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Things We Really Missed Out On In The 1860s

The unification of a nation, the dawn of a new era of science and reasoning, the golden age of literature… life in the 1860s was so more romantic than life today. (Minus the typhoid.) If you find yourself feeling nostalgic for our favorite bygone decade, tune into the premiere of BBC America’s new series, Copper. New episodes Sundays at 10/9c only on BBC America.

1. Bicycle Travel

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The 1860s saw a huge rise in popularity for bicycle commuting that would last for the next 40 years. Many modern roadways were originally built to accomodate bicycle commuters.

These days, bicycles are often an afterthought, and bicycle lanes are often blocked, if a road even has them at all.

2. Politics

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In the 1860s, Lincoln sought to abolish slavery and unify America during the Civil War. Lincoln penned the Gettysburg Address, inspiring a nation torn apart by ideological differences engaged in the bloodiest war our nation has ever seen.

Mitt Romney recently released an iPhone app. He misspelled “America” as “Amercia” on the title screen.

3. Literature

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Leo Tolstoy first published his finest literary achievement, War and Peace, in 1869. The novel is now widely regarded as one of the most important works of world literature.

In 2011, E. L. James published her book, Fifty Shades of Grey, which has topped best-seller lists around the world and has sold around ten million copies. It’s an erotic novel about BDSM based on Twilight fan-fiction.

4. Fashion

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In 1860s, men wore three piece ditto suits while relaxing.

These days, people dress like LMFAO.

5. Sports

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The governing body for all football in England, The Football Association, was founded in 1863.

The Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view alternative to the Super Bowl halftime show, first aired in 2004. Classy.

6. Science

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The period table of elements was first developed in the 1860s by a scientist named Dmitri Mendeleev, paving the way for huge advancements in chemistry over the next several decades. The 1860s saw what some might call the birth of modern science.

In the 2010s, America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration lost funding, forcing them to terminate the space shuttle program in 2011. That, coupled with the steady decline of science degrees worldwide may flag this as the death of modern science to some.

7. College Life

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In the 1860s, most able young men were recruited to fight in the Civil War. Those who did go to college worked tirelessly to better themselves and to serve as thought leaders for the rest of the country.

These days, only 75% of student who enroll in a four year program actually graduate with a bachelors degree.

8. Rail Travel

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The First Transcontinental Railroad was finished in 1869, connecting the American coasts and allowing relatively fast and comfortable travel.

These days, the railroad systems are mostly used for freight transit, but many major cities have rail systems for commuters, even if they are a bit cramped.

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