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The Rise and Fall of Jamestown

In the early 1600s, an English preacher named Alexander Whitaker described a
land where winters were dry and fair, forests were filled with "rare and
delectable birds", and rivers abounded with fish great and small. His essay was
entitled "Good News from Virginia". Through this writing, the preacher helped
recruit Englishmen to live in what was called the New World.

However, many who followed Whitaker's advice became sorely disappointed. Ten
years later, a man named Richard Frethorne would write from Virginia, "I have
nothing to comfort me, nor is there nothing to be gotten here but sickness and
death." Whitaker's description of the territory had been accurate, but settlers
soon realized that it was no place for unprepared Englishmen.

In 1607, about 100 male settlers sailed from England to the Virginia territory,
which was owned by the for-profit Virginia Company of London. Unlike later
colonists, these men were "gentlemen adventurers" primarily interested in
finding gold; farming and the creation of community were neither their skills
nor their priorities. Many were accustomed to having servants back in England,
and they were not equipped in ability or spirit to forge a new life in the

When the men arrived on behalf of the Virginia Company, they decided to settle
land alongside a river in the Chesapeake Bay. They dubbed this the James River,
and they named their colony Jamestown in honor of King James I.

In several ways, the men selected their land well. First, they were nestled far
enough upstream to avoid an ocean attack from the Spanish, who were competing
for resources. Second, the James River provided a quick escape route in case
native people attacked. Third, the river was a useful transportation route for

What went wrong in such a location, where "delectable birds" and fish were
abundant? One problem occurred during high tide. Salt water poured from the
Atlantic into the James River, and men who drank this became ill. The swampy
area was also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which spread fatal diseases
including malaria, typhoid fever, and dysentery. Furthermore, the men did not
know how to farm this sort of land. Their food supplies quickly ran out,
forcing them to roast rodents and dogs and turn to cannibalism. By 1609, only
about 60 of 300 eventual colonists had evaded starvation, deadly disease, and
attacks by natives. Thereafter, the winter of 1609-1610 was referred to as "the
starving time".

The Virginia Company soon regarded Jamestown as a near failure. They decided
that a new sort of man must be sent overseas -- not the gentlemen adventurer in
search of easy gold, but the hardworking man who could actively contribute to a
new society. Thus in 1609, the company began sending indentured servants to
Virginia. The terms of servitude included five to seven years of unpaid labor,
but in return, servants would receive supplies for a new life of freedom: 100
acres of land, clothes, tools, and weapons.

This strategy was initially promising as wealthy men convinced their servants
to move overseas. These wealthy settlers received fifty acres per servant
brought, so they quickly amassed large plantations. They learned to grow
tobacco, which they promptly shipped to London. Within ten years, the settlers
had developed a strong European tobacco market, and the crop became Virginia's
main source of income. Women, both free and enslaved, joined the men. Jamestown
started to reflect English society a bit more, but in many ways it remained a
chaotic campsite.

Ultimately, about 14,000 people participated in the Jamestown experiment.
However, the death rate from Indian confrontations and disease remained
extremely high. In 1624, King James dissolved the Virginia Company and
converted the territory to a royal colony.

Jamestown served as the capital of Virginia throughout the 17th century. In the
21st century, tourists can visit the site of the settlers' fort, tour a museum,
and ride the Jamestown Ferry for a view similar to that seen 400 years ago by
the ill-prepared gentlemen adventurers.

Prayer, Persecution, and Portsmouth: A Story of Colonist Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) is a key figure in the history of American
religious freedom. As a pioneer settler of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Hutchinson
held Bible studies that won her great admiration with a wide following. However,
Hutchinson's religious leadership eventually offended colony officials, leading
to her banishment. Hutchinson later co-founded Rhode Island with religious
freedom in mind.

Hutchinson, born Anne Marbury, was raised in Lincolnshire, England. There
Anne's father was an outspoken Protestant clergyman. When he was sentenced to
house arrest for challenging the Church, the Reverend turned his energies to
educating his daughter. With the influence of her father's tutelage and strong
character, Anne became a bright and confident religious scholar.

Members of Anne's community continued to have trouble with the church of
Elizabethan England. She and other Protestants became involved with a new
reformist movement known as Puritanism, which aimed to "purify" the Church of
all Roman Catholic influences. Ultimately believing that the Church was beyond
reform, Anne, her husband William, and their fifteen children followed Puritan
Reverend John Cotton to Boston in 1634. There, all believed, they would
practice their faith openly without persecution. Three years after arriving in
Boston, Hutchinson became the first female defendant in a Massachusetts
colonial court. What had gone wrong? Anne's early months in Boston had been
pleasant enough. Bostonians welcomed her midwifery skills, and when she began
holding women's prayer meetings at home, she became even more respected as a
model of Puritan womanhood.

Eventually, Hutchinson's small prayer circles became large gatherings that drew
men as well as women. Her prayer meeting success generated extreme discomfort
among the colony's male leaders. Outraged local magistrates, including Governor
John Winthrop, deemed it highly inappropriate for a woman to instruct men in
religious matters. The oppressed had become the oppressors. Winthrop had
Hutchinson arrested on charges of subversion. Throughout the court trial,
however, it was evident that Hutchinson's "crime" had mainly been acting in
traditionally male ways, sharing her ideas in a large mixed-sex forum. As
Winthrop phrased it, she was "an American Jezebel who had gone a-whoring from
God" and who was infecting women with "abominable" ideas regarding their
rights. Officials accused her of violating the fifth religious commandment
("Honor thy father and mother") by encouraging dissent against the fathers of
the Commonwealth. Hutchinson also drew controversy with her claim of
communication with God, her opinion that each person should interpret laws as
their own conscience dictated, and her opinion that Native American slavery was

Anne Hutchinson was banned from Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638. Along with
other colonists, she then co-founded the town of Portsmouth on Aquidneck
Island, which today is known as Rhode Island. The general area was a relative
haven of religious freedom; just two years earlier, another banished
Massachusetts Bay colonist, Roger Williams, had established the town of
Providence. Providence was known to accept Quakers, Jews, and other religious

After Hutchinson's husband passed away, she relocated again to New Amsterdam.
There, in 1643, she and several of her children were murdered in an attack by
natives. No doubt, Governor Winthrop viewed the difficult death as
corroboration of his critique. In 1945, however, the Massachusetts State
Legislature voted to revoke her banishment. The state now honors Hutchinson
with a statue describing her as a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and
religious toleration."

The Frenzy of Salem Witch Trials

Over the summer of 1692, members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony became caught
up in a frenzy of superstition and scapegoating. From June through September,
they sent 19 fellow residents to Gallows Hill for hanging. They pressed another
man to death with heavy stones. Others died in prison or languished there for
months. The victims had all been convicted of practicing witchcraft.

The hysteria began when pre-teen girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, began
behaving oddly. Nine-year-old Betty Parris seemed to become ill. She complained
of fever, contorted as if in pain, dashed about strangely and dove beneath
furniture. Her elevenyear-old cousin Abigail Williams exhibited similar strange
behavior. Physicians could not offer a physical explanation. Although many
explanations for their symptoms come to mind today, in Puritan Massachusetts
just one theory gained backing: the girls were victims of witchcraft.

A man named Mather had recently published a book that described a Boston
washerwoman who supposedly practiced witchcraft. The people of Salem Village
identified similarities between the supposedly afflicted people in Boston and
their own town's young cousins. Before long, more local girls were exhibiting
strange behavior that reminded people of trances and epileptic fits.

In a frantic search for witches, the townspeople first targeted women from the
edge of their community. For example, the accused Sarah Good was especially
poor and sometimes begged for food and shelter. Sarah Osburne had scandalously
married her indentured servant and attended church infrequently. And an
enslaved woman named Tituba, whom various accounts describe as African or
Native American, was also an easy target. The three women were brought before
local magistrates on charges on witchcraft. After a few days of interrogation,
they were sent to jail.

The month of March continued with accusations of witchcraft spreading to other
towns. Now upstanding members of society were accused too. Martha Corey, for
example, had been a respected member of her church. Her being accused didn't
cast doubt on the escalating frenzy; it only confirmed that the Devil had
permeated the heart of Salem Village.

Once a person was accused of witchcraft, magistrates would have him or her
arrested and interrogated. The accused was generally considered guilty until
proven innocent, and the magistrates pressed the accused to confess. Next,
witnesses were assembled and a grand jury convened. Defendants then went to
trial and could be swiftly executed; the first person hanged was tavern owner
Bridget Bishop, who was indicted, tried, and killed in June of 1692.

In modern times, many explanations have been put forth for the adolescent
girls' strange behavior. It's possible that the pre-teens, who were living in a
repressive religious society, wanted more attention or were simply bored. Their
behavior might also have had a physical origin such as bird-borne encephalitis,
or even tainted rye. A type of rye fungus capable of developing in the Salem
area is now known to cause violent fits, vomiting, hallucinations, and other
physical problems. In fact, the hallucinogenic drug LSD is derived from this

Regardless of the causes underlying the girls' behavior, adults in their
community had various motivations to lash out against neighbors. First, the
Puritan's had just lost their colonial charter. The future of their New World
sanctuary was being seriously called into question, so people were on edge.
Second, land was becoming scarce. The first generation of colonists would not
have enough farmland to support growing children's new families. In this
context, it isn't surprising that widowed female landholders were targeted more
than others. Third, the townspeople were already splintering socially. Merchants
and farmers were becoming increasingly distinct classes, and some historians
have noted that accusations of witchcraft reflected this class divide: accusers
tended to be members of the agricultural sector, and the accused were members of
the rising class.

By September of 1692, town leadership had grown wary of the witch hunt. One of
the judges, Samuel Sewall, publicly apologized for his participation in the
hysteria. Several former jurors also came forward to say that they'd been
mistaken in their judgments. Families of the condemned were given financial
compensation. With public confidence in the trials falling, the cries of the
supposedly afflicted were increasingly ignored. Accusations of witchcraft
eventually stopped. In 1693, people awaiting trial in prison were acquitted or
gratefully received reprieves.

