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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11
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2answers
782 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? ...
6
votes
1answer
206 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

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

Many different rail lines were build 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 ...
30
votes
15answers
8k views

Was the secession of the Confederate states illegal?

Putting aside their reasons for wanting to do so and all the emotional responses they would provoke, was the secession of states from the Union to eventually form the Confederacy an illegal act in ...
4
votes
4answers
258 views

What precipitated the rise of social safety nets in the United States?

In the United States we received changes in the social safety net over the past century with the big changes coming in the form of social security and medicaid/medicate as well as other programs. The ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

What were the first “Big Banks” in the United States?

The large financial institutions of the world have dominated the news cycle for the past few years, and it got me thinking, what were the first large banks in the US? I am interested in hearing about ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

United States Incarceration Rate

How many people were sentenced to prison in 2011 in the United States? This statistic is hard to come by online. The only measured incarceration rate I've come across is the amount of people ...
6
votes
1answer
194 views

Where is the location shown in this picture on a modern day map?

This image from this site is named Traffic Jam at the New York Entrance of the Holland Tunnel. New York City, 1920s As I understand, this is at Manhattan end of Holland Tunnel. I've tried, without ...
5
votes
4answers
357 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
467 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
290 views

Did American Indians disrupt railroads in their regions?

In the Old West, many railroads went through Indian-occupied areas. Are there any documented instances of the Indians ever sabotaging the railroads? Please provide dates and circumstances where ...
6
votes
1answer
204 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?
3
votes
1answer
487 views

Where did the railroad companies find workers to build the rails?

In the building of the various transcontinental railroads in the western US during the late 1800s, how did the railroad companies find workers? I suppose I'm looking for an answer like "They paid a ...
15
votes
1answer
248 views

When did the cats versus dogs rivalry begin in the US?

In the US people that own pets seem to be pegged as either dog people, or cat people. This cultural phenomenon is so prevalent that Hollywood even made a movie about it. My question is, when did this ...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

Was Brown v Board of Education the only major decision that changed educational choice in America?

Brown v Board of Education was the landmark Supreme Court case in America that was supposed to allow more educational choice for all Americans, basically stopping segregational policies and on a legal ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

What differences led to Technicolor becoming the dominant color filming technology in Hollywood?

Apparently another technology, Kinemacolor, was invented first in the UK, but it never caught on in Hollywood. Kinemacolor was expensive, and had some other glitches involved, but the fact that it was ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

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. ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

What factors enabled the New York Journal to survive the yellow journalism wars?

The height of yellow journalism was a battle waged between the Joseph Pulitzer owned New York World, and the William Hearst owned New York Journal. However, even though these two papers boasted large ...
9
votes
1answer
236 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

What factors led to the US government issuing nutrition guidelines in 1916?

This timeline from the Washington Post says that the United States Department of Agriculture issued its first food guidelines in 1916 for children, and then did one in 1920 for adults. My question is, ...
6
votes
13answers
3k views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
3k views

Who were some famous Vietnam War Hawks and Doves?

Who were some famous people who opposed/supported the Vietnam War?
5
votes
1answer
137 views

Where were the Mormons going?

From what I've heard, when the Mormons left Illinois in 1846 they hadn't decided where exactly they were going to settle. Did they have some choices they were looking at? Did they have a route they ...
-1
votes
1answer
140 views

Did Johnny Appleseed actually exist? [closed]

According to Wikipedia, his real name was John Chapman. Is this true?
12
votes
4answers
531 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
513 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
4k views

Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
11
votes
2answers
729 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?
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do minor political parties in the US receive so few votes?

Reading about the election statistics in the United States I was amazed about how few votes are received by the minor parties and their candidates. For example, Gloria La Riva received only 181 votes ...
10
votes
2answers
820 views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

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, ...
9
votes
4answers
430 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
258 views

When did it become acceptable to campaign for yourself for US President?

I am fascinated by the stark differences between election mechanics/strategies/policies of the early United States when compared to today. In the early days of the US, it was seen as "ungentlemanly" ...
-1
votes
2answers
308 views

If the Iraq War was because of their oil, has the US achieved their war aims [closed]

Let's assume: The United States of America started the 2003 Iraq war to obtain Iraqi oil. The Iraq war was very costly for the Americans, and a long and unfinished war has always made the ...
11
votes
2answers
258 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
307 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Did King George III turn his back on John Adams and Thomas Jefferson?

After the resolution of the Revolutionary War, John Adams and (later) Thomas Jefferson were diplomatic agents in London. John Adams had been there a while and had previously met the King, apparently ...
10
votes
5answers
806 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
308 views

Recommended Reading 19th Century US Settler Daily Life?

At the time of this writing, I am riding in the comfort of an air conditioned minivan, traveling through the deserts of Arizona and California along I-10. I began to think about 19th century settlers ...
27
votes
7answers
10k views

When and how did the USA and the UK become allies?

So, you may remember that the United States and Great Britain had a minor spat in 1776, which shall we say, did not put them on the friendliest of terms. In 1812, while Britain was focused on its war ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

Why are lower court jurists, judges, and supreme court jurists, justices?

I cannot find any information explaining why judges that sit on a Supreme Court are referred to as "justices," and judges that sit on a lower court are "judges." Everything I've found seems to ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
472 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
171 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
583 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
280 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did Britain not purchase Alaska when Russia had it up for sale?

One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth ...
10
votes
2answers
563 views

Why did baseball become more popular than cricket in the USA?

Recently I started reading a very interesting comic about high school baseball. I found that baseball shares so many similarities with Cricket. So I tried to look for some information regarding the ...
19
votes
1answer
467 views

How did people react to Cavendish bananas when they first replaced the Gros Michel strain?

I was reading that the bananas we eat today (Cavendish) weren't particularly popular until the 50s, when the more popular Gros Michel variety was virtually wiped out by a nasty disease. Apparently ...