We are thrilled and honored to announce that the 2010 Chicago Innovation Awards have named us a finalist! We are being recognized for our Timelines SE service that we provide to our newspaper clients. See examples below. Be sure to vote for us on the Chicago Innovation Awards site.
At Timelines.com, we believe that studying history helps to understand ourselves- where we are and where we’ve been. This also applies to past advertisements, as they oftentimes mirror the attitudes, mores and accepted behaviors of their times. We recently found the following ads from the early and mid-1900′s. We think you’ll agree with us that these all share one common attribute: we won’t see ads like these again in our lifetimes! Enjoy!
For those of you who aren’t as into it but who still want to have a great baseline of Civil War knowledge, keep reading because we’ve broken up the topic into two sections: Major events leading up to the war and the primary events of the war itself. Below is the first part- the 12 key events that led up to the Civil War. The second part will come in a later post. Enjoy!
The intent of the Wilmot Proviso (sponsor David Wilmot was a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania) was to prevent the introduction of slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. The proviso did not pass in that session of 1846 or in any other session when it was re-introduced over the course of the next several years, but many consider it as one of the first events on the long slide to secession and Civil War which would accelerate through the 1850s.
The Clay Compromise of 1850 (actually drafted by Senators Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas) was a package of five bills that defused a four year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North that arose due to territorial expansion of the United States and whether the new territories should be free or allow for slaves. It avoided secession or civil war at the time and quieted sectional conflict for four years until the divisive Kansas–Nebraska Act.
The Fugitive Slave Law stated that in future any federal marshal who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave could be fined $1,000. People suspected of being a runaway slave could be arrested without warrant and turned over to a claimant on nothing more than his sworn testimony of ownership. A suspected black slave could not ask for a jury trial nor testify on his or her behalf.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and allowed settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries. The act established that settlers could vote to decide whether to allow slavery, in the name of popular sovereignty or rule of the people. Senator Stephen A. Douglas (D-Illinois), designer of the act, hoped that would ease relations between the North and the South, because the South could expand slavery to new territories but the North still had the right to abolish slavery in its states. Instead, opponents denounced the law as a concession to the slave power of the South. The new Republican Party, which was created in opposition to the act, aimed to stop the expansion of slavery and soon emerged as the dominant force throughout the North.
In March of 1857, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, declared in Dred Scott v. Sandford that all blacks — slaves as well as free — were not and could never become citizens of the United States. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country’s territories.
The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln (who would later become President of the United States) on June 16, 1858, in Springfield, Illinois, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s United States senator. The speech became the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat against Stephen A. Douglas, which included the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. The speech created a lasting image of the danger of disunion because of slavery, and it rallied Republicans across the North. Along with the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address, this became one of the best-known speeches of Lincoln’s career.
The seven Lincoln-Douglas debates occurred as part of Abraham Lincoln’s challenge to Stephen A. Douglas’ US Senate seat, and centered on the issue of slavery and whether African Americans should have the same rights as white people. Even though Douglas was against slavery, he thought that individual states should be able to choose whether to allow slavery or not. Douglas ultimately won another term in the Senate, but two years later he lost the presidential race of 1860 to Lincoln.
Late on the night of October 16, 1859, John Brown and twenty-one armed followers stole into the town of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) as most of its residents slept. The men–among them three free blacks, one freed slave, and one fugitive slave–hoped to spark a rebellion of freed slaves and to lead an “army of emancipation” to overturn the institution of slavery by force. To these ends the insurgents took some sixty prominent locals including Col. Lewis Washington (great-grand nephew of George Washington) as hostages and seized the town’s United States arsenal and its rifle works.
Brown’s plan failed and he was taken into custody. He was tried for treason against the state of Virginia, the murder of five pro-slavery Southerners, and inciting a slave insurrection and was subsequently hanged. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that a year later led to secession and the American Civil War.
On November 6, 1860 and as an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first Republican president, winning entirely on the strength of his support in the North: he was not even on the ballot in 10 states in the South, and won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states. As Lincoln’s election became more likely, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union.
With the secession of the seven states, many federal installations in the South were taken over by state governments. Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, continued to fly the U.S. flag, even as Confederate forces surrounded it. Lincoln decided to resupply the fort but not reinforce it, unless resistance was met. After negotiations failed, the first shot was fired on April 12, 1861, in a bombardment that resulted in the Fort Sumter’s surrender.
With students and teachers in the midst of heading back to school, we decided to highlight some “in season” history topics and timelines for the new academic year.
First up: the American Revolution. (And if you are not a teacher or student, I bet that your knowledge on the American Revolution is a bit rusty. So take a look at our American Revolution “Express” version below and brush up on it).
The Revenue Act of 1764, also known as the Sugar Act, was the first tax on the American colonies imposed by the British Parliament. Its purpose was to raise revenue through the colonial customs service and to give customs agents more power and latitude with respect to executing seizures and enforcing customs law.
