SONS of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION Form
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Why did no ancient civilization come up the Mississippi river valley even though it had similar conditions to other river valley civilizations?Exsqueeze me?It really is a pity that today, despite all the literature, museums and outsignNow, even the average citizen of the eastern United States is still blissfully unaware of the complex societies whose remnants they often walk or drive right over.Story time!The Eastern Woodlands of the United States has been a nexus for stratified civilization since 3500 B.C. The Mississippi River area was even home to its own independent cradle of agriculture known as the Eastern Agricultural Complex, from which we still have popular vegetables like squash and sunflower. The peoples that farmed these crops have been traditionally termed the “Mound Builders”, so named for their apparent proclivity towards earthworks. The term is a bit dated now, and archaeologists today are able to differentiate specific cultures, but “mound-building peoples” is often still used to describe the cultures in general.There have been many mound-building societies over the course of North American history. We’ll probably never know the exact political relationships, but we can identify consistencies in material culture and living patterns. The first one that really seems to take off across the board is the Hopewell:Starting around 100 B.C., sites all around the Mississippi start adopting a similar set of traits such as pottery styles, arrowhead techniques and artistic motifs, along with a much more pronounced sense of social stratification. The Hopewell appear to have begun with the Ohio Hopewell, which built upon the stratified Adena culture that existed since 1000 B.C. on the Ohio River valley, which connects to the Mississippi. The Hopewell greatly proliferate the number of mounds constructed in the Eastern Woodlands and diversify their uses.One of the most iconic examples of the Hopewell are the Newark Earthworks: a series of interconnected circles, walls and moats that appear to serve as a massive lunar observatory. The Moon’s orbit ‘wobbles’ in relation to the Earth: at one extreme the orbit is rotated one way, and rotated the other way at the other extreme. The point in this cycle where the Moon’s orbital plane signNowes its northernmost or southernmost extent before going back to the other is termed the lunar standstill, which produces an effect not unlike the Sun’s solstices. This happens every 18 years, 7 months and almost 10 days. The Newark Earthworks are able to track the Moon’s declination until the next standstill with remarkable precision.Newark today. A country club still owns parts of the earthworks.It’s possible that the Ohio Hopewell had such influence over the Eastern Woodlands that they may have started a new religious movement, or perhaps their influence was economical and assimilating their culture was better for business, or people may have simply admired parts of their culture enough to replicate it. A mix of the three may have happened, but we might never know specifically why people wanted to copy them.What we do know was that their influence was phenomenal. The Hopewell had access to a trade network that extended all the way to the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico and the Rockies, with artifacts from these regions showing up in Ohio:In the year 500 A.D., the bow and arrow trickled southward after being introduced by the Inuit from northern Canada. This makes hunting (and fighting) much more accessible, freeing people up from their dependencies on crops and some hierarchical control.From there the magic begins to die for the Hopewell and the societies within its sphere fall into the geographically broader-ranging Woodland period. The 500 years of the Late Woodland period saw a great intensity in fortification, a signNow reduction in mound-building (though some are still built) and more numerous, smaller walled villages instead of the larger towns of the Middle Woodland’s Hopewell. This lifestyle, in some form, actually lasted in the periphery of the Eastern Woodlands until the arrival of Europeans.By the year 1000, however, something new appears in the heart of the Mississippi. People are once again gathering in large towns and forming wealthy elites under the control of powerful rulers who began using earthworks to proclaim their legitimacy. Corn (maize) was introduced to the Eastern Woodlands in 200 B.C., but had a hard time dealing with the colder climates. However, new cold-hardy cultivars had finally been developed and were taking the Eastern Woodlands by storm into a new agricultural revolution. Things were about to get corny.Archaeologists have given these corn-crazy, mound-building chiefdoms the aptly-named title of the Mississippians:This is where things really start getting big. The power and influence of chiefs have increased drastically into large, multi-town paramount chiefdoms, though if we’re being completely honest some of these really resemble early kingdoms and the difference is largely semantic. The massive trade networks have fired back up and are bringing in more goods than ever before. They especially love Great Lakes copper. Art, culture and religious expression have also greatly expanded and this cultural movement signNowes nearly every corner of the Mississippi River watershed:The “Sponemann Figurine” from Cahokia. The headwrap seen on her head has been documented in historical Native American tribes.Copper plate of a falcon-eyed man from Spiro Mounds, Oklahoma.“Crouching Man” effigy pipe from Shiloh Indian Mounds, Tennessee.More Spiro copper plate art, including a falcon dancer (or warrior) to the left. These are replicas for Spiro’s museum exhibit.“Conquering Warrior” effigy pipe from Spiro. The wooden slat backshield he is wearing has similarities to the armor worn by Great Lakes tribes, which also protected the head and neck in this way.Wood duck effigy bowl, diorite. Moundville, Alabama.Shell gorget of two dancers from the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture in Tennessee.But one of the most profound examples of Mississippian culture, and what everybody wants to see when they visit the sites, are of course the mounds.These are no mere piles of dirt either, but alternating layers of various clays and particulates that each have their own physical properties and ostensibly spiritual meanings to ensure the greatest structural stability and proper religious status. Most of these clays were sourced from many miles out, even when a more convenient source was nearby. Most of these mounds were built to house a temple or chief, and the larger mounds served as residential-religious complexes for the elites. When the person living on the mound died, his house was burnt with any of his belongings and a new mound was constructed atop.The most impressive of these Mississippian mounds, still standing today (in somewhat eroded form) is Monks Mound in the archaeological site of Cahokia:This terraced platform mound is 100 feet high, 775 feet wide, and 955 feet long; slightly larger at the base than the largest Egyptian pyramid.The mound held multiple large buildings, including that of the paramount chief who overlooked a city we call Cahokia, the largest in pre-Columbian North America north of the Rio Grande, existing from A.D. 1050 to 1350.And there’s a highway right through it…(A little outdated: there is evidence of clay caps on many Mississippian mounds, which means these mounds would have been a bright yellow or red instead of turf green.)The safe estimate for Cahokia’s population is around 20,000 people, but it has sometimes been given twice that. Either way, it’s reasonably impressive for the area and historical context. Our modern life has made us used to megacities spanning hundreds of thousands or millions of people, but to put 20,000 souls into perspective: This is close to the same size as London in 1200. Berlin was a quaint village of barely over a thousand at this time. Paris had very recently become a medieval metropolis at a hundred thousand people, but had floated at around 35,000 for about a millennium. The modern city of Ithaca, New York is around 30,000.This city was America’s first melting pot, bringing in peoples from very distant regions who came for trade, religion and safety. The city was organized into districts according to class and sometimes function, including ‘industrial zones’ for production of things like beads, tools, pottery and copper art.Outside the walled