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A Brief (Running) US History


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I was a shameless C+ history student in high school, but discovered that I am fascinated by history (especially US History) as an adult. What follows are my index cards on key events (in no particular order) as I come across them... Will be updated as I add more (often).

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A Brief (Running) US History

  1. 1. A BRIEF US HISTORY by Robert James
  2. 2. Introduction Although an average history student in high school, I find history fascinating as an adult. What follows are my running brief highlights of key US events*, in no particular order. I will continue to add to this often. *American history began with the Native Americans long long ago, but most of this is based on the European/US version of history.
  3. 3. Homestead Act (1862) To encourage Americans to expand west and to increase non-slave farms during The Civil War, the US government gave 100s of acres of land to every (white) head of household who farmed a parcel of land for 5 years. The US actually had a series of land give-aways that begin in 1841, were extended to blacks in 1866, and lasted into the 20th century.
  4. 4. The Fall of Constantinople (1453) In 1453, the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), which sat atop the roads that gave European monarchs access to spices in China and India. Since the Ottomans controlled land access to Asia, Europeans sought new ways -- by sea. While Portugal sailed south and east, Spain financed Columbus’s proposal to sail west.
  5. 5. King Phillips War (1675) For nearly 50 years, there had been a complex peace between the colonists and the Native Americans in “New England.” But as 20,000 more English colonists moved into New England during The Great Migration, as terms of the peace were stretched or violated, and as more English settled on Native American lands, four tribes of Native Americans waged a bloody14-month war against the New England colonists/militias. Towns were completely destroyed, thousands were killed before Chief Metacom was killed and the war ended. After the war, the surviving Native Americans fled or were enslaved, and England had essentially all of New England available to settle.
  6. 6. The Battle of Saratoga (1777) In a battle that would make Benedict Arnold an American war hero (before his defection to England, that is), the Americans defeat the British in a series of three battles at Saratoga (NY). The victory is an important moment in US History – it encourages Europe to support (politically, militarily and financially) the Americans in their battle for independence. (France had an ulterior motive in their support: it would weaken the English, who’d taken control of America by defeating the French in The Seven Years War).
  7. 7. England outs the Dutch (1664) After several years of leap frogging and posturing between the Dutch, English and Swedish in northeast North America, the Dutch (New Netherland) conquer Sweden (New Sweden) in 1655, and the Dutch surrender to England in 1664. Now, Spain holds much of southern North America (including Florida) while England and France own most of central and eastern North America. It will remain this way for nearly 90 years.
  8. 8. National Labor Union (1866) The National Labor Union was the first national federated union (there were previous attempts at local unions). Instead of bargaining with employers, they took the approach of influencing legislation. Although they lasted only a few years, the National Labor Union paved the way for future unions that would usher in 8 hour work days, safer work conditions and better wages.
  9. 9. To Be Continued
  10. 10. World History
  11. 11. The Battle of Marnes (1914) Early in World War 1, after Germany surged through France to the edge of Paris in the Battle of the Frontiers, the French and British armies launched a ferocious all out attack against the Germans in The Battle of Marnes. This was a critical battle in World War I: Paris (and France) were saved, the Germans were pushed back nearly 50 miles and both sides dug in; hopes for a quick war ended, and the stage was set for the extended trench-war stalemate that followed. There were nearly a million casualties in the first few months of the war.
  12. 12. About Me I am middle-aged sales guy who writes for the fun of it. My random thoughts are posted on