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50

Because Russia had been at war with Britain for most of the preceding two decades. One of Russia's problems in owning Alaska was defending it against it being used as a British route to invade Russia (militarily insane - but that's politics) - remember Canada was British at the time. By selling it to America they installed one of Britain's adversaries in ...


37

The sale of Louisiana was a FIRE SALE for France, and specifically, its self-appointed ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, for these reasons: 1) France had gotten "burned" with her earlier misadventures in North America. The French and Indian war cost her Canada and all of her other possessions on the east bank of the Mississippi. (She had managed to save ...


28

Snow removal takes a lot of effort. It was easier to switch out wheeled carriages for sleighs. Sleighs work better with more snow, so that according to this article: in the 18th and 19th centuries, "snow was never a threat" to road travel, "but rather it was an asset." The more densely packed snow became, the better. Some municipalities even had ...


27

After President Lincoln's election on the 6th of November 1860, the eleven Confederate states did not secede immediately. South Carolina, and then the remaining six states of the lower south (Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas) seceded from the Union between the 20th of November and 1st of February 1861, leaving Arkansas, Tennessee, ...


26

There is some truth to the claims, but the numbers are extremely prima facie distorted. Especially since they are (apparently) given in terms of "households", with no immediately obvious method by which such figures were fitted to a preconception "estimated" calculated[Note 1]. Even if his numbers are accurate however, they do not necessarily reflect the ...


23

Abe Lincoln did fight a duel in 1842. He was blamed by James Shields for an editorial. He chose extremely large broadswords, to improve his reach. I have heard that he joked at the choice of weapons "How about cow dung at 50 paces?" I personally haven't heard the cannon joke, but he might have used it as well. Since Lincoln was challenged by Shields ...


21

As far as Union states go, this table seems to provide accurate information. However, the info on Confederate army is very incomplete. You can find statements that North Carolina supplied the most soldiers (125,000) to the Confederate army all over the Internet. The original source seems to be a speech from 1904 by Hon. Theodore F. Davidson in Raleigh: ...


19

The Russo-American Treaty of 1824 established a clear border between American and Russian lands on the West Coast as well as trade. It gave Russian claims south of parallel 54°40′ north to the US. Russia was inclined to give away this territory, which was in dispute between them, Britain, America and Spain, to insure their undisputed and ongoing ownership ...


18

There were actually TWO endings to the War of 1812. The first, and "official" ending, was the signing of the peace Treaty of Ghent, December 24, 1814, which would have made a nice Christmas present. It called for a cessation of hostilities, the exchange of lands and prisoners, and the appointment of a joint commission to study U.S. Canadian boundary issues. ...


17

I would date the transition to aircraft carrier domination to the Battle of Midway, in June 1942. The Japanese fought an old style battle in four ship waves. In the first wave as a carrier task force, plus supporting cruisers and battleships, whose main task was to soften up Midway by air bombardment, and then screen the rest of the Japanese fleet. In the ...


16

Several historians/economists hold several factors responsible. I know two works that discuss this in great depth: The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith. Nation, State and the Industrial Revolution: The Visible Hand, Lars Magnusson. Personally, I believe the following factors played a crucial role: Wars: Britain's isolation from continental Europe meant ...


16

The situation is complex. While the pike-or-equivalent must be of a sufficient length and density to be effective against cavalry, the longer the weapon the more difficult it is to adjust formation and facing. Cavalry's most effective weapon on the battlefield is its speed. A mass of spearmen facing one direction are easily flanked and broken up, and then ...


15

The Charter Oath promulgated at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on 7 April 1868 includes several parts that identify the reasons for the radical social restructure that followed the Meiji restoration and an indication of the motivations for the dissolution of the warrior class that had been a defining characteristic of Japanese society. ...


15

Many Italians emigrated to Argentina because many Italians emigrated. Argentina, like Brazil and the United States could offer economic opportunities not to be found in the old country, but equally importantly, had policies that were open to immigration. Italian Emigration 1876-1926 Many Italians left Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; it ...


14

(A little background for others reading this post) In 1868 Emperor Meiji re-established imperial rule. To move Japan into the modern era, he encouraged his people to explore and learn from the more technologically advanced cultures of the world. Even in the late 1800s, English was the language of international commerce. Emperor Meiji's push to learn ...


