Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
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Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
USA in the 19th.Century
Bozeman Trail. Taking this trail meant trespassing on Teton Sioux land at that time, and many of the Teton Sioux attacked miners in anger for the intrusion.
Dawes Act. The Government tried to convince the Indians to dress like the Americans, and to practice the same religions that Americans did. Not long later, though, the Dawes Act failed.
10%. Harriet Strong of Wyoming exclaimed: "It takes brains, not brawn, to make farms pay. We need more women farmers!" Many women homesteaders were behind the quote as a powerful statement.
160. Of all the people who claimed land between 1862 and 1900, the grand total of acres claimed all together came out to more than 80 million!
1862. Between 1862 and 1900 about 500,000 homesteaders moved to the Plains to claim their 160 acres.
John Deere. John Deere invented the steel plow in 1838. James Oliver, however, improved it in 1868. This addition allowed the plow to cut through the sod of the plains. That's tough stuff!
Standing Rock Reservation. In the December of 1890, 43 policemen surrounded Sitting Bull's cabin and told him that he was under arrest. Sitting Bull, at first, agreed to go with them, but yelled "I will not go!" when he got outside. As he tried to run away, he was killed, along with seven of his followers and six policemen.
1867. Joseph G. McCoy established the first 'Cow Town' in Abilene, Kansas. It was a cluster of log huts along the Kansas Pacific railroad. McCoy built stockyards, loading chutes, pens, and a hotel that year for the 'Cow Town'.
William F. Cody. "Buffalo Bill" was responsible for killing 4,000 buffalo in just 8 months! He was hired by the railroad companies to shoot buffalo to feed the railroad workers. There must have been a lot of food!
May 10, 1869. The two railroads were joined together with a gold spike. The Union Pacific had laid 1,086 miles (1,747 km) to Central Pacific's 689 miles (1,109 km). Lea Stanford, who was president of the Central Pacific was the person who drove the gold spike into the two sets of tracks.
Fight between pro- and anti- slavery forces in Kansas. Kansas was flooded by both pro- and anti- slavery forces in an attempt to make the territory a slave/free state. Tensions were high, and many people were killed.
|The Dred Scott case was a major sectional issue, revolving around the freedom of an African American. What judge presided over the trial?||Events Leading Up to the Civil War
Roger B. Taney. Taney claimed that African Americans did not have the right to bring suits in U.S. court. He threw out Dred Scott's plea for freedom. This angered many Northerners.
|The election of 1848 was a close race between Whig Zachary Taylor and Democrat Lewis Cass. Taylor won, but whose 290,000 votes swung the election away from the Democrats?||Events Leading Up to the Civil War
Martin Van Buren. The Free-Soil party stole enough votes from Cass for Taylor to become president.
Abraham Lincoln. Good old Abe Lincoln said this in one of his many speeches.
Harriet Beecher Stowe. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was banned in some parts of the South and many Southerners wrote pro-slavery novels in response.
|John Brown has been called both a hero and a madman. Everyone associates his name with Harper's Ferry. But, what is the name of the creek along which John Brown and his followers hacked five pro-slavery supporters to death?||Events Leading Up to the Civil War
Pottawatomie. After the murders at Pottawatomie Creek, John Brown and his two sons went into hiding. He would reappear years later to seize the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry.
Preston Brooks. It was indeed Preston Brooks who beat Charles Sumner. He did so because a) Charles spoke against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and b) Charles insulted his cousin, Andrew Butler.
|What document revoked the Missouri Compromise, opening western territories above the Missouri Compromise line to the possibility of slavery?||Events Leading Up to the Civil War
Kansas-Nebraska Act. Northern abolitionists detested the Kansas-Nebraska act. Written by Stephen Douglas, the document said that the status of Kansas and Nebraska as free or slave states would depend on popular sovereignty. According to the Missouri Compromise, these terrorities should have been free states when admitted.
