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Slavery and the Constitution

After four months' discussion, and after all parties had given up some of their ideas and wishes to please the rest, the present Constitution of the United States was drawn up. It was called the “new roof,” because it was to serve as a shelter in time of storm for all the states who chose… Read More

William Henry Harrison

The money troubles during Van Buren's rule were thought by many people to be his fault; so when the time came for a new election, General William Henry Harrison was chosen President in his stead. He had governed the Northwest Territory, had fought in the War of 1812, and on account of his victory over… Read More

U.S. Chesapeake vs. British Shannon

Several other naval battles took place during the War of 1812. One of the most famous of these was a duel between Captain James Lawrence's ship, the Chesapeake, and the British frigate Shannon. The Chesapeake had just come back from the Cape Verde Islands, and had, lost a mast in a storm. The crew, numbering… Read More

Guerilla Chief, John Morgan

The North knew very little of the actual hardships of warfare; for, with the exception of Antietam in Maryland and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, there had been no great battles on its soil. It is true that General Bragg, the hero of Buena Vista, had made a raid in Kentucky, but he had been driven by… 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

Ulysses S. Grant

Two questions arose with Great Britain while 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. A board of distinguished men, therefore, met at Geneva, in Switzerland, to settle… Read More

Second Treaty with Pirates

The ruler of Tripoli (or bashaw), hearing that Algiers received tribute from America, wanted some too. So, in 1800, he demanded money, threatening war unless it was paid. The United States, instead of sending it, merely waited until the bashaw declared war, and then sent a squadron to the Mediterranean. On the way thither, it… Read More

U.S. Prepares For War With France

The people in favor of helping France had wished for some time to drag the United States into war with Great Britain, so Congress now passed two laws to prevent anything of that sort. These laws were called the Alien and Sedition acts. The first said that the President might send any foreigner, or alien… Read More

Armies Disbanded

On the 26th of April, 1865, General Johnston surrendered the last large Confederate army to General Sherman, at Raleigh; and on the 10th of May, President Davis was caught in Georgia. Some say he tried to escape by donning a woman's waterproof, tying an old shawl over his head, and carrying a pail, as if… Read More

Sioux vs. Custer

While Grant was President there was much talk about the Indians. The greater part of them had, little by little, been removed to the Indian Territory, where the Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees, and Seminoles had houses and schools, and were fast learning to be very good farmers. But, besides the orderly and industrious Indians, there were… Read More