1857 in the United States
Events from the year 1857 in the United States.
- President: Franklin Pierce (D-New Hampshire) (until March 4), James Buchanan (D-Pennsylvania) (starting March 4)
- Vice President: vacant (until March 4), John C. Breckinridge (D-Kentucky) (starting March 4)
- Chief Justice: Roger B. Taney (Maryland)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Nathaniel P. Banks (American-Massachusetts) (until March 4), James Lawrence Orr (D-South Carolina) (starting December 7)
- Congress: 34th (until March 4), 35th (starting March 4)
- January 9 – The 7.9 Mw Fort Tejon earthquake affects Central and Southern California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent).
- February 3 – The National Deaf Mute College (later renamed Gallaudet University) is established in Washington, DC, becoming the first school for the advanced education of the deaf.
- March 4 – James Buchanan succeeds Franklin Pierce as President of the United States.
- March 6 – Dred Scott v. Sanford: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that Blacks are not citizens and slaves can not sue for freedom, driving the country further towards the American Civil War (the ruling is not overturned until the 14th Amendment in 1868).
- March 12 – Elizabeth Blackwell opens a hospital, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.
- March 23 – Elisha Otis' first elevator is installed (at 488 Broadway, New York City).
- March 27 – Waterbury Clock Company is legally incorporated in Waterbury, Connecticut, predecessor to the modern-day Timex Group USA and the iconic Timex brand.
- May 25 – Flying Eagle cent released for circulation.
- July 18 – The Utah Expedition leaves Fort Leavenworth, effectively beginning the Utah War.
- August 24 – Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company suspends payments, leading to the Panic of 1857.
- September 11 – Mountain Meadows massacre in Utah.
- September 12 – The SS Central America sinks off the coast of North Carolina, killing 425 people.
- October 13 – Panic of 1857: New York banks close and do not reopen until December 12.
- Speculation in U.S. railway shares causes financial crisis in Europe.
- The seat of government of Iowa is moved from Iowa City to modern-day Des Moines.
- The Mormons abandon the Las Vegas Valley of Nevada.
- Maryland politician William Daniel proposes the Local Option for prohibition.
- March 20 – Benjamin F. Shively, United States Senator from Indiana from 1909 to 1916. Died in 1916.
- March 21 – Charles Ellis Johnson, photographer. Died in 1926.
- September 15 – William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States from 1909 till 1913 and tenth Chief Justice of the United States from 1921 till 1930. Died in 1930.
- October 7 – George P. McLean, United States Senator from Connecticut from 1911 till 1923. Died in 1932.
- December 1 – Samuel M. Ralston, United States Senator from Indiana from 1923 to 1925. Died in 1925.
- December 2
- February 16 – Elisha Kane, Arctic explorer (born 1820)
- May 1 – Stephen Adams, U.S. Senator from Mississippi from 1852 to 1857 (born 1807)
- May 26 – James Bell, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire from 1855 to 1857 (born 1804)
- September 15 – John Henderson, U.S. Senator from Mississippi from 1839 to 1845 (born 1797)
- October 7 – Louis McLane, U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1827 to 1829 (born 1786)
- October 10 – Thomas Crawford, sculptor (born 1814)
- October 20 – John Diamond, minstrel dancer (born 1823)
- October 27 – John Blennerhassett Martin, painter, engraver and lithographer (born 1797)
- December 24 – Robert C. Nicholas, U.S. Senator from Louisiana from 1836 to 1841 (born 1793)
- Jasper Grosvenor, financier (born 1794)
- Media related to 1857 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons