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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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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960 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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2k views

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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574 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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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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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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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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721 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 ...
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514 views

Why did the states that were born out of the Louisiana purchase adopt a common law system, and not a civil law system?

The French system of laws is a civil law system that is based upon the Napoleonic Code, and further back the Justinian Code. The legal system in Louisiana is now bijuridicial retaining some of the ...
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353 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 ...
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226 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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458 views

Why was the area now known as Liberia chosen as the location for repatriation of African slaves in the US?

The American Colonization Society thought that colonizing Africa for the purpose of returning US slaves to Africa was the solution to slavery problems. Why, and how, did they come to decide that the ...
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413 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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1k 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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637 views

Is there any evidence to support the claim that the US Strategic Defense Initiative played any significant role in undermining the USSR?

I have been reading Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson, and one of the things that stuck me was a quote by Soviet hydrogen bomb creator Andrei Sakharov who was released from political imprisonment ...
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397 views

How did the central government of the United States finance itself under the Articles of Confederation?

The Congress of the Confederation couldn't levy taxes. State governments were the ones with the power to control commerce with other states and nations even. It also has the power to levy tax. If ...
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181 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 ...
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438 views

Did Ben Franklin actually make any tofu?

It is well documented that Franklin was interested in tofu, which he called a sort of cheese made from beans, and he got a recipe for making it that he sent on to others. But no source that I have ...
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548 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 ...
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225 views

How many firearms were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA?

How many firearms in total were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA (cumulatively, not simultaneously)? The timeframe is what I would consider "Old West" timeframe, but starting ...
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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.
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Did the USA win the counter insurgency war in the Vietnam war?

What happened in the aftermath of the Tet offensive to the Viet Cong? Was it actually broken or did it just incorporate into the North Viet Nam army? Edit: I am fully aware that the USA lost the ...
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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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Spanish-American war from Spain's perspective?

What did the Spanish-American war look like from Spain's perspective? Did the general population support the war? What were the reasons why Spain lost, was the general public aware of these reasons ...
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In the United States government, has there been cases that electoral colleges don't vote for the candidate the majority of their state voted for?

Has there ever been a case where electoral colleges vote for someone the people didn't vote for during an election for president of the United States?
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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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739 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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479 views

State changing its name within the United States

In 1989 there was an initiative in North Dakota to change the state's name to simply "Dakota". Is this first time an initiative was taken for a state to change its name after becoming a state within ...
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513 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 ...
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269 views

When and how did the presidents of states became governors in the U.S.A?

In the earliest days of the U.S.A., the heads of the governments of some of the states were called governors and those of some states were called presidents (hence the U.S. Constitution refers to the ...
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674 views

Where did the so-called “Jap Skulls” end up?

I have read that there was a disturbingly common practice of American soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII to take the skulls of dead Japanese soldiers as trophies to take home, give to ...
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546 views

Did Native Americans sabotage telegraph lines running through their territory?

In the 1800s in the Western US, there were a number of telegraph lines running through territory mostly inhabited by Indians. Did they ever sabotage the lines?
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351 views

Why was slavery profitable in the Southern colonies and not New England?

Why didn't Colonists in New England import massive numbers of Slaves?
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521 views

Did Jefferson and Washington smoke weed?

According to this document (page 26, §1): Like all farmers, Washington probably sampled the quality and potency of what he grew, and he may have used this hemp to treat his chronic tooth ...
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380 views

The effect of the Panic of 1837 on financial/banking policy

Were there any direct or immediate financial/banking policies made because of this recession? I've read that a combination of factors helped get America out of the Panic, but it never mentioned a ...
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205 views

Is there evidence that working for the Pony Express was dangerous, or not dangerous?

So I was thinking about what it was like working for the Pony Express and I am wondering was it an extremely dangerous job? I'm thinking that given the success of the Pony Express it must not have ...
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557 views

How did the Alien and Sedition acts pass?

The Alien and Sedition acts, passed in 1798, are said to have been an attempt by the Federalist Party to suppress opposition. In Chapter 74 Section 2, the law seems to put restrictions on freedom of ...
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320 views

Why did the dominance of maize last so long in North America?

In North America the native corn, maize, was the dominant grain and flour and an important mainstay in the diet. At first it was obviously the only available grain crop, with Old World cereals such as ...
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1answer
291 views

Were mattress labels inspired by public outcry?

If you're an American consumer, you likely know the "mattress tag", labels attached to mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, and pet beds, which often begin "This tag may not be removed under penalty ...
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406 views

What was the basis for valuating large territorial purchases by USA?

There were at least 2 times when USA extended its territory by purchasing it outright - Louisiana+ from French and Alaska from Russians. The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United ...
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422 views

When and why did smiling at strangers and in photos become customary in the United States?

In the US, in my experience, it's customary to smile when meeting a stranger. Even in an interaction as casual as passing someone in the street without a word, a smile is normal and expected. In ...
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How tall was George Washington?

I am currently reading George Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, which says George Washington was an even 6 feet (183cm) tall: It is commonly said that Washington stood six foot two or three, an ...
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Jewish Slave Owners in the United States

David Duke has a video on YouTube about Jewish participation in various slave trades in Western history. At the 7:40 mark he states: In the pre-Civil War United States 2% of white gentile ...
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887 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 ...
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Who was the last US president who did not start a war?

Who was the last US president who did not start a war?
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Did the Founding Fathers of the USA really make a distinction between a Republic and a Democracy (and despised the latter)?

I've come across this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-gEkKzRvbI It makes a distinction between a Democracy (rule of majority) vs Republic (rule of law). It contests that a Republic is a state ...
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471 views

Was there a movement for “humane” slavery?

Many of us are familiar with the movements for "free-range" or "humane" animal products. I have heard that in the antebellum US there were similar movements for "humane" slave products. Is this true? ...
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191 views

Were there any political checks on the U.S. executive during their covert support of the military junta of Pinochet?

U.S. secretary of state Kissinger- with the support of the executive- actively supported the overthrow of Chilean president Allende in favor of the military dictatorship of Pinochet. After the fact, ...
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How and why did trade unions in America become influenced by organised crime, but unions in Britain didn't?

There is plenty of organised crime in Britain, and there always has been. People have slandered the unions in Britain with almost every foul name under the sun, but one thing I have never heard is ...