ceremonial district was a “Woodhenge”; a circular arrangement of poles that track the position of the sun like a giant solar calendar. Nearly all of the buildings are aligned to the four cardinal directions; the four directions to this day are important to many Native American tribes. Some pits within the city were dug as a source of clay and, if we can glean from historical accounts of native towns, were likely flooded and stocked with fish.Cahokia faced many typical issues of a large early city: social order, sanitation, dietary deficiencies, and especially resource exhaustion (good timber had to be brought in from upriver). In finding a reason for Cahokia’s fall, it seems to have dealt with these okay enough. But some time after 1200 A.D. came an unusually wet era for the Mississippians, and all that extra rainfall drained into and rushed down the Mississippi, which would have drenched all of Cahokia but the tops of its mounds.Interestingly, the Osage tribe, a Dhegihan-Siouan people that have one of the closest cultural similarities with the archaeological findings of Cahokia, have an origin story that draws many parallels (from Willard H. Rollings’ The Osage: An Ethnohistorical Study of Hegemony on the Prairie-Plains):. . . in the beginning all of the Osage lived in a single village located along a river. One day the river flooded, and the Osage fled the rising waters. One group made it to the top of a hill, while others fled a nearby timbered ridge. A third group escaped to higher ground and sought shelter in a dense thicket, while a fourth group found refuge at the base of [a] hill just above the floodwaters. Some of the Osage, unable to escape, remained in the flooded village. After the floodwaters receded, the Non-hon-zhin-ga [council] insisted that the people remain in the groups they had formed during the flood. They claimed that Wa-kon-da [the Great Spirit/Mystery] wanted the people to live apart and to establish five villages . . .After the flooding, Cahokia was still inhabited, but was a shadow of its former self. The people that lived there in the roughly 200 years until its final abandonment seem to have lived without a major elite class and used parts of Monks Mound as a garbage midden. Cahokia, once at the forefront of the Mississippian trade network, seems to have taken the long distance trade with it.…but that’s not the end!Mississippian culture was still alive and vibrant in the Lower Mississippi and Southeastern Woodlands (and the Middle Mississippi and Ohio River too, but the other places are more intense). However, times have changed. The lack of the Cahokian trade nexus has wrecked regional economies. Influence vacuums have formed and the world seems just a bit more dangerous. This is where history begins to rhyme a bit: there is an increase in fortification and town splitting, though not quite to the same degree. Towns are typically surrounded by a defensive wall and people move if the population gets too big, but complex hierarchies and earthworks are more active than ever. The political climate of the Southeast leads to the creation of vast open territories, with areas of dense wilderness serving to buffer the territories from large military campaigns (though light travel is still possible on trails). These territories, of course, had to be managed. And it’s during this era that we are finally able to know how the Mississippians governed themselves, at least in some parts, due to the accounts from Hernando de Soto’s entrada. In the Southeast among Muskogean (Creek) towns, the major town leader (potentially the paramount as well) was the mico/micco. Subordinate to the mico are the orata, which governed satellite towns. The iniha/heniha was an administrator served along the mico as a kind of magistrate and the yatika was the official translator. Each of these large territories was an italwa, and this word was also used to describe the largest towns ruled by micos, talofa being the smaller towns. The Caddo Mississippians in Texas and Oklahoma had the same structure, despite being on the other side of the Mississippian sphere.Hernando de Soto’s route through areas that are known Mississippian polities. There are more archaeological sites than shown here which could possibly represent other polities.Starting from Florida, Hernando de Soto and his entrada entered Mississippian civilization, starting with the Appalachee (to the south, off-screen of the map) and into the Mississippi River proper. There they found large capitals with their mounds and walls, and many towns had other features such as moats and levies. Some of these moats seem to have doubled as fish traps, according to de Soto’s secretary Rodrigo Ranjel who described Pacaha’s (probably the Nodena site in Arkansas) moat as ”full of excellent fish of divers kinds”.The Parkin site in eastern Arkansas, one of the places visited by Hernando de SotoYou will often hear that from here, Hernando de Soto’s very existence caused 90% of the natives to keel over from European diseases. However, there is actually no evidence of such mass deaths, even in towns that had Spanish artifacts. To make matters even more interesting, de Soto and some other Spaniards actually fell ill and died on this journey, at a point in the journey longer than the incubation period of known European diseases, with the natives unaffected!But the entrada still had a devastating effect on the political atmosphere. In his search for gold and the desire to continue such a journey, de Soto raided and burned towns, forcibly occupied capitals and even kidnapped paramount chiefs — people who were supposedly of heavenly descent, reduced to being bound and caged for ransom. He used his influence to alter Mississippian political relationships to his benefit and this wrecked the status quo. The paramountcies of Coosa and Cofitachequi no longer had the same kind of respect, influence and control over their territories as they once had. Political cohesion was now much more tenuous.The fortress village of Mabila burning after a failed ambush.The entrada would not be able to walk away from the Eastern Woodlands so easily, however. Shortly before he died, de Soto tried to use his claim as son of the Sun to force the chiefdom of Quigualtam, the largest and most powerful polity of the lower Mississippi, to give them safe passage down the Mississippi … and some tribute for the road, of course. Quigualtam wasn’t buying it. After a failed overland route near Texas, de Soto’s entrada (now led by Luis de Moscoso) built some ships and tried to sail down the Mississippi as quick as humanly possible.Quigualtam, of course, caught up with them. The small Spanish river fleet was met by Quigualtam’s fleet of nearly a hundred canoes, many of which held up to 70 people. These large canoes had awnings in the back housing the commanders; the awnings, paddles, weapons, and the boats themselves were all one color, with a different color for each boat. They sang and drummed in unison to pace their paddling; most of the songs could be summed up as “You Spaniards sure are in for it now!”. There was, naturally, a very loud scream at the end of each song.Once the boats got close, teams of divers jumped off the boats and into the water to board the Spanish’s pinnace boats. Other paddlers stood up and began firing volleys. They managed to kill, wound and capture some people, but made the decision not to engulf them entirely — Quigualtam’s plan was not to annihilate the Spaniards, but to harass, exhaust and terrify them enough that they understood who had the real power in the Mississippi, and would tell all of their countrymen back home. Which of course succeeded: every time the Spanish thought they out-sailed Quigualtam, they would hear the shouting again and the terror would start back up.Quigualtam’s cultural descendants are the Natchez, whose society remained strongly Mississippian well into the historic period, interacting diplomatically with the United States.Despite this successful expulsion of the Spaniards, it was only the beginning of the end for the Mississippian way of life as a whole. European ships were conducting slave raids all around the North American coast, as well as propping up some natives to become slave raiders themselves, which only expanded ever inward. This led to an increase in warfare, famine and mass uncertainty that undermined the political structure of the Eastern Woodlands, leading to the breakup of most Mississippian polities. It was only when the stresses from raids and starvation was at its peak that the first epidemics begin to sweep through; these events had lowered the immune system of natives. The Native American slave trade continued well into the age of the British colonies and early U.S., where Savannah, Georgia was an important port for the export of Native slaves.De Soto’s accounts were buried in the libraries of New Spain, records of English colonial interactions with remaining Mississippian polities fell into obscurity, and the survivors of the Mississippian breakup had long since adopted new, somewhat more egalitarian lifestyles. Many of the old Mississippian towns and cities were revisited again as abandoned mounds. Rather than believe they were built by the ‘savage’ Indians they were killing and enslaving, people came up with numerous myths of other more prestigious people who came to America before them, only to be killed off by the current inhabitants. The Aztecs. Hindus. Babylonians. The Lost 13th Tribe of Israel. The Welsh. Anyone but the indigenous people. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first, after archaeological digs of his own, to suggest that the mounds were in fact built by Native Americans.But the myth had always persisted. In fact, some pseudoscientific circles to this day still deny the origins of the mounds in favor of their preferred civilization. And the lack of respect Americans have had for the mounds is exhibited by their constant destruction throughout American history. Massive temple platforms were excavated so their clay could be used for road fill or embankments. Some were simply in the way of progress: right across the river from Cahokia was the remains of a smaller city which was nearly completely torn down to make room for St. Louis. Only one deeply eroded Sugarloaf Mound remains. Many Mississippian sites are still on private land, their artifacts routinely dug up by plows while their discoverers don’t think much of it.This has been simply another front of a campaign as old as the United States itself to destroy and mask the history and culture of Native Americans, so as to put European-American history and culture at the forefront. Today, we are more sensitive to the real history before the United States, and also have the power and resources to protect and educate. But the damage inflicted over the centuries has been done, and we are still reeling from its effects. It will take a while before Americans really truly become aware of their country’s pre-European past and realize it’s something to be celebrated, not quietly ignored. Until then, we should try to educate and raise awareness as much as we can.Winterville Mounds, MississippiAs you can see, the Mississippi River did indeed give birth to some quite complex societies. You might also be wondering: why didn’t all this complexity happen earlier? Or signNow the political strength of other river valley civilizations?Well, first off I don’t think you can ever get a detailed answer to that. Many people like to fall on geography as the sole determiner of human society, but humans, as we all know, are complicated and do not like to follow the rules. Nevertheless, while the fertility of the Mississippi watershed can’t be overstated, the region is also perhaps a bit … too fertile. Most other river valley civilizations are in relatively dry areas, with a narrow stretch of fertile floodplain that forces most people to huddle together and submit to a central managing authority. In the Mississippi, you can have great farmland by the river, but you can also go deeper into the many, mazelike tributary rivers into the woods and have almost just as productive a crop. This is harder to keep under control, which narrows the focus of elites for the most part. However, ancient China had much the same layout: a large swath of fertile land under a complex watershed of not one but two giant rivers. Horses, not available to the Mississippians, may have also played a part in such a difference. Or perhaps simply not enough time has passed since the Eastern Woodland’s adoption of agriculture in 1800 B.C. and the introduction of more efficient crops in 900 A.D. If you’re asking me, a historical particularist, I believe that the fate of human societies can ultimately fall on the decisions made by their communities. The ideologies that led to the creation of sprawling, intensely bureaucratic states simply did not come to fruition in the same way they did in China or Mesopotamia. Maybe that was influenced by the factors I mentioned, or the values were simply different.Yet a civilization it definitely was, with its own sophisticated cultures, politics, and artistic expression. Like many civilizations, it had its own peaks and dips, and with every dip rose a peak that was stronger than ever before. The collapse of the trade networks after 1400 was a dip the Mississippians had just begun to recover from. Considering the interruption of Mississippian history with the arrival of the Spanish, one has to wonder: what kind of peak might we have seen next?Further Reading:Mysteries of the Hopewell: Astronomers, Geometers, and Magicians of the Eastern Woodlands by William F. RomainAncient Cahokia and the Mississippians by Timothy R. PauketatMedieval Mississippians: The Cahokian World by Timothy R. Pauketat and Susan M. AltMapping the Mississippian Shatter Zone: The Colonial Indian Slave Trade and Regional Instability in the American South by Robbie Ethridge and Sheri M. Shuck-Hall - goes into the political instability caused by European activity that led to the collapse of many Mississippian politiesEpidemics and Enslavement: Biological Catastrophe in the Native Southeast, 1492-1715 by Paul Kelton - also discusses the shatter zone, but builds upon it by touching on the biological aspect. Particularly, it addresses the myth of the spread of European disease in the EW: rather than the wildfire-like instantaneous transmission many imagine, the worst of the epidemics only came about when the immune systems of the natives were weakened through stresses.The Forgotten Centuries: Indians and Europeans in the American South, 1521-1704 by Carmen Tesser and Charles Hudson - very aptly named; in-depth exposition of the often overlooked protohistoric period, inbetween the jurisdictions of archaeologists and historians.Amazon.com: Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms by Charles Hudson and Robbie Ethridge - Contains actual primary sources of de Soto’s journey, augmented and illuminated by the interpretations of modern historical and archaeological data.
How did Spanish become the second language of the Philippines?For over 300 years most of what we know today as the Philippines was a Spanish colony. Priests fanned out across the islands to introduce Catholicism, in the process putting scores of Philippine languages into written form, using Spanish writing and pronunciation systems. But very few Filipinos were actually taught Spanish. First, the priests learned the local languages. Second, there were not many Spanish living outside major cities like Manila and Cebu. Third, educating Filipinos was never a Spanish priority.In the early 1800s more Spanish began to arrive, as a result of the revolutions in Spain's American colonies and improved/safer transportation. But even in the last decades of the 1800s only a relative handful of Filipinos had access to education - mainly those studying for the priesthood, sons of the upper classes and local officials who needed Spanish to fill out government forms/reports. Best estimates are that by the arrival of the Americans in 1898, not more than 5% of Filipinos were fluent Spanish speakers.Over time a signNow number of Spanish words came into Philippine languages - mostly words for which Filipinos didn't already have equivalents - such as those relating to the Catholic religion like iglesia/church or kabayo/horse (brought by the Spanish) or tinidor/fork (like most SE Asians, Filipinos most often ate with their hands). Most Filipinos have Spanish names because Spanish priests required them to adopt Spanish names upon baptism, but that did not mean they knew SpanishSo... Spanish is not the second language of the Philippines. Unlike Latin America, almost no one in the Philippines today can speak Spanish. Filipinos today often have 3 languages - first, the language of the region where they are raised, second, Tagalog (originally spoken in five provinces near the capital of Manila, but renamed "Filipino" when it was declared the national language) and English (instituted when Americans introduced a widespread public education system in the early 1900s, as a way for Filipinos from all language groups to communicate with each other - and with the outside world).