Abraham Lincoln. Abe Lincoln held moderates view on slavery, but Southerners feared his election would bring about the total eradication of slavery.
abolished the slave trade. The bill abolished the slave trade, effective January 1, 1808. This was the earliest that the slave trade was permitted to be abolished under Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution.
|Perhaps the greatest fiasco of the decade was a series of Congressional Acts in 1807 and 1808 designed, among other things, to prohibit American ships from landing in foreign ports unless specifically authorized by the President. What were these misguided Acts called?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
the Embargo Acts. The goal of the Embargo Acts was to pressure Great Britain and France, who were then at war with each other, to stop restricting American trade. The Embargo Acts were widely ignored, particularly in New England, and were repealed three days before Jefferson left office in March of 1809.
|This decade saw the first impeachment of a Supreme Court Justice. Who was this Associate Justice, who was tried and acquitted by the United States Senate?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
Samuel Chase. This was really a pivotal event in the development of the U.S. Constitutional system. Chase was presented in 1804 with eight articles of impeachment, charging him with mishandling various trials he had presided over. However, none of the charge involved criminal misconduct, and the Senate failed to muster the two-thirds vote needed to convict on any of the charges, although a majority vote was obtained on three of them. According to William Rhenquist's wonderful book, "Grand Inquests", Chase's acquittal set an important precedent that political differences will not be the basis for removal of a judge, and as of 2009 Chase remains the only Supreme Court Justice ever impeached. Rehnquist believes that if not for this precedent, President Andrew Johnson might well have been convicted in his 1868 impeachment trial.
William Blount was the first federal official ever impeached. He was a United States Senator, and his impeachment was dismissed by the Senate in 1799 on the basis that there was no jurisdiction over him because he had already been expelled from the Senate. Pickering was a federal judge who was impeached and removed in 1804 due to drunkenness and possible insanity. John Marshall was the Chief Justice during this time period, and was never impeached although many at the time questioned his assertion of power on behalf of the the Supreme Court.
|The decade of the 1800's was not a good one for Aaron Burr. Jefferson dropped him from the national ticket in 1804, he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was charged with murder in two states, and then in 1807 he was charged and tried for treason. The treason charge was based on a controversial trip Burr took to which part of the world?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
the western territories of the U.S.. After leaving national office, Burr took off on a trip to the western United States, and it was suspected he was trying to set up his own country in the western territories. He was arrested on February 19, 1807, and tried for treason later that year in Richmond, Virginia, before Chief Justice John Marshall. Despite President Jefferson's strenuous efforts to convict Burr, he was acquitted, and he lived out his life as a private citizen. As much as any other, this case showed that the dream of the founding fathers for an independent judiciary had come to fruition.
|The First Barbary War was fought from 1801 to 1805 between the U.S. and a group of North African states known as the Barbary States. What was the name of the U.S. ship which ran aground in Tripoli Harbor during the war, with the entire crew being held hostage until the war's end?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
USS Philadelphia. The Philadelphia ran aground in October of 1803, and captain William Bainbridge and his crew were held captive until June of 1806. Yet, the result of the war was positive for the U.S., reducing, if not eliminating, the instances of piracy and showing that the U.S. could act effectively in far away places.
The Philadelphia itself met an ignominious end. U.S. forces surreptitiously boarded it and burned it in February of 1804 as it sat in the harbor, so that the Tripoli forces could not use it.
The USS Bainbridge is the ship which rescued an American captain from Somali pirates in April of 2009. It was named after the captain who fought in the First (and Second) Barbary Wars. The USS Enterprise and USS Intrepid were other ships which fought in the First Barbary War.
|In 1803 the United States suddenly doubled in size with the Louisiana Purchase from France. President Jefferson then commissioned an ambitious expedition to explore this new territory. Who are the two men who led this famous expedition?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
Lewis and Clark. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was a monumental undertaking for its day. The journey started August 31, 1803, and the intrepid explorers did not return home to St. Louis until September 23, 1806.
|Before Adams left office, he made a series of last-minute appointments which would figure in the landmark case of Marbury vs. Madison. These last-minute appointments came to be known as what?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
midnight Judges. Nineteen days before the end of Adams' administration, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, otherwise known as the "midnight judges act", which created many new federal judgeships in an attempt to improve the operation of the federal judiciary. Adams moved immediately to appoint Federalists to these new positions, but incoming Secretary of State James Madison refused to process these appointments.
