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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

Slavery and the Civil War

The Southerners were ready to fight the North; and while most of the white men fought in the army, their plantations were worked by their slaves, who thus supplied them with the food they needed. Hearing that war had broken out, a few Negroes came into the American lines, asking to be set free. But… Read More

Sir Francis Drake Could Be King

The land taken from Mexico included, as we have seen, our present state of California. This new section was still little known, although more than three hundred years had passed since the Spaniards first visited it. They named it California because a fabulous story of the time claimed that there was a rich province of… Read More

Battle at Antietam

McClellan was ordered to take his army back to Washington by water; and Lee, advancing, fought another Union force, first at Cedar Mountain and then at Bull Run, where he won two brilliant victories, thus forcing the remainder of those troops to retreat and join McClellan. By this time the people in the North were… Read More

Treaties with Spain and Britain

Genet, a Frenchman, came to America to ask help against the British. He felt so sure it would be granted that, without waiting for permission from either President or Congress, he began buying vessels and fitting them out to attack the British navy. He had no right to do this, and Washington immediately bade him… Read More

U.S. Northern Border Treaty with Britain

The Ashburton treaty, which had just been signed with Great Britain, the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick had been settled. But, fortunately, nothing had been said about Oregon. The news of Whitman's daring ride, and of his desire to people Oregon with Americans, rapidly spread all over the country. Before long, many pioneers were… Read More

Problems With Treaty of Paris

In 1781, several years before Congress took possession of the western lands, the states had all signed “Articles of Confederation,” a system of federal government proposed in 1776. But as this system did not give Congress power to impose taxes, make trade laws, secure money enough to pay government expenses, or make people obey the… Read More

Milard Fillmore

Several interesting things happened while Fillmore was President. For instance, it was then that the first measures were taken to build a railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. This road was to make the journey so short and easy that there would be no more need of crossing the continent in emigrant wagons… 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

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth President of the United States, who took Lincoln's place, meant to do what was right; but he had never expected to be President, and was thrust into that position at a very uncomfortable time. He had been a poor boy, and was forced to work so hard at his trade as… Read More