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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


10

An important aspect that seems to be neglected in many of the answers here is that while technical aspects cannot be completely dismissed, they are secondary to other concerns. To be specific, the primary weapon of heavy cavalry is its momentum, while heavy infantry (among which musketeers from 18th century onward are counted) relies on its discipline in ...


10

First, according to the 1860 Census, there were 3,526,195 free men, aged 20-39 in the states that would not secede. 3,475,987 of these men were white. Second, according to the National Parks Service, 2,672,341 men enlisted in the Union Army, 2,489,836 of which were white. Around 67.8% of enlisted soliders were between the ages of 20-39. To estimate ...


10

The reason there are errors you can't reconcile is that this is not painted from life. This is a lady of 1850. After this the hoop skirts only get bigger. This is a gentleman of 1855, who wears trousers and a frock coat. The people you see here are from decades earlier. The gentlemen wear swallowtail coats with breeches and stockings. The women wear the ...


9

It seems the key word I should've been looking for is "Christian Slavery". E.g. this NYT article says: Southern Christians believed that the Bible imposed on masters a host of obligations to their slaves. Most fundamentally, masters were to view slaves as fully members of their own households and as fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. Therefore, as ...


9

Tyler Durden's comment does a great job with the first two parts of your question. This answer addresses when playgrounds began to look like the things we have today. Short Answer: The modern American playground was championed by progressives in the 1880s-1890s; the most common playground equipment was all invented by the 1920s; and New Deal money made ...


9

In terms of access, breech-loaders were available to civilians from the beginning. In fact, prior to their mid-19th century adoption by the European national armies, the development of breech loading firearms were primarily sponsored by civilian needs. Specifically, for sporting, i.e. hunting. Experiments into the development of breech-loaders continued ...


8

I would say all those possibilities you listed are correct. Trade could be paid in paper money, which could then be redeemed for metal and shipped home. But even in the early 1800s, trade could be conducted on credit. Of course, under normal trading conditions, credit earned from exports was credit that could then be used to pay for imports of other goods ...


8

The young woman quoted likely misunderstood the real reason the windows were kept shut: to keep the mills humid. This was explained to me on a recent visit to Lowell, but I found a few published sources that match what the tour guides told me. Here's one: Work conditions in the mills were poor. To provide the humidity necessary to keep the threads from ...


8

The percentage of Americans traveling overseas doubled between 1860 and 1900, but overseas tourism was still very rare at the end of the century (only .16% of the population per annum). Americans in 2009 were around 10 times as likely to visit Europe as were Americans in 1900. The Historical Statistics of the United States records how many Americans were ...


8

There seem to be two major lines of reasoning here, both conjecture, because apparently Congress never explained itself. Arizona's state historian Thomas Edwin Farish wrote: For some reason, to this day unexplained, the greater portion of the land in this Arizona county [Pah Ute County] was ceded to the State of Nevada. The first line of reasoning ...


7

There were absolutely labor crunches while building the transcontinental railroads--these roads were stretching across a vast, unpopulated (by European Americans, that is) and harsh terrain. Labor shortages were worst during the Civil War, for obvious reasons. However, I can't find evidence of any major delays in the railroads' construction. This is due in ...


7

Historians like Dunning and Phillip are writing half a century before the cliometric revolution in economic history, which has completely changed how we view this question. Fogel and Engerman's 1974 "Time on the Cross" was quite influential in showing how profitable slavery was for those who practiced it. In particular, plantations were more efficient ...


7

It seems to me that the Democratic Party was not named per se. Instead, it gradually settled upon its present name more or less between 1824 and 1844. As is well known, the original Republican Party largely collapsed into personality-centric factions after 1824. The resulting fledgling parties, however, continued to profess membership in the old Republican ...


7

I wasn't able to find an actual location-of-origin census, which would be definitive. What I did find was two major drivers for German immigration to Texas. The first was Adelsverin, which was an organized attempt to form a "New Germany" in the Republic of Texas, starting in 1842. The founders of the society seem to be from all over Germany. The most famous ...


6

The quote refers to two things about Lord Acton. First, he was anything but prolific as an author: He is notorious for having rising to the heights of the historical profession without actually writing a book; the only work published in book form during his lifetime was his inaugural lecture when he became Regius professor of history at ...


6

Forever? Every civilization makes it a priority to know who is who and keep out the unwanted people. In the Book of Judges an incident is described from 3000 years ago whereby a shibboleth is used to identify aliens. According to the Wikipedia entry on identity documents, the passports of King Henry V (15th century) were the first such documents, but various ...


6

Definitely by 1844, since their platform for that year speaks of "the Democratic party of this Union." (By comparison, the platform for 1840 makes no such reference, which may imply that in that year it wasn't yet the official name.) Actually, looking further, here are the proceedings from their national convention of 1840, labeled the "National Democratic ...


6

There were electoral and administrative reasons for Lincoln to balance the ticket with a Democrat. He did legitimately fear that he might lose the election to McClellan, and Lincoln would do what it took to win. Lincoln did not much respect McClellan at this point. Furthermore, the Democrats had endorsed a peace plank at their convention. Thus Lincoln was ...


5

Yes. Wikipedia maintains a list of "Wars and Anthropogenic Disasters by Death Toll." Here are the 19th century entries, with lower and upper estimates for death toll. Taiping Rebellion (20-100 million) Napoleonic Wars (3.5-7 million) Shaka's Conquests (1.5-2 million) Du Wenxiu Rebellion (0.8-1 million) American Civil War (0.67-0.85 million) Circassian ...


5

You are not going to find these statistics. I put the evidence for this “below the fold.” Basically, crime stats experts all say that crime stats are unreliable before the mid-20th century. However, I think private trips must have been robbed at much higher rates than commercial trips for the simple reason that the vast majority of highwaymen operated in ...


5

Specie Circular: The most direct and immediate effect of the Panic of 1837 was the repeal of the Specie Circular of 1836. The Specie Circular was a highly deflationary policy because it required that Western lands be purchased with specie that just wasn't available. Deflation exacerbates recessions: never good. In May 1838, the Senate repealed the Specie ...


5

At that time the trade of the United States was primarily with Britain or the Spanish main. The English trade was conducted in pounds sterling and the Spanish trade in the Spanish milled dollar. Ultimately the dollar was selected as the U.S. standard of value. The merchants themselves would have dealt primarily in bank notes, but the banks eventually would ...


5

Note that the first Congressional nominating caucus was in 1796, and was only to select a VP nominee. Thus the "King Caucus" system really only operated for POTUS candidates for 6 election cycles (1800-1820). In the USA, the presidential election is essentially a set of separate elections where every state simultaneously votes for its state's choice of ...


5

I'm going to answer this question by relying on data from places like New England and New York. I think patterns in New England should be fairly similar to those in Pennsylvania, with the exception that the Appalachians and Alleghenies in PA are a more formidable barrier than the Berkshires. You can see some evidence of this in the isoclimes from the Atlas ...



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