14

It is unfortunately far easier to prove the presence of seats than their absence. The newspapers worldwide covered the Eiffel Tower in great detail and I decided to check what they wrote about the elevators (which where obviously a particular point of interest). The National Library of New Zealand puts historical newspapers online and makes them searchable, ...


14

After Franklin suggested that no serf ever realized the potential of improving their conditions and the right to education, I'd like to introduce a story of Aleksandr Nikitenko, who went to school being a serf and later, as a free man, became a professor at St. Petersburg University. He was emancipated by his owner in 1824, at the age of 20. In 1824, ...


14

Short Answer: Jewish southerners did not differ from other white southerners in their rates of slave ownership. Long Answer: Because the U.S. Census does not record religious affiliation, all figures regarding Southern Jewish ownership of slaves are necessarily imprecise estimates. As best I can tell, Duke gets his "40%" figure from a study by Malcolm ...


13

Russia and America (the Union) were very nearly allies during the Civil War. The implied enemies were the South (Confederacy) and Great Britain. Although Russia wanted to "monetize" Alaska, she also wanted it in "friendly" hands. The (re-united) U.S. fit the bill. Great Britain did not, after having allied with France and Turkey in the Crimean war.


13

The Smithsonian lists a couple of competitors including Samuel P. Langley, and Sir Hiram Maxim. Wikipedia has a reference to competing claims. Langley was paid by the government; he may be the individual you're remembering, although I can't immediately find any evidence of the depression.


13

The American Civil war in fact had many innovations. The most well-known was the first naval battle between iron warships. It was also the first war where the Gatling gun (forerunner of the modern machine gun) was used. By the end of the war many soldiers were using proper automatic personal weapons (Spencer and Henry repeating rifles). Getting a bit more ...


12

Gettysburg was pretty much a last ditch effort by Lee and Jefferson Davis to save the Confederacy or at least give it some credibility. There were different objectives that led to the attack in the first place. For one thing, the war in the West was going against the Confederates, and if the West fell, and more importantly access to the Mississippi River, ...


12

I believe the first "programmable" devices in common industrial use were the big industrial power looms in England in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Jacquard loom in 1801 was the first to use punched-cards for its programming. Way over in Ukraine, Russian Semen Korasakov saw the potential of these cards for information storage and retrieval, and ...


12

Short Answer Roughly speaking, in the early decades after 1867: ~7% became educators ~16% became public servants ~25% became corporate employees the rest became unemployed or farmers Overview Most of them actually did not do particularly well. After the Meiji Restoration, the samurai became the new shizoku class and initially received stipends from ...


12

They were paid a regular salary and given an "expense account" of sorts. At least, the higher ranking representatives of the United States were. While this was probably not a very adequate amount, American ministers were definitely not expected to pay for everything out of their own pockets. Early United States ambassadors were paid around $2,500, while ...


11

Sea power is not directly about which ship type can beat up which other ship type; it's a matter of being able to run one's merchant ships in an area and preventing the other side from running merchant ships. In WWII, it was difficult for surface ships to protect a convoy from air attack, as we can see from the 1942 attempts to relieve the siege of Malta. ...


11

In 1861, the US issued an announcement that they were looking for designers to submit plans for an ironclad ship. They did this in response to information they were obtaining indicating that the South had already begun building their own ironclad ships. Realizing that there was no way they could defeat an ironclad navy with their own wooden ships, the US ...


11

The Alpine Mountains were HUGE in the development of Switzerland. There is a reason that Switzerland contains French, German, and Italian speaking regions. These regions were the main area in each linguistic group that could successfully resist the feudal lords of what later became the "countries" of France, Germany, and Italy. The polyglot members of the ...


11

It seems unlikely that Victorian Era readers of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass would have thought of drugs when reading about the special foods and drinks. This conclusion is based upon the fact that the First and Second Opium Wars started in 1839 and 1858. So you could argue that recreational drug use was not really on the ...


11

I'm going to take this a perhaps unexpected direction, Connections-style. Everything else I see in the other answers is IMHO just an effect (although RI Swamp Yankee comes close). What did England have that the rest of Europe didn't that ultimately caused it to become the first center of industrialization? Sheep. England, particularly the Scottish ...



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