One such Federalist, William Marbury, sued Madison to enforce his appointment, leading to the famous Marbury vs. Madison case. In that case, Chief Justice John Marshall famously ruled that the Supreme Court did not have the authority to require the appointment, because part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 granting that authority was unconstitutional.
What this meant was that, in the process of denying itself the power to issue a writ of mandamus, the Supreme Court was actually giving itself the right of "judicial review", meaning it had the power to declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional, a power not specifically granted to it by the Constitution. No wonder this decision is so famous!
|The decade started off in 1800 with one of the most rancorous Presidential campaigns in American history, between President John Adams and Vice-President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson won with 73 electoral votes to 65 for Adams. Which statement about this election is true?||The Decade of the 1800's in America
Jefferson's strength was concentrated in the south, and Adams' strength mainly in New England and the Middle Atlantic states.. The only northern state won by Jefferson was New York, but this was crucial for his election as he won all 12 of New York's electoral votes. He did win all seven of Kentucky and Tennessee's votes, but without those he still would have won the election by one vote.
According to John Ferling in his wonderful book, "Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800", had slaves not been counted in allocating electors, then Adams would have won by two votes.
Adams always blamed the attack on him by fellow Federalist Alexander Hamilton as costing him the election, but Ferling disagrees. One of the things Hamilton did do is delay the sailing of the peace envoys to France, with the result that by the time they got back with news of the peace agreement, the election was already over.
|William Marcy Tweed had been running a corrupt City Hall for far too long. Everyone was bribable, and no-one got in his way. In 1871 the "New York Times" published enough evidence of misuse of public funds to have Tweed indicted. What became of Tweed?
||New York in the Gilded Age - 1865-1901
He escaped to Spain. To elude arrest, Tweed escaped to Spain. However, he was recognized, thanks to the many political cartoons that had appeared in the "New York Times" He was arrested in Spain and extradited to the US. He was convicted in 1872, and died in jail.
Horatio Alger. Horatio Alger, a former Unitarian Minister from Massachusetts, made his way to New York City in 1866. The city was run by 'Boss' Tweed, who is reputed to have stolen millions from public funds.
There were thousands of new immigrants arriving each month, and when Alger arrived he found tens of thousands of homeless children. Many others lived in hastily constructed tenements without any of the minimum standards of safety or hygiene.
Alger decided that he would write what he had seen in story form. The first New York City Novel was "Ragged Dick". In this way he exposed the ugly facts to not only other New Yorkers, but all over the US.
|If you saw the movie 'Gangs of New York", you will know how the poor lived in New York. Who was the reformer who studied tenement life, drawing attention to the plight of so many?||New York in the Gilded Age - 1865-1901
Jacob Riis. Jacob Riis studied tenement life in 1890, writing his famous work - "How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York". Riis immigrated to New York from Denmark in 1870. Though very poor himself, he found work as a police reporter, gradually joining the reform movement.
Riis' written works were instrumental in documenting the atrocious conditions that the poor had to suffer.
|Who was regarded as 'The most powerful American banker of his time, helped build a credit bridge between Europe and America, and financially rescued the US government twice'?||New York in the Gilded Age - 1865-1901
J P Morgan. Born in Hertford, Conneticut, J P Morgan joined the banking world after two years of university in Germany. Early in his banking career he lent money to reorganize the railroad system.
In 1893, when there was a major downturn in the economy, Morgan and his company stepped in and guaranteed the gold reserves. He was a brilliant banker and financial wizard. He founded U.S. Steel in 1901.
He was also an avid art collector, and his hand-picked contributions made the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York the treasure that it is today.