The American History Blog is the mini-journal for American History Fun Facts website. A blog for American history buffs, where you can learn USA fun facts and fun trivia facts about American history here!
American History Fun Facts Blog will...
What a poor, ignorant, malicious, short-sighted, crapulous mass is Tom Paine's Common Sense. -- John Adams (Paine's idea of government) is so democratical,
What Happened Today in History? Find out all of the today in history news and watch a video recap.
Thanksgiving Fun Facts - Learn about the first Thanksgiving in the Americas, Thanksgiving history and other fun Thanksgiving Facts.
Facts About Veterans Day - What is Veterans Day? Veterans Day history and quotes.
Facts About Halloween - Learn fun Halloween facts and trivia about this favorite American holiday.
The first Labor Day was held on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882, in New York City. The event was planned by the Central Labor Union and approximately 20,000 people marched that year, demanding an 8 hour workday.
Labor Day became a national holiday just prior to the 1894 election. President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making it a national holiday. He was hoping to pacify the labor unions and get a second term for himself. He was not successful...
Read more: Labor Day Facts - http://www.american-history-fun-facts.com/labor-day-facts.html
Historical Reproductions from America's Past, Resolute desk, Thomas Jefferson lap desk and more.
Independence day quotes from American history. 4th of July quotes and patriotic Independence quotes.
On June 21, 1788, the United States Constitution was ratified by New Hampshire, the ninth state needed (in accordance with Article VII). It was decided at the time that the document would go into effect on March 4, 1789.
To read the original text (with all of its fun spelling errors), and to learn some fun facts about this important historical document, click here.
4th of July Decorations - 4th of July Games - Patriotic Party Supplies
American History collectibles on ebay. Find collectibles and memorabilia from various periods in United States history.
I have the opportunity to offer five copies of Antony Beevor's book - "The Second World War" - to my website and facebook visitors. You can read about the book and enter the giveaway by clicking here.
Our flag stands for freedom, And we are so very proud, That when it waves in the breeze, It usually draws a crowd. Its colors are so beautiful, The red,
O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman - A poem mourning the death of President Lincoln
Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe
In Flanders Fields - A Memorial Day poem to remember our military heroes.
On May 30, 1868, flowers were placed on the graves of Civil War soldiers on the first official Memorial Day celebration at Arlington National Cemetery. But the holiday did not become a federal holiday until 1971. Until then, it was observed on different days in different states.
Red Poppies are the recognized flower for Memorial Day. The tradition of wearing red poppies began in 1915. That was when Moina Michale read "In Flanders Fields", a poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
To read another beautiful Memorial day poem - "Come Up From the Fields, Father" - and to discover more trivia about Memorial day, click here. You'll also find a few Memorial day quotes there!
“Birth of an American Tradition” - The 150th anniversary commemoration of Taps at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia. This three-day event
Today is Armed Forces Day, a day to celebrate and honor all past and present members of the U.S. military.
On August 31, 1949, Armed Forces Day was announced by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. The day was meant to replace the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The day originally came to be due to all of the Armed Forces being combined under the Department of Defense.
The first official Armed Forces Day was held on May 20, 1950. President Harry Truman gave a Presidential Proclamation announcing it on February 27, 1950. The theme of the first AFD was "Teamed for Defense".
Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. Thank you to all military personnel - past, present and future! I'll leave you with this quote...
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." - Dwight D. Eisenhower
Today we honor all of you, Who served your country with pride, You risked your life for all of us, As you fought side by side. Your strength and courage
Today in American history, May 12, 1903: President Theodore Roosevelt, while on an official trip to San Francisco, was captured on moving picture film. He was the first president to have an official activity filmed. It was not the last time he was filmed - Roosevelt loved playing to the cameras and was filmed often during the rest of his life.
The short film was made while Roosevelt was riding in a parade, while being escorted by the all black Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment. The film was titled "The President's Carriage", and was shown in nickelodeons across the country.
Who was Charles Warren Fairbanks? Born on this day in history, May 11, 1852, Fairbanks was the 26nd Vice President of the United States under Theodore Roosevelt (1905-1908).
