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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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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255 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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Why did Spain not participate in World War I?

Spain was losing influence in America for the previous 100 years, and there was a recent Spanish-American war. So how could have Spain remained neutral? Why could Spain not find a place in the ...
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837 views

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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318 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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176 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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400 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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1k views

Did the Olympics make the Star Spangled Banner the US national anthem?

A long, long time ago, I remember watching a TV miniseries about the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896. One of the amusing substories I remember involved the USA's National Anthem and the ...
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439 views

Why was Pah-Ute County transferred to Nevada?

In 1866, the US Congress transferred the majority of Pah-Ute county from the Arizona Territory to the state of Nevada. This was done against the wishes of the territorial legislature of Arizona. Why ...
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452 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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182 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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332 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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454 views

What was the Soviet role in Syria during the Cold-War?

It is my understanding that the Soviet Union supported governments in Syria during the cold-war primarily as a counter-balance to American influence over regional powers particularly Saudi Arabia and ...
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307 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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1answer
1k views

Did the US and Soviet navies really come close to blows in the Indian Ocean in 1971?

In December 1971, Pakistan and India were at war over what would become Bangladesh. President Nixon ordered Task Force 74, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and ...
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1answer
1k views

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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143 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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2k views

During the U.S. Prohibition, how did they get away with drinking alcohol?

I have heard about countless stories talking about people drinking during the Prohibition. How was this possible? How did they get away with drinking alcohol without getting caught?
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2k views

How much has U.S. currency inflated since 1792?

How much has U.S. currency inflated since the Coinage Act of 1792 established the U.S. Mint? Adjusting for inflation, what amount of modern currency would have the same buying power as a 1792 dollar? ...
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1k views

Were there reasons for Japan to go to war with US aside from US owning Philippines?

Right after the Spanish-American War in 1898, the US acquired the Philippines from Spain. At that time, local leaders desired Philippines independence. The Philippines-American War was fought around ...
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4answers
489 views

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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1answer
2k views

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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1answer
1k views

First US police officer killed in the line of duty

Who was the first US police officer killed in the line of duty? When and where did it take place? By US police officer, I mean any active-duty police officer working for any force in the US ...
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538 views

Chronology of Political Party Alignment with “Left” and “Right”

I once heard it said that U.S. political parties (Republicans and Democrats) have both spent the last century becoming increasingly liberal, such that 21st century Republicans now hold the same ...
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509 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 ...
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436 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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Are there cases of U.S. Founding Fathers burning flags of other nations?

After reviewing some arguments for and against flag burning I became curious as to whether or not there were documented cases of the U.S. Founding Fathers (or politically influential people of the ...
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234 views

Was the house of representatives really as rowdy a place as it is portrayed in the 2012 film Lincoln?

In the 2012 film Lincoln the House of Representatives is portrayed as being a rather rowdy and disorderly place. There are frequent interruptions of the person holding the floor, lots of booing and ...
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651 views

After the independence, did George Washington continue to wear a military uniform?

I know that some of the historic legends continued and some not. We are talking about 2nd half of the 18th century. Fashion was so fancy. Obviously, the founding fathers -- quite possibly -- adapted ...
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1answer
1k views

How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
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1answer
375 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
189 views

Did the USSR invite other astronauts of Apollo 11 besides Armstrong?

Sometime after the return of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong visited the USSR. I wonder why he was alone? Weren't the other astronauts invited or they refused to visit? Was it because Armstrong was an ...
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305 views

Were there weapons that a private citizen could not legally own in 1789 in the US?

For example: a canon, certain types of muskets etc... Were there laws for whether women or freed slaves could not own specific weapons?
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Why did the USA take no action to help Pakistan during their 1971 war against India? [closed]

In 1971, USA and Pakistan were known to be strong allies or were they? Why did the USA just pretend to help Pakistan and actually do nothing in the Indo-Pak war of 1971? Why did the 7th fleet not ...
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1answer
182 views

Suffragettes vs. Einstein

A long time ago -- either when I was in school, or via some documentary -- I learned that Einstein had to face a public immigration hearing in 1933 [edit: probably it was a naturalization hearing in ...
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1answer
510 views

How Many Members of US Congress Have Died While In Office?

As best I can tell, Leo Ryan of California is the only U.S. Member of Congress murdered while in office. He was killed by members of the People's Temple in Guyana in 1978. What I'm looking for are how ...
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1answer
368 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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2answers
351 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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1answer
328 views

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

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 ...
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2answers
216 views

Did the U.S. actively encourage discord between the Soviets and Chinese?

According to historian Lorenz M. Lüthi, one of the defining events of the Cold War, the Sino-Soviet split (1960 to 1989) was principally fueled by Mao's interpretation of Communist ideology and his ...
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1answer
393 views

What kind of wood was the standard decking for Aircraft Carriers in World War 2?

I know that both Japan and the United States used wooden decks on their WWII Aircraft Carriers. Was there a specific, "ideal" standard type of wood that was utilized by either country? If so, what ...
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256 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
239 views

Did the U.S Constitution revoke or merely amend the the Articles of Confederation?

This may seem like a silly question, but I only ask because of a U.S. Supreme Court case that actually cited the Articles of Confederation. After the civil war, there is this case called ...
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1answer
127 views

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

What institutions and/or 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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2answers
233 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 ...
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0answers
67 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

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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3answers
2k views

What is the current U.S. monetary standard? [closed]

Despite my greatest efforts, I could not find any information about what standard the U.S. is using at this time. Apparently, we used to be on a gold standard. What about now? Do we even have a ...
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U.S. Marine Corps and Why does the Navy’s army need its own air force?

A recent interview by C-SPAN host Brian Lamb with Washington Post staff writer Rajiv Chandrasekaran touched on many controversial issues of the F-35 acquisition program where evidently a lot of pork ...
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350 views

Has any US President served in a government position with a foreign nation before or after their presidency?

Has a person elected to the US Presidency ever held a government position in a nation besides the United States? I think any government-related role would be an interesting answer. I think the ...