Short articles on interesting events and people in American history that can be read in around five minutes, optimized for viewing on mobile devices. 

Edwards Pierrepont - Jurist and Orator

edwardsPierrepont"I think, gentlemen, you saw he was telling a falsehood from the very expression of his face. For through his dull and horny eyes I could see lies generating perjuries in his brain, like flies in a rotting carcass, and then a slow stream of slimy larvae druled from his loathsome mouth, requiring more than all his 'patent pots' find 'patent disinfectants' to cleanse the air of the perjured and polluting odor. There was not a word of truth in anything he said."

Defender of Grant, prosecutor of an accused Lincoln assassin, Attorney General of the United States, populist proponent of Free Silver, Edwards Pierrepont led an interesting life, and contributed much to his country.  

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Joel Abbot - Through War and Scandal

joelAbbot"He was commissioned by McDonough and then ordered to destroy a cache of masts and spars that were to be used by the British in fitting out their naval force. When McDonough asked Abbot if he were ready to die for his country, he received the reply "Certainly, sir; that is what I came into the service for."  Dressed as a British officer and risking summary execution as a spy, Abbot destroyed the gear."

"Go along to get along" was not the credo of Joel Abbot of the United States Navy.  Distinguished in combat, he risked his career to to what he thought was right, challenging one of the great naval heroes of the republic.  His story proves that you might be down, but never out.

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Christopher Sholes - Creator of the Writing Machine

christopherSholes“I replied, ‘That machine is very crude, but there is an idea there that will revolutionize business.’ Mr. Remington asked, 'Do you think we ought to take it up?' I said, ‘We must on no account let it get away. It isn't necessary to tell these people that we are crazy over the invention, but I'm afraid I am pretty nearly so.’”

Before word processing, there was the typewriter.  Before Mr. Sholes's invention, handwriting was the only method of transcribing thoughts or activities of individuals.  Sure, there was the printing press, but what if you only needed one copy?  Millions of typewriters were sold in the ensuing years, until they were displaced by the personal computer.  American ingenuity and production capability made it all possible.

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Gustavus Conyngham - American Sea Monster

GustavusConynghamWhile American soldiers were fighting the British at Brandywine, Germantown, Saratoga, and Monmouth, this brave young Philadelphian was striking hard blows, all alone, at the same powerful enemy off their own coasts. During this period his fame, in the line of his service, was exceeded by that of no one, not even by that of John Paul Jones.

Through one of those unknown processes by which certain men seem to be raised up for certain emergencies, such a man appeared in Gustavus Conyngham.  Feared by the British.  Adored by the French.  Celebrated by the Americans.  He soared to the pinnicle of fame during his prime, then, like so many heroes of the Revolution, without whom we would still be subjects, he faded from memory.  He deserves our sincere gratitude.

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The Second War For Independence - Chesapeake Incident

Great Britain, with a large contempt for the naval weakness of the United States, assumed, rather than claimed, the right to stop our merchant vessels on the high seas, to examine the crews, and to claim as her own any British sailors among them.  This was bad enough in itself, but the way in which the search was carried out was worse.  Every form of insolence and overbearing was exhibited.  The pretense of claiming British deserters covered what was sometimes barefaced and outrageous kidnapping of  Americans.
Relations between the United States and Great Britain were not good until World War I.  Obviously, they were not happy with losing their colonies, and the competition for the remainder of North America after the Revolution was an ongoing contest.  The boundary between the US and British Canada was not finalized until 1872.  Britain viewed the United States as independent, for the time being, but certainly not to be treated as an equal of their mighty empire.
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Revolution Justified - America's Right to Rebellion

The arrogant assumption of the English Government of a right to govern them as denizens of conquered countries by the arbitrary laws of conquest, left them no choice but to become the slaves of arbitrary power or to exercise the great right of rebellion against tyranny which is so emphatically recognized in "Magna Charta." 
We've all heard it, "No taxation without representation!"  Here we have a concise explanation of exactly why the colonists believed that they had the right to resist the will of the English Parliament when the bill for the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War) came due in 1763. The British Government had borrowed heavily to finance the war, and as a consequence the national debt almost doubled. British officials set their sights on the colonies to pay their "fair share" of empire, and expected obedience from deferential subjects.  Why did things go so wrong?
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