Questions tagged [united-states]

The United States of America is a sovereign state stretching across North America between Canada and Mexico, 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 the 1700s, the US spread across the continent by conquest and land-purchase to become the most powerful country on the planet after the Cold War in the 1900s.

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On 1941 Dec 7, could Japan have targeted the Panama Canal instead of Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack?

This question comes from a slightly related one. At the time of WW2, most US industry was on the East Coast, including all of the shipbuilding for Carriers and Battleships. If the Panama Canal went ...
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Why did the Confederacy think they could win the American Civil War?

The early Confederacy (The 7 founding states) attacked Fort Sumter in April 1861, starting the American Civil War. The Confederacy knew this would lead to war with the Union, yet they seemed to be ...
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Why did North America economically prosper, and maintain stable government and South/Central America didn't?

Disclaimer: I understand this is a generalized statement and doesn't account for every scenario (for example: the US civil war). In general, why, over the course of our whole history, have the United ...
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Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
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Is there any evidence to support the claim that the United States was "suckered into WW1" by Zionists, made by Benjamin Freedman in his 1961 speech?

In the comments to another question another user of History:SE made a remarkable, if unbelievable, claim: Actually, Germany was shocked when the US declared war and entered on the side of Great ...
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Identify the era or any other clues from this soldier's picture?

I am going through my parents' photo box and found this. I don't think it's a relative. Right breast says "Ritchie" and it looks like left says "USARMY". The marking on the back says "Myself at Iujin-...
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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 ...
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Why didn’t Japan attack the West Coast of the United States during World War II?

In the early months of World War II, the United Stated spent several millions of dollars to fortify the West Coast against possible Japanese attack, going as far as to stretch a gigantic submarine net ...
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58 votes
8 answers
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Why did LBJ, a staunch segregationist, champion and sign the 1964 Civil Rights Bill?

Lyndon B. Johnson with regards to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.. From the Atlantic The times called for a leader who could subdue the vast political and administrative forces arrayed against change—...
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Why does Japan use the same type of AC power outlet as the US?

Does it have something to do with the US taking part in aiding reconstruction of the country after WWII? I've tried googling around for an answer, but every site I find simply states the outlet style, ...
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What do the phone number suffixes J, M, R, W in 1940 New York phone book mean?

Browsing through the Staten Island, NY telephone directory of January 1940, I found that certain phone numbers were printed with a suffix J, M, R or W. What do these mean? I've marked a few of them in ...
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Why was the Scout movement so successful?

I find it amazing how fast the scout movement spread after its creation. What I got from Wikipedia: Robert Baden-Powell became famous (rightly or not) at home for his activity in the British Army. ...
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Was murdering a slave illegal in American slavery, and if so, what punishments were given for it?

Was there any punishment for killing slaves, and what punishment was given for it, and was it enforced?
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What was the historical context of the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution?

The 2nd amendment states: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. There is a lot of ...
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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 ...
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How did the authorities not find the speakeasy clubs during the prohibition?

I've always been baffled and fascinated by this "prohibition" era in the USA between 1920 and 1933. That's 13 years! I know very well about the concept of "speakeasy" clubs, that is, illegal bars. ...
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Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?
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5 answers
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Why were there no internment camps for German-American citizens in USA during WW2?

I am certainly aware of Japanese-Americans being detained in internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent declaration of war on United States by the empire of Japan. About 110,000+ ...
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3 answers
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When did FDR announce he was running a 3rd time, and was there any outrage?

When did President Franklin Roosevelt announce he was running again for a 3rd term? And was there any shock or outrage at this? I noticed the Vice President, John Garner, actually ran against FDR in ...
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Why did Germany officially acknowledge the contents of the Zimmerman telegram?

The Zimmerman telegram was a diplomatic message from officials in Germany to the Mexican president, sent in 1917. After being intercepted and decoded by Britain's intelligence community, its contents ...
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Why didn't the USA move to the left after WWII? [closed]

After the second world war, and after the full impact of what the Nazis had done became clear, it seems like international politics moved to the left: in the east and far-east, support for communist ...
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How did the Nazis plan to defeat America during World War II?

Yamamoto famously advised against a war with the United States, because he could tell how powerful they would be once they got going. The Nazis, however, declared war on the United States of their ...
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When and how did the USA and the UK become allies?

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 with ...
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Did the leaflets from the US to Hiroshima/Nagasaki civilians on bombing cities reduce the civilian casualties of the two nuclear bombs in August 1945?

I read on Wikipedia Various leaflets were dropped on Japan, three versions showing the names of 11 or 12 Japanese cities targeted for destruction by firebombing. The other side contained text stating ...
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1 answer
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Where did Asian Americans go to school during the 'separate but equal' era?

I know that Brown vs. Board of Ed. desegregated schools. Reading Through History has a great video that clearly summarizes what this landmark case was about. However, everything I've heard about Brown ...
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Has the United States ever had a non-Christian President?

If Bernie Sanders won the 2020 election, he would be the first Jewish POTUS in American history, regardless of how 'cultural' his Judaism may be. Given this, would his being the first Jewish POTUS ...
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What do the numbers on this 1960s anti-integration sign mean?

