The year was 1800 and it was the year of the second census of the United States. It began on the first Monday in August and took nine months to complete. The population of the U.S. was 5.3 million. There were thirty-three cities or towns with populations of more than 2,500 and only 6.1 percent of the population lived in those areas. The remaining 93.9 percent of the population lived in rural areas.Â
On the British Isles, legislation passed uniting Great Britain and Ireland creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the 1798 uprising aimed at Catholic Emancipation and parliamentary reform, uniting Ireland with Great Britain was seen as a way to keep Ireland from completely separating and possibly providing a too-close-for-comfort haven for its enemies. The move was unpopular in Ireland and did nothing to ease tensions.
Following successes against the Austrians in Italy, Belgium, and the Rhineland, the young General Napoleon Bonaparte ended up stranded in Egypt at the hands of the British after Admiral Horatio Nelson destroyed the French fleet anchored off the coast of Egypt. He secretly fled Egypt in August of 1799, abandoning his 30,000 troops. Seeking to secure his position as leader of France, he led an army across the Alps and through the Great St. Bernard Pass. Despite great losses on both sides, Napoleon’s army was victorious and the Austrians signed a treaty with France the following year.
The U.S. andÂ French had been engaged in the Quasi-War since 1798. After the French Navy had seized U.S. ships engaged in commerce with the British, the U.S. had retaliated by attacking French privateers. The dispute was ended with the Treaty of Mortefontaine, signed in Paris, 30 September 1800.
A step in the war against smallpox was also taken in 1800. Following Edward Jenner’s development of the first smallpox vaccine in 1796, he sent news and samples to a classmate in Trinity, Newfoundland, where John Clinch administered the first smallpox vaccination in North America.
In the U.S., the Capitol was moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.Â John Adams became the first president to live in the White House in November of 1800, which was then called the Executive Mansion.Â His stay would be short-lived though as Thomas Jefferson defeated him in the presidential election that yearÂ and would be inaugurated in 1801.
With the move of the Capitol, also came the establishment of the Library of Congress in 1800. It is now the world’s largest library, home to a collection of 119 million items.
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