1899 Scott Joplin granted copyright for his “Maple Leaf Rag”


Ragtime Composer Scott Joplin

1899 Scott Joplin granted copyright for his “Maple Leaf Rag”, the most famous ragtime composition, by the US Copyright Office
Why Famous:
 Scott Joplin is known as the “King of Ragtime”, famous for such compositions like “The Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”.

A travelling musician, Joplin was at the Chicago World Fair in 1893, where Ragtime became a national craze. He went on to publish his own Ragtime compositions before starting his own Opera Company and composing operas, self-publishing his ” Treemonisha” opera in 1911.

Joplin’s music was largely forgotten after his death in 1917 but rediscovered in the 1960s and 1970s. The film “The Sting” (1973) featured music inspired by Scott Joplin and Marvin Hamlisch won an Academy Award for his soundtrack. His version of the “The Entertainer” then became a top ten hit.

Born: November 241868
Birthplace: Texarkana, Texas, USA
Star Sign: Sagittarius

Died: April 11917 (aged 48)
Cause of Death: Syphilitic dementia
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1850 – The Fugitive Slave Act was declared by the U.S. Congress. The act allowed slave owners to claim slaves that had escaped into other states.


Image result for When was the Fugitive Slave Act passed and what were the consequences of this law?

Passed on September 18, 1850 by Congress, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was part of the Compromise of 1850. The act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning, and trying escaped slaves.

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Henry Clay's handwritten draft of one of the bills that formed the Compromise of 1850
Henry Clay’s handwritten draft of one of the bills that formed the Compromise of 1850

The American Civil War devastated much of the country between 1861 and 1865, but the conflict could have actually happened much sooner. In 1850, a major dispute between slave states and free states arose regarding the status of lands acquired after the Mexican-American War (1846-48).

Many Southern states wanted to expand slavery into these new territories, which was opposed by the Northerners. These disputes, and others relating to the territorial expansion of the state of Texas. In early 1850, senator Henry Clay drafted a compromise that included the admission of California as a free state, the cession by Texas of some of its northern and western territorial claims in return for debt relief, the establishment of New Mexico and Utah territories, a ban on the importation of slaves into the District of Columbia for sale, and a more stringent fugitive slave law.

The compromise initially failed to gain wide support, but after President Zachary Taylor died, his successor Millard Fillmore and Democratic senator Stephen Douglas took the lead in passing Clay’s compromise through the Congress as a series of five bills. The tensions were diffused, and the risk of conflict in the immediate term ended, but the debate over slavery did not end. Many years of controversy and debate eventually led to the secession of the Southern states and the Civil War in 1861.

Document Info

Author(s): Henry Clay
Location signed: USA

Source: National Archives

Related Events

  • 1850-01-29 Senator Henry Clay drafts the Compromise of 1850 to defuse tensions between slave states and free states over territories won during the Mexican–American War
  • 1850-03-07 Daniel Webster endorses Compromise of 1850
  • 1850-09-18 US Congress passes Fugitive Slave Law as part of Compromise of 1850

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