86

Prohibition was enacted largely at the behest of pressure groups. This was a very new political tactic in the US where a group uses an emotional issue to create themselves a sizable cadre of single-issue voters, who they can deploy surgically to unseat any politician who isn't in a completely safe district who opposes them. Arguably this tactic had been ...


74

You are describing part of what is referred to as the Black Belt in the American South. It can be seen here in a map of majority-black US counties. Your suspicions for the reason for this are quite correct. This corresponds to the interior of the old cotton belt. This area was historically the richest river-fed southern soil, with the largest plantations, ...


44

T.E.D.'s answer (+1) is complete with regard to the human history of the Americas, but the rich soil in the "cotton belt" or "black belt" has a geological explanation as well. The article "How presidential elections are impacted by a 100 million year old coastline" by Craig McClain, "Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium", describes ...


36

The comment was made in a private meeting with the historian Nicholas Murray Butler. Butler recounted the anecdote, and the context in which it was made in his book Across the busy years: recollections and reflections, Volume 1, published in 1935 (more than a decade after Warren Harding's death). Butler prefaced the story with some opinions about Harding's ...


32

Question 1: Were Soviets invited to the Marshall Islands to observe the first hydrogen bomb detonations? No. By 1952 the Cold War has begun, the US was at war with Soviet proxies in North Korea and the Soviets had tested their own nuclear bomb August 29, 1949. While 1952 was the first hydrogen bomb test it was the sixth series of nuclear tests conducted ...


25

The USA could be confident that the USSR would learn about the hydrogen bomb test from atmospheric sampling. It's possible to detect extremely low levels of radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere, some of which are characteristic of nuclear explosions. Doing this sampling has given important clues to some countries' nuclear weapons development programs, so ...


18

The Wikipedia article about life expectancy incudes the following: Life expectancy increases with age as the individual survives the higher mortality rates associated with childhood. For instance, the table above listed the life expectancy at birth among 13th-century English nobles at 30. Having survived until the age of 21, a male member of the ...


16

You're talking about the period 1945-1955, during which modern notions of deterrence were not yet in place. The symmetrical guarantee of mutually assured destruction was not fully in place until about 1955. There was actually a considerable period in the aftermath of WW II during which the US's nuclear capability was basically a bluff -- they had no ...


10

Most obvious parts of the lend-lease for an average Soviet soldier were food (especially canned spam etc.) and trucks. Meat conserves and trucks were well familiar not only to the soldiers but also to the rest of population, this was the most common source of meat at the time of war. The word "studebaker" became a Russian word for a generic large truck. Not ...


7

If you are interested in some of the actual political blaming being discussed by that quote, you'll probably want to take a look at the writings of the US' first political hatchet-man, James Callender. However, he didn't actually seem to have much compunction against saying nasty things about Washington. He wrote this when Washington left office: If ...


7

The other answers touch on this point, but I think it needs to be emphasized: The quote in the question demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the concept of average life expectancy. Overall average life expectancy is less meaningful than average life expectancy at a given age. The average life expectancy at birth was much lower than it is today, but that ...


6

The first United States census began on August 2, 1790. Unlike modern census questions, the early versions usually were limited to 6 questions: name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions: Free White males of 16 years and upward (to assess the country’s industrial and military potential), free ...


6

"Most" officers in the Navy (and Army and Marines) get two promotions if they stay long enough. In the Navy, that would be from Ensign (ENS.) to Lieutenant Junior grade (LTJG.) and then to Lieutenant (LT - the equivalent of an Army or Air Force Captain). That's because the first two officer ranks are basically "trainee" positions, and the last one mentioned ...


5

I've always been baffled and fascinated by this "prohibition" era in the USA between 1920 and 1933. That's 13 years! Let us remind ourselves that we are talking about the 1920s and this is over a century ago; and let us also remind ourselves that the Americas had only been colonised by the West for - what - three centuries by then. Alcoholism was likely to ...


4

U.S. Lend Lease aid provided only a small portion of Russia's "ammunition," but a large proportion of Russia's transport and communications. "Transport," such as trucks and jeeps and even aircraft are heavily branded, as is communications equipment such as radio sets. It's the ammunition that is "generic" that didn't carry American identification. But it ...


4

British Responses to the threat of Soviet Collapse. The Grand Alliance After the beginning of Operation Barbarossa on 22nd June 1941, the British were well aware of the strategic importance to themselves of keeping the Soviet Union fighting for as long as possible. Churchill announced to the world on the day of the invasion the British government's ...


4

The two are unrelated, and any "resemblance" between the two ages is coincidental. If the "life expectancy" was 35, it would be a weighted average of the ages of people who died in childhood, and people who lived to be adults, and who could expect to live a normal lifespan approaching 70, from Biblical times, (at least for men; women often died in ...


3

This is a complex question. I will provide you with a very generalized macro answer of one aspect of how this phenomenon came to be, but realize there are many factors in play, and that this is not a unique situation to America. The United States has experienced several notable immigration waves, the bulk of each comprised of individuals from particular ...


3

Those are typically worn to designate mourning in Western culture. However, its very rare to see them on anyone other than a man who has just or is just about to attend a funeral, usually as one of the pallbearers. Additionally, its only worn if the person in question doesn't have an appropriately black or dark suit coat (or dress) to wear, which is ...


2

No, because such operation would be completely ludicrous First of all, since the start of Operation Barbarossa, bulk of German ground forces was always in the East. Therefore, if Soviets could not contain them, few divisions send by British and/or Americans certainly could not do the job. As a remainder, total forces for Operation Overlord were 39 divisions,...


1

The law was not universally loved by the Americans. Some stats I've seen showed that as many as 25% of the adult population were drinking illegal alcohol in some form. Several politicians (including perhaps the President of the USA) plus many police liked their occasional drink and the law was an inconvenience to them. They were not fanatically motivated to ...


1

No. But they refer to the same type of (American) phenomenon called an "awakening." In their 1991 book, "Generations," (the late) William Strauss and Neil Howe (S&H) offered an explanation for these types of events. They postulate that there are four different types of generations, about 20 years apart, in roughly an 80 year cycle. The purveyors of "...


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