1855 in the United States
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Events from the year 1855 in the United States.
- President: Franklin Pierce (D-New Hampshire)
- Vice President: vacant
- Chief Justice: Roger B. Taney (Maryland)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Linn Boyd (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 33rd (until March 4), 34th (starting March 4)
- January – Klamath and Salmon River War: In Klamath County, California, hostility between settlers and the local Native Americans becomes violent. The California State Militia and U.S. Army intervene, ending the war in March.
- January 23 – The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota (a crossing made today by the Hennepin Avenue Bridge).
- January 26 – The Point No Point Treaty is signed in the Washington Territory.
- February 12 – Michigan State University (the "pioneer" land-grant college) is established.
- February 15 – The North Carolina General Assembly incorporates the Western North Carolina Railroad to build a rail line from Salisbury to the western part of the state.
- February 22 – Pennsylvania State University is founded as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania.
- March 3 – The U.S. Congress appropriates $30,000 to create the U.S. Camel Corps.
- March 16 – Bates College is founded by abolitionists in Lewiston, Maine.
- March 30 – Elections are held for the first Kansas Territory legislature. Missourian 'Border Ruffians' cross the border in large numbers to elect a pro-slavery body.
- April – Cincinnati riots of 1855: Tension between nativists and German-American immigrants in Cincinnati breaks out into territorial street fighting on election day.
- May 17 – The Mount Sinai Hospital is dedicated (as the Jews' Hospital) in New York City; it opens to patients on June 5.
- June 6 – Portland Rum Riot: A crowd gathers at a storehouse believed to hold alcohol in Portland, Maine. The militia is called in and fires on the crowd to disperse the crowd, killing one person.
- June 28 – The Sigma Chi fraternity is founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
- July 1 – Quinault Treaty signed, Quinault and Quileute cede their land to the United States.
- July 2 – The Kansas Territorial Legislature convenes in Pawnee and begins passing proslavery laws.
- July 4 – Walt Whitman's poetry collection Leaves of Grass is published in Brooklyn.
- July 6 – The Kansas Territorial Legislature meets for the last time in Pawnee, voting to relocate to Shawnee, closer to the border of slave state Missouri.
- July 16 – U.S. Indian commissioner Isaac Stevens signs the Hellgate treaty with Native Americans living in modern-day western Montana.
- August 6 – Bloody Monday: Protestant mobs attack Irish and German Catholics on an election day in Louisville, Kentucky, causing 22 deaths.
- September 3 – First Sioux War: Battle of Ash Hollow – U.S. forces defeat a band of Brulé Lakota in present-day Garden County, Nebraska.
- October 5 – Yakima War: Battle of Toppenish Creek – In the Yakima River Valley, a band of Yakama warriors forces a company of U.S. soldiers to retreat in the first battle of the War.
- October 28–31 – First Fiji Expedition: The U.S. Navy dispatches the USS John Adams to Viti Levu, Fiji, to protect American interests. One American sailor is killed and two Marines are wounded.
- November 1 – 31 people are killed in the Gasconade Bridge train disaster in Missouri.
- November 9–10 – Yakima War: Battle of Union Gap – American soldiers attack a Yakama village, forcing the village to retreat.
- November 21 – Large-scale Bleeding Kansas violence begins with events leading to the Wakarusa War between antislavery and proslavery forces.
- Samuel Colt incorporates his business as the Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and opens a new factory, the Colt Armory, in Hartford, Connecticut. Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson form the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company in New England.
- California Gold Rush (1848–1855)
- Bleeding Kansas (1854–1860)
- Third Seminole War (1855–1858)
- Yakima War (1855–1858)
- February 23 – Jonathan Bourne, Jr., U.S. Senator from Oregon from 1907 to 1913 (died 1940)
- June 14 – Robert M. La Follette Sr., U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (died 1925)
- July 29 – Bowman Brown Law, politician (died 1916)
- September 2 – M. Hoke Smith, U.S. Senator from Georgia from 1911 to 1920 (died 1931)
- October 24 – James S. Sherman, 27th Vice President of the United States from 1909 to 1912 (died 1912)
- November 5 – Eugene V. Debs, union leader (died 1926)
- December 10 – August Spies, labor activist and newspaper editor (died 1887)
- March 8 – William Poole, founder of the street gang the Bowery Boys and leader of the Know Nothing political movement (born 1821)
- March 25 – Thomas Fitzgerald, United States Senator from Michigan from 1848 till 1849. (born 1796)
- March 28 – William S. Archer, United States Senator from Virginia from 1841 till 1847. (born 1789)
- May 7 – Walter T. Colquitt, United States Senator from Georgia from 1843 till 1848. (born 1799)
- June 29 – John Gorrie, physician, scientist, inventor, and humanitarian (born 1803)
- August 18 – Thomas Metcalfe, United States Senator from Kentucky from 1848 till 1849. (born 1780)
- "Railroad — Western North Carolina Railroad". North Carolina Business History. historync.org. 2006. Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- Casualties: U. S. Navy and Marine Corps Archived 2007-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
- "Eugene Victor Debs 1855-1926". Eugene V. Debs Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Media related to 1855 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons