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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When did the American War of 1812 actually end?

My daughter was recently studying this in high school, and somehow I had always assumed that it had only lasted a year. Apparently it ran on for at least a couple of years, but her textbook only ...
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5answers
3k views

How compare the rights and conditions of the American slaves to those of Russian serfs?

How compare the rights and conditions of the 19-th century American slaves to those of the 19-th century Russian serfs?
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1answer
2k views

Why did Taft write a one cent check on his first day as Chief Justice?

I was looking at William Howard Taft's Wikipedia page, and among other things was a $0.01 check drafted by him on his first day as Chief Justice of the United States. The check has ended up at the ...
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3answers
309 views

Why was the number of U.S. Representatives limited?

According to this Wikipedia article, the number of Representatives was limited to 435 in 1911 (bumped to 437 when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted and then bumped back to 435 four years later). How ...
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1k views

What were Hispanic people called in the US in the 1800s?

Today in the US, people from Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas are called by various names: Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, etc. What was the term used by Americans for such people in the 1800s? ...
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402 views

Was the concept of religious freedom in the early United States applied to native American faiths?

When the nascent United States was drafting and adopting its supreme laws, some references to religions were made. For example, in the Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an ...
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1answer
178 views

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

Often times, we are informed that Dolley Madison saved state papers, Washington's portrait, and silver (source). What was lost in the White House? Were there other would-be famous items taken or ...
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1answer
494 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 ...
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3answers
7k views

Why was the Bald Eagle chosen as the national bird of the United States?

The Bald Eagle is a grand and beautiful bird of prey that once frequently soared majestically through the skies of the American wilderness. It is also very important in American Indian culture (See: ...
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4k views

Early attempts to abolish slavery in USA

Were there any early attempts or debates to abolish slavery in the USA, before Lincoln?
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2answers
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Why does US currency have a 25 cent piece and a 20 dollar bill instead of a 20 cent piece or 25 dollar bill?

Why does US currency have a 25 cent piece instead of a 20 cent piece? Why is there a 20 dollar bill instead of a 25 dollar bill? Why aren't both denominations the same, 20 or 25 for both the dollars ...
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6answers
801 views

When and how did the idea of a “class-less” society originate in the United States?

The United States is often referred to as a "class-less" society where anyone can rise to any height. Leaving aside whether this is actually the case or not, when and how did this idea originate? Was ...
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292 views

Any precedents of U.S. presidents having served in other government roles after the ends of their terms?

Are there any precedents for U.S. presidents having served in other official government roles after the ends of their terms. Conceivably they could become ambassadors or Supreme Court judges, for ...
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Did anyone warn about the potential for stock market crashes in 1929, and if so why were their warnings ignored?

I can't seem to find information about economists, or others, warning about the overheated stock market of the 1920s in the US that would culminate in the stock market crashing on Black Thursday, ...
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2answers
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Why is Las Vegas located where it is?

Anybody know the history of Vegas and basically why that location was chosen as the main hub for gambling, hotels, and entertainment given that (at that time) it was pretty much a random desert in the ...
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4answers
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Is the Cold War still going on? [closed]

Do any historians consider the Cold War, or Cold War II, to be going on? I'm asking because some features of the Cold War still exist, such as an antagonism between Russia and the Western world, and ...
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1answer
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Did the Soviet Union know when DEFCON levels changed?

The US military uses a scale of alert readiness called DEFCON, with DEFCON 5 being the lowest alert level and DEFCON 1 being the highest, preparing for imminent nuclear war. At least once during the ...
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4answers
636 views

What role did the space race play in reducing the nuclear threat during the 1960s?

Today I visited again the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, a space flight history museum, and noticed for the first time the claim that part of John F. Kennedy's motivation for pushing for a ...
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2answers
921 views

When did navies stop giving out a drink ration to their sailors?

I seem to remember that the British Navy, and the US Navy maybe, used to give out a ration of alcohol to sailors each day. When did this practice stop, and why?
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Why did the USA stay out of the League of Nations?

Woodrow Wilson, who was President of the USA at the time of the League's creation, was the person who pushed for the inclusion of the League in the Treaty of Versailles in the first place. Why is it ...
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1answer
451 views

To what extent was Prohibition supported by the American public?

I read an answer here that said the prohibition was imposed on cities against their will. A bit of research on Google seem to say that it was pushed through because people didn't realize even wine ...
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1answer
195 views

Was the State of Indiana's legislation changed to fix the value of Pi?

Is the following an anecdote? Mathematicians describe Pi as an irrational number, that is, a number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of any two integers. This was an irksome fact to the State ...
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3answers
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What percentage of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with enemy in World War II

How large a proportion of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with the enemy in World War II? What was the casualty rate among those men?
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1answer
317 views

Strange symbol on Midwest brick home

I am looking for help or guidance with something located on my parents 100 plus year old (we believe early 1900's, maybe earlier) brick home. They live in IL, just east of St. Louis, MO and have ...
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4answers
126k views

If Bill Clinton was impeached, why did he finish up his second term

I don't understand how he could have been impeached but did not have to leave office.
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6answers
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Why have officers in the U.S. army tended to “top out” at the level of Major?