Born in Union County, Ohio, he became a lawyer and newspaperman, in addition to getting into politics. In 1893, he purchased the Indianapolis News with his uncle and a group of investors. He was elected U.S. Senator (Republican) in 1896, where he served until 1905.
While serving on a Senate committee, Fairbanks was involved in trying to establish the U.S. - Canadian border. It was during this time that he said "I am opposed to the yielding of an inch of United States territory." This quote, and his work on the committee, endeared him to some of the people in Alaska. They showed their gratitude by naming Fairbanks, Alaska after him.
When President McKinley was assassinated, Teddy Roosevelt assumed the office. When Roosevelt ran for re-election in 1904, he chose Charles Fairbanks as his vice president. Apparently, they didn't like each other very much. Fairbanks was more conservative than Roosevelt, and Fairbanks wasn't shy about speaking out about their differences.
Fairbanks made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nominee for president in 1916, and then joined Charles E. Hughes as his vice presidential candidate. They lost to incumbent Woodrow Wilson and his vice president, Thomas Marshall.
Charles Warren Fairbanks died in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 4, 1918.
Maria Isabella ("Belle") Boyd was born on this day in 1844 in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). She became a notorious Confederate spy during the Civil War, after she shot a drunken Union soldier when she was only 17. According to young Belle, the soldier had "addressed my mother and myself in language as offensive as it is possible to conceive. I could stand it no longer...we ladies were obliged to go armed in order to protect ourselves as best we might from insult and outrage."
Some of Belle's nicknames at the time were "La Belle Rebelle", "the Siren of the Shenandoah", "the Rebel Joan of Arc" and "Amazon of Secessia". She once ran onto a battlefield with late breaking information that she needed to get to Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. She gathered her information by flirting with Union soldiers and by eavesdropping.
After the battle at Front Royal, where Belle had run onto the battlefield, she received this note from Jackson...
"I thank you, for myself and for the Army, for the immense service that you have rendered your country today.
Hastily, I am your friend,T.J. Jackson, C.S.A."
For further reading about this fascinating woman, you might enjoy these books...
Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison: (Volumes I & II)by Belle Boyd - (Said to be exaggerated)
On this day in American history, May 8, 1945, President Harry S Truman announced that German forces had surrendered. "Victory in Europe" celebrations spontaneously erupted all over America and Europe.
Below is a video recapping D-Day to V-E Day that you might enjoy watching...
Naper Settlement Civil War Days May 19 & 20 2012 Naperville, IL Saturday, May 19, 2012: 10:00 am-4:00 pm Sunday, May 20, 2012: 10:00 am-4:00 pm Ticket
On April 30, 1789, the U.S. inaugurated its first president, George Washington. In early April, Washington had been elected unanimously with 69 electoral votes.
On the day of the inauguration, Robert R. Livingston, who was the Chancellor of New York, administered the oath to George Washington at Federal Hall in New York City. Washington was sworn in on the second floor balcony. A huge crowd had gathered outside to watch.
After the oath was given, Washington then went inside to the Senate Chamber and gave his inaugural address there. According to eyewitness accounts, the new president was nervous and agitated.
After the speech, Congress and President Washington went to St. Paul's Church for a service.
You can read the text of George Washington's first inaugural speech at archives.gov. You can also view a copy of his original speech there.
President James Monroe, the 5th President of the United States, was born on April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Monroe was the first U.S. President to ride in a steamboat. Robert Fulton had invented the steamboat in 1803.
President Monroe was also the first U.S. Senator to be elected president. He also served as Governor of Virginia (1799-1802 and 1811). He became Secretary of State (1811) and then Secretary of War (1814).
Happy birthday, President James Monroe!
Visit our "List of Presidents and Nicknames" to find out what Monroe's nicknames were!
Fun Facts ezine - Today in American history and fun facts delivered to your inbox each day!
Today in 1775, the "shot heard round the world" was fired at Lexington. The war for independence had begun!
The first shot was fired around dawn, and the American Revolutionary War officially began at Lexington. At the end of the brief battle, 8 Patriots were killed, 10 wounded and only one British soldier was wounded. It is not known who fired that first shot.
