee; Jesus Loves Even Me;

Almost Persuaded; What Child Is This?

1872   –  There’s a Song in the Air; I Need Thee Every Hour

1873   –  Blessed Assurance; It Is Well; I Am Not Skilled to Understand

1874   –  Like a River Glorious; Wonderful Words of Life; Only Trust Him;

Take My Life and Let It Be; Bringing in the Sheaves;

Peace! Be Still! (Master, the Tempest is Raging); Christ Arose; He Lives

1875   –  All the Way My Savior Leads Me; Hallelujah, What a Savior!;

I Am Thine, O Lord

1876   –  Nothing But the Blood of Jesus; I Will Sing of My Redeemer; Trusting Jesus

1877   –  Break Thou the Bread of Life; A Child of the King

1878   –  Near the Cross of Jesus; Breathe on Me, Breath of God


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