In the U.S. army, something like 75%-80% of newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants are promoted to First Lieutenant (around age 25), perhaps 75%-80% of First Lieutenants are promoted to Captain (ages ...
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Rape perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII?

A while back I had a disturbing encounter with someone related to a Jewish survivor from the Auschwitz death camp. This survivor apparently claims that not only Red Army soldiers, but also G.I.'s ...
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Was there ever any doubt which side the USA would join?

From a British perspective in both WW1 and WW2 the USA have entered the war at a later stage and supported the allies. The decision for the US to enter the war has often been portrayed to be based on ...
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6answers
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What does it mean that the early supreme court “gave themselves” the power of judicial review?

I'm watching the "Crash Course: American History" youtube series, and I like, it, but it obviously skips over a ton because it's packing decades at a time into 10 minutes. So he just (briefly) ...
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470 views

Since the inception of the United States, has the term “America” ever referred to something more than simply “the United States”?

Today we use the terms America and the United States as synonyms. The official name of the country is The United States of America. But prompted by a question on another forum, wherein an author ...
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1answer
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Did Abraham Lincoln have a duel with cannons? [closed]

When you where challenged to a duel or challenged someone to a duel, it was the person that was challenged that chose the weapon. Once someone challenged Lincoln To a duel and he said " how about ...
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2answers
694 views

Did Jefferson really say this quote about patriotism?

Who said this quote? Patriotism is not a short frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime. I've seen some sources claiming it was Thomas Jefferson and others ...
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Gold Confiscation Act of 1933

On March 9, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) called Congress in for an emergency session, which would result in the speedy passing of the Gold Confiscation Act. According to FDR's Executive Order ...
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What's the story behind this photo of hikers who brought white plague cure to President Wilson?

"LOS ANGELES HIKERS WHO BROUGHT WHITE PLAGUE CURE TO PRESIDENT WILSON. AT WHITE HOUSE" I stumbled upon this interesting photo at the United States Library of Congress site, which seems to refer to ...
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254 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 ...
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3answers
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Where did Southern Fried Chicken come from?

Wikipedia claims origins both in Scottish and West African cuisine. The problem I have with that is that the story I tend to see about the Scots-Irish who immigrated to North America is that they ...
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2answers
295 views

Were US exports in the early 1800s paid for with metal or with paper?

In the early 1800s, when people in the US exported goods to Europe, how were those goods paid for? What did the buyers actually send back on ships crossing the Atlantic to pay for the goods? I can ...
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4answers
166 views

From what part(s) of Germany were the majority of Texas immigrants in the mid-19th century?

A large number of the immigrants into Texas in the middle of the 19th century were from what is today Germany. However, the people were "German" more by language than nationality; the German ...
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2answers
355 views

Why did the political parties in the US give up power to run primary elections to some states?

In the US, it seems that in certain states, the political parties have allowed the state to prescribe the manner in which delegates are selected to the party's national convention. This includes ...
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924 views

What is the story behind the tall Northern offshoot on the West Virginia map?

It seems like such a tall thin slice should have a story.
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302 views

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

I always hear that 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 ...
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9answers
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Have there been any nuclear accidents in the US at nuclear facilities which were not “commercial”?

In a feature called "On This Day," the March 28th, 2015 issue of the New York Times recounted how "On March 28, 1979, America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit Two reactor ...
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3answers
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Why wouldn't the South make salt from seawater during the American Civil War?

This article goes into some detail about the state of cooking in the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War. One of its interesting claims is that the South was suffering from a lack ...
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2answers
558 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 ...
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5answers
1k views

Are Americans More Obsessed With the Military Aspect of History? If so, why?

If there is anything in my mind that has been particularly pronounced about American historical interests it has been an overriding interest in the military aspects of history. This can be viewed in ...
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4answers
1k views

How did New York become the financial hub of America?

Why did New York become the financial hub of America, rather than one of the other big cities?
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359 views

Is it true that slavery was banned from discussion on the Senate and/or House floor before the American Civil War?

In one of the latter years of my undergraduate program I read/heard from one of my classes that discussing the slave trade/slavery on either the Senate and/or House floor (I forget which) was banned. ...
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882 views

Were the (early 17th C) arrivers/colonists to North America (USA) outcasts from European societies?

I have heard that early pilgrims for 'the new world' (North America / USA) left because they were indigent and had no support in their homelands. I have also heard that some were criminals or ...
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2answers
459 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 ...
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1answer
445 views

Did America ignore British patents during Industrialization

I remember reading a Noam Chomsky book where he stated that America simply stole British patented ideas, claiming that British laws did not apply to her. Chomsky's argument was that America is ...