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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

Battle of Fredericksburg

Although McClellan had received orders to follow Lee and meet him in another battle, there was considerable delay. The Northern people, who eagerly read the war news published in the newspapers, grew very impatient, and now asked that another, less cautious, general should be put in command of the Army of the Potomac. General Burnside… 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

Union Soldiers Gain Victories

While McClellan was drilling his troops so as to have them ready to take Richmond, other Union generals were trying to get possession of the Southern forts along the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers. For instance, Commodore Foote and General Grant took Fort Henry (1862). Next, after three days' very hard fighting at Fort Donelson… 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

Sherman’s March To The Sea

Sherman had gone steadily on, and had burned the rich stores and fine mills and factories of Atlanta. The churches and dwelling houses were not harmed, for Sherman's object was only to destroy the shops and factories which supplied the Southern army with arms, food, garments, or anything else. After cutting all the telegraph wires… Read More

Andrew Jackson

Jackson was President two terms. About this time, Congress passed a law laying a high tariff, or duty, on goods brought from abroad, for the purpose of giving an advantage to home manufacturers. This law pleased the people in the North, because they manufactured many things, and wanted the Americans to buy from them rather… Read More

Dewey Attacks Spanish Fleet

Many of the sensational newspapers, and a few thoughtless Americans, wanted our government to declare war just as soon as the news came that the Maine had been destroyed. But President McKinley had been in the Civil War, and, knowing how much suffering fighting brings on, he was determined to keep the peace if he… Read More

The Mexican War

Texas had grown very tired of Mexico's harsh rule. So Stephen Austin and Samuel Houston, two Americans who had received large grants of land in Texas, encouraged the people to revolt and form a republic of their own. They did so, and when the Mexicans tried to force them to obey, they won their freedom… Read More


Burnside, having failed to win a victory at Fredericksburg, was now removed in his turn, and the command of the Union army given to General Joseph Hooker, whom the soldiers called “Fighting Joe.” But at Chancellorsville (1863) Hooker was stunned by a cannon ball, and as his army was thus left during several hours without… Read More