Why Is the Year 1877 Significant in American History?

The year 1877 holds great significance in American history. It marked the end of a tumultuous period that saw the country undergo significant changes, both politically and socially. The events of this year helped shape America into the nation we know today.

The End of Reconstruction

One of the most significant events of 1877 was the end of Reconstruction. This period followed the Civil War and aimed to rebuild and unite the nation. However, it was marred by violence and resistance from white supremacists, who sought to maintain their control over African Americans.

On March 2, 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes was inaugurated as the 19th President of the United States. As part of a controversial compromise with Southern Democrats, Hayes agreed to remove federal troops from Southern states, effectively ending Reconstruction. This decision left African Americans vulnerable to discrimination and violence for decades to come.

The Great Railroad Strike

Another significant event that occurred in 1877 was the Great Railroad Strike. This was one of the largest labor uprisings in American history and involved over 100,000 workers across multiple states.

On July 14th, workers for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad went on strike to protest wage cuts. The strike quickly spread across other railroads, resulting in widespread disruption and violence. President Hayes eventually sent federal troops to quell the uprising, but not before it had caused significant damage to the economy.

Thomas Edison Invents the Phonograph

While political turmoil dominated much of 1877, there were also notable advancements in technology. One such advancement came from inventor Thomas Edison, who created a machine that could record sound.

On November 21st, Edison unveiled his invention, which he called a phonograph. This device used a needle to etch sound waves onto a cylinder, which could then be played back through a speaker. The invention revolutionized the music industry and paved the way for future advancements in audio recording.


In conclusion, the year 1877 was a pivotal moment in American history. It marked the end of Reconstruction, the largest labor uprising in American history, and significant technological advancements. Understanding these events is crucial to understanding the America we live in today.