Economic Causes of the American Revolution

What brought about the American Revolution? Like most military conflicts, the
Revolution was spurred by a web of complex social, political, and economic
factors. However, economic concerns were arguably paramount when colonists
finally decided to wage war against the British monarchy. Indeed, the era's
most famous rallying cry remains "No taxation without representation!"

Following the French and Indian War (or Seven Years War), the previously
prosperous British government found that its debt had nearly doubled.
Parliamentarians soon proposed that the prosperous American colonists shoulder
more of the monarchy's expenses. Several new laws were then passed to benefit
the Crown and squeeze the colonists' pocketbooks.

The trend began with the Currency Act of 1764. This forbade the colonists'
printing of paper currency. Colonists were not mining precious metals for
coins, and they were now even more dependent upon Britain for capital. The
Currency Act significantly reduced the colonists' options for economic
self-determination, and this was particularly resented in light of their
existing trade deficit with Great Britain.

Next, the Sugar Act of 1764 aimed to enforce laws related to molasses
importation. Prior to the French and Indian War, the wealthy British Empire
could afford to be lax with its colonial customs laws. American merchants
became accustomed to circumventing trade tariffs. In effect, they had enjoyed a
relatively independent economic system. But when the King became concerned about
his coffers, enforcement of existing tax laws became a top priority. As taxes on
molasses climbed higher, the colonial rum industry atrophied. The loss of the
valuable rum trade meant that associated trade for raw materials, like lumber
from the Caribbean, dwindled. The Sugar Act also added tariffs to non-sugary
goods like coffee and calico fabric. Taxation without representation began to
permeate more and more aspects of the colonial economy.

Finally, the Stamp Act of 1765 assessed fees for stamps. These stamps were to
appear not only on mail, but on every colonial newspaper, legal document,
playing card, mortgage, and other printed materials. This final wide-sweeping
act was designed to raise revenue for the salaries of British troops and
government elites. In many colonists' opinions, the Stamp Act most clearly and
illegally disconnected taxation from representation.

To oppose the Stamp Act, most colonies sent representatives to a special
session in New York City. The delegates shed their traditionally humble
acquiescence to British rule and asserted that "no taxes: can be
constitutionally imposed: but by their respective legislatures." American
public opinion supported these delegates' refusal to accept the Stamp Act.
Popular new leaders like Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry emerged to endorse mob
resistance, and by 1765 many American merchants had subscribed to a
Non-Importation Agreement.

However, the British continued to resist colonial demands for increased
self-rule. The colonists' verbal protest ultimately became militant. In
Massachusetts, for example, farmers' political groups rose in rebellion. Armed
and angry, farmers' militias filled Worcester County's village green, prevented
the opening of traditional British courts and forcing the resignation of
royally-appointed judges. The Worcester County Committees of Correspondence
proposed a convention "of the people" that would design new institutions of
local governance. Locally-grown militias in Virginia and Pennsylvania followed

Some American colonists attempted a compromise in 1774. Joseph Galloway, a
selfproclaimed "man of loyal principles", presented a plan to the First
Continental Congress. Galloway's peace plan combined a royally-appointed
colonial governorship with the transfer of legislative and taxation powers to
the colonists. However, Galloway's plan was no match for many colonists'
suspicions of the British. The compromise was rejected by a single vote.

At last, in the spring of 1775, the British government ordered the royal
governor Thomas Gage to suppress public assembly in Concord, Massachusetts.
When Gage attempted to seize supplies of the local militia, the Patriot
"minutemen" -- ready to fight at a minute's notice -- inflicted heavy
casualties upon his British troops. The colonists, now selfidentified as sons
and daughters of America, saw little possibility of reconciliation with Great
Britain. The American Revolution had begun.

France and the American Revolution

In March of 2003, after France opposed a UN invasion of Iraq, two US
Republicans removed all references to French fries from menus affiliated with
the US House of Representatives. In the House cafeteria, potatoes became
"freedom fries". In a time of such Francophobia, some Americans might be
surprised by the history of positive French-American relations. In fact, it's
likely that the American colonies would not have defeated the British without
French support.

In the 1770s, French enthusiasm for the American Revolution was high.
Intellectually, French Enlightenment intellectuals were agitating against their
own feudal land systems and class privilege. Emotionally, French leaders had
been eager to defeat arch-rival Britain since their Seven Years War. King Louis
XVI had been privately supporting the colonists for some time. But now, formal
support appeared more advantageous. France saw this as a strategic opportunity
to secure North American landholdings and officially befriend a rising power.
Ben Franklin also played a significant role in winning tangible French support;
traveling with his wit and charm, Franklin visited Paris in 1776 to rally
support for the colonists' cause. France first assisted the rogue colonies in
May of 1776 by sending 14 ships loaded with gunpowder and other war supplies.

In February of 1778, the colonists and the French signed a Treaty of Amity and
Commerce. This was significant because France not only offered trade
concessions, but also legally recognized the colonies as the United States.
Most importantly, Ben Franklin also secured a Treaty of Alliance with King
Louis XVI. This stipulated that if France entered the war against Britain: 1)
neither France nor the US would surrender; 2) neither would agree to peace with
Britain without the other's consent; and 3) each guaranteed the other's
landholdings in America. Within a few months, British ships fired upon the
French, and the two countries were at war. France sent about 12,000 soldiers
and 30,000 sailors to support the colonists.

Many Frenchmen were truly committed to the cause of liberty. A former French
Navy captain, Marquis de Lafayette, had such zeal that the French suggested he
enlist in the US forces! He volunteered to become a major general for no pay.
Lafayette became an effective military leader and a lifelong friend of General
George Washington. He was eventually given honorary US citizenship.

When France officially entered the war, Spanish interest was piqued. Motivated
by the possibility of a land grab, Spain entered the war as a French ally
against Britain. Holland followed suit. This combination of European powers was
a much greater threat to Britain than the colonies could produce alone, and the
crucial 1781 victory at Yorktown could not have been won without the French

Unfortunately for France, following the Battle at Yorktown, Ben Franklin
engaged in secret negotiations with Britain. This was particularly insulting
considering the FrenchAmerican treaties and France's considerable wartime
expenditures. Their hopes of becoming the main US trade partner were dashed
when most American trade was contracted within the British Empire. Also,
expectations of regaining French North American territories were mostly unmet.

Still, defeating the British brought France a definite taste of revenge. It
also restored a sense of French confidence and esteem alongside other European
powers. Furthermore, in spirit France was now ready for a revolution of its own.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

"Listen children and you shall hear/The midnight ride of Paul Revere." So
begins a famous poem penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poet's rendition
of events, while not historically accurate, is a great contribution to American
folklore. Paul Revere's life was colorful, however, and facts alone make for
interesting history.

Paul Revere was a man of many trades. This father of sixteen worked a part-time
dentist and once owned a hardware and home goods store. His most constant work
though was with metal, and his work was highly praised. Revere cast cannons and
bells, made silver teacup collections, and engraved the first Massachusetts
state currency. He also produced the copper sheeting that covers the
Massachusetts State House dome.

To many, however, Revere is best known for one night spent as a Pony Express
rider. He was a midnight messenger right before decisive Revolutionary War
battles in Concord and Lexington. On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere
and militia member William Dawes were dispatched from Boston. Dr. Joseph
Warren, the chief executive of the revolutionary Massachusetts government,
ordered the men to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the British army's
advancement across the Charles River. Warren feared that the British would
arrest Hancock and Adams and capture their cache of weapons.

Revere and Dawes were sent out in different directions; if either were caught,
the message of an impending British invasion might still reach patriot leaders.
They also had a back-up plan in case both men were caught. Revere instructed
Robert Newman, who worked at the Old North Church, to communicate with
lanterns. One lantern placed in the steeple would alert colonists to a
land-route invasion; two would signal that the British were advancing "by sea"
across the Charles River. As Revere set out on his midnight ride, Newman and
Captain John Pulling briefly shone two lanterns from the Old North Church.

Contrary to Longfellow's poem, the riders did not shout, "The British are
coming!" as they rode to Lexington; doing so could have easily brought their
capture. Furthermore, the colonists themselves were British! However, Revere
did pass the news to colonists along his route. Eyewitnesses reported the
actual quote to be, "The regulars are coming out!"

Both Paul Revere and William Dawes arrived in Lexington without being captured.
They met John Hancock and Samuel Adams at the Hancock-Clarke residence, which
was Hancock's boyhood home. Hancock and Adams proceeded to update their battle
plans. Meanwhile, Revere and Dawes decided to head to Concord where the weapons
were being stored. A doctor named Samuel Prescott came along for the ride.

The three men were detained en route to Concord. Prescott and Dawes escaped,
and Dawes carried on to Concord. Paul Revere, however, was detained for several
hours. King George's troops then escorted him toward Lexington at gunpoint --
but before they arrived in the city, sounds of gunshots led his captors away.
Revere was abandoned without a horse. He walked back to Lexington and arrived
in time to see the Battle on Lexington Green.

Revere's warning allowed the revolutionary militia to defeat the British troops
in Concord. His role in the important midnight ride was not well-known until
Longfellow published "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" in 1861, more than
forty years after Revere's death. Today parts of Revere's famous route are
marked with signs reading "Revere's Ride".

George Washington's Federal Government

When a modern US president travels, he or she expects the electorate to cover
the cost. In 1789, however, George Washington borrowed his inauguration travel
funds from a buddy. In many ways, the "Father of Our Country" was starting a
government from scratch.

The federal government grew rapidly in the years just following George
Washington's first inauguration. By the end of his presidential career, the
democratic system had developed much of its modern character, including 1) a
highly lauded three-branch foundation, and 2) an oft-criticized tendency toward
internal polarization.

Washington's first term began with little dissent from Congress. His
presidential contest was arguably the least complicated in all of US history.
As a famed hero of the Revolutionary War, General Washington easily
transitioned to President Washington in 1789; he campaigned with virtually no
opposition, and he unanimously won the electoral vote for each of two terms.

Under Washington's welcome executive leadership, the young nation quickly
established its judicial and legislative branches. Congress passed the
Judiciary Act in 1789, bringing a hierarchy of state and federal courts and
setting the Supreme Court as arbiter of conflicts between state laws and
national laws. Washington's government then conducted the first national census
in 1790. This facilitated the formation of congressional districts, allowing
voters to elect local legislative representatives. In addition to these
important judicial and legislative accomplishments, the early Washington years
strengthened civil liberties as Congress sent the President ten constitutional
amendments, ultimately ratified and known as the Bill of Rights.