I was reading a CNN article this morning that features the below image: Protests over integrating schools is not new. In 1965 members of a parents’ association picketed outside the Board of Education ...
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44 votes
7 answers
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Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

Leaving aside the naval battles of the Pacific, why did the Japanese army do so poorly against allied forces (specifically United states and Australian forces) when on the defensive. While logistics ...
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Why didn't the US choose to demolish Tokyo with an atom bomb?

Tokyo was Japan's capital. Why didn't the US choose Tokyo to demolish with Atom Bomb? Bonus Question: What factors decided to bring Hiroshima and Nagasaki on table?
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Were there U.S. weapon restrictions during 19th century?

Prior to the 20th century, I'm curious as to how the 2nd amendment was understood: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and ...
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5 answers
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How were smallpox vaccines enforced in the US?

Smallpox was eradicated in 1977 thanks to a massive worldwide vaccination campaign. But how did the US government enforce the smallpox vaccine, given that you needed 90+% vaccinated to achieve herd ...
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Have American urban rioters ever looted residences?

The current (summer 2020) occurrences of looting and rioting are targeting stores and businesses, so I am wondering if houses and apartments might potentially become targets at some point. In previous ...
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43 votes
5 answers
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What did the Emancipation Proclamation exactly do?

I'm a bit confused about what Lincoln's proclamation did exactly. It's thought by some the Emancipation Proclamation gave all slaves the status of free. However from reading the introduction of the ...
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Was it militarily possible to "island hop" the Philippines if not for MacArthur?

The battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines led to the destruction of half of what remained of the Japanese navy. It also "sucked in" all the troops that Japanese could spare from elsewhere, leading ...
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What is the origin of the stereotype that Polish people lack intelligence?

A quick glance at Wikipedia's list of Polish people demonstrates the stereotype as false. Poland has produced notable minds in such diverse areas of knowledge as Astronomy (Nicolaus Copernicus), ...
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Why are many African-Americans in Mississippi concentrated in the northwestern area?

I was looking at a 2016 election map of Mississippi. I saw a that most of it was red, but the western part looked very blue. I looked up one of those counties, and not surprisingly for an American ...
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When/how did Harry Truman give the order to bomb Hiroshima?

Am I correct in assuming that Truman and only Truman had the authority to order the bombing of Hiroshima? After all, it was the very first A-bomb and procedures may not have been formalized yet. It ...
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Were there large scale protests after earlier presidential elections in the US?

After the elections there were many news reports of large-scale, mass protests throughout the US, for example: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-us-election-2016-live-...
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Did a significant number of women drive in late 1950s/1960s USA?

During lockdown, I have become addicted to old 1950s/60s Perry Mason series. I am struck by the number of women, from all walks of life - waitresses to wealthy matrons - who owned and drove their own ...
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Is there a historical explanation as to why the USA people are so litigious compared to the French?

I'm French and I often hear that people in USA tend to sue for almost anything. I don't hear the same about countries neighboring France (Spain, Italia, Belgium, etc..) and, since a good part of USA ...
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When did official documentation stop referring to black people as Negros in the States?

Watching Why does the US have so many child brides?, there was an interesting part where marriage licenses were shown: where under race, in two places, it is clearly written as: Negro The ...
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Why did the population of Anchorage, Alaska, increase by so much in the 1970s?

Between 1970 and 1980, the population of Anchorage, Alaska, increased by more than 260%, around 130,000 people. What caused this? There had been previous increases of approximately the same in ...
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3 answers
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How many people in the US starved to death during the Great Depression?

I was trying to look this up earlier and could not easily find reliable information on the internet, mostly due to a new popular claim that 7 million people starved to death in the Great Depression! ...
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How did the American Civil War help the U.S economy recover from the Panic of 1857 given that civil wars are extremely destructive?

From the Wikipedia article on the Panic of 1857: Beginning in September 1857, the financial downturn did not last long; however, a proper recovery was not seen until the American Civil War. ...
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Why was there a surge in the US incarceration rate during the 1990s?

This surge seems to only have stabilized in the last decade and spans roughly 1980–2005. What is its cause? Even when accounting for population growth, the graph does not look much different. (Image ...
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35 votes
6 answers
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Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

Gail Jarvis, in an encomium to the Dunning School writes: William A. Dunning fervently opposed slavery but his reading of the trends of the times led him to the conclusion that the institution was ...
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35 votes
5 answers
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Why did the Soviet Union out-pace the US during the space-race?

At the end of World War II, the US Government's Operation Paperclip plucked rocket scientists from Germany and brought them to the U.S. to work on military weapons. Most famous among these scientists ...
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What led to the first fight in the American Civil War?

After Lincoln was elected president, 11 states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America. What circumstances surrounding this secession led to the first battle of the war, and ...
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What exactly is the US national anthem?

In 1931, a congressional resolution designated that "[t]he composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem." Unfortunately there isn't ...
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4 answers
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What is this symbol in a financial record from Wisconsin, USA, in 1860?

I am trying to read some records about wages in Wisconsin in 1860 (the data is from the Social Statistics schedules of the Decennial Census). I cannot read the record from Milton, Rock County, ...
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