Is it true that the only reason why European countries can afford universal healthcare and free college is because the USA subsidizes their military defense?First of all, besides Israel, the USA do not subsidize the defense of anyone. They spend much more than any other country because of sheer size but also for a number of other reasons as well, ranging from the intend to project power globally (hence, multiple aircraft carrier groups, at 50 billion a pop), to the resolve to secure as many oil fields and their transport routes as possible (hence, the Oil Wars of the last 50 years), and to the deep-seated political corruption (hence, the 1.5 Trillion dollars wasted on a jet fighter that was supposed to do everything yet it does nothing well).When joining NATO every country agrees to keep spending 2% of its GDP on military expenditures. Out of 29 members, currently only four countries fulfill this: Greece, Britain and lately Poland and Estonia. And each does this for their own reasons: Greece is surrounded by aggressive states, some of them rogue, and knows that for regional conflicts NATO is as useless as a paper umbrella; Britain, similar to the US, wants to protect its special interests at various strategic points, such as Suez, essentially using its taxpayers money to secure the profits of private companies; Poland is located between two giants that have tried repeatedly to squash her; and let’s chalk Estonia’s over-eagerness to the fervor of the newly converted.However, one cannot escape from recognizing what this 2% represents: since all NATO countries must have NATO-compatible armaments, this is nothing more than an alliance-tax to be paid directly not to the US but to the Military-Industrial Complex whose multinational companies sell those tanks, warships and fighters to everyone. And that is why whether Germany, France or Luxembourg hit or surpass the 2% limit, the American taxpayer would see no benefit from this.More to the point, this would make very little difference to most countries whether they could afford universal Health Care or not. Germany for example spends about 40.7 billion on its armed forces, which corresponds to 1.3% of its GDP, whereas it should have been spending 66.5 billion. Compared to the 346 billion Germany spends on Health Care annually, it is doubtful that the 26 billion difference would be a critical amount.More importantly, however, the reason why USA cannot have a Universal Health Care system like almost every other first world country is because its Health System has accumulated too many leeches.The truth is, the US is already paying $9,892 for every American citizen annually for health care. That is much more than countries like Canada ($4,753), France ($4,600), the UK ($3,845), Israel ($2,822), Sweden ($5,488) or even Greece ($2,175) - and all of them have Universal Health Care. Yet despite all the taxpayers’ money spent, the great majority of Americans dread the unexpected illness because it could bankrupt them and forgo regular checkups because of the truly exorbitant costs.The Internet is rife with stories of people who went to an American hospital to receive 5 stitches only to be slapped with a $10,000 bill; or presented themselves to an emergency room with sudden diplopia (double vision), stayed overnight in a bed parked in a corridor only to be discharged the next morning with no diagnosis and of course no medication and shortly after found a $29,000 bill in their mail. On average, it costs around $85,000 to buy and equip an ambulance in the US. So, how can anyone justify charging patients around $1,000 each time one is called to rush them to the nearest hospital!?US hospitals and their affiliates have been left unchecked for too long and now they have evolved into predatory oligopolies, literally preying on the sick and the feeble. Some hospitals may be non-profit but this does not mean much if their “expenses” are left unchallenged - and it means even less if they serve as a barrel for affiliated (and very-much-for-profit) medical labs to fish securely from. Because it is not a free market when a small number of big players are allowed to keep fixing the prices and gouging their victims.As a result, an MRI scan costs around $138 in Switzerland - yet it costs $1,145 in the US - and some people are even charged more than $25,000 for one! A C-section childbirth costs the Spanish government around $2,230 yet it costs over $10,000 in the US. Knee replacement surgery costs around $8,000 in most of Europe - yet it costs well over $25,000 in the US. Open heart surgery costs the Netherlands taxpayer around $15,700 whereas it costs over $75,000 in the US. And this trend carries over when it comes to prescription drugs as well. Let’s be honest, there is not a single country in the world who can afford to cover these prices!By demonizing any real reform and throwing around the bogeyman of “socialized medicine”, Insurance companies and Big Pharma have secured for themselves quite a lucrative scam: socialized capitalism. Where the taxpayer pays more and gets close to nothing in return.Yet the US government does not have to pay more in order to offer its citizens what most people in Western countries enjoy. In fact, they need to start paying less. They only have to shed the lobbyists buying political cronyism for Big Pharma and Hospital chains, make private insurance companies irrelevant for the great majority of people, and put a heavy-handed government oversight when it comes to medical practice charges. The government is supposed to be protecting its citizens, not just collect taxes from them.The US government represents 326 million people. It has tremendous negotiating power. If one wants to keep health insurance away from government swamps, that is fine. Keep it private. Invite insurance companies to compete for state wide coverage. However, stipulate strict Federal requirements: mandatory universal b2b coverage (from birth to burial) for every single citizen; no limits in coverage - besides cosmetic procedures, everything is covered by the insurance; a preset limit in the number of full time doctors and nurses available at all time as well as auxiliary personnel; at the same time, slash the annual amount paid for each citizen to half and it will still be plenty - more than what Switzerland pays, the second country in annual health care expenditures per person in the world. And here is a crazy idea: use the 1.5 Trillion(!) saved to fund better schools and finally give decent wages to our children’s educators! Because better public schools means better educated adults; adults who resist fake news (be they mainstream or not) and are able to make better electoral choices. And that benefits everyone.You can rest assured that, under these conditions, the market will self-correct to curb the greed of all those Health Care parasites overnight. Currently no one seems to care because someone else is paying. When that someone finally becomes the insurance companies, they will suddenly become motivated to cut the hospital outrageous demands down to size.Obviously, rich people can still have their exclusive private hospitals whereas cosmetic surgeries and rejuvenation procedures would not be covered by the Health Care system. However, the 99% of people should not be worried about having to work well into their 70s(!), stacking supermarket carts in order to pay off that gallbladder surgery they had to receive 15 years ago.
Why did the colonists fight the American Revolution?The causes of the American Revolution revolve around one central issue: taxation. I will also focus on some other issues though. This is going to be a very in-depth answer, so I hope you have the patience to stick around.1763You see, before 1763, British administration of the American colonies was very hands-off, and the colonies were allowed large degrees of autonomy, with most state functions (including taxation) being delegated to local assemblies such as the Virginia House of Burgesses.After the end Seven Years War in 1763, the new Prime Minister George Grenville had three major issues to deal with.How to defend Britain’s overseas holdings.How to check the colonists’ unceasing claims on Native American lands.How the fuck are we supposed to get money?The plan for point one was to have British regular troops man a line of forts from Canada to Florida, to protect the colonies from enemies on all sides. While this was ostensibly for the colonists’ protection, the colonists themselves felt like the troops were more of an occupation force. Their thought process was “Well, we just won a war against the French, so the biggest threat to us is gone. Now you station troops in our lands?” The whole thing reeked of despotism, and the colonists didn’t like it one bit.The second point was addressed by George III, who announced the Proclamation Line of 1763, which was a line drawn down the Appalachian Mountains. It restricted the colonists to the east side, and left the western side to the American Indians. Unfortunately, all this really did was stir up resentment for Britain, as land was becoming a rarer and more expensive commodity in the colonies.The third point was the big one. Britain had accumulated over £120,000,000 in debt by the end of the war with the French. Grenville needed to pay for this somehow, so he resolved to raise taxes on the people of the empire. At this point, he did not tax the colonists too hard; he merely thought that they should send more tax back to the mother country than the meager amount they were currently paying in tax to the central government. So the Prime Minister passed the Sugar Act.1764The colonists had been evading the six pence duty on molasses by bribing the agents who were supposed to monitor it with one and a half pence, so