Washington attributed his effective governing in part to his balanced
consideration of ideas. The Constitution had granted him executive power, but
in many ways it left open how a President might deliberate or interact with
Congress. Washington was not personally a party member, and he hoped to set a
precedent of non-sectarian leadership. Truly willing to consider multiple
perspectives, he populated his Cabinet with men holding differing perspectives.
Ironically however, these very advisors -- hand-picked for their ability to
bring wholeness to Washington's personal thinking -- soon formed two political
factions to promote their own polarized agendas.

Unity had proved easiest at the start of Washington's first term. Once the
three branches of government were formed, the President was charged with a more
divisive task: handling debt from the Revolutionary War. As currency and
taxation became more prominent issues, the differing values of sectarian
Cabinet members crystallized.

Presidential advisor and staunch Federalist Alexander Hamilton, who had
developed national currency and taxation plans, had visions of a strong central
bank. This clashed with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson's ideal of small
government. By 1793, each man had assembled a network of supporters. By the end
of Washington's second term, Hamilton's Federalists and Jefferson's
Democratic-Republicans were regularly slinging mud via sectarian newspapers.

When George Washington retired from public office, his Farewell Address named
his nation's struggle for unity and its current trend toward separation. He
described the federal government's unity as "a main pillar in the edifice of
your real independence...of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of
your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly
prize." This unity was threatened, in his view, by the newly-formed political
parties. Washington warned citizens against "the baneful spirit of faction" and
said it would only "enfeeble the Public Administration."

Today, this Farewell Address is annually read aloud in both houses of Congress,
to our modern -- and perhaps enfeebled -- factions, in tribute to Washington's
service and as a reminder of his political foresight.

John O'Sullivan and America's Manifest Destiny

When leaders wish to conquer foreign lands, they invariably put forth a list of
justifications. In America in the 1840s, politicians and others invoked the
phrase "manifest destiny" to optimistically explain continual territorial
expansion by the United States. In modern terms, manifest destiny might be
described as something that is "obvious and certain". In short, leaders in the
1840s were arguing that American expansionism was quite natural and good,
determined by fate.

The term seems to have been coined mid-decade by journalist John O'Sullivan. In
an essay entitled "Annexation", O'Sullivan urged the US to annex Texas from
Mexico. Not only was this justified because of Texans' own wishes, O'Sullivan
contended, but also because it was America's "manifest destiny to overspread
the continent". In a second and more widely-read column in New York Morning
News, O'Sullivan reiterated his phrase when advocating for the US claim to "the
whole of Oregon". This time, he added the notion of a pro-expansion God:

  "And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to
  overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which
  Providence has given us for the development of the great
  experiment of liberty and federated self-government
  entrusted to us."

By invoking "Providence", the journalist was suggesting that the highest moral
authority actually supported the US annexation of the Oregon Country; since the
British were not spreading democracy, their claims had lower moral status in the
eyes of God. Ironically, O'Sullivan did not condone the violence that his phrase
eventually supported. He had expected territorial expansion to be truly
"natural", coming about through settlements and voluntary annexation by
residents. After all, residents of Texas actively sought to become the Union's
twenty-eighth state, and thousands of Americans had already migrated to the
Oregon Country via the Oregon Trail. What could be more obvious and certain?

The actual process of expansionism entailed violence and suppression that a
kindly god would not condone. The idea of "Indian Removal" garnered a
following. Native Americans were removed from lands by force, and at the same
time, some lands were desired solely for African American slave labor. This was
clear to Henry David Thoreau, who asked:

  "How does it become a man to behave toward this American
  government today? I answer that he cannot without
  disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant
  recognize that political organization as my government
  which is the slave's government also."

Ironically, O'Sullivan's term was not popularized until seized upon by Whig
opponents. Whigs in particular contested what "Providence" would desire; the
"mission" of the United States, they maintained, was simply to behave as a
virtuous (non-conquering) example for the rest of the world.

In 1846, a Whig representative named Robert Winthrop ridiculed O'Sullivan's
concept when speaking before Congress. Observing the notion's self-interest and
chauvinism, he commented:

  "I suppose the right of a manifest destiny to spread will not
  be admitted to exist in any nation except the universal."

Yankee nation.

Despite this public criticism, the Polk Administration and other expansionists
quickly embraced the phrase. The era of US history encompassing the War of 1812
through the Civil War is often called the Age of Manifest Destiny. During this
time period the United States were expanded to the Pacific Ocean, and borders
began to look much as they do today.

Who Was Samuel Adams?

Today, the name Sam Adams is associated with the Boston Beer Company. How did a
statesman's name become attached to lager, and how did the real Sam Adams become

Actually, the Sam Adams recipe wasn't developed until long after Samuel Adams'
lifetime. A Missouri brewer named Louis Koch developed the formula in 1860.
Until Prohibition, the brew was marketed as Louis Koch Lager. The brand
returned to store shelves after Prohibition, but a new name was eventually
given in 1985. That year, on Patriot's Day, the beer was entered into the Great
American Beer Festival. The name "Sam Adams" was fitting for the festival's
recreation of a revolutionary war scene, and the lager soared in popularity.

Samuel Adams was born to a brewing family in Colonial America. He was raised in
Boston and had long been concerned with fairness and justice in government.
Decades before Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in
1776, Adams penned a school paper that developed similar ideas about freedom;
he'd been studying the theories of John Locke while at Harvard College.

In the 1740s, when Adams returned to Boston to work for his father, the two men
encountered problems with the British government. The Governor of Massachusetts,
who was appointed by the Crown, fought the Adams family for their home and land.
Sufficiently fired up, Samuel became a populist leader. He served as a clerk in
the colonial legislature, and when not at work he put his education and energy
to use convincing other colonists of their right to fair representation. He
presented these ideas at democratic town meetings and sometimes led discussions
over pints of lager at Boston taverns. His followers became the Country Party.

Of course, it was tea and not beer that instigated Adams' most famous activity.
The Country Party became more active throughout the 1760s and 1770s as the
British government imposed additional taxes on the colonists. In 1773, they
formed a subgroup -- the militant "Sons of Liberty" -- and planned a resistance
known as the Boston Tea Party.

The colonists objected to the British government's arrangement with the East
India Company. The government would now permit the East India Company to supply
tea to retailers directly. This made tea more expensive by tightening controls
on tea smuggling, establishing the company's tea monopoly, and eliminating
colonial wholesalers. Samuel called upon the Sons of Liberty. One December
night in 1773, they disguised themselves as members of the Mohawk tribe and
boarded several docked tea ships. They overturned the incoming tea shipment
right into the Boston harbor. This famous "Boston Tea Party" ensured that
colonists would not pay a tea tax!

Samuel wanted to expand his work for colonial justice beyond his hometown. In
1774 he brought his case for independence to his cousin, John Adams, and a
wealthy merchant named John Hancock. With their assistance, Samuel convened the
Continental Congress, a meeting for representatives of various colonies to
discuss their problems with the British Parliament. Two years later, the
Continental Congress met again to adopt the Declaration of Independence. Samuel
signed the document on July 4, 1776.

Following this accomplishment and the ensuing war, Adams served in the
Massachusetts State Senate. He then held the post of Lieutenant Governor of
Massachusetts until 1793, and he was elected Governor of the state in 1794.
Adams passed away in Boston at the age of 83, leaving a lifetime of freedom
fights as his legacy.

Samuel Adam's strong belief in independence and his ability to rally support
for freedom earned him the nickname "Father of the American Revolution". It's
no wonder his name was lent to a Boston beer on Patriot's Day. Cheers!

Lowell Factory Girls of the 19th Century

During the first half of the 1800s, girls and young women from throughout New
England were recruited to process cotton for textile mills in Lowell,
Massachusetts. The majority female workforce was unusual for contemporary
factories. Their unique work culture came to national attention when the women
organized for workers' rights.

The mill town was named for businessman Francis Cabot Lowell. In 1814, he
formed the Boston Manufacturing Company and constructed a textile mill along
the Charles River. Lowell passed away while the town was still small, and his
associates named their new town in his memory. The remaining business partners
expanded Lowell from a one-mill town to a busy 32-mill city. Within 20 years,
they employed nearly 8,000 people.

The Boston Manufacturing Company carefully recruited young female workers. This
could be difficult since the women would be leaving their hometowns and
families, and factory laborers traditionally had low social status. The company
wanted to overcome this prejudice about factory culture. Therefore, they offered
relatively high wages and promised that boarding houses would have strict rules
(e.g., curfews and restrictions on male visitors). The factory owners also
promised "cultural activities", including concerts, lectures, and the creation
of a group magazine. Many families sent their daughters to earn wages for their
sons' education.

Despite the terms of recruitment, many workers were displeased with their work
and housing in Lowell. One despondently wrote, "In vain I do try to soar in
fancy and imagination above the dull reality around me, but beyond the roof of
the factory I cannot rise." The women's workday began at 5 a.m. and ended at 7
p.m.; they averaged 73 hours of work per week! Factory ventilation was poor,
with cloth particles perpetually suspended in the air, and the noise of factory
machines was considered "frightful and infernal".

The women's dormitories tended to be cramped. Up to six people would share a
room. One worker described her quarters as "a small, comfortless,
half-ventilated apartment containing some half a dozen occupants". The cultural
activities advertised by recruiters were few and far between; the women seldom
experienced the world beyond their dorms and machine rooms.

The close quarters fostered resentment, but they also helped the women build a
strong community for labor organizing. This started in 1834 when the mill
directors proposed a 15% cut in wages because of the economic depression. The
women met with each other and organized a response: they immediately withdrew
their savings, causing trouble for local banks. This tactic failed, but mill
owners learned that despite preconceptions of what "feminine" people would do,
the Lowell women were determined to stand up for their rights as workers. With
time, their collective actions would have more practical effects.

Two years later, the directors proposed a rent increase at the boarding houses.
The female employees formed the Factory Girls' Association and organized a
strike, complete with a protest song that addressed American liberty:

  Oh isn't it a pity, such a pretty girl as I
  Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
  Oh I cannot be a slave
  I will not be a slave
  For I'm so fond of liberty
  That I cannot be a slave!

