The United States of America is a nation-state stretching across North America between Canada and Mexico, plus Alaska in the continent's northwest, the mid-Pacific archipelago of Hawaii and several territories in the Pacific & Caribbean. Founded by European émigrés rebelling from British control in ...

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7answers
740 views

Who turned the (originally) “anti-slavery” GOP into the “pro-business” party?

It is my understanding that the Republican Party arose from the anti-slavery movement, and, more specifically, as a reaction against the 1854 repeal of the Missouri Compromise. And yet, pretty early ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

What sort(s) of identification were used before driver's licenses were issued in the US?

In the United States, before driver's licenses became a nearly universal means of identification (i.e., before autos), what form of identification was routinely used? For example if one was arrested, ...
4
votes
2answers
579 views

When was the last time (if ever) an elector was faithless in US presidential elections?

With regards to the ongoing US presidential elections, I just read this on electoral-vote.com: Could There Be Faithless Electors? Presidential electors are supposed to vote for the person who ...
25
votes
1answer
746 views

How did people react to Cavendish bananas when they first replaced the Gros Michel strain?

I was reading that the bananas we eat today (Cavendish) weren't particularly popular until the 50s, when the more popular Gros Michel variety was virtually wiped out by a nasty disease. Apparently ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

Can anyone help Australian Actress ID her Grandfather? [on hold]

Australian actress Toni Collette is trying to identify her grandfather from a photograph of a man in a US Navy uniform. The US Dept Vet Affairs said: "An Australian TV show contacted us to see if we ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Did a German Jew in the US Army save his home district from bombing?

While visiting the Old Town of Düsseldorf, the guide told us that this district (now one of the most expensive places in Germany) was saved from WW2 bombings by a Jewish man who used to live there. He ...
7
votes
1answer
410 views

What were the conditions that Pieter Stuyvesant found when he arrived in America?

I have been studying Pieter Stuyvesant recently, and would like to know two things about him and New Amsterdam: What were the conditions that he found when he arrived in New Amsterdam? By this I ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

How were blacks excluded from juries in the US southern states in the 1930s?

As I am in the process of re-reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird, I did a bit of elementary research on the subject of jury selection in Alabama. I discovered that in the Scottsboro boys case ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Why was the arrival of the Hindenburg considered newsworthy?

Obviously, no one expected that the Hindenburg would explode during the mooring process, so it the expectation would have been that a passenger aircraft was going to arrive, the passengers would ...
6
votes
3answers
196 views

Why is there a Pegasus on Huey Long's grave?

The tombstone of Huey Long on the grounds of the Louisiana statehouse is engraved with depictions of his achievements as a politician. On the front, however, is a large Pegasus. Was the Pegasus a ...
8
votes
2answers
531 views

Did Andrew Jackson think the earth was flat?

You will occasionally see references to the possibility that Andrew Jackson believed the earth was flat. One source for this claim is a well-respected history of the period by Edward Pessen: ...
2
votes
5answers
507 views

Did the Southern States make any attempt to secede from the Union through an act of Congress?

I have read the answers about the legality of southern secession - very helpful; thank you. In light of those, I have another question: Did the Southern States make any attempt to secede from the ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

Did land based airpower give the Americans a decisive advantage at the Battle of Midway?

This question was inspired by another (on a different SE site) about the Avalon Hill board game. As told in many American history books, the battle of Midway featured four Japanese heavy carriers vs. ...
1
vote
1answer
186 views

What did the Japanese believe about the USA capability of making/using additional atomic bombs?

Clearly the Japanese believed that if they did not surrender another atomic bomb would be used on them. However how soon did they believed this would happen? And how many atomic bombs did they ...
10
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4answers
1k views

What benefits were there to the USA of developing both Uranium and Plutonium bombs in World War 2?

Clearly there was a large cost both in money and resources. Working on both very likely slowed down the production of the first nuclear bomb.
6
votes
1answer
148 views

When was the last time there were border controls, customs, or border patrols inside what is now the contiguous US?

Reading about the complexities of Europe has made me wonder about when American (internal) borders were less porous. Also, were the borders between the 13 colonies completely open? Or did they at ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

What happened in Calcutta in 1961?

I was watching a clip of the American flag being raised in Havana for the embassy re-opening since closing in 1961. There were some retired Marines there who were there when the flag was taken down. ...
8
votes
3answers
312 views

What were the most common reasons why draft-age men were not conscripted for the Union Army?

Based on this question and an answer, it appears that although almost all southern white men of draft age were in the military during the Civil War, only about half of northerners were. For those in ...
17
votes
3answers
22k views

Why did the Federalist Party collapse?

The Federalist Party in the United States was a significant political force during the early years of the United States' history. Wikipedia doesn't really cite reasons why the party declined and ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

When were the most recent Amendments to the boundaries of Boston Ward 3?

When were the most recent Amendments to the boundaries of Boston Ward 3? What were the changes at the time?
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did the United States enter World War I?

The topic of World War I came up last night with a few strangers, at a bar, of course. One seemingly knowledgeable gentleman, who happened to have Howard Zinn's A Peoples' History of the United States ...
6
votes
1answer
341 views

Evolution of the names of slaves

I'm curious to know how the names of African slaves in the US changed from that of traditional names used by their tribes eventually to their modern, (mostly Christian) names. In other words, how did ...
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vote
3answers
775 views

Did American slave holders typically give their slaves the names of Roman nobility?

'Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it and I don't want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name - it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me and of me.' As is ...
5
votes
3answers
163 views

What was the purpose of a division staff in a US Navy Task Force/Fleet in WWII?

