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29

States Borders First off, most Canadian or American states' borders are not particularly straight. Even when they are supposed to be straight, there are often nooks and crannies. But indeed there's a tendency to use simple straight borders when creating a territorial entity from scratch, especially on the basis of longitude and latitudes. We see this in ...


28

The United States abandoned the gold standard on 15 August 1971. Since then it has been using fiat money, which is not backed by any commodity. It derives its value solely from government authority. This is sometimes also known as a "managed currency standard".


27

This is because Americans were used to dealing in quarters at the time the denomination was chosen. During the colonial period, a common unit of currency was one eighths of a Spanish real de a ocho. Since each of these Spanish dollars were worth eight Spanish reales it was habitual to divide the eight-real coin into 12.5% wedges known as bits. Two of these ...


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 ...


25

This is probably a slightly garbled account of the destruction of Shuri Castle in Okinawa. During the Second World War's Battle of Okinawa, the battleship USS Mississippi shelled the historical Ryukyu palace for three days prior to its capture by US marines. At 0718 on May 25, the Mississippi began a murderous onslaught with her 5 and 14-inch guns that ...


23

They probably got away with it because it was not illegal to drink alcohol. In fact, the Prohibition outlawed only the "manufacture, sale, or transportation" of alcoholic drinks. No mention of consumption, which remained substantial (~50-80% of "normal"), was made in the Prohibition amendment. After one year from the ratification of this article 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

Yes, there were extensive rapes by American soldiers during the Second World War. During the Second World War American GIs in Europe raped around 14,000 civilian women, in England, France and Germany. There were around 3,500 rapes by American servicemen in France between June 1944 and the end of the war ... some Allied troops were punished for sexual ...


21

Its not quite that simple. Since the process typically relies on evaporating out water from pools, it turns out you either need a somewhat reliably sunny climate to do this, or you have to set up a lot of extra large boilers. So some places are much better than others to set up shop. That being said, the South did in fact have large-scale salterns they ...


20

The name is Waldo C. Moore. This page says that he was a check collector: Moore sent famous people a request for an autographed bank check for one cent that was accompanied by his signed one-cent bearer note drawn on The Peoples Banking Company, Lewisburg, Ohio. Moore sent this request to hundreds of celebrities and his appeal received a surprisingly ...


20

Natural borders such as bodies of water prevailed where there were PEOPLE living around them. For instance, much of the eastern end of the U.S. Canadian border was defined by the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. On the Maine-Canadian border, it was defined by forests used by Maine (or Canadian) loggers. In such instances, "strong fences make good ...


17

The "white plague" refers to tuberculosis. The incident, which captured the nation's imagination for one day, is described by this report from the Grizzly Bear Magazine, April 1914: 4000-MILE HIKE TO NATIONAL CAPITAL The Pacific Coast has done much to attract the attention of the world, but one of the most unique things that has been formulated ...


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 ...


14

It depends on what you consider worse. Time magazine lists an incident that occurred on December 18 1970 at Yucca Flat Nuclear Test site where radioactive debris from the underground test of a 10 Kiloton Nuclear detonation was vented into the surrounding atmosphere. However the Department of Energy stated afterwards that the 86 workers who were exposed did ...


13

Because the medical profession was opposed to it. Roosevelt's administration feared that including the universal health insurance provisions would kill the entire Social Security Act. For the sake of passing the Social Security bill, we postponed the introduction of the bill on health insurance as the opposition was so great from the American Medical ...


13

No, Hitler had no plan for defeating the US outright. However, the Germans had been fighting against the US for quite some time in the Battle of the Atlantic, since US escorts would take convoys partway across and defend them against U-Boats. So the US neutrality was very strained already. And when the US entered the war, the Germans at once sent U-Boats ...


12

There are isolated instances of flag desecration in America's colonial and revolutionary past, but the perpetrators were not especially influential. Although a scattering of flag desecration incidents speckled American history prior to the twentieth century, none of them aroused any form of institutionalized legal response until shortly before 1900. ...


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

Diving a bit deeper into this, it looks like Wallace had three big strikes against him: He was a progressive liberal, at a time when a very large and influential part of the party (the Solid South) was very conservative. So was FDR of course, but as the holder of the White House they couldn't really attack him. He was a Theosophist (sort of the era's ...


12

Let me illustrate @StuartAllan's answer: if they hear "Japanese castle", people think about this: And while that is pretty and impressive, it will of course be a heap of smoking rubble after no more than a few hits from a battleship's guns. But what the attacking military is really up against is this: and laying waste to it is gonna take some time... ...


12

The First World War and the Soviet Union happened. War time hysteria made labour groups and socialists, who were largely against the war, a target of vigilante attacks and political repression. To make matters worse, amid the political suppression internal divisions of the socialist movement spilled into the open. Encouraged by the revolutionary success in ...


11

Basically it was an unenforceable law, and much of law enforcement saw no need to bother trying. There are several factors you have to consider here: Prohibition was never really that popular. In fact, its likely that a majority of the country was against it when it passed. Prohibition was particularly unpopular in large cities. The above factors meant ...


11

No. On the one side, we have Hamilton denouncing Cromwell in the Federalist Papers No. 21: Without a guaranty the assistance to be derived from the Union in repelling those domestic dangers which may sometimes threaten the existence of the State constitutions, must be renounced. Usurpation may rear its crest in each State, and trample upon 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 ...


11

The answer is simple - the US population is not primarily British in descent. The states have had large numbers of immigrants from all over Europe. Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have a much higher proportion of the population directly descended from British settlers, there was very little Eastern European movement to British colonies as they were just ...


11

Felix Frankfuter, before his SCOTUS appointment, was the founder of the ACLU, and an avid New Dealer. As such, the quote doesn't sound at all like him, or at least not the way its being used. He was just not a guy who thought about government in that way. For reference, here are some documented quotes from him about how he believes the USA operates. Both in ...


11

The Soviets did not know they were supplying the CIA, because Americans are adept at corporate shenanigans. From the book Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of my Years at Lockheed: Our supplier, Titanium Metals Corporation, had only limited reserves of the precious alloy, so the CIA conducted a worldwide search and using third parties and dummy ...



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