they would keep quiet. Grenville thought that by cutting the tax in half, that the colonists would be encouraged to use their money for paying the tax, rather than bribing the agents tasked with collecting it. They were not expecting any sort of pushback whatsoever.They were wrong in this assumption. The formerly lax tax collectors were replaced with incorruptible and diligent agents. This made the bribery (yes, the colonists still planned to do that) nearly impossible, and the colonists were stuck with paying twice what they used to be able to bribe the tax collectors with. On top of this, the Sugar Act signNowed the colonies during a post-war economic recession. This further angered the colonists who had little money to spare.The colonists began urging Parliament to repeal the Act. Some did so on purely economic terms, but others began arguing that Parliament did not have the right to tax the colonies, because the colonists were not represented in Parliament. The idea that your property should not be unjustly taxed went all the way back to the English Civil Wars. Where property rights existed, there was liberty. Where property rights did not exist, tyranny reigned. The colonists believed that they had the right to not be unfairly taxed, because, after all, they were proud Englishmen.1765Grenville’s ministry didn’t really pay much attention to the opposition, and decided to go ahead with phase two of their revenue plan: the Stamp Act. It was a tax on paper. The paper would be distributed by officials from Britain, and it was required that most printed materials would be printed on the stamped paper. The act was scheduled to take effect November 1, 1765.Opposition to this Act was strong, however, and dissidence rang throughout the Thirteen Colonies. In the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry made his first appearance on the revolutionary stage with a vehement speech opposing Parliament’s taxes, and the next day, the Virginia Resolves were passed by the House of Burgesses. They stated, as follows:Resolved, that the first adventurers and settlers of His Majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia brought with them and transmitted to their posterity, and all other His Majesty's subjects since inhabiting in this His Majesty's said colony, all the liberties, privileges, franchises, and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.Resolved, that by two royal charters, granted by King James I, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all liberties, privileges, and immunities of denizens and natural subjects to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and born within the Realm of England.Resolved, that the taxation of the people by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, or the easiest method of raising them, and must themselves be affected by every tax laid on the people, is the only security against a burdensome taxation, and the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, without which the ancient constitution cannot exist.Resolved, that His Majesty's liege people of this his most ancient and loyal colony have without interruption enjoyed the inestimable right of being governed by such laws, respecting their internal policy and taxation, as are derived from their own consent, with the approbation of their sovereign, or his substitute; and that the same has never been forfeited or yielded up, but has been constantly recognized by the kings and people of Great Britain.Resolved, therefor that the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and exclusive Right and Power to lay Taxes and Impositions upon the inhabitants of this Colony and that every Attempt to vest such Power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid has a manifest Tendency to destroy British as well as American Freedom.The Virginia Resolves (coming from the largest and most influential colony) circulated throughout the colonies during the summer, and many colonies passed similar resolves. The first signs of colonial unity began to show.In Massachusetts, the opposition took a more violent approach. An effigy of a stamp distributor was hanged from a tree, and when a sheriff tried to take it down, he was stopped by an angry mob. That night, a shoemaker led a crowd down to the stamp distributor’s offices by the docks. They smashed the offices to splinters. Then they went down to the distributor’s home, carrying the effigy. They beheaded it in front of the house, and then stamped it into the ground (hahaha, these guys are a riot). They then smashed up the distributor’s house, before retiring for the night.The next day, a delegation from the mob contacted the stamp distributor and said “Why don’t you just resign?” and the distributor said “Yeah, I think that would be good.”In August, the mob reconvened. They managed to get themselves very drunk, and decided to attack the house of the local governor, Thomas Hutchinson. They gave it the same treatment as they did to all the other houses they systematically dismantled. The destruction, however, was highly organized and disciplined. This stoic opposition to a law that wasn’t even going into effect for months shocked and startled the politicians back in Britain.Grenville was replaced by Lord Rockingham as Prime Minister in July, and Rockingham quickly started looking for a way out from under the policies of Grenville. In October, the Stamp Act Congress met in New York City, with delegates from nine of thirteen colonies in attendance. They met to discuss a joint response to both the Sugar and Stamp acts.They concluded that Parliament did not have the right to levy “internal taxes” (taxes to raise revenue), but that they did have the right to levy “external taxes” (taxes to regulate trade). At the same time that the Stamp Act Congress was meeting, the first signs of non-importation were brewing. Non-importation agreements would grow to become a crucial building block of colonial opposition to Britain.Parliament convened in December, but while they wanted to repeal the Stamp Act itself, they also wanted to assert their right to tax the colonies however they saw fit.1766By February, they had signNowed a decision. They repealed the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act, but they also passed the Declaratory Act. It stated that “[Parliament] ought to have full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.”Only a few colonial leaders really saw what the Declaratory Act foreshadowed. Mostly, celebrations for the repeal of the Stamp Act ran rampant throughout the colonies. In the first major showdown between the colonies and Britain, the colonies had won.1767Back in July of 1766, Rockingham had been dismissed as Prime Minister, and replaced by William Pitt, a strong advocate for the colonies. But Pitt was old, and frequently absent from Parliament. So his divided ministers battled it out for control. The most influential among them was Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend.He used his position to pass what are now called the Townshend Acts. These were actually five interconnected bills, but the most important to the American colonies was the Revenue Act. It stipulated import duties on commodities such as lead, paper, printer ink, glass, and tea. If you recall, the Stamp Act Congress had conceded that Parliament had the authority to levy external taxes for regulating trade: exactly the kinds of taxes stipulated in the Revenue Act. Well, turns out they were just saying that.A Board of Customs was formed to enforce the paying of these taxes, so even more British agents would be running around in the colonies (something the colonists had shown their dislike for). On top of that, the government agents would be paid with the revenue from the duties, rather than by the colonial assemblies. Before, the colonies had been able to exert a degree of influence over the agents, (they were paying them, after all) but not anymore.Charles Townshend himself would not live to see the blowback to his Acts, however, as he died in September 1767. The power vacuum left by his death was filled by some guy who you don’t need to know about because he’s not important. Opposition in the colonies was slow to get started as I mentioned, as everyone was still weary from the opposition to the Stamp Act.Opposition was somewhat muted, as the Stamp Act riots had been exhausting to the colonists and they didn’t have much energy to continue resisting. However, John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, which began circulation in December, gave the colonial opposition a second wind. The letters reinforced the idea that Parliament did not have the right to tax the colonists at all, internal or external.1768By February, Samuel Adams had been able to drum up enough support in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to push through a petition to Britain to repeal the Revenue Act. He followed this up with a Circular Letter to the other colonies, urging them to send similar petitions to Parliament.While the news of the Circular Letter was making its way to Britain and back, the Board of Customs launched a series of attacks on John Hancock, both of which backfired. First, they sent an agent onboard one of his ships to search it. He went below deck where his search warrant did not extend; thus, he was thrown off the ship by Hancock, and his actions were upheld by a local court.The second attack was when the Board seized one of his ships and held it on a technicality. When the Navy tried to move the ship out of port, a mob coalesced and managed to stop Hancock’s ship from being taken away. The mob, like the one during the Stamp Act Riots, was disciplined and under control.Back in Britain, news of the Circular Letter finally