About 1,500 women participated in the strike, and this seriously impacted the
factory's volume of production. The women persisted for weeks, and the mill
directors eventually rescinded their proposed rent hike.

In 1845, the Lowell women were inspired by the Ten Hours Movement in England,
which shortened factory workers' hours. They formed the Lowell Female Labor
Reform Association. One of their first steps was to send petitions -signed by
thousands of workers -- to Massachusetts lawmakers demanding an end to their
twelve-hour workdays. By 1847 they had reduced their hours by 30 minutes, and
by 1853 they'd reduced the workday by a full hour.

In the long run, however, the Board of Directors won out. As the 1850s
continued with economic hardship, the factories turned to hiring Irish
immigrant whom they expected would be less likely to agitate for their rights.
Still, the original Lowell women were instrumental to the development of New
England industry and labor rights in the United States.

Equality and the Seneca Falls Convention

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created

At different times in US history, different groups have emphasized shortcomings
of the Constitution as it relates to human equality. In a New York town in 1848,
men and women met to discuss the legal limitations that American women faced.
This was the Seneca Falls Convention, the first formal women's rights
convention held in the United States. The event was advertised as a "convention
to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women".

The convention was designed to be small (so as to not disturb nearby farmers),
but about three hundred people gathered from the immediate area. The conference
featured prominent personalities of the time, including abolitionists Elizabeth
Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Frederick Douglass.

People attending the convention were inspired in part by women's participation
in the anti-slavery movement. Women had worked tirelessly for slaves' rights,
but had not advocated for themselves as women. This became especially clear at
the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention -- female delegates were banned from
participating in the debates. How, wondered delegate Lucretia Mott, could this
honestly be called a "World" convention?

Although the Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London, the limiting gender
culture was not much different in the United States. For example, women
virtually lost their legal identities once they married, and they were not
permitted to vote for lawmakers. Education was also restricted, with boys
having much wider educational opportunities.

Following the 1840 convention, Mott and Stanton wrote the Declaration of
Sentiments. This document intentionally mirrored the historic Declaration of
Independence; it basically rephrased the document to guarantee rights to
American women as well as men. The Declaration of Sentiments proclaimed that
"all men and women were created equal". It went on to list eighteen "injuries
and usurpations" that men had leveled against female citizens. This was the
same number of charges that male colonists had leveled against the King of
England. These addressed many spheres of a woman's life. For example:

* "He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns."

* "He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education -- all
  colleges being closed against her."

* "He allows her in church, as well as State, but a subordinate position."

Individual women, including Abigail Adams, had earlier urged statesmen to
address questions about women, equality, and the Constitution. However, people
had not yet formally organized around the cause. Those who signed the
Declaration of Sentiments pledged their efforts toward righting legal
imbalances with a constitutional amendment.

The US public was caught off guard by these bold statements. An Oneida Whig
journalist described the document as "the most shocking and unnatural event
ever recorded in the history of womanity". In contrast, Frederick Douglass,
editor of the North Star, described the document as "the grand basis for
attaining the civil, social, political, and religious rights of women".

Seneca Falls became a catalyst for cultural change. Other women's rights
conventions followed shortly thereafter and women as a group started to make
political gains. For example, that same year, a woman named Ernestine Rose was
instrumental in the passing the Married Women's Property Act, which allowed
married women to maintain property in their own name. Other states then enacted
similar laws. The next year, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony founded
the National Woman Suffrage Association to focus on voting rights. When Wyoming
was settled, women there won the vote in 1869, decades before women's suffrage
would be achieved nationwide.

The Scandalous Typhoid Mary

In 1907, Mary Mallon was working as a household cook when an inspector named
George Soper knocked on her employer's door. Soper explained to Mary that he
represented the New York City Department of Health. He believed she was a
carrier of typhoid and had caused many people to become sick; some had even
died. Mallon retorted that she felt healthy. She cursed at this intrusive man,
who insisted on collecting blood and urine and stool samples, and she advanced
toward him with a carving knife.

Soper fled the scene, but the epidemiologist soon pursued Mallon again with the
aid of an assistant. The two men followed her to a friend's tenement house.
Again enraged, she frightened the men away. Their next strategy of sending a
female doctor was also met with resistance. In the end, the doctor reappeared
with police officers, more assistants, and an ambulance. Mallon lunged at her
visitors with a kitchen fork and ran away, only to be discovered hours later
when her dress poked through a closet door. The resistant Mary Mallon was
carted off to a hospital with one aid sitting on her chest!

At the hospital, suspicions of Mallon's typhoid carrier status was confirmed.
To avoid contaminating other people, health officials banished her to a cottage
on a hospital island in New York's East River. (The property had been designed
years ago to quarantine smallpox patients.)

Had Mallon known that she was infecting people with typhoid? During her
employment as a cook on Long Island that summer, eleven people in her household
came down with typhoid fever. An investigator researching her employment history
found that typhoid outbreaks coincided with most of her previous jobs. Between
1900 and 1907, she had taken seven jobs and apparently infected 22 people.
Sufferers endured about a month of high fever, upset stomach, headache, and
rash. One girl died of fever shortly after Mallon came to work her family.

Still, Mallon claimed to believe she was unfairly accused. She said she didn't
understand how she could be related to all the sickness surrounding her when
she herself seemed healthy. In 1909 -- after spending two years on the island
-- she sued the health department, saying that stool samples she'd sent to a
private lab tested negative. However, the judge ruled in favor of the
government, who countered her claim with a series of mostly positive tests.
Mallon was returned to the quarantine island with only a dog for companionship.

Better news came for Mary Mallon in 1910 when a new health commissioner reached
a different decision: Mallon would be set free, provided that she did not work
as a cook and promised to always take hygienic precautions. Mallon agreed and
next found employment laundering clothing. The terms of her release required
her reporting to health officials every three months.

For some reason, however, Mallon did not report to authorities as instructed.
She eventually went back to working as a cook! Perhaps she could not survive on
lower wages. Maybe she didn't believe that a healthy person could really infect
people, or maybe she had malicious intentions all along.

In any case, five years after her release from the island, New York's Sloane
Hospital for Women suffered a typhoid fever outbreak that resulted in two
deaths. Co-workers joked that Typhoid Mary worked among them, but nobody
suspected this was truly the case. Investigators turned to a newly-hired cook
who called herself Mrs. Brown. Sure enough -Mrs. Brown was the infamous Mary

Mallon was sent once again to the North Brother Island cottage. There she lived
for twenty-three more years. She did not live in total isolation; she helped
around the hospital and by 1925 was assisting in the hospital's lab. She was
even allowed to visit friends off of the island. In 1932 she suffered a
paralyzing stroke. Mallon was then transferred to a ward of the hospital and
there remained until her death six years later.

General Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

Araminta Ross, later named Harriet Tubman, was born into slavery circa 1820.
She was raised under harsh slave conditions in Dorchester County, Maryland; she
was subjected to whippings even as a small child. When Harriet was twelve years
old, a white overseer struck her in the head with a weight. Harriet would
suffer lifelong blackouts from that injury and, like most slaves, was motivated
to escape for freedom.

While still enslaved in Maryland, Harriet married a free black man named John
Tubman. Although marriage did not change her status as a slave, she was
permitted to spend time with John after work hours. The couple did not see
eye-to-eye on the question of escape from Maryland. John threatened to report
any escape attempt that Harriet made. One night in 1849, the night before an
auction might send her South, Harriet decided to flee.

A white neighbor assisted Harriet by providing a list of homes that would
shelter her en route to Pennsylvania, a free state. During her trip north, she
became acquainted with William Still, the Philadelphia Stationmaster for the
Underground Railroad. Soon she too became a "conductor" who networked with John
Brown, Frederick Douglass, and other abolitionists. These men held her in high
esteem. They would name her among the bravest people on the continent, and
Brown insisted on calling her General Tubman.

The Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850. This included hefty fines for aiding
escaped slaves, and rewards for their capture. People became bounty hunters,
searching ever more fervently for escaped slaves and their supporters.
Therefore, Harriet started relocating her family members to Ontario, Canada,
instead of the northern US. First she brought her sister and her sister's
children to freedom in a log canoe. Next she rescued her brother and two other
men. When she returned for John Tubman, she found he'd remarried! Harriet found
others who wished to join her and continued the journey. Later, an especially
hazardous journey involved rescuing her aged parents in a makeshift buggy.

Altogether, it's believed that Tubman made 19 trips to Maryland and brought
about 300 people to the North! People called her the "Moses of her people" for
delivering slaves to freedom. She was known for her bravery and determination;
if anyone became frightened and wanted to turn back, she threatened to shoot
them! She'd explain, "A live runaway could do great harm by going back, but a
dead one could tell no secrets." As she proudly told Douglass, she never lost a
passenger. This was despite her increasing fame and appearance on wanted posters.

Harriet took many precautions to reach this level of success. For example, if a
baby was being transported, she carried sedatives to keep it quiet. She would
start a trip North on Saturday, since reports of fugitive slaves wouldn't be
published until Monday. Harriet was also a master of disguise; sometimes people
she knew didn't even recognize her! During the Civil War, Harriet became a spy
for the Union army. Later she worked in Washington, D.C. as a government nurse.
Still, for over thirty years she didn't receive a government pension.
(Eventually they paid her $20 per month.) She lived very simply and was
grateful when Sarah Bradford published her biography and shared the profits.

When the Civil War ended, Harriet married a soldier, Nelson Davis, who was ten
years her junior. They built a home in Auburn, New York and lived happily
together until he passed away almost 20 years later.

Harriet remained active in Auburn. The town was close to Seneca Falls, where
Susan B. Anthony was organizing for women's rights, and Harriet helped Auburn
become a similar center of feminist support. She also purchased land with the
hope of building a home for elderly black people in need of assistance. She was
unable to raise the funds though and gave the land to Auburn's Methodist
Episcopal Zion Church.

When the church completed the home in 1908, Harriet was invited to move in. She
lived there until 1913, telling Underground Railroad stories to visitors, until
she died of pneumonia at age 93. Harriet Tubman was buried in Auburn with
military honors.

