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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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614 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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Before entering WW II, why was the US so against Japanese aggression in China but did nothing about Germany in Europe?

The US was very vocal against Japanese aggression in China in the 1930's and early 1940's but said nothing against German aggression in Europe. The US finally placed an embargo on sending oil and ...
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394 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 ...
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791 views

Why was cricket's popularity in USA a casualty of Civil War?

"Cricket was by far the biggest sport [in the USA] in this period," Tim Lockley, an expert in American history at Warwick University, told the Guardian in 1999. "Then the civil war started in 1861, ...
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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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261 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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After America achieved independence, did George Washington continue to wear a military uniform?

After the American Revolution, the founding fathers seem to have adapted their 'costumes' from similar European ones. Like the Europeans, their uniforms often had orders, medallions and ...
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342 views

What did 19th century playgrounds look like?

In the beginning of the novel Cold Mountain, a character recollect his childhood at a school house (maybe in the 1840s or 1850s in rural North Carolina) and describes flinging his hat out onto the ...
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252 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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233 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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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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573 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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241 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 duelling in the U.S until ...
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883 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: ...
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252 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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567 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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372 views

During the American Civil War, could you send mail to someone across the border?

Before the Civil War, there was mail service between all the different states. During the war, could you still send a letter from, say New York to Georgia, or did the post office shut down services ...
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488 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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416 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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251 views

Did most pants in the late 1800s have plackets at the ankle?

Recently, while at the New York Public Library, I spotted this painting: In it, Charles Astor Bristed is, in his youth, sporting pantaloons that appear to have a placket from ankle to knee. Did ...
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Have there been any joint US-Russia/Soviet military engagements post WW II?

Reportedly, now both the USA and Russia are engaged in military combat against Islamic State in Syria. Although contexts are different and it remains debatable exactly whom Russia are targeting, the ...
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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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When did formal social dance fall out of favor in the US?

Up until about the 1950s, one can see instances of social dance (especially ballroom) dominating the social scene. This includes instances such as the tennis court scene with Humphrey Bogart and ...
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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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296 views

Were labor shortages ever a problem for the railroads in the Old West?

Many different rail lines were built in the western United States from the 1850s onwards. Was construction ever delayed/canceled due to difficulty in finding workers, or due to workers leaving the ...
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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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Have American writing styles changed between the Civil War and Today?

Whenever I hear people recite speeches (Gettysburg Address) letters (largely selections from most famous letters of famous figures) and historical accounts (military accounts) from Americans who lived ...
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299 views

How were 19th century American diplomats paid?

I just came across this line in H.W. Brands' Andrew Jackson biography, explaining why Jackson was initially uninterested in the presidency: "The pay was good, but the expenses of the office ate up the ...
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451 views

How many acres per person were needed for the early American settlers vs. the native Americans?

Clearly the lifestyle of the native peoples of North America was less intensive than that of the European settlers and thus required more land per person. However, theirs was not exclusively a ...
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971 views

Founding Fathers and the American Civil War

I was reading an article and was wondering if there is anything out there to indicate that the Founding Fathers saw the potential for conflict regarding these specific points: Economic and ...
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894 views

Effect of propaganda during the American War of Independence

In what way did propaganda play a part in the solidifying of American identity in the American War of Independence, and how was propaganda used by the British at home to generate support for the war? ...
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816 views

Where did the term “Radical Republican” come from?

Where did the term "Radical Republican" come from? I know that Radical Republicans is term for a group of Republicans in the early Republican party in the mid 1800s, but was the term used at the time ...
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During 1790-1800, was it legal to pay workers using whiskey?

As is well known, in frontier regions whiskey was regarded as an indispensable necessity to life, health and happiness, at the point that it usually had to substute for specie as a medium of exchange: ...
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What were the key differences between United States' and Indian revolutions?

The Thirteen Colonies and Indian subcontinent were two of the most significant colonies of the British Empire, yet the former was able to gain independence via a rebellion relatively early on, whilst ...
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Is the USA Congress explicitly patterned after the British Parliament?

I have always presumed this to be the case. They have a similar form: two chambers, the lower representing "all the people" and the upper representing, very roughly speaking, "institutional forces" ...
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What is the significance of “Flappers” in American history?

The Flapper image of the 1920's American history of cosmetics seems to transform the cultural image of the feminine. However, I cannot piece together exactly how this change came about. I read about ...
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246 views

Why was there a surge of writings about the Illuminati in America in the late 1910's?

I came across this interesting graph on Google's Ngram Viewer service: It looks like there was a massive spike in the occurrence of "Illuminati" in American literature starting around 1915 and ...
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225 views

Is the position of women as portrayed in the Mad Men series historically accurate?

I found similar questions about a game (closed as off topic), a play (7 upvotes) and a movie (9 upvotes) so I am unsure if this is an acceptable question for this SE. In the Mad Men series, which ...
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293 views

What happened to the US Army Camel Corps?

What happened to the US Army Camel Corps? Did the Camel Corps fight in the civil war? If it was closed down, what happened to the camels?
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Georgia's Ruling by O. Henry

O. Henry's 1900 story, "Georgia's Ruling", http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/ohenry/bl-ohenry-georgia.htm describes a dire social problem related to the USA land laws and the "land ...
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545 views

Why did the Italians (and to some extent Jewish & Irish) dominate organized crime in the US in the 20th century?

Immigrants of a great many nationalities came to American shores, so why was it the Italians who reached such elaborate levels of criminal organization? (The Jewish & Irish seem to have come in ...
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402 views

Were there interstate tariffs before the US Constitution (1789)?

I've heard many times that the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution was (in part) designed to end tariffs between the thirteen states. Now that I'm trying to learn about those tariffs, I'm having a ...
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Why did American public opinion move away from isolationism in 1940-41?

In Lynne Olson's recent interview in the New York Times dealing with her book Those Angry Days she notes that isolationism was "finished" by late 1941 and that a "sea change" occurred in American ...
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698 views

What races did Americans classify people into during the 1800s?

I know that in different eras people have had different schemes for categorizing the people of the world by race, or disposing of such schemes altogether. What racial categories did people commonly ...
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Which parts of the Townshend Act were repealed in 1770?

The Townshend Acts were passed in 1767 and partially repealed in 1770. Which clauses were repealed at that time? I've looked around and found the original text, but I cannot find specifically what ...