signNowed Britain. The new Colonial Secretary had no way of knowing that affairs in Boston had already progressed to organized mob violence. He ordered the governor, Francis Bernard, to order the House of Representatives to rescind the Circular Letter or be dissolved.The House of Representatives voted 92–17 not to rescind. Bernard, in turn, dissolved the House.The merchants of the colonies were starting to get pretty pissed about the new taxes and custom agents, and they began discussing a new non-importation agreement. However, each city was afraid to make the first move, because they feared that if they did, that business would simply move down to the next city who didn’t join the agreement. Non-importation, it seemed, was an all or nothing kind of deal.Massachusetts proposed the first successful non-importation pact on August 1, which was to commence on January 1, 1769. New York and Pennsylvania quickly followed suit, and Rhode Island signed on too, with a little “persuasion-not-a-trade-embargo.”Remember the mob violence that took place over John Hancock’s seized ship? Well, the administration in Boston had called 4000 troops down from Halifax to keep the mob under control. The Massachusetts Assembly tried to reconvene, but were shut down by the governor. An unofficial convention of towns met in Boston a week later, to try to urge the governor to reconsider. It was ineffective however, and on October 1, British soldiers began disembarking onto the docks of Boston.The radicals in Boston decided to cease overt resistance, but there was still resistance. That was evidenced by the fact that the soldiers could find no one willing to rent them lodgings. It took them weeks to get suitable winter quarters in some leased warehouses.1769In Boston, tensions continued to boil between the civilians and the loitering soldiers, who were a constant pain in the neck for the commoner in Boston. They did all the things that soldiers do: get drunk, flirt with the girls, etc. All they did was stir up further resentment among the colonists for the central government in London.In the rest of the colonies, the non-importation agreement adopted last year was expanded to Virginia, and thus the rest of the southern colonies. George Washington (yes, that George Washington) and George Mason helped push the pact through the Virginia House of Burgesses.The Townshend Acts, like the Stamp Act before them, seemed to be becoming more trouble than they were worth.1770In January, George III finally relieved that one guy whose name doesn’t matter of his duties as Prime Minister, and replaced him with Lord North, who had previously been Chancellor of the Exchequer. This guy will be around for a while, so I no longer have to try to stick in awkwardly worded paragraphs about British politics.In Boston, an 11-year-old boy had been shot and killed in February, and a crowd of thousands turned out for his funeral, which was more a show of political force than in memorial to the boy. Over the next few weeks, tensions rose rapidly, with fights between civilians and soldiers a common sight on the street.On March 5, the culmination of months of frustration, anger, and brewing enmity finally took place. The Boston Massacre.A sentry named Hugh White was talking with some of his comrades near the Customs House, when a civilian made a joke about his commanding officer. He punched the guy in the face, and his comrades ran off, leaving him to deal with the mob himself. He backed up against the Customs House with his gun drawn.Captain Preston of the Customs House garrison quickly saw that the situation would not resolve itself, and led his eight soldiers through the crowd. He had them form a semicircle facing the crowd. Guns drawn.For fifteen minutes, taunts, heckling, snowballs, and ice rained down on the soldiers, who were growing more and more jumpy by the moment. Finally, a private at the end of the line was hit, slipped on ice, and when he pulled himself back up, he fired his musket into the crowd.The whole group of soldiers was soon firing into the crowd. 11 men were hit; five died, and six were wounded. The mob fell back, but was only dispersed when Thomas Hutchinson, the acting governor, promised a full inquiry, and Preston and his men were arrested the next morning.John Adams defended the soldiers in court, and he got almost all of the soldiers acquitted with his eloquent defense. A propaganda war was waged between the conservative and radical presses in Boston, each trying to spin the story to suit their own ends.The Townshend Acts were finally repealed in April 1770. However, Parliament opted to leave the duty on tea in effect. This was to keep in place the precedent that Parliament could, should, and would tax the colonists whenever they saw fit. This was a nice impasse, really. The colonists were free of Britain’s incessant money grubbing, and Parliament maintained their right to tax the colonies. This ushered in a period of relative calm.1771Not much to say here. Non-importation ceased, and both sides of the crisis seemed to think that this was the beginning of a return to normalcy.1772Nothing to report until June, when a ship called the Gaspee ran aground while chasing smugglers off the coast of Rhode Island. A mob of patriots quickly boarded the ship, seized it by force, and burned it. This was a sign that hostilities had not yet ceased.Remember when Parliament took the right to pay the governors away from the colonial assemblies? Well, that hadn’t been repealed with the rest of the Townshend Acts, and later that year, Parliament decided to expand this to all the judges in the colonies. The colonists were, of course, enraged at the judiciary becoming a mere puppet of the Crown. Committees of Correspondence were again formed to discuss a response.1773In January, Thomas Hutchinson started off the year by making things ten times worse. He made inflammatory declarations that Parliament’s authority was supreme, that the Committees were completely wrong and should never have convened, and, most signNowly of all, he said that “no line can be drawn between the supreme authority of Parliament and total independence of the colonies.”See, he thought that independence was so absurd even to the most radical of radicals that the supreme authority of Parliament would be the only logical option left to them. However, all he did with this statement was legitimize the small independence movements beginning to take shape.In May of 1773, the years of calm in the colonies finally ended, with Parliament passing the Tea Act. This act would allow the floundering British East India Company to import their tea directly into the colonies, totally bypassing the colonial merchants who made their living as middlemen.This shouldn’t have made such a large impact in the colonies, but then again, nothing else that Parliament did should have, so of course it had lots of opposition right off the bat. The greatest fear of the colonists was that this was only the start of other British companies being able to import directly into the colonies. This might be better for the consumer, but long-term, it would destroy the colonial economy, and reduce them to manual laborers harvesting raw materials.Around this time, some secret letters from Thomas Hutchinson and his conservative allies to someone in Britain were leaked by Samuel Adams and one of Benjamin Franklin’s friends. The letters contained explicit recommendations from Hutchinson that certain civil liberties be suspended in the colonies. These letters all but confirmed every conspiracy theorist’s wild theories, which, once regarded as nothing but wild speculation, now seemed like the truth.Opposition to the Tea Act spread through the port cities of the colonies. Spearheaded by John Dickinson, the Philadelphia merchants led a resistance campaign, and convinced the merchants of several major port cities to stop any tea from being unloaded.On November 28, the cargo ship Dartmouth arrived in Boston, carrying assorted cargo. Among that cargo: East India Company tea. They were planning to unload, take on some more cargo, and sail away. The Sons of Liberty, however, were not planning to allow the tea to be unloaded. Giant “public meetings” congregated in Boston daily, with a sole objective of preventing the Dartmouth from offloading its cargo. The mob gave the ship one choice: get the fuck out of here.The poor owner of the Dartmouth had no way of knowing that he wouldn’t be able to unload his tea, however, and so he requested permission from Hutchinson to leave. Hutchinson responded with “no, you haven’t cleared customs yet.” But of course, to do that… the cargo had to be unloaded, and the owner couldn’t exactly do that. So this poor owner is stuck in the middle of the conflict between Hutchinson and the Sons of Liberty, and has no way of getting out.The Sons of Liberty, out of necessity, began considering drastic measures. There was a law stipulating that if a ship spent 20 days in port without paying customs, the ship would be seized and have its cargo unloaded. They couldn’t have that, of course. Just as the Sons were considering their options, two more tea-carrying ships sailed into port.On December 16, a public meeting was convened, where it was decided that the Sons of Liberty would board the ships and dump the tea into the ocean. So, of course, that’s what they did. 90,000 pounds of tea was dumped into Boston Harbor. This would become known as the Boston Tea Party.1774When news of this incident signNowed Parliament in late January… boy, were they pissed. They summoned Franklin to the Privy Council to defend the actions of his countrymen. They attacked him viciously and tore down his reputation. He stayed silent. After this incident, he swung decisively into the independence