On September 1, 1764, Parliament passed the Currency Act, effectively assuming control of the colonial currency system. The act prohibited the issue of any new bills and the reissue of existing currency. Parliament favored a “hard currency” system based on the pound sterling, but was not inclined to regulate the colonial bills. Rather, they simply abolished them. The colonies protested vehemently against this. They suffered a trade deficit with Great Britain to begin with and argued that the shortage of hard capital would further exacerbate the situation.
The Stamp Act of 1765 (short title Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12) was a tax imposed by the British Parliament on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies carry a tax stamp. The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America following the British victory in the Seven Years’ War. The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense.
In March 1765, Parliament passed the Quartering Act to address the practical concerns of such a troop deployment. Under the terms of this legislation, each colonial assembly was directed to provide for the basic needs of soldiers stationed within its borders. Specified items included bedding, cooking utensils, firewood, beer or cider and candles.
Colonial resistance to British control took many forms, perhaps the most effective was the general success of the non-importation agreements. Such agreements appeared as early as 1766. They had a chilling effect on the British Merchants who traded with the colonies.
The Boston Massacre was the killing of five colonists by British soldiers on March 5, 1770. It was the culmination of civilian-military tensions that had been growing since royal troops first appeared in Massachusetts in October 1768 to enforce the heavy tax burden imposed by the Townshend Acts.
The Tea Act, passed by Parliament on May 10, 1773, would launch the final spark to the revolutionary movement in Boston. The act was not intended to raise revenue in the American colonies, and in fact imposed no new taxes. It was designed to prop up the East India Company which was floundering financially and burdened with eighteen million pounds of unsold tea.
The Boston Tea Party was an act of direct action protest by the American colonists against the British Government in which they destroyed many crates of tea belonging to the British East India Company and dumped it into the Boston Harbor. The incident, which took place on December 16, 1773, was a major catalyst of the American Revolution and remains an iconic event of American history.
The first Continental Congress met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, from September 5, to October 26, 1774. Carpenter’s Hall was also the seat of the Pennsylvania Congress. All of the colonies except Georgia sent delegates.
In May 1775, with Redcoats once again storming Boston, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. The questions were different this time. First and foremost, how would the colonist meet the military threat of the British. It was agreed that a Continental Army would be created. The Congress commissioned George Washington of Virginia to be the supreme commander, who chose to serve without pay.
“Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
On April 19, 1775, British and American soldiers exchanged fire in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord. On the night of April 18, the royal governor of Massachusetts, General Thomas Gage, commanded by King George III to suppress the rebellious Americans, had ordered 700 British soldiers, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and Marine Major John Pitcairn, to seize the colonists’ military stores in Concord, some 20 miles west of Boston.
A system of signals and word-of-mouth communication set up by the colonists was effective in forewarning American volunteer militia men of the approach of the British troops. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” tells how a lantern was displayed in the steeple of Christ Church on the night of April 18, 1775, as a signal to Paul Revere and others.
On May 10, 1775, Fort Ticonderoga was captured by a small force of American Patriots led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold. They surprised and captured, without significant injury or incident, the small British garrison at the fort, and looted the personal belongings of the garrison. Cannons and other armaments from the fort were transported to Boston and used to fortify Dorchester Heights and break the stalemate at the Siege of Boston.
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775, mostly on and around Breed’s Hill, during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War. The battle is named after the adjacent Bunker Hill, which was peripherally involved in the battle and was the original objective of both colonial and British troops, and is occasionally referred to as the “Battle of Breed’s Hill.” While the result was a victory for the British, they suffered a large amount of losses: over 800 wounded and 226 killed, including a notably large number of officers.
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense was signed “Written by an Englishman”, and the pamphlet became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history. Common Sense presented the American colonists with a powerful argument for independence from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided.
The 11-month siege of Boston ended when the Continental Army, under the command of George Washington, fortified Dorchester Heights in early March 1776 with cannons captured at Ticonderoga. British General William Howe, whose garrison and navy were threatened by these positions, was forced to decide between attack and retreat. To prevent what could have been a repeat of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe decided to retreat, withdrawing from Boston to Nova Scotia on March 17.
The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire.
The Battles of Saratoga, sometimes referred to as The Battle of Saratoga (September 19 and October 7, 1777) conclusively decided the fate of British General John Burgoyne’s army in the American Revolutionary War, and are generally regarded as a turning point in the war.
On December 19, 1777, when Washington’s poorly fed, ill-equipped army, weary from long marches, struggled into Valley Forge, winds blew as the 12,000 Continentals prepared for winter’s fury. Grounds for brigade encampments were selected, and defense lines were planned and begun. Though construction of more than a thousand huts provided shelter, it did little to offset the critical shortages that continually plagued the army.
Following the American Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was well received in France, both by the general population and the educated classes. The Revolution was perceived as the incarnation of the Enlightenment Spirit against the “English tyranny.” Benjamin Franklin, dispatched to France in December of 1776 to rally her support, was welcomed with great enthusiasm, as numerous Frenchmen embarked for the Americas to volunteer for the Patriot war effort.
