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Thomas Paine – American Philosophy

By | 2017-08-14T13:00:34+00:00 August 14th, 2017|North America, Philosophy|

Thomas Paine (by Matthew Pratt, about 1790) In the late 1700s AD, around the same time that Voltaire, du Chatelet, and Rousseau were writing philosophy in France, and Hume was writing in England, Thomas Paine was writing philosophy in America. Paine was born in England, and his father was a Quaker, and owned a small business. Young Paine didn't go to [...]

African-Americans after slavery – Reconstruction

By | 2017-08-14T11:26:36+00:00 August 14th, 2017|History|

A 13-year-old boy sharecropping (1937) During the Civil War, in 1863 AD, President Lincoln announced the end of slavery. When the North won the war, in 1865, Congress and the states voted to change the Constitution to make slavery illegal. So all the people who were enslaved in the South became free. Some people chose to leave the plantations, now [...]

Early American government

By | 2017-08-12T07:35:09+00:00 August 12th, 2017|History|

Juan de Onate, the first Spanish governor, marked this rock in New Mexico to show he had been there (1605). Throughout the 1500s, the governments of North America were a lot like they had been before 1500. But two important things changed. One was that the Spanish settlers in the south-west set up a government there. [...]

Constitutional amendments – United States

By | 2017-08-11T22:22:52+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Government, North America|

The United States Bill of Rights Over the years since the Bill of Rights in 1791, Americans have not changed their Constitution very much. It's pretty hard to do: you have to get two-thirds of the House and the Senate to agree, and then you have to get 3/4 of the state legislatures to agree too, usually [...]

United States Constitution – American government

By | 2017-08-11T22:19:30+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Government, North America|

The United States Constitution The American Revolutionary War got the United States started as a new country in 1781 AD. Soon the leaders of the United States got together. They tried to write up some rules for how the government of this new country would work. Men came from all of the thirteen states (except Rhode Island). Benjamin [...]

Bill of Rights simplified – US Constitution

By | 2017-08-11T22:15:11+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Government, North America|

The United States Bill of Rights After the leaders of the new United States wrote the Constitution, they had to get the thirteen states to agree to it. Some of the states didn't want to agree unless they could add some specific rights for individual people. So in 1791 the United States added ten new rights to the [...]

Hume project – European philosophy

By | 2017-08-06T20:34:18+00:00 August 6th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

David Hume, the European philosopher So David Hume died of cancer in 1776 AD, just as Americans were writing the Declaration of Independence. Hume's ideas had a huge effect on the Declaration of Independence, but he would probably have disagreed with Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers on some points too. What might Hume have [...]

Spain loses her colonies – 1800s

By | 2017-08-06T00:40:51+00:00 August 6th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Maria Christina Spain was among the first Western countries to get colonies in the 1500s, and it was among the first to lose its colonies in the 1800s. In 1821, Mexico and Peru both won their independence. At the same time, Spain began to rock back and forth between democracy and kings. King Ferdinand II began his reign [...]

Commune and Third Republic – France

By | 2017-08-05T09:26:50+00:00 August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Napoleon III By the 1860s, France was nervously watching as the German states and Prussia combined into one country under Bismarck's control. In 1866, Napoleon III, the ruler of France, declared war on Germany, thinking to limit Germany's power. But instead, this was just the excuse Bismarck had been looking for. Prussia invaded France and totally [...]