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  • scopes trial

    in 1925, a tennessee teacher named john t. scopes was arrested for teaching charles darwin's theory of evolution, which said that "higher" forms of life, such as humans, olved from "lower" life forms, such as apes. many rural americans felt this theory was at odds with the creationism they believed in and their traditional christian values.

    william jennings bryan, the great populist hero, spoke for the prosecution. scopes was defended by famous defense attorney clarence darrow. in his questioning, darrow made bryan seem foolish and ignorant. the trial settled nothing, though. scopes was fined $100, and the ruling was later reversed on a technicality.

  • alvin york

    alvin york was one of the most famous american war heroes of world war 1. born in 1887 in tennessee, he was drafted into the army in 1918. he soon proved himself noteworthy among the 17 soldiers sent to infiltrate german lines and capture a machine gun position. after many on his team died in the confrontation, he singlehandedly captured the gun, killing several german soldiers. the german officer in charge of the gun surrendered, and york marched more than 130 german soldiers back to his camp as prisoners of war. he was lauded as a national hero and earned the medal of honor. after the war, some businessmen purchased a farm for york and his family in tennessee, where he lived until his death in 1964. his story was made into a film sergeant york in 1941.

  • state government reform

    in oregon, reformer william s. u'ren established the referendum, in which the people voted to decide some issues directly. in new york, governor charles evans hughes pushed through the first workmen's compensation act, providing benefits for injured workers.

    the secret ballot was one of many reforms first proposed by the populists. in the past, each party had a brightly colored ballot; after marking it, the voter dropped it into a ballot box in full view of everyone in the room. the secret ballots looked the same and were marked in private, so people did not have to reveal how they had voted.

  • tecumseh

    tecumseh, a powerful shawnee i chief, made a strong alliance of the tribes along the western american frontier in what is now michigan and indiana. in november 1811. the governor of the indiana territory, william henry harrison, launched an attack on warriors led by tecumseh's brother. the fierce battle of tippecanoe was a draw. however, it was discovered that some of tecumseh's warriors had used british weapons, adding to the demand for war. after war was declared, general harrison led a force into canada, where he defeated the british and indians at the battle of the thames. tecumseh was killed there. without his leadership, his confederacy quickly collapsed.

  • aaron burr

    aaron burr was a brilliant, erratic man with great personal charm-and huge ambition. he served as vice president during jefferson's first term, but the president considered him a dangerous schemer and replaced him for the 1804 election. burr ran for governor of new york instead, but lost. he blamed the defeat on vicious newspaper attacks alexander hamilton had written. when hamilton refused to apologize, burr challenged him to a duel with pistols and fatally wounded him. with a warrant out for his arrest, burr, still vice president, fled west. he was arrested and put on trial for treason in 1807. he was acquitted due to lack of evidence, but he spent the rest of his life in obscurity.

    burr and hamilton's duel

  • louisiana purchase

    buying the louisiana territory raised a constitutional issue for president jefferson, since the document said nothing about purchasing new lands. jefferson decided that keeping france from controlling the mississippi river was too important, though, to turn down the opportunity. so the purchase was judged necessary and the senate readily approved it in 1803. congress paid france about $15 million for the land.

    the louisiana purchase doubled the land area of the nation, adding 800,000 square miles and more than 200,000 people-primarily american indians, spanish, and french.

  • daniel boone

    even before the revolution. daniel boone and other pioneers blazed trails and led pioneers into the western wilderness. in 1775, boone joined several indian trails together to create the wilderness road. thousands of pioneers used this road to cross the cumberland gap into what is now kentucky. boone eventually moved west to missouri, where he continued to hunt and explore the wilds well into his eighties.

  • loyalist

    about 60,000 loyalists fought on the side of the british during the war, and a total of 100,000 left the country as a result. in virginia and new england, loyalists made up less than 10 percent of the population. but an estimated 40 percent of new yorkers were loyalists, and they may have been a majority in georgia and north carolina.

  • thomas jefferson

    the primary author of the declaration of independence was one of the most brilliant and versatile of the nation's founders. while best known as a political leader and writer, jefferson's curiosity carried him into many different roles: farmer, lawyer, scientist, inventor, architect, linguist, amateur musician, and founder of the library of congress.

    his career in government was also varied diplomat, delegate to congress, and governor of virginia. after the government of the united states was established, he served as secretary of state, vice president, and served two terms as president, from 1801-1809. in spite of his achievements, jefferson was tormented throughout his life by his failure to find a solution to the contradiction of slavery existing in a free society. fearing financial ruin he freed only a few of his own slaves.

    jefferson and his old friend—and former adversary-john adams both died on july 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence!

  • thomas paine

    an english-born american, wrote a pamphlet called common sense, which sold 150,000 copies in just a few months because his arguments were so popular. "there is something very absurd," he wrote, "in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.... england [belongs to europe, america to itself."

    150,000 copies in 2 months = 2,000,000 copies in 2 months 'today'

  • minutemen

    became a symbol of the patriots' willingness to fight for their rights. they got their name because they could get dressed, grab their rifles, and be out the door in a minute.

  • samuel adams

    samuel adams was often called the firebrand of the american revolution." a few months after the boston massacre, adams called for "committees of correspondence" in every colony. by 1774, these committees were exchanging news and ideas, which helped build a sense of national unity.

  • boston massacre

    in 1765, parliament passed the quartering act, requiring the colonies to provide housing for 10,000 british soldiers. a year later, two regiments of redcoats, as british soldiers were sometimes called because of their uniforms, arrived in boston. the people maintained an uneasy peace with the redcoats until march 5, 1770, when an unruly mob taunted some soldiers. the soldiers opened fire, killing three bostonians; two more later died of their wounds. calm followed for the next two years, but the basic conflict had not been resolved.

    samuel adams, one of the most radical patriots, began calling the incident the boston massacre. for several years, patriots cited this incident as an example of british brutality.

  • boycott

    is a refusal to buy from or deal with another person, company, or nation.

  • taxation without representation

    what upset the colonists about a tax such as the 1765 stamp act was that it was imposed on them without their consent. their assemblies could not vote on the tax, and they had no representatives in parliament "no taxation without representation" became their rallying cry.

    a large minority, known as patriots, formed the sons of liberty and the daughters of liberty. these organizations asked colonial merchants not to trade with the british, and the daughters of liberty boycotted british goods.

    a stamp act congress with delegates from nine colonies met in new york in october 1765. it sent a petition urging parliament to repeal the tax. one delegate stated what many were feeling: "there ought to be no new englanders, no new yorkers ... but all of us americans." parliament repealed the stamp tax but immediately passed a declaratory act, which said that only parliament had the authority to make laws for the colonies.

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