Benedict Arnold was a general during the American Revolutionary War. He began the war in the Continental Army but later defected to the British Army. While he was still a general on the American side, he obtained command of the fort at West Point, New York, and plotted unsuccessfully to surrender it to the British. After the plot was exposed in September 1780, he entered the British Army as a brigadier general.
The Battle of Yorktown proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in North America, as the surrender of Cornwallis’s army prompted the British government eventually to negotiate an end to the conflict.
Lord North holds the rather dubious distinction of being the first Prime Minister of Britain, or indeed anywhere else in the world, to be forced out of office by a motion of no confidence, resigning on 20 March 1782 on account of the British defeat at Yorktown the year before.
The Peace of Paris was the set of treaties which ended the American Revolutionary War. In June 1781, the Congress appointed Peace commissioners to negotiate with the British. On 30 November 1782, preliminary Articles of Peace are signed by Richard Oswald, with representatives of the United States of America.
The Continental Congress ratified preliminary articles of peace ending the Revolutionary War with Great Britain on April 15, 1783. International intrigue and intense negotiation preceded the formulation of these preliminary articles.
The Treaty of Paris was signed by U.S. and British Representatives on September 3, 1783, ending the War of the American Revolution. Based on a1782 preliminary treaty, the agreement recognized U.S. independence and granted the U.S. significant western territory. The 1783 Treaty was one of a series of treaties signed at Paris in 1783 that also established peace between Great Britain and the allied nations of France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Preamble to the US Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Read the entire document here.
On December 15, 1791, the new United States of America ratified the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of its citizens. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights of peaceful assembly and petition. Other amendments guarantee the rights of the people to form a “well-regulated militia,” to keep and bear arms, the rights to private property, fair treatment for accused criminals, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from self-incrimination, a speedy and impartial jury trial, and representation by counsel.
So the next time you are having a bad day or you think that your life couldn’t get any worse, fire up “Disaster of the Day”and check out what disaster happened. You’ll think, “Hmm, maybe I don’t have it so bad,” and, Voila!, your mood will instantly improve.
Disasters have a unique way of capturing our attention. The Titanic, the Hindenburg, the Chicago Fire, the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius and destruction of Pompeii- they are all well known and hold a strong place in our memory. On Timelines.com, there are over 500 disasters chronicled. When you glance through this list, some jump out as being highly unusual and downright weird. Here are five of the strangest disasters, in chronological order.
Twenty-three years into the Hundred Years’ War, King Edward III of England had invaded France and was sacking the suburbs of Paris. On April 13, while camped outside of Chartres (a town southwest of Paris), Edward and his forces were caught outside in a massive hail and lightning storm. The storm and the ensuing panic killed over 1,000 English soldiers. Edward took this as a sign of divine displeasure, and as a result agreed to relinquish his claim to the French throne in exchange for one third of France. Not such a bad deal after all.
On October 17, 1814 at the Meux and Co. Brewery, a gigantic vat of beer blew open and caused other vats to rupture, resulting in 1.5 million liters to gush onto Tottenham Court Road and New Oxford Street in London. The flood destroyed two homes, knocked down a wall at a nearby pub and trapped poor families who lived in the basements of tenement houses in the neighborhood. Eight people died that day from drowning and one person died the next from alcohol poisoning. Read the account of the disaster in the London Times from 1814.
Yes, you read this title correctly – the plane crashed with a 15-year old at the controls. The plane’s flight and data recorders revealed that the pilot’s 15-year old son was at the controls and accidentally disabled the auto-pilot controls of the plane. This caused the airplane to go into a steep bank and then an uncontrollable dive. Before the pilots could figure out that the autopilot control had been disabled (there was no audible alarm to signal this), the plane slammed into a Siberian hillside. The crash killed all 75 people on board. As Rain Man said, “Only fly Qantas.”
On May 13, 2000, over 100 tons of fireworks were detonated by a fire and two explosions at the S.E. Fireworks warehouse in Enschede, The Netherlands. The explosion killed 22 people, injured 947 and left 1,250 people homeless; 400 apartments were leveled; 15 streets incinerated; and 1,500 homes were damaged. People felt the blast up to 30 km away. If you want to get a feel for what this was like, watch this video. It was shot on the scene as the explosion was happening. Be sure to watch it all the way through- it is unreal.
Do you know of any disasters not covered on our Disasters Timeline? Let us know or just add it directly.
Believe it or not, summer is almost over and the school year is nearly upon us. So we at Timelines decided to give all of you history teachers out there a head start. Here’s a list of five great web sites and resources. Drop us a note if you know of others to recommend. Enjoy the last few weeks!
If you are not familiar with HistoryTeacher.net, you need to be. Passionately run by a history teacher at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY, this site is jam packed with hundreds of resources ranging from current events, to American history, to government (local and national) to interesting and specific sites (like the National Inventors Hall of Fame or the US Holocaust Memorial Museum).
Run by a director of EdTechTeacher, Inc and history teacher, BestHistorySites.net is a seemingly comprehensive collection of history related web sites. The site has navigation devoted to specific time periods (such as Prehistory, Medieval History and American History) as well as links to seminars that focus on using technology in the classroom.