Just watching Midway, and in the scene of Raymond Spruance taking command of the Midway Task Force, I remembered an old question that nagged me. Apparently, the US Navy equipped task forces and fleets ...
14
votes
2answers
313 views

What was lost when the British burned the White House in 1814?

Dolley Madison saved state papers, Washington's portrait, and silver from the White House before it burned (source), but what was left behind and lost? Were there other would-be famous items taken or ...
6
votes
1answer
197 views

What was the typical range of travel of a Pennsylvanian resident for everyday life in the late 18th early 19th Century Pennsylvania?

How much traveling did a typical Pennsylvanian resident do for everyday life in the late 18th early 19th Century (1775-1825) Pennsylvania, and what was the 'typical' range (in miles) from their home ...
2
votes
3answers
451 views

What factors contributed to the United States having a larger proportion of Jews than other British colonies?

Related but more broad question: Why is such a large percentage of Jewish population worldwide in USA According to Wikipedia, the United States has a higher proportion of Jews than Canada, Australia ...
8
votes
5answers
550 views

What does a “boat crimper” do?

Working with Census data and other 19th century sources, I occasionally come across the occupation of "boat crimper." I can't figure out what these boat crimpers do. Based on the definition of ...
11
votes
2answers
357 views

What was the third best-selling book in the antebellum US?

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel in antebellum America and the second best-selling book overall. The Bible, of course, was number one. Here's an insanely detailed rundown of UTC's sales ...
10
votes
2answers
174 views

What institutional precursors enabled labor unions to emerge in the United States?

What institutions and organizations existed in the United States before the structured and recognizable labor unions formed as a visible sign of organizations to come? How did these predecessor ...
11
votes
5answers
542 views

When did the English and Americans realize that vegetables were healthy?

I've recently come across two quotes in very unrelated sources implying that for centuries, the English and their colonial offspring did not appreciate the role of vegetables in a healthy diet. From ...
8
votes
2answers
481 views

Was violent or nonviolent protest more effective in the context of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement?

Was violent or nonviolent protest more effective in the context of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement? It seems like a simple question, but on further examination it is a challenge to discern. The ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

In Montgomery, Alabama, how common was it to be arrested for sitting in the incorrect section of the bus?

Rosa Parks' arrest, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, is the most famous case, while Claudette Colvin is often listed as the first. (Sometimes she is listed as first, other times as the first ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

What is “Egyptland” in the context of the 1960s black civil rights movement in the US?

Title of Chapter 10 of MLK book From Civil Rights to Human Rights. Egyptland is the name of chapter 10, and I was wondering why this might be and what it is referring to. Thanks for your help!
2
votes
0answers
117 views

How Widespread Was Dueling In The United States from its formation to 1860?

I saw a different question that sparked my interest in this subject. Several important people in American history have died dueling, so my question is how widespread was dueling in the U.S until 1860? ...
4
votes
3answers
765 views

Why did the US not move to crush the Haitian Revolt after the 1804 massacre?

Understandably, the European nations were embroiled in the Napoleonic wars. But the American Revolutionary War had been over for almost 20 years by then. A large part of their population too, were ...
26
votes
10answers
7k views

Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
10
votes
2answers
481 views

What percentage of men, ages 18 to 35, from the northern states served in the Union Army?

In my genealogy research, I can assume with some certainty that if a white southern family had sons born between 1835 and 1846 there is a pretty good chance that all of them will have served in the ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Were there any abolitionists imprisoned for being critical of the Congress or the President during the American Civil War?

It's been said that some 14K civilians were imprisoned without trial and that some 300 newspapers were temporarily shut down by the executive branch over the course of the Civil War. I'm wondering if ...
14
votes
1answer
162 views

Why did Thomas Hendricks win the majority of Horace Greeley's electoral votes in 1872?

In researching my answer to Can electors "flip the ticket?", I re-examined the results of the election of 1872. As stated in that answer, 1872 was an interesting election, not for the result (Grant ...
11
votes
2answers
243 views

Why didn't Nixon erase the smoking gun?

Given that President Nixon was bold enough to erase 18 minutes of the "Nixon tapes" before turning them over to the Watergate investigators, why didn't he also erase the "smoking gun," the ...
11
votes
2answers
298 views

Why were we taught virtually nothing about the Holocaust during the fifties and sixties?

I was born in 1947 just two years after the end of ww2 and went to high school during the sixties. I can't recall more than a passing reference to the extermination of 6,000,000 Jews. How can this ...
10
votes
2answers
604 views

Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

Gail Jarvis, in an encomium to the Dunning School writes: William A. Dunning fervently opposed slavery but his reading of the trends of the times led him to the conclusion that the institution ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

What were the efforts made by the U.S. government to conserve forests?

What were the efforts made by the U.S. government to conserve forests after World War 1 and World War 2? Was any special community or group made to complete this task? If yes then how did it conserve ...
9
votes
1answer
475 views

How common was it for Americans to visit Europe in the late 19th century?

According to this article, in 2009, around 13 million people from the United States travelled overseas, of which 35% visited Europe. Given the United States' population of 320 million, we can estimate ...
13
votes
1answer
512 views

Why did Stephen Ambrose believe that the election of Aaron Burr would have led to the end of the USA?

I'm reading Stephen E. Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage", and in pg. 50, he writes (emphasis mine): On December 5, 1800, Lewis was promoted to captain. That month the states selected their delegates ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Why did John Ganson vote contradictorily on the 13th Amendment?

The House of Representatives originally did not pass the 13th Amendment, and on January 1, 1865 it was reconsidered and passed. Evidently, the House first voted that day on whether to reconsider the ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do minor political parties in the US receive so few votes?

Reading about the election statistics in the United States I was amazed about how few votes are received by the minor parties and their candidates. For example, Gloria La Riva received only 181 votes ...