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James Polk

Just before Tyler finished his four years' term, therefore, Congress decided to admit Texas (1845); but as a dispute soon arose about its southern boundary, the eleventh President, James K. Polk, found himself with a war on his hands. Many good Americans say that Texas had no right to claim the land between the Nueces… Read More

War With Pirates Continues

Knowing that the Tripolitans were short of powder, Richard Somers, an intimate friend of Decatur's, next suggested a plan to destroy the Tripolitan shipping by means of a floating mine. This idea was warmly welcomed, and great stores of powder, shot, and iron were placed on board Decatur's boat, the Intrepid. Then Somers solemnly warned… Read More

Arbitration Between Britain and America

Two questions arose with Great Britain while Ulysses S. Grant was President, which might have made trouble. But, instead of fighting, some of the best statesmen of both countries made a treaty at Washington (1871), saying that the difficulties should be decided by arbitration. Aboard of distinguished men, therefore, met at Geneva, in Switzerland, to… Read More

United States Buys Land from Spain

The Creeks and their allies, the Seminoles, murdered some white settlers, so Monroe sent troops southward to bring them to order. The leader of this force, General Jackson, was such a hard fighter that he soon drove the Indians back into Florida. There, finding the Spaniards had helped them, he burned a few small towns… Read More

The Union’s Campaign To Take Richmond

While the War of the Secession was raging on in the southern part of the country, the Sioux Indians in the West, who had always been troublesome, suddenly dug up the war hatchet, and invaded Minnesota and Iowa. Here they attacked lonely farmhouses and small villages, killing and scalping nearly a thousand men, women, and… Read More

James Monroe

Madison was succeeded, in 1817, by President James Monroe, who took his oath on the ruins of the Capitol. As he gazed at the foundations, which were quite unharmed, he said that they reminded him of the Union, which was as firm as ever, in spite of all that had happened. The war being over… Read More

Patent Office Saved From Destruction

During the Revolutionary War, the British, marching into the deserted city, swarmed into the Capital, and, after breaking all the windows, seized torches and set fire to the “harbor of the democrats.” Next, they went to the White House, where they gayly ate the dinner prepared for the President's guests. When their hunger had been… Read More


Women's work, too, had grown far easier than in colonial or Revolutionary times. Spinning and weaving were now done by machine in large mills; cooking was made simpler by the discovery of coal and gas and the invention of friction matches; and even sewing and knitting took far less time since they could be done… Read More

New States — Renewed Slave Issue

A law had long been in existence which, in accordance with the Constitution, allowed slaveholders to go into free states to claim their runaway slaves. But instead of helping the owners, the Northern people often hid the Negroes who besought their aid, and helped them to escape. They did this because they believed that slavery… Read More

French Revolt Leads to War

In 1789, the French, who had long been dissatisfied with their government, rose up against the good but somewhat stupid Louis XVI. After some changes, they decided to set up a republic, like the Americans. To get rid of their king they finally beheaded him (1793), more in punishment for the sins of his fathers… Read More