camp.In response to the Boston Tea Party, four bills were passed by Parliament between March and May, dubbed the “Coercive Acts” in Britain, but which were called the “Intolerable Acts” in the colonies.Boston Port Act: Trade in Boston was blockaded, and nothing but a few necessary commodities were allowed into the city. The blockade would remain in effect until the East India Company was reimbursed for the lost tea.Massachusetts Government Act: Massachusetts’ charter was taken away and the colony was placed under direct control of the British crown. Nearly all administrative posts would be appointed by the governor, Parliament, or the King.Administration of Justice Act: Royal officials accused of crimes could be tried in Britain if the governor ordered, and not by the local colonial courts.Quartering Act: The governor was given the authority to order civilians to house soldiers in their residence if suitable quarters could not be found.There was also another bill, technically separate but often lumped in with the previous four bills: the Quebec Act. This act extended the province of Quebec southwest down the Proclamation Line, and it cut off the colonies’ ability to expand further west.The colonists began to debate what they should do in response. There was divisive debate, but conservatives and radicals alike thought that representatives from all the colonies should meet and discuss a joint response.The First Continental Congress convened on September 5. 56 delegates from twelve colonies (not Georgia, they actually wanted British troops to help with an uprising) met at Carpenter Hall at Philadelphia. While they deliberated, meetings of the Committees of Correspondence in Boston passed the Suffolk Resolves on September 9. These resolves:Urged the citizens to boycott British goodsEncouraged the citizens to ignore the new taxes altogetherSuggested that the colonists acquaint themselves with the local militias, and be seen under arms at least once per week.The Resolves were endorsed by the Congress on September 17, which basically guaranteed that the radicals would be steering the ship from this point forward. The Massachusetts delegation felt secure enough in their position to propose a new step in opposing Britain: non-exportation.Debate was heated all through late September and October, but a blanket non-exportation pact was pushed through, with only two exceptions: Virginia would get to ship out its latest tobacco harvest, and rice would be exempted for South Carolina. Non-importation was scheduled to begin December 1, and non-exportation would begin September 10, 1775.The enforcement of the boycotts would be overseen by the Continental Association, which formed local committees to oversee that no one disobeyed the boycott. These committees would become a crucial part of colonial organization when the war finally broke out in the spring of 1775.The response in Britain was apoplectic, as Lord North began discussing plans for a continental blockade, to prevent the colonies from trading with anyone. Thomas Gage saw how badly the Intolerable Acts had backfired, and sent dispatches to Parliament urging them to repeal the Intolerable Acts. Parliament responded by sending three generals to act as his advisers, because they thought he wasn’t the best man for the job. These three generals, Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne, would become the leaders of the British side in the coming Revolutionary War.1775On April 18, Joseph Warren received intelligence that British troops were on the move. This was confirmed by another source, and so Warren sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that they were about to be arrested.Revere sent some men to the Old North Church to light a signal, so that there would be a horse for him on the other side of the Charles River. He arrived at Lexington around midnight, and he told Hancock and Adams to run the fuck away, before moving on to Concord with Dawes and another rider, Samuel Prescott.The three were ambushed by a British cavalry patrol on the road to Concord. Prescott and Dawes escaped, Prescott managing to ride on to Concord. Revere was captured, and told the British troops exactly who he was, what he was doing, and also that five hundred militiamen were massing in Lexington. (That was bullshit.)The British led Revere back to Lexington to test his bluff, but as they approached, they heard gunshots. They ran to inform the main British force that an army of militiamen was massing in Lexington.Revere raced back to Adams’ and Hancock’s house to check that they had gotten safely away, but was shocked to find that they were still just sitting around. With some more urging, they finally decided to leave, and were able to evade capture when the redcoats arrived in force the next day.The next day, the British regulars arrived in Lexington, and they had an intense staring contest with the militiamen. The commanding officer of the redcoats ordered the militiamen to disperse, and after a few seconds, they did.And then, someone fired a shot.No one knows who, and no one knows why.But one thing was for sure: The American Revolution was on.
How do I fill out the form of DU CIC? I couldn't find the link to fill out the form.Just register on the admission portal and during registration you will get an option for the entrance based course. Just register there. There is no separate form for DU CIC.
How did you join the Sons of the American Revolution?Like most members, my application was an inordinate amount of work over a long period of time. Also like most members, I had a lot of help.If you’re pretty sure that you have a qualifying ancestor and if you’ve already done what you can on your own with the documentation, contact your local Chapter. There’s probably someone who’s happy to look at your work and offer advice or assistance. I got lots of very knowledgeable, friendly assistance from a very patient man. Not everyone will be as lucky as I was, but many will.If you’re not sure you have a qualifying ancestor, find out if you have one or more ancestors in America before 1890. If you do, odds are excellent that you have lines here since before the Revolution. You can probably use vital records to get back as far as 1940. Then you can use the Census to get from 1940 to as far as 1850. With any luck you’ll then be able to tie into research done by someone else that bridges those final generations to the Revolution. Prior SAR and DAR applications by others are often scrupulously prepared.After you’ve laid out the bare facts of who begat whom, you can flesh out the case with further evidence. Your Chapter resources will probably be able to tell what more you need, possibly also how to get it. They’ve probably done this many times. They also probably like helping people who are serious about pulling it all together.An applicant’s station in life is not a factor in admission to SAR. No one particularly cares if you’re wealthy, well educated, or a big wheel in your community. They do care that you have good character, but they’ll determine that while they work with you on your application. Some members are educated, accomplished, and connected, but they’ll be perfectly happy to know you, even if they would be less accepting in another context.The years I spent as an active member of my Chapter added to my life, though I didn’t keep it going when I moved to a new city. But becoming a member was worth the work.
What is the most amazing fact you know about American 20th century history?21 Very American Things You’ll Be Surprised You Didn’t KnowIf you’re an American, you definitely need to learn these things. Even if you’re not, they’re pretty cool.For some reason, the most ridiculous parts of American history often don’t get taught in high school. Apparently it’s more important to teach the “essential” over the “juicy,” so looks like we’ll have to do what your U.S. history teachers didn’t. Nobody can be blamed for having no idea who the real Uncle Sam is or what eagles actually sound like, but here’s your chance to set the record straight.You’ll never be able to see America the same way.1. The classic “Bald Eagle screech” is actually a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagle screeches are kind of weak.Despite what “The Colbert Report” and countless others want you to believe, the patriotic “bald eagle screech” is actually a lie. In reality, bald eagles have a much less intense screech and that “piercing, loud cry” is actually another bird entirely. Bird expert Connie Stanger told NPR, “Unfortunately for the bald eagle, it has like a little cackling type of a laugh that’s not really very impressive for the bird.” While certainly majestic, the bald eagle’s prowess has also been questioned throughout history, with many arguing that its status as a scavenging and thieving raptor make it a poor choice for the national bird.2. Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.As a 22-year-old, Lincoln was described as able to “outrun, outlift, outwrestle and throw down any man in Sangamon County,” Ill. In one match, the future president reportedly became angered by his opponent’s attempt to cheat, so he used his long arms to pick the opponent up by the throat and shake him around. The Wrestling Hall of Fame has only been able to find one recorded wrestling defeat in Honest Abe’s 300 matches.3. Uncle Sam was a real person named Samuel Wilson.Samuel Wilson was a meatpacker in Troy, N.Y. who fought in the American Revolution and became the official meat inspector for the northern army in the War of 1812. Wilson was well known in Troy for his meat business and for his friendliness and over time was given the nickname, “Uncle Sam.” When Wilson started providing and inspecting meat for the troops during the War of 1812, the troops from Troy would joke that the “U.S.” label on the meat barrels actually stood for Uncle Sam. This idea was eventually expanded to all United States military items with “U.S.” and so Uncle Sam became the figurehead of American might.Left Image: WikiCommons4. The first-borns of the Budweiser family were made to taste the beer before their mother’s milk.The Anheuser-Busch company was passed from father to son for five generations. It was so much a family company that each first-born son was required to taste its beer before anything else, including their mother’s milk. More recently Budweiser, or rather the Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., was bought by Belgium-based InBev. Nobody has followed up to see if the InBev children will be required to partake in this tradition.5. The “Seventh-Inning Stretch” may have accidentally been created by Howard Taft.Although this may just be a legend, the story goes that President Taft was attending a baseball game and over the course of the game, became increasingly uncomfortable in his small wooden chair. Taft was a very large man and eventually couldn’t take being confined to the small space anymore, so in the seventh inning he stood up to stretch his legs. Thinking that the president was about to leave, the rest of the audience also rose to show respect. Taft eventually sat back down and the audience joined him, thus creating the “Seventh Inning Stretch.” At least according to lore.In that game, Taft also became the first President to throw the ceremonial “first pitch.” Last year, the Washington Nationals added Taft to its roster of racing presidents.6. The Mall of America is owned by Canadians.The Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minn. is actually owned by the Triple Five Group, which is based in Edmonton, Canada. The Canadian group also came up with the idea and designed the place, so this was never wholly an American mall, despite the name and embodiment of the American principles of excess and commerce. Canada is, of course, in the continent of North America, so there’s that.7. July 2nd is actually the real American Independence Day.The Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia actually voted to approve a resolution of independence on July 2nd and later that day, the Pennsylvania Evening Post published, “This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”July 4th is when the Congress adopted the official Declaration of the Independence, although most people didn’t even sign it until around early August. Philadelphia didn’t celebrate the declaration until July 8th, the Continental Army didn’t find out until the 9th, and England had no idea until August 30th. At the time, John Adams even said, “the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable [time] in the history of America.”8. John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt skinny dipped in the Potomac River frequently.Although skinny dipping in the Washington D.C. stretch of the Potomac nowadays would be a bad time, both Presidents John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt loved to do so back in the day. In Roosevelt’s own words, “If we swam the Potomac, we usually took off our clothes.”These actually weren’t the only presidents that loved swimming naked, as FDR, Kennedy, Johnson and Carter were also reportedly fans.9. The Statue of Liberty has “Morton’s Toe.”Morton’s Toe is when your second toe is longer than your first “big toe.” This was an idealized form in Greek sculpture and that’s why The Statue of Liberty has the fairly common condition.10. There’s a desk full of candy on the floor of the U.S. Senate.The candy desk is an ongoing tradition that was started in 1968 by California Sen. George Murphy, who would keep his desk full of candy despite a no eating rule on the floor. Since then, the tradition has been continued. Currently it is held by Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R), who fills the desk with Illinois candy like Mars bars, Jelly Belly and Wrigley’s gum.Image: WikiCommons11. Harry Truman’s middle name is just “S.”Truman’s parents couldn’t decide on a middle name for little Harry, so they simply chose the letter, “S.” This satisfied both of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.12. The Pledge of Allegiance was created by advertisers, and the inclusion of “under God” is a product of the Red Scare.“The Youth’s Companion” was a magazine that also supplied American flags to schools across the country near the end of the 19th century. On Sept. 8, 1892 they published the pledge, written by an employee of the mag, to promote nationalism and presumably sell more flags and subscriptions. The pledge ended up taking off across the country, but over the years has undergone a few changes.Subscribe to the Politics email.How will Trump's administration impact you?Originally the pledge involved a salute modeled after the classic Roman one, which Mussolini and Hitler ended up adopting as well. Obviously that salute was dropped. Also “of the United States of America” was added to make it clear to immigrants that they were pledging to the U.S. “Under God” was added during the Red Scare.13. Of the 12 people who have walked on the moon, 11 were Boy Scouts.Along with those numbers, all three of the members of Apollo 13 were scouts back in the day, and since 1959, there have been 39 astronauts who were also Eagle Scouts.14. The state of Ohio was accidentally not admitted into the Union until 1953.It wasn’t until 1953 that Ohio congressman George H. Bender brought a bill to the U.S. Congress asking them to retroactively admit his state into the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson had approved the territory more than a century before during his tenure as president, but due to an accidental oversight the state had never been formally admitted. Congress approved Bender’s bill and now the “official” day Ohio became a state is March 1, 1803, even if that isn’t exactly true.15. Ellis Island actually didn’t force any immigrants to “Americanize” their names.The popular story goes that many “foreign” sounding last names (often Jewish or Irish) were changed by immigration officers at Ellis Island to be more “American” and easier to pronounce in their new home. This is just a myth. These officers were often immigrants themselves and had no such instructions to offer suggestions for name changes. Nobody has been able to find concrete evidence of a single name being forcefully changed at Ellis Island. This myth comes from the fact that many immigrants actually willingly changed their names before boarding their respective ships to America, where they’d have to fill out a name in the ship log.The only known name change to officially occur at Ellis Island was actually big news back in the day. Frank Woodhull was born a woman named Mary Johnson, but decided to make a new life for himself in America as a man, so he signed his ship log with the new name. Ellis Island allowed Frank to successfully come into the nation with his new life.16. The average NFL game has just 10 minutes and 43 seconds of televised gameplay.The Wall Street Journal found that the actual amount of time the ball is in play during a televised football game is very, very short, totaling less than Meat Loaf’s classic, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”. Most of the time is spent with the players standing around (67 minutes), while on average only 3 seconds is spent toward showing the cheerleaders. Still, sometimes there’s plenty of action even when the ball isn’t in play.17. Captain America is a first-generation Irish immigrant.Steve Rogers was born July 4, 1920 (which as noted above probably shouldn’t actually be our Independence Day) to Irish immigrants Sarah and Joseph Rogers. He had an Irish Catholic upbringing. According to 2010 Census data, 11.2 percent of the U.S. has an Irish heritage.18. The soil under a George Washington statue in England was shipped from the U.S. in order to fulfill the president’s vow never to stand on English soil after the American Revolution.The U.S. sent London some real American soil along with a statue of George Washington, so that the president wouldn’t have to stand on English soil. The Washington statue stands in the tourist heavy Trafalgar Square.19. You don’t need a driver’s license to compete in NASCAR.Technically a state driver’s license is not required to compete in NASCAR. In fact, multiple professional racers have had their licenses suspended but have still been able to compete. Kyle Busch had his license suspended for driving 128 mph on a 45 mph street, but was still allowed to race. Back in 2004, Scott Wimmer failed a breathalyzer test, but still competed in the Daytona 500 and other races.20. The iconic Hollywood sign was originally supposed to be a temporary real estate marker.Originally created in 1923, the iconic letters over Hollywood were originally put in place as an advertisement for the burgeoning real estate development below. It was originally only supposed to stay up for half a year. In the first version, the whole word, “Hollywoodland” existed, but the “land” was taken out in 1949 when the city of Los Angeles’ park department took over the upkeep.21. Lyndon Johnson whipped out his “Johnson” frequently.President Lyndon Johnson referred to his Johnson as “Jumbo” and had a propensity to whip it out in front of colleagues at highly inappropriate times, at least according to today’s standards. Johnson was also apparently jealous of Kennedy’s reputation as a womanizer and set out to try and top him, having what his male aides referred to as a “harem” of mistresses and female colleagues he’d try — and sometimes succeed — to sleep with.America can be pretty weird sometimes.