Chinese Immigrants and the Iron Road

On a bright May day in 1869, railroad workers, businessmen, and government
officials gathered in Utah for an historic event. Soon the ceremonial driving
of a solid gold railroad spike would complete a six-year effort at building a
railroad across America. Of course, the pricy $350 spike was quickly replaced
for safekeeping. Still, it represented the bridging of 3,500 miles of railroad,
and thus also symbolized an enormous amount of human labor. Much of this labor
was Chinese.

Americans had contemplated constructing a transcontinental railroad since the
1830s. Without an "iron road", overland travel from the eastern states to the
California Territory entailed four to six months of hardship. A railroad would
facilitate westward expansion and help realize America's "manifest destiny".

In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act. This granted a
charter to two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, for
the building of a railway and telegraph line. The companies would work from
opposite directions: the Union Pacific would start construction in Omaha, and
the Central Pacific would start in Sacramento. The separate projects would
eventually meet and become linked.

The companies broke ground in 1863, but their projects didn't gain full speed
after the Civil War ended. In 1866 the Union Pacific increased its labor force
with mostly Irish immigrants. The Central Pacific hired more than 25,000
Chinese immigrants to move through the Sierra Nevadas.

Chinese people had ventured to North America as early as 450 A.D. Still, few
Chinese resided in North America until the California Gold Rush was publicized.
When news of golden soil reached the Chinese mainland, peasants recognized an
opportunity to escape poverty. Some men were so destitute that they had sold
their children. Earning a few hundred American dollars would allow their
families a life of luxury. So, thousands of men boarded tightly packed ships
for passage to "the Golden Mountain" of California. The Chinese workers were
especially valuable to the Central Pacific Company. With their goal of moving
east from Sacramento, they needed an estimated 5,000 workers.

There weren't enough Anglo-Americans available in California, and when men were
brought from the eastern states, they tended to take off for adventure! The
Central Pacific hired as many Chinese immigrants as they could, and then sent
agents to Hong Kong for additional recruits. By the time the rails were joined
in Utah, about 90% of the Central Pacific workers were Chinese.

The Chinese immigrants, despite being crucial laborers, were not treated as
well as white laborers. White men were paid $35 each month and also received a
tent, food, and supplies. The Chinese were usually paid less and did not have
the "benefits" of companyprovided food, shelter, or supplies.

The Central Pacific workers risked their lives every day when scraping through
the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sometimes they wove man-sized baskets to suspend
themselves over cliffs, 2,000 feet above ground. They used dynamite and
nitroglycerine, which sometimes exploded prematurely. For many months, some
lived entirely beneath the mountain snow, creating labyrinths from home to work
and living by lantern light. Entire camps of men were lost to avalanches.

Once the men reached the desert, they faced another set of hazards. There they
could lay rails more quickly, but the temperature reached 120 degrees! Alkali
dust made most bleed from the lungs.

By January of 1869, the work was nearly complete. The federal government
calculated where the two railroads should meet, ultimately deciding upon
Promontory Summit. Eight Chinese men placed the final section of rail on May
10, 1869. Just five days later, passenger train service began. The overland
trip from Omaha to Sacramento would now require only four days of travel!

Californians expected the railroad to bring prosperity. The most immediate
effect, however, was that California's fledgling manufacturing industry was
threatened by cheaper items from the Eastern US. Californians were further
irritated by the influx of job-seeking immigrants who arrived via train. The
ensuing economic depression was blamed upon the Chinese immigrants who had
constructed the iron road. California passed numerous anti-Chinese laws.
Fortunately for the Chinese American community, however, the railroad employees
had earned the immigrants a reputation for being good workers. They were
recruited to work elsewhere across the United States.

Every year in May since 1965, the celebration of completing the nation's first
transcontinental railroad is re-enacted at the Golden Spike National Historic
Site in Brigham City, Utah.

Gold Fever and the Growth of California

One January day in 1848, a man named James Marshall was inspecting a saw mill
under construction for his employer. Suddenly he noticed an unusual rock
sparkling in the overturned earth. Was this a nugget of gold?

Marshall tried to break the rock with a hammer. It didn't crack, but it dented:
like gold. The woman who cooked for the saw mill construction crew threw the
nugget into a pot of lye. The rock boiled for a day, but it did not change
color... like gold. Then the mill's owner, John Sutter, conducted a few tests.
Everyone agreed: this was gold.

Where did the gold come from? The Sierra Nevada Mountains held stores of the
valuable metal. Over tens of thousands of years, erosion had loosened gold
nuggets, and mountain streams washed them to stream beds below. Sutter's
property was nestled between two rivers and was rich with opportunity.

Sutter swore his employees to secrecy. With 39,000 acres of land, he had plans
to build an agricultural empire. But somehow, word trickled out. Eventually
news of the goldlaced soil reached the small town of San Francisco. There a
newspaper publisher shouted down the streets, "Gold from the American River!"
Within three days of the news arriving, 400 of the 600 settlers had left to
trample Sutter's land. By the end of the year, gold prospectors traveled to
California from as far as Oregon, Hawaii, Mexico, and Chile.

And around that time, word of the gold reached states in the East. President
Polk confirmed the discovery in December of 1848. The Gold Rush became a
national and global phenomenon.

The prospectors of 1849 (and later) became known as forty-niners. Many traveled
to California by land. Since these were pre-railroad days, people coming from
Canada, Mexico, and the eastern United States faced a six to nine month
journey. Nonetheless, at least 32,000 actually walked to California in 1849,
and about 44,000 more arrived in 1850. Others, such as South Americans, faced
an arduous journey by sea. They suffered storms, shipwrecks, hunger and thirst,
disease, and overcrowding. After that, some still faced mule rides through
jungles and deserts! Still, in less than a year, about 40,000 people arrived in
San Francisco from overseas.

The new arrivals constituted a dramatic change in California's population. In
1848, California had been home to approximately 100,000 people, most of whom
were Native Americans. Within two years the state population more than doubled,
and it now housed people from many more backgrounds.

People set up mining camps in promising areas, and named them spirited names
like Hell's Delight and Hangtown. Some people found golden fortune in the
California riverbeds. Lucky forty-niners panned flakes and nuggets worth a

However, most people did not become wealthy in the Gold Rush. When gold was
found, the cache was usually cleared quickly by just a few. James Marshall had
little success as a miner, and he died impoverished. John Sutter, who had once
owned 39,000 acres, left California in heavy debt after miners trampled his

Some people profited not from mining, but from charging miners for supplies and
services. With some wealthy miners around, businesspeople could earn $2 for a
pound of sugar, or $25 for a home-cooked meal! And when the gold ran out, many
miners remained in California to form businesses too, or to farm the new
state's fertile valleys. By 1856, San Francisco boasted a cosmopolitan
population of over 50,000 people. California had become the most exciting state
in the nation.

Prohibition and its Repeal

When clocks struck midnight on January 16, 1920, the United States officially
went dry. The age of Prohibition had begun. Brewers, distillers, and
saloonkeepers were required to stop selling alcohol as the vending of spirits
became criminalized. Within thirteen years, however, alcohol was again allowed
by the US Constitution. What happened?

Initially, advocates of alcohol prohibition anticipated the dawning of a
healthier, happier America. Many women in particular supported banning alcohol,
for they experienced the connections between a husband's disappearing paycheck,
alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Employers such as Henry Ford likewise
supported Prohibition, believing that alcohol abuse was lowering workers'
productivity. Banning beer even took on a patriotic, xenophobic zeal during
World War I; many breweries at the time were German-owned, and the Anti-Saloon
League urged the US government to investigate breweries "owned in part by alien

Prohibition was not actually imposed overnight in 1920; more than half of
America had already banned alcohol. By 1916, nineteen states banned the sale of
alcohol. In 1918, President Wilson instituted "partial prohibition" as part of
the wartime grain conservation effort; beer was limited to 2.75% alcohol, and
production was cut to 70% of the previous year's supply. Within nine months,
Wilson banned wartime production of beer altogether!

The Eighteenth Amendment set forth early terms for national Prohibition.
Initially, the law banned specifically "intoxicating liquors" -- leaving some
with hope that beer and wine would remain legal. Within a year, however, the
Volstead Act decreed that no legal drink would contain more than half a percent
of alcohol.

However, Prohibition's challenge was enforcement. Smuggling and bootlegging
became immensely profitable. Congress initially estimated enforcement costs
would be $5 million, but within just a few years, this estimate skyrocketed to
$300 million.

Culturally, Prohibition was especially out of place in northern cities. New
York City, for example, was largely comprised of European immigrants. Many were
accustomed to drinking in moderation as part of daily life. New Yorkers as a
group resisted federal enforcement of Prohibition. They passed laws that
forbade local officers from investigating violations. Consequently, of
approximately 7,000 reported violations in New York State, fewer than twenty
resulted in convictions. Five other states similarly outlawed local enforcement.

Did Prohibition bring the positive health effects that proponents had expected?
Initially, yes: medical records showed dramatic decreases in death from
cirrhosis and alcoholrelated crime. The nation seemed safer once Anheiser-Busch
was forced to brew ginger ale and root beer instead of alcoholic beverages.

However, as Prohibition plodded on, alcohol-related homicides increased. The
citizenry learned to wound its way around liquor laws, and ultimately people
drank more alcohol. Sometimes a drink's source was in Canada, Mexico, or the
Caribbean. Other times, alcohol was home-brewed and more potent than what legal
distributors had offered. Home-brew equipment was relatively inexpensive, and
the ingredients -- chiefly corn, potatoes, and sugar -- were readily available.
Within seven years, an estimated 30,000 illegal speakeasies had appeared to
distribute these underground drinks; this was about twice the number of legal
bars before Prohibition.

With citizens resorting to brewing gin in their bathtubs, high-ranking
politicians and mobsters like Al Capone could profit enormously from the
illegal trade in alcohol. In Washington, President Harding's attorney general
was known to accept bribes from bootleggers. In Chicago, Capone employed half
the city's police officers as alcohol distributors. His operation reportedly
processed $60 million in 1927 alone. Underground operations absorbed the
consumer base and cash flow that had once participated in a legal alcohol

It was soon clear that the national prohibition of alcohol was resulting in the
opposite of its aims. Prohibition was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption,
to relieve the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and to improve
residents' health. But Prohibition bred some of the nation's largest crime
syndicates, alcohol became more dangerous to consume, and drinking grew in
popularity. Prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue (about $500
million each year), and enforcement costs greatly increased government spending.