On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode out to warn patriots about the British forces heading their way. Did you know that Paul Revere didn't say "The British are coming"? In 1775, most colonists still considered themselves British citizens. The warning that Revere actually said was "The Regulars are coming out!".
Revere had pre-arranged to have one lantern hung in the Christ Church bell tower if the "regulars" were approaching by land, and two lanterns if they were coming by sea. Two lanterns were hung that night.
Paul Revere reached Lexington around midnight. After Revere, Dawes and another rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott, arrived in Lexington, they continued to Concord where they were arrested by British troops. William Dawes and Samuel Prescott escaped, and Paul Revere was eventually released.
Early the next morning, the "shot heard round the world" officially started the American Revolutionary War.
If you are one of those people (like me), who wait until the last minute to file your taxes, you might need a little break today! Why not take a break and read some great tax quotes from American history?
Taxes have been a sore spot for Americans since before the American revolution. They were what spurred the founding fathers to declare independence, they were the catalyst for the Boston tea party. There have been many great (and funny) tax quotes throughout our history.
To read some tax quotes from history, visit our "Tax Quotes" page.
Patriots Day is a state holiday that is observed in Massachusetts and Maine, on the third Monday in April. The holiday commemorates that first shots fired at Lexington on the morning of April 19, 1775.
Each year, re-enactment battles are performed at Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts, as well as other locations in Massachusetts and Maine.
To read more about this holiday, visit our Patriots Day page!
Jigsaw Puzzle Store - Find some great history jigsaw puzzles to buy here!
Read the Declaration of Independence Text, learn about the history and who the signers were.
A brief John Adams biography and some fun John Adams facts
Tax quotes from American history. Taxes... love 'em or hate them, there have been many humorous and serious quotes about them!
The Alaska Purchase from Russia - Was it really Sewards Folly?
God Bless America Lyrics - Learn the beautiful lyrics to this patriotic song, and hear Kate Smith sing it!
God Save the Flag - A patriotic poem about the American flag, by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Today in history - March 22, 1820 - Stephen Decatur, one of the greatest U.S. Naval heroes in American history died in Washington, D.C.
Stephen Decatur was a hero of the Barbary Wars. During the War with Tripoli, Decatur led an expedition to destroy the U.S. Philadelphia, which had run aground off the coast of Tripoli and been captured by the Tripolitan forces.
Fearing that the ship would be used by the enemy as a model to build their own ships, Decatur led a mission to destroy her. On February 16, 1804, Decatur and his men boarded the ship, disguised as Maltese sailors, and set fire to the U.S. Philadelphia. The Americans were successful in their attempt, and not one man was lost during the mission. Decatur was praised as having led what was called "the most bold and daring act of the age".
In 1807, Decatur sat in on the court-martial of Naval Commodore James Barron, who had been accused of not preparing and protecting his ship, the Chesapeake, from British attack. Barron was suspended from the Navy for five years. Decatur had previously served under Barron, and in fact, Barron was once a mentor to Decatur, but tensions between the two had grown in the years since they served together. Their parting of ways began when Barron embarrassed Decatur about relationships he was having with two women, and their friendship was greatly strained.
Decatur went on to capture the British ship of war, Macedonian, during the War of 1812, and led forces in the Algerian War in 1815. He returned to Washington, D.C. in 1816, when he was appointed to the Navy Board of Commissioners.
In 1818, Stephen Decatur strongly opposed James Barron's reinstatement to the Navy, and in 1820, Barron challenged Decatur to a duel. On March 22, they met at Bladensburg in Maryland for their duel. Both men fired their shots and hit their targets, but Decatur was mortally wounded. Barron recovered from his wounds and was reinstated into the Navy (at a lower rank) in 1821.
Sources: History.com and foundersofamerica.org
Grover Cleveland was born on this day in 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey. He became our 22nd President of the U.S. in 1885, and served for one term. In 1889, Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President, but he also only served for one term. Cleveland was elected again in 1893, becoming the 24th President! With that, he became the only U.S. president to leave the presidency and return for a second term later.
