In teaching the “unknown wars” that straddle the 19th and 20th centuries, one encounters numerous problems. First, many Americans nowadays have as much difficulty finding the Philippines on a map as they did in 1898. Especially people living in inland states have difficulty understanding the isolated island culture.
In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament attempted to punish Boston and isolate the colonies. But response to the Intolerable Acts began to unify the colonies instead.
Gently nestled just a few miles inland from Southern California’s Gold Coast lays the tranquil community of San Juan Capistrano. Made famous by Leon Rene’s 1939 hit, “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano,” this exquisite, pedestrian-friendly town offers a unique glimpse into California’s colorful and distant past.
The Great Depression of the thirties remains the most important economic event in American history. It caused enormous hardship for tens of millions of people and the failure of a large fraction of the nation’s banks, businesses, and farms. It transformed national politics by vastly expanding government, which was increasingly expected to stabilize the economy and to prevent suffering.
Our founding fathers were not comfortable with the formation of political parties, but they also acknowledged that they were inevitable, and it was within the rights of people, as free men, to gather and assemble political parties. With few exceptions, there have been two primary parties in control, divided over one or two major issues.
The 1920s heralded a dramatic break between America’s past and future. Before World War I the country remained culturally and psychologically rooted in the nineteenth century, but in the 1920s America seemed to break its wistful attachments to the recent past and usher in a more modern era.
Civil libertarians cried foul over the indefinite detention of hundreds of Sept. 11 suspects and plans to try accused terrorists in military tribunals. In defense, some Bush administration loyalists cite another wartime leader who locked up civilians and resorted to army courts, Abraham Lincoln—even though Lincoln faced a radically different situation, and, more importantly, his civil liberties record stands as a rare blot on his reputation.
The surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 effectively ended the Civil War. Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time, most Americans probably devote little attention to the Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict. This is unfortunate. If any historical period deserves the label “relevant,” it is Reconstruction.
The Seneca Falls Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York on July 19 and 20, 1848, was the first women’s rights convention held in the United States, and as a result it’s often called the birthplace of feminism.
In 1789, Congress created the Department of the Treasury, including the cabinet post of secretary of the Treasury, and required the secretary to report directly to Congress. President George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as the first secretary of the Treasury.