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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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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745 views

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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343 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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988 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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459 views

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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340 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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640 views

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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2k views

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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316 views

Computer business in 1969

Mad Men, season 7, episode 4, describes the computer business in 1969 as follows. IBM would lease computers to businesses, but would do so only for short leases, and would replace them with newer ...
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236 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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329 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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125 views

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 sharks":...
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691 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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491 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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7k views

What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?

Iran was a friend to the USA until Carter traveled to Iran and immediately afterwards Iran faced revolution. Khomeini went to Iran from France. On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic ...
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1answer
774 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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1answer
805 views

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 ...
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501 views

Why didn't Ronald Reagan become Republican candidate for the President of the USA in 1976?

I'd really like to know, how did it happen that Ronald Reagan lost the Republican Party presidential primaries in 1976, against Gerald Ford. It's easier for me to understand that he could fail in the ...
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1answer
456 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 ...
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420 views

Upper-class male cohabitation in mid-19th century USA

James Buchanan is often considered to be the first (and only so far?) gay American president. The major piece of evidence for this (at least according to wikipedia and some popular articles on this I'...
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252 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 ...
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518 views

Who won the wrestling match between Lincoln and Jack Armstrong?

According to a site whose name is "Muscles of Iron", the above picture shows Lincoln after taking down “champion” Jack Armstrong at the general store in New Salem, 1831. On the page where the picture ...
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49 views

Which of LBJ's fellow representatives were less active than him in the House?

In the first book of Robert Caro's series on Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power, he observes that in his time as a member of the House of Representatives, LBJ had introduced only 5 bills of national ...
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4k views

Can anyone explain why a wreck of a battleship lies in the Nevada desert?

Can anyone explain the reason why a wreck of a battleship lies in the Nevada desert as it is represented in the picture above?
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5answers
3k views

Difference between V-5 and V-12 Navy programs during WWII

I was curious if there was a difference between the V-5 and V-12 Navy programs during World War II. I have found a lot of information on V-12 program specifically but I haven't been able to find to ...
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What factors led to the rise of political parties in the United States?

I know that at the time the Constitution was drafted partisan political parties did not exist, not in the way that we conceive of them today, and George Washington did not have a political party. ...
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649 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
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604 views

As American as the Apple Pie?

After doing my own research I found that the apple pie was invented in England in the 1300's. With that being the case, why do we often hear the saying "It's as American as the apple pie"? Because I ...
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725 views

What was the context behind Felix Frankfurter's quote?

Some internet sites, including those of a more dubious and conspiratorial nature, have been posting this rather ominous quote: The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from ...
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939 views

Why was health insurance not included in the Social Security Act of 1935?

The United States has spent much of the last two decades, for instance, arguing about how best to reform the odd public-private health insurance scheme that grew up around Franklin Roosevelt’s ...
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1k views

Did Roosevelt's New Deal lift the U.S. out of the depression or did it actually prolong the Depression and cripple American capitalism? [closed]

While the New Deal did much to lessen the worst affects of the Great Depression, its measures were not sweeping enough to restore the nation to full employment. Critics of FDR's policies, on both ...
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850 views

Was the death toll in the atomic bombing of Japanese territory greater than was expected by the US?

It is known that the US tried to justify their atomic bombing of Japanese cities by claiming they were aimed at military targets such as a plant and a bridge. Yet the bombs destroyed much more than ...
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156 views

Who was the first member of the United States Senate to resign?

Who was the first member of the United States Senate to resign? How many times has it happened? Where might one find a list of resignations of senators? (My tentative guess was Moses Robinson of ...
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Price of a shot and a bottle of whiskey in 1870s American West

What was the price of a shot and a bottle of whiskey in the American West in 1870s roughly? For the end consumer, in a saloon, not wholesale.
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279 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. ...
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2answers
758 views

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor totally unexpected?

According to "British Intelligence in the Second World War: Security and Counter-Intelligence", by Francis Harry Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins, Tricycle, a British double agent, complained that the FBI ...
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642 views

McCarthy's speech: Where is “When a great democracy is destroyed…” from?

During the Wheeling speech in 1950, McCarthy said : As one of our outstanding historical figures once said, “When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be from enemies from without, but ...
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458 views

What evidence is Chomsky alluding to when he states the US is preventing a settlement between Israel & Palestine?

Chomsky in his book Neccesary Illusions, published in 1989 says: U.S. ... efforts to prevent a political settlement of the Arab–Israeli conflict over many years, readily documented, but unwelcome ...
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1answer
418 views

Do photos of Wernher von Braun and Neil Armstrong exist? Have they ever met?

A quick google search for the term "Korolev and Gagarin" reveals many photos of the two together - surprisingly, as Korolev's identity was kept strictly secret up to his death. When searching for "...
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Why did the US getting involved in the European theater in WW2?

From this question: World War II - Have Historians Envisioned How The Axis Powers Might Have Won? I understand that it is unlikely that Germany with its allies could have won WW2 even if they had ...
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1answer
244 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 ...
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1answer
173 views

Were the Puritans for a State Church?

In a book titled America's Providential History it states on page 84 that The major Puritan weakness was their holding to the idea of a State Church. They saw nothing wrong with a National ...
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1answer
754 views

How did the USS Reprisal sink?

USS Reprisal was the first ship of what was to become the United States Navy. Wikipedia says: On September 14, 1777, Reprisal left France, for the United States. About October 1, Reprisal was ...
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260 views

Natural born citizen

From what I understand, the so-called "birther movement" in the US asserts that Barack Obama is not eligible to be president of the USA because he allegedly wasn't born in the US and therefore is not ...
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1k views

Did non-Indians go into Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)?

From 1854 to 1907 there was a territory reserved for American Indians (aptly named "Indian Territory") in what is now the state of Oklahoma. How exclusive was this territory? Did non-Indians go ...
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2answers
458 views

Was there anything like African American architecture style or symbolic in the beginning of 20th century?

At the beginning of 20th century, large masses of black people were migrating to North or between districts of the same towns (like in New York from Tenderloin or San Juan Hill to Harlem, previously ...
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205 views

Who are all the people in this photo of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, 1964?

I've been trying to figure this out for a while, and it's really bugging me. Seeing Robert F. Kennedy (if I'm right) in the background there made me really curious about everyone else around Lyndon ...
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180 views

Who invented and marketed the first “clip on” headphones?

Headphone style terminology seems dodgy at best, but I'm trying to determine what company first sold this style of headphone in the US: I've seen them variously described as "on the ear," "clip on" ...
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What is the oldest movie theater in the US that has been in continuous use as a movie theater?

It appears from Wikipedia that the oldest theater in continuous use is in Denmark, but since so much of the film industry is dominated by Hollywood, I was wondering what is the oldest movie theater in ...
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217 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 ...