Cleveland was also the only president to be married inside the White House. In 1886, he married Frances Folsom, who was only twenty-one years old (he was 49).
Some of Cleveland's nicknames were Grover the Good, Old Grover, The Elephantine Economist
Read more: List of US Presidents and Presidential Nicknames - United States Presidents http://www.american-history-fun-facts.com/list-of-us-presidents.html
Did you know that the very first St. Patrick's day parade was held in New York City? Not Ireland, but here in the good ol' USA!
That first parade was held in 1762. It was started by Irish soldiers who were serving in the British army. Today the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City is the largest parade in the world.
(sources: nyc-st-patrick-day-parade.org and history.com)
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Here are a couple of old postcard images for this Irish and American "shared" holiday!
On March 12th, 1776, a public notice appeared in Baltimore, Maryland newspapers. This notice urged recognition of women's contributions to the American Revolution. The notice read, in part...
"The necessity of taking all imaginable care of those who may happen to be wounded in the country's cause, urges us to address our humane ladies, to lend us their kind assistance in furnishing us with linen rags and old sheeting, for bandages."
John Adams was one of the men who supported a boycott on British fabrics during this time. This meant much more work for women. Without the imported cloth, they had to make homespun fabric for their clothes . His wife, Abigail, wrote this to him in her letter to him on March 31, 1776...
"Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands." - Abigail Adams
To read more quotes from famous women in American history, click the link below.
I just posted a full page of John Adams Quotes, separated by topic. In researching for this page, I found so many great quotes about democracy, freedom, government and even family. I hope you enjoy reading them too!
Thomas Jefferson's began his education at a young age, beginning with tutors at home. He studied English, Latin, French and Greek.
On March 25, 1760, he enrolled in the College of William and Mary at the age of sixteen. He enrolled in the philosophy school there, and studied physics, metaphysics, mathematics, rhetoric, logic, and ethics.
In 1762, Jefferson graduated from William and Mary with the highest honors. He then went on to study law under George Wythe, who became his close friend.
Read more about Thomas Jefferson by clicking the link below...
Today is George Washington's birthday. He was born on February 22, 1732. Or was he?
When Washington was born, the British still used the Julian calendar. Under that calendar, George Washington was born on February 11, 1731. In 1752, the Gregorian calendar was adopted, and this moved Washington's birthday to February 22, 1732.
I'm sure glad we don't adopt different calendars nowadays. Can you imagine how confusing it would be to have your birthday changed? Not only the day, but the year!
Visit our George Washington shop on Amazon to see a variety of Washington items.
History games can make learning fun! History video games, history trivia and history games for kids.
Today is the official federal holiday known as Washington's Birthday, but to many it's known as President's Day.
George Washington's birthday used to rival Independence Day in popularity. During his term, and afterwards, Washington's birthday was a huge celebration.
In 1832, on the 100th anniversary of George Washington's birthday, Congress adjourned to commemorate it.
On the 130th Anniversary of Washington's birth, Congress read Washington's Farewell Address out loud. This eventually became a tradition.
Washington's birthday became a legal holiday on January 31, 1879. At that time, Congress declared February 22nd as a holiday for federal employees in Washington, D.C. Some employees were paid for it, some were not.
This holiday became an official paid Federal holiday everywhere (not just D.C.) in 1885. The bill establishing this federal holiday was signed by President Chester A. Arthur.
In 1968, Congress passed a law changing several holidays so that they fell on a Monday, creating more three day weekends. Washington's birthday was moved to the third Monday in February.
In 1971, Washington's Birthday holiday moved to the third Monday in February, as the 1968 bill went in to effect. Even though some states still celebrate both Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, others celebrate Washington's birthday as President's day instead.
This holiday is still officially known as Washington's birthday, even though many people began to call it President's Day, and changed it to honor not only Washington, but the other February president's birthday - Abraham Lincoln. In addition, it was further expanded to include all U.S. presidents.
Read some fun facts about George Washington by clicking the link below...
This President’s Day, Zurich, a leading provider of property and casualty insurance in North America and globally, will recognize and celebrate the little-known
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