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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 ...


16

It's probably because Ganson--one of the handful of Democrats who voted for the 13th Amendment--was on the fence about this Amendment himself. Voting not to reconsider the bill is similar to voting "present" in order to duck a difficult issue. First, Ganson voted against the 13th Amendment the first time the House considered it. He was widely expected to ...


14

No, slavery was not on its way out. 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, ...


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 ...


14

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 ...


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 ...


12

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 ...


11

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 ...


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

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

Realpolitik: American foreign policy under Washington, Adams, and Jefferson was aimed at threading the needle between England and France, avoiding European entanglements. Getting involved in Haiti would have angered at least one of them. Better to sit back and let the European empires expend their own resources. Also, intervention would have been ...


10

The White House, which had been occupied for only 14 years at this point, had been richly furnished with sofas, writing tables, commodes, card tables, and beds by Jefferson. The Madisons "inherited" these furnishings, and brought in their own personal possessions. So most of what was burned or looted (like the small medicine cabinet pictured below) was ...


10

They looked in England, but nothing came of it. During the Greek War of Independence, a commission investigated Cornwall, England for descendants of the Palaiologan dynasty. Supposedly, a certain Theodore Palaiologos of Pesaro in Italy died there in 1636. The Ferdinando Palaiologos mentioned in the question was one of his sons, and he died at Barbados on 3 ...


9

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 ...


9

Quite possibly for procedural reasons. There are a lot of little nits about parliamentary procedures that encourage weird things like this. For instance, under the older Roberts Rules of Order extant at the time, a motion to reconsider could only be made by someone who voted on the prevailing side in the previous vote. So if there's a chance the vote might ...


8

No, not even close. Alan T Nolan lists this as one of the components of the Lost Cause Myth in his essay "The Anatomy of the Myth", collected in the book The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History (ed by Gary Gallagher and Nolan). McPherson says in Battle Cry that slavery was more firmly entrenched in 1860 than it had been in 1820. By 1860 the ...


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

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 ...


8

Initially, Japanese observers thought the Taiping Rebellion was a nationalist revolt by Ming China loyalists. This perception was encouraged by for instance the rebel slogan "Destroy Manchuria, Revive Han China (滅満興漢)". Thus, Japan believed the rebellion to be an attempt by the subjugated Han Chinese natives to free themselves form their Manchurian ...


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

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 ...


7

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 ...


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 ...


7

This is a picture of King Louis XVIII of France. The coat he is wearing closely resembles that of the Gendarmes de la Maison militaire du Roi during the First Restoration (red cloth, horizontal lace and black velvet on the chest, etc.) As for why the lace and epaulets appear silver rather than the regulation gold, this is perhaps an affectation of the king, ...


7

The decline of wagon trains in the United States started in 1869, with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, and wagon trains as a way of migrating essentially ended in the 1890s. Covered wagons, on the other hand, stuck around for a long time. The covered wagon of the migrations evolved from freight wagons such as the Conestoga, and ...


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 ...



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