As noble as Prohibition's intentions had been, the law proved much easier to
decree than to enforce. In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt (a martini
drinker) amended the Volstead Act. The Cullen-Harrison bill allowed the
manufacture and sale of lighter beers and wines. That same year, the Eighteenth
Amendment was fully repealed, and the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified. This
amendment, still in effect today, gives states the right to restrict alcohol
sales. Thus, Mississippians lived with Prohibition until 1966. New Yorkers, in
contrast, were quick to legalize the bottle.

John Scopes and the Teaching of Evolution

In the mid-1920s, many young Americans flaunted long-established Victorian
culture. Women were voting, illegal booze was flowing through speakeasies, and
art had become abstract. Traditionalists in the South responded with a wave of
religious revivalism. Journalists seized upon one particular court trial in
Tennessee, for it exemplified this struggle between religious tradition and
modernity. Who would win? In the summer of 1925, a high school biology teacher
named John Scopes stood trial in Dayton, Tennessee. He was charged with
violating the state's "Butler law", which forbade teaching the theory of

Scopes' personal guilt mattered little, as the trial was engineered from the
start. Scopes and several townspeople (who wanted tourism) had responded to a
Chattanooga newspaper ad submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union. The
ad announced that the ACLU was "looking for a Tennessee teacher who is willing
to accept our services in testing [the Butler law] in the courts. Our lawyers
think a friendly test case can be arranged without costing a teacher his or her
job... All we need now is a willing client."

It was expected that regardless of the trial's outcome, Scopes would keep his
job. The trial's significance lay in the conflict between religious and
academic values. The defense's goal went beyond acquitting Scopes; they aimed
to obtain a Supreme Court declaration that laws forbidding the teaching of
evolution were unconstitutional.

Two of the country's most famous attorneys faced off in the trial. William
Jennings Bryan, a three-time Democratic presidential nominee, was prosecutor.
By 1925, Bryan and his followers had already introduced legislation in fifteen
states to ban the teaching of evolution. Clarence Darrow, who represented the
defense, had achieved nationwide fame through an exciting murder trial the
previous year. The lawyers were well-matched, and prosecutor Bryan declared
that "the contest between evolution and Christianity is a duel to the death."

Meanwhile, the town of Dayton prepared a carnival atmosphere. Streets filled
with thousands of visitors, children's lemonade stands, performing chimpanzees,
and vendors of monkey dolls. The trial was moved outside, for people feared the
crowded courtroom floor would not support its audience. WGN radio set up new
infrastructure, allowing this to be the nation's first court case heard live
over the radio.

Bryan eventually lost control of his case. Darrow, the defense attorney,
subjected him personally to a cross-examination about the Bible and science.
Ultimately, Bryan admitted believing that our world was not completed in a
week, but was created over a period of time that "might have continued for
millions of years". The judge, however, had this testimony expunged from the

John Scopes was ultimately found guilty of teaching evolution and was fined
$100. This is what the defense had requested; the issue could now be tackled by
a higher court. Scopes then delivered his only statement of the trial, declaring:

  "Your honor, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust
  statute. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to oppose
  this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation
  of my ideal of academic freedom--that is, to teach the truth as
  guaranteed in our constitution, of personal and religious freedom. I
  think the fine is unjust."

The Tennessee Supreme Court heard the Scopes case in 1927. The court voted to
uphold the Butler law, but they dismissed Scopes' earlier $100 conviction on a
technicality. Tennessee overturned the Butler law in 1967.

Clearly, the Scopes trial did not end the debate over teaching evolution.
However, the national radio broadcast, complete with the lawyers' debates over
religion and science, seems to have influenced voters nationwide. Of the
fifteen states with anti-evolution legislation pending in1925, only two enacted
laws restricting the teaching of evolutionary theory.

The Scopes trial remains popular in American history classrooms. The lawyers'
debates concern key conflicts between science and religion, faith and reason,
and individual freedoms versus majority rule.

What Caused the Great Depression?

The Great Depression was a global phenomenon that significantly changed the
course of history. In America, people lost their life savings when banks
collapsed. The severe decline in US capital triggered economic troubles
overseas. The resulting German poverty ultimately contributed to the rise of
Nazism and World War II! What sparked the world-changing Great Depression?

Historians cite many contributing factors. Most agree that the downturn began
with the US stock market crash of 1929. Throughout the 1920s, rapid economic
growth and industrialization had been accompanied by easy lending. There was a
vast amount of unsecured consumer debt. But in October of 1929, the prosperity
and optimistic speculation of the "roaring twenties" suddenly collapsed. A
Black Thursday on Wall Street was followed by a Black Tuesday, and investors
quickly lost $40 billion! Many had invested their life savings and mortgaged
their homes.

President Herbert Hoover failed to realize that his nation's economy could
collapse; he believed he was witnessing a mere recession and said the market
would naturally recover within a couple of months. He refused to establish a
federal unemployment program, and he dismissed public construction projects as
"progressive ideas" that wouldn't improve the economy. Hoover was a sort of
"trickle-down" theorist who was inclined to support businesses before
unemployed individuals. He tried to protect American companies with the
Hawley-Smoot Tariff, but by reducing trade he only worsened the faltering
American and global economies.

When the American economy sputtered to a standstill, others suffered through
association. America had been an important trade partner for England, France,
Germany, Japan, Argentina, and Brazil. These countries suddenly saw sharp
declines in demand for their products. Also, all of the countries' currencies
were linked through their adherence to the gold standard. Virtually every
industrialized nation suffered wholesale price declines of 30 percent or more
at the start of the Depression.

The 1930s were particularly harsh for farmers in the United States. In the
Great Plains, the Depression was worsened from 1933 to 1939 by a severe drought
and dust storms. Unable to produce crops, farmers lost their farms and banks
seized their homes. Farm families were reduced to living in shantytowns, which
Hoover's critics called Hoovervilles. These farmers and other destitute
citizens turned to bartering for basic goods in the absence of cash.

Farmers' losses increased bank failures in rural areas, and urban bank failures
had already been escalating rapidly. When stock investors lost their capital,
banks started to fail at ten times the 1920s rate. Nine thousand banks failed
during the 1930s. And when banks failed, customers lost their savings! By the
end of Hoover's term in 1933, Americans had $140 billion missing from their
accounts. The bank failures limited new enterprise and growth across the
country. Banks started to limit how much money customers could deposit, and
loans became scarce. Hoover was not about to win a second term.

After Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933, he instituted a bank
holiday. Banks would rest for several days while Congress passed the Emergency
Banking Relief Act to stabilize the banking system. The new President told his
nation, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Roosevelt tried to end the Great Depression by creating dozens of government
agencies to support the people. Unemployment fell by two-thirds during his
first presidential term. If it weren't for his programs, surely many more
people would have died from starvation and lack of shelter. Still, daily life
remained precarious for most Americans until the depression ended six years
later with America's involvement in World War II.

Causes of US Involvement in World War II

Following World War I, the United States adopted an isolationist stance.
Starting in 1935, Congress even passed various neutrality acts to enforce the
will against foreign entanglement. But by December of 1941, President
Roosevelt's formal declaration of war made this legislation irrelevant.

Although America attempted isolationism, European and Asian affairs brought
global tension that eventually hit the country's traditional allies. An aim of
World War I had been "to make the world safe for democracy", but democracy in
the 1930s was increasingly endangered. The roots of World War II lay in the
totalitarian leaders of Asia and Europe and their agendas for expansion.

Totalitarianism emerged in the Soviet Union, Italy, Spain, and Germany. The
fascist leaders had expansionist goals and soon crushed neighboring societies.
Italy invaded Ethiopia and established Italian East Africa. Meanwhile, Japan
invaded Manchuria, seized Chinese land, and occupied French possessions in
Southeast Asia.

In 1938 Europe, the war officially began when Germany's Adolf Hitler invaded
Austria and took Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, which was home to 3.5 million
ethnic Germans. Hitler claimed he was only "restoring rightful boundaries",
since Germany had lost territory in World War I. But Hitler had ideas of
widespread domination. In 1939 he and Mussolini created the Rome-Berlin Axis
alliance, a military agreement designed to last ten years. Japan entered the
pact later that year. Hitler had the confidence to invade Poland in 1939.
Poland's allies, England and France, therefore declared war on Germany.
America's traditional allies were at war.

Initially, President Franklin Roosevelt limited his aid to arms sales, which
were restricted in a neutrality act. But Hitler's invasions continued. He took
Denmark, Norway, and Holland, and the Belgian king surrendered his army shortly
thereafter. And in June of 1940, France succumbed to Nazi forces. The Axis
alliance now dominated Europe from the North Cape of Africa to the Pyrenees.
Great Britain's Winston Churchill vowed to continue the battle for democracy.

Churchill soon needed military aid, and Roosevelt declared that the United
States must become "the great arsenal of democracy". By 1941, he officially
ended the country's isolationist stance by passing the Lend Lease Act, which
lifted restrictions on supporting foreign troops with defense gear; the Act
first appropriated $7 billion to lend or lease supplies to any countries the
president designated. President Roosevelt also started to call US National
Guard members to war training.

Next, the Americans built a base in Greenland. Then, stationed aboard warships
near Newfoundland, Roosevelt and Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter in June
of 1941. Although the US had not officially entered the war, the Atlantic
Charter presented the two countries' goals for a war against fascism. It
included their disinterest in acquiring new territories through the war.
Shortly thereafter, the US became involved in the yearslong Battle of the

The United States officially entered World War II in December of 1941. Japanese
military leaders, led by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, attacked a US naval base in
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese aimed to destroy the US fleet docked in the
Pacific, thus leaving the Japanese free to pursue oil mines in the region. A
series of aerial attacks by 361 airplanes succeeded in compromising eight
important warships. The air attacks also killed more than 2,300 people. The
following day, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war
against Japan. Congress obliged. By the time of this official declaration,
there were battles to fight on many fronts, but "Remember Pearl Harbor!" became
a rally cry for the war.

Japanese Internment Camps in the United States

Just off of US Highway 395, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains,
motorists can find one of the black eyes of American history. There stands the
Manzanar War Relocation Center in which thousands of Japanese-Americans were
confined during World War II. It is a harsh reminder of civil liberties being
restricted during wartime.

Manzanar was not the only internment camp; it is the best preserved of ten
camps in seven states. These were constructed in response to President
Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. Enacted on February 19, 1942, it stated that
local military commanders could designate "military areas" as "exclusion
zones", from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This translated to the
removal of all people with Japanese ancestry from within 100 miles of the west
coast of the United States, except for those confined in camps. The order was
supported by the Supreme Court when challenged in 1943 and 1944.

Some people were able to find new homes inland. These residents, whom the
government referred to as having "enemy blood", were required to file change of
address forms. However, people's assets were quickly frozen, and more than
100,000 JapaneseAmericans and resident Japanese aliens were forced into camps.
People had to quickly sell their homes and bring only what they could carry.
More than 60% were US citizens.

The Japanese-Americans were also given the options to join the US Army or to
renounce their American citizenship. (The Civil Liberties Union said that such
recruitment and renunciations were coerced.) About 1,200 people joined the
armed forces. About 6,000 gave up their US citizenship; approximately 1,300
were deported to Japan.

The federal government began compiling potential lists of detainees in 1940,
but the internments were the culmination of long-standing tensions between
whites and Asian immigrants, especially in California. Laws had already been
passed to discourage Japanese immigration, prohibit citizenship, and even
prohibit land ownership. California law also banned the intermarriage of
Caucasians and Asians. Once internment began, it was supported on racist and
economic grounds by white farmers who had competed with Japanese landowners.

After Japan attacked Hawaii's Pearl Harbor in 1941, many Americans feared a
west coast invasion. In California, people worried that Japanese-Americans
would support an invasion by poisoning water supplies or setting brush fires.
The round-up zones were later extended to include the west coast, however, as
fear of Japanese spies grew. Approximately one third of the country's territory
was affected. A similar Canadian program was underway in British Columbia. The
United States government also arrested more than 2,000 people of Japanese
descent living in other countries, with the main focus being on Japanese

When the internment program began, its leader, General John DeWitt, revealed
his fear and racism in stating, "American citizenship does not necessarily
determine loyalty... [W]e must worry about the Japanese all the time until he
is wiped off the map." The government also had smaller camps for Italians and

Most internment camps were located on Native American reservations without
tribal permission. The government provided only primitive shelter, and
sometimes the prisoners had to construct the barracks themselves. Families
lived in tarpaper-covered barracks. They did not have plumbing or their own
cooking facilities. The food ration was less than 50 cents per meal, and people
ate in groups of 250-300. About 2,000 college students were permitted to leave
for campus.

President Roosevelt rescinded the internment order two and a half years later
in 1944. The last camp closed in 1945. People were given just $25 and a train
ticket to home.

The government has made a few attempts to redress the wartime situation. Some
compensation was given for property loss in 1948. Forty years later, President
Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act. This granted $20,000 to each of 60,000
survivors for their forced incarceration. Perhaps more importantly, it stated
that the removal and incarceration were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria,
and a failure of political leadership". President George H. W. Bush issued a
formal apology in 1989.

Navajo Windtalkers: America's Secret Weapon

When the United States fought World War II, they ran the constant risk of
information being intercepted over radio waves. Strong codes were crucial in
communicating military messages, and the Japanese proved to be excellent
decoders. Eventually, with the help of Navajo people, the government developed
an effective code that helped the US defeat the Japanese. Military officers
later observed, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have
taken Iwo Jima."

The effective code was first conceived of by Philip Johnston in 1942. As the
child of a missionary, he had spent much of his childhood on a Navajo
reservation in Arizona. He was fluent in both English and Navajo by age 9, and
he even served as translator when the tribe negotiated with President Theodore

When Johnston read a newspaper article about the military's need for more
effective encoding, he thought the Navajo language would be useful. Few people
were familiar with it, and its patterns were different from most known

Johnston brought his idea to a lieutenant colonel at California's Camp Elliott.
Johnston explained that he was fluent in Navajo and had many connections within
the Navajo community. At first, military officers were skeptical. Military
intelligence had successfully used Comanche and Choctaw languages in World War
I, but only to a limited degree. One problem was that Nazi Germans were now
infiltrating Native American tribes in order to study their languages. (Some
posed as art dealers and anthropology students.) Also, a perceived hindrance
was that many English terms -particularly those used to express modern military
ideas -- did not have equivalents in the Native American languages.

But Johnston replied that the Navajo were among the few groups who had not yet
been infiltrated by the enemy; the desert tribe was geographically more
isolated than others, and fewer than thirty outsiders were believed to
understand their language. Certainly they had not had contact with the
Japanese. Johnston also proposed that the code talkers could give existing
Navajo words new military meanings. For example, the Navajo term for
"hummingbird" could represent "fighter plane", and the word for "potato" could
mean "hand grenade".

To convince the military, Johnston assembled tribal members who worked at a Los
Angeles shipyard. The men's test cases impressed the military, and a pilot
project was soon authorized. Thirty Navajo men commenced work for the US
Marines. Together with the military's cryptographic officer, the recruits
designed a code for maritime battle. For times when English words had to be
spelled out, they decided to use letter substitutions from a Navajo noun or
verb. This added an important layer of complexity.

Once the code was created, the first Navajo recruits practiced until they were
ready for deployment. At first this required memorization of about 200 terms;
later this increased to more than 400. The men worked efficiently and processed
codes about ninety times faster than machines! Most of these first recruits were
transferred to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands to begin translating; a few
stayed behind to train the next wave of recruits. They all became known as Code
Talkers or Windtalkers.

The Navajo Windtalkers were highly effective. The secret program eventually
employed an estimated 400 translators (including a few Anglo-Americans). From
1942 to 1945, these unique recruits facilitated every Marine assault in the
Pacific Ocean. After the Japanese surrender, the US kept the code secret. It
stayed in use through the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The Navajo Code Talkers were declassified until 1968. The Japanese then
admitted that although they broke codes of the US Army and Navy, they were
confounded by the Marines' encrypted messages; the combination of English and
Navajo, added to the Native American language's complex syntax and tonal
qualities, proved baffling. The Pentagon honored the code talkers in 1992, and
in December of 2000, New Mexico's Senator Jeff Bingaman publicly awarded the
code talkers and their families with medals of honor.

Jackie Robinson and the Integration of US Baseball

In 1945, when Jackie Robinson batted .387 for the Negro League Kansas City
Monarchs, he established himself as an excellent athlete. Two years later, when
he stepped onto the Brooklyn Dodgers' Ebbets Field, he'd become a civil rights

Jackie Robinson was the first African American major league ballplayer of his
century. Before Robinson accepted this courageous position, America's "national
pastime" had been officially segregated for sixty years. Robinson's baseball
experience exemplifies a history of racial separation and integration in the
United States.

Americans had been playing baseball informally since at least the early 1800s.
The sport gained popularity over several decades, and by 1845 amateurs
nationwide adopted a standard set of rules. Unfortunately, mixed in with rules
about batting and running were the understood rules of Jim Crow culture. Even
after the Civil War, people tended to enforce segregation by skin color; and as
sports participation reflected US society, black men were often not welcomed
onto white men's amateur teams. (It's interesting to note that several were
allowed to participate by identifying as "white Latin Americans".)

When Cincinnati formed the first professional team in 1869 -- the Red Stockings
-- black men were tacitly excluded. Some briefly played on less discriminatory
professional teams that formed in the 1870s. Moses "Fleet" Walker is known for
playing in Toledo until a prominent white player from Chicago protested his
presence. Following the dispute, in 1887 the International League banned future
contracts with black players. Over the next decade, most professional black
players were limited to playing the exhibition circuit -and eventually,
baseball leadership actually prohibited white players from wearing major league
uniforms during these exhibition games.

African American players still had a few professional options. Many played in
Cuba and other parts of Latin America during the winter. Some formed their own
US teams, such as the St. Louis Black Stockings, and a viable alternative
league, the Negro National League, emerged by 1920. Jackie Robinson joined the
Negro American League in 1945 when he signed with the Kansas City Monarchs.

Racial attitudes were starting to change across America. The experiences of
black and white soldiers in World War II contributed to some people realizing
that general segregation ought to end. Regarding sports in particular, the
Navy's champion baseball team, which was integrated, may have swayed some fans.

However, Robinson would still face intense discrimination. When the brave
Branch Rickey of the Dodgers assigned him to the Montreal Royals in 1946, some
baseball fans and even some teammates expressed bigotry. People hurled insults
at Robinson, and some players even insinuated that they'd change teams.
Meanwhile, Robinson had privately agreed to Rickey's stipulation that he "not
take the bait" when harassed.

Fortunately, the Dodgers' management supported Robinson and refused to retreat
on the decision to integrate. Motivated by both his conscience and financial
calculations, Leo Durocher reportedly declared:

  "I don't care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has
  stripes like a: zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I
  say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich.
  And if any of you can't use the money, I'll see that you are
  all traded."

Robinson, baseball, and America overall are fortunate that Dodgers management
maintained its position. Even as Robinson experienced bigotry and harassment,
he also won many friends within baseball and became a beloved national hero. A
Hollywood gossip columnist even pronounced Jackie Robinson the second-most
popular man of 1947 (right after Bing Crosby). Some believe that Robinson
indirectly influenced President Truman's 1948 decision to integrate the US
Armed Forces.

With US society slowly changing and repealing Jim Crow laws, and with
Robinson's legacy of fantastic baseball statistics, more major league teams
began integrating. The Negro League teams eventually lost many star players,
and by 1960 this vestige of segregation had entirely folded. In 1987, about
forty years after Robinson's major league debut, major league baseball paid
tribute by renaming the Rookie of the Year Award the Jackie Robinson Award.

The Botched Bay of Pigs Invasion

In the wee morning hours of April 17, 1961, nearly fifteen hundred Cuban exiles
descended upon the Bay of Pigs, Cuba. Their mission: to overthrow Fidel Castro's
government. From the first hour of fighting, however, it became evident that the
overthrow attempt was fatally flawed.

The exiles' invasion was designed by the United States government. The US was
wary of Fidel Castro's presence in their hemisphere. His communist regime and
close relationship with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev led to fears that Cuba
would become a base for communism throughout Latin America. They hoped to
overthrow Castro and establish a US-friendly government in his place. In 1960,
President Eisenhower therefore approved a CIA plan entitled "A Program of
Covert Action against the Castro Regime". That year, Cuban exiles commenced
guerrilla war tactics training in Guatemala. President Eisenhower cut
diplomatic ties with Cuba in January of 1961, and when President Kennedy
succeeded Eisenhower, he approved the pending invasion plan. It included
outlines for intelligence gathering, propaganda, and military training.

According to the plan, the entire invasion would transpire without evidence of
US involvement; it was supposed to look like a spontaneous Cuban insurrection.
For example, before the operation began, CIA operatives (some disguised as
Cuban students) traveled to Cuba to prepare for the invasion. Their task was to
destroy bridges and other infrastructure, and to make it seem as if Cuban
residents themselves were resisting Castro's revolution.

The US government therefore did not reveal the plan to the American public, but
continually denied its existence. On April 17th, when the invasion was already
underway, the U.S. Secretary of State announced in a press conference, "The
American people are entitled to know whether we are intervening in Cuba or
intend to do so in the future. The answer to that question is no. What happens
in Cuba is for the Cuban people to decide." Kennedy and the CIA truly believed
that many Cubans would choose to provide support.

When the exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs (Bahía de Cochinos), surely they'd be
greeted with spontaneous support from the local population. Then, it was
expected, locals would usher the guerrillas to Havana and a new government
would be installed.

However, loose talk in Miami drew Cuba's attention to the impending US
invasion. It could hardly be called "A Program of Covert Action" anymore.
Castro prepared in part by rounding up Cubans who might be supportive of
change; this removed 100,000 suspected supporters of democracy from the streets.

At the same time, Castro prepared his army to quickly halt the exiles. Twenty
thousand Cuban ground troops easily overwhelmed the small US force. His air
force effectively patrolled the skies. By the time fighting ended two days
later, about a tenth of the exiles had been killed. The others escaped to the
sea or were taken political prisoner. (Later, Castro would exchange most of the
men for $53 million in baby food and pharmaceuticals.)

Of course, the new Kennedy Administration was embarrassed by this military
failure. Some observers said that not enough force had been provided; the 1,400
US troops were too many to conduct guerrilla warfare, but too few to overcome
Castro's forces. Also, crucial air support -- a promised "umbrella of defense"
-- was missing; US jets arrived an hour late because of a misunderstanding
about time zones! The ground force of Cuban exiles had been trained to rely on
air cover that failed.

The botched US-backed invasion increased the resolve of the opposed parties.
Castro's relationship with the Soviets tightened immediately. The US secretly
started planning Operation Mongoose, which had goals of sabotaging the Cuban
economy and perhaps assassinating Castro himself. The invasion also heightened
Castro's caution regarding the US. From the Bay of Pigs invasion onward, Castro
was especially vigilant for a US incursion on his soil. Both regional and global
tensions escalated. By 1962, the US and Cuba were caught up in a missile crisis,
and the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

Deep Throat and his Legacy

In the pre-dawn hours of June 17, 1972, a security guard called police officers
to the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. He had discovered a taped-open door.
Once inside, the officers found and arrested five males in a highly unusual

The burglary was unusual not only because it was inside the offices of the
Democratic National Committee, but also because the men had uncommon burgling
gear. In addition to standard lock-picks, they held: $2300 in hundred-dollar
bills; a walkie-talkie; a police radio scanner; cameras with 40 rolls of film;
and sophisticated covert recording devices. Evidently, they intended to
eavesdrop on the Democratic organizers.

Furthermore, the men seemed to have ties to the White House. At least one had
been a Central Intelligence Agency employee, and two carried notebooks with a
telephone number accompanied by the inscriptions "W. House" and "W.H."

The Watergate Hotel scandal immediately attracted media attention. Washington
Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein covered the story for two years.
Their investigative reporting contributed to implicating Nixon and his
associates of crimes far beyond burglarizing the DNC. It became evident that
Nixon's staff had also: authorized campaign fraud; ordered political espionage
and sabotage; created improper tax audits; conducted large-scale illegal
wiretapping; and maintained secret funds (laundered in Mexico!) to pay off the
men involved in break-ins.

But how did these young reporters, just embarking on their careers, gain access
to topsecret Nixon-incriminating information? Woodward and Bernstein claimed
that their journalistic advantage came from a single anonymous informant, whom
their editor dubbed "Deep Throat". But they vowed to not reveal their
informant's identity until he consented or passed away.

Thus, for thirty years Americans pondered the mystery of Deep Throat. Hundreds
of theories were put forth, and several were widely considered credible. One
leading candidate was Nixon's White House Associate Counsel Fred Fielding, who
had obvious close connections to the uncovered information. He also seemed to
be as high-level as Deep Throat; each obtained information before the FBI was
privy. Another candidate was Diane Sawyer. She'd been hired by Nixon's press
secretary, and one Nixon supporter made an odd deathbed "confession" revealing
Sawyer as the informant. George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan
also made the list. And although the journalists claimed to have had a single
source, some speculators suggested that Deep Throat was really a composite of
multiple informants.

At last, on May 31, 2005, Deep Throat publicly revealed his identity. Vanity
Fair magazine revealed online that former Deputy Director of the FBI William
Mark Felt, Sr., 91 years old, was the secret Watergate whistleblower. Later
that day, Woodward and Bernstein's former managing editor confirmed the claim.
A few days later, the Washington Post ran an article by Bob Woodward. Therein
he described his pre-Watergate relationship with W. Mark Felt. Apparently, the
two first met by chance in a White House waiting room, and Woodward kept Felt's
business card. Woodward consulted with Felt even before the Watergate scandal.

Felt was instrumental in the Watergate scandal being understood. His
information leaks exposed many misdeeds of Richard Nixon and members of his
administration, ultimately bringing the first US presidential resignation.
Administration members receiving prison terms included G. Gordon Liddy, who
masterminded the first Watergate break-in; White House Chief of Staff H. R.
Haldeman; chief counsel Charles Colson; and advisers John Ehrlichman and Egil

Felt's leaking of information also changed the face of national politics. The
Senate and House had elections shortly after the Watergate scandal was
publicized. Voters were now thoroughly disillusioned with Nixon's party, and
they elected Democrats in large numbers. The Democrats gained five seats in the
Senate and a significant forty-nine in the House of Representatives.

As of 2007, Felt was residing in Santa Rosa, California.

The US Presidency and Tecumseh's Curse

In 1840, General William Henry Harrison easily won the US presidency. He was
celebrated as a war hero for having participated in the Battle of Tippecanoe,
which defeated Tecumseh's Shawnee forces. However, Harrison's presidency would
be shortlived. Some say it's a result of "Tecumseh's Curse".

According to legend, Chief Tecumseh sent a prophetic message to General
Harrison. The message contained a premonition outlined by Tecumseh's brother,
who had accurately predicted a lunar eclipse and gained credibility as a seer.
The Shawnee warning stated that if Harrison were to win the presidential
election, he would not finish his term.

Furthermore, "After him, every great chief chosen every twenty years thereafter
will die. And when each one dies, let everyone remember the death of our
people." A curse had supposedly been set on the White House and its future

The legend of the curse was not widely known until 1931 when a "Ripley's
Believe it or Not" book brought publicity. In 1980 the Library of Congress
would be unable to substantiate that Tecumseh had sent this message.

Nonetheless, Harrison's presidency was indeed brief and unfortunate. He
delivered a long inaugural address on a cold and windy day, and then he was
caught in a rainstorm. He contracted a cold that quickly led to pneumonia and
death. His death would be seen as the beginning of a long pattern: from 1840 to
1960, presidents elected in a year ending in zero would be assassinated or die
of natural causes while in office.

The next supposed victim of the curse was Abraham Lincoln, who was elected in
1860. He was assassinated during his second term in 1865, just a few days after
the Civil War had officially ended. His assassin was the Confederate sympathizer
John Wilkes Booth.

The twenty-year cycle next met President James Garfield. He took office in
March of 1881. He was shot within a few months and died in September of that
year. His assassin was Charles Guiteau, who was "upset" after being denied a
diplomatic post by Garfield's administration.

Next, William McKinley survived his first presidential term, but he was elected
again in 1900. He was shot in 1901 while attending the Pan-American Exposition
in Buffalo, New York. He died about a week later. The assassin, Leon Czolgosz,
was a self-described anarchist who called McKinley "the enemy of the people".

Warren Harding was the next president to die while in office. He was elected in
1920. During a 1923 cross-country Voyage of Understanding, President Harding
died at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The cause of his death is uncertain.
Food poisoning and pneumonia may have been underlying causes. Newspapers cited
heart attack or stroke, but suspicions of suicide or murder abound. Harding was
an unpopular president and publicly stated that he wasn't fit for office! Some
have accused Mrs. Harding of ending her husband's life; he was known to have
extra-marital affairs, and he secretly had a child with another woman.

The 1940 presidential election was met with newspapers headlines shouting
"Curse Over the White House!" Franklin Roosevelt was then elected to his third
presidential term, and then a fourth in 1944. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage
in 1945.

The curse's final victim would be President John F. Kennedy, who was elected in
1960. He was assassinated in 1963 while riding in a motorcade through Dallas.
There are many conspiracy theories about his assassination, but Lee Harvey
Oswald was officially judged to be the lone gunman.

The Shawnee curse was well-publicized by the 1980 election. President Carter
was asked his opinion about it during a campaign stop that year. He replied,
"I'm not afraid. If I knew it was going to happen, I would go ahead and be
President and do the best I could, for the last day I could."

President Ronald Reagan, who was ultimately elected in 1980, is believed to
have broken Tecumseh's curse. He escaped a serious assassination attempt by
John Hinckley, Jr. within months of his inauguration in 1981.

The curse is also known as: the Curse of Tippecanoe, the presidential curse,
the zero-year curse, and the twenty-year curse.

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