• The story behind the Boston Tea Party – Ben Labaree
    Articles,  Blog

    The story behind the Boston Tea Party – Ben Labaree

    Translator: Andrea McDonough Reviewer: Bedirhan Cinar You’ve probably heard of the Boston Tea Party, something about a bunch of angry colonists dressed as Native Americans throwing chests of tea into the water. But the story is far more complicated, filled with imperial intrigue, corporate crisis, smuggling, and the grassroots origins of the American Revolution. The first thing you need to know about tea in the 1700’s is that it was really, really popular. In England, each man, woman, and child consumed almost 300 cups of this stuff every year. And, since the English colonized America, Americans were crazy about tea too. By the 1760’s, they were drinking over a million…

  • How do US Supreme Court justices get appointed? – Peter Paccone
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    How do US Supreme Court justices get appointed? – Peter Paccone

    There’s a job out there with a great deal of power, pay, prestige, and near-perfect job security. And there’s only one way to be hired: get appointed to the US Supreme Court. If you want to become a justice on the Supreme Court, the highest federal court in the United States, three things have to happen. You have to be nominated by the president of the United States, your nomination needs to be approved by the Senate, and finally, the president must formally appoint you to the court. Because the Constitution doesn’t specify any qualifications, in other words, that there’s no age, education, profession, or even native-born citizenship requirement, a…

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    What you might not know about the Declaration of Independence – Kenneth C. Davis

    “All men are created equal and they are endowed with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Not so fast, Mr. Jefferson! These words from the Declaration of Independence, and the facts behind them, are well known. In June of 1776, a little more than a year after the war against England began with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord, the Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia to discuss American independence. After long debates, a resolution of independence was approved on July 2, 1776. America was free! And men like John Adams thought we would celebrate that date forever. But it was two days later that…

  • How is power divided in the United States government? – Belinda Stutzman
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    How is power divided in the United States government? – Belinda Stutzman

    Translator: Andrea McDonough Reviewer: Bedirhan Cinar Have you ever wondered who has the authority to make laws or punish people who break them? When we think of power in the United States, we usually think of the President, but he does not act alone. In fact, he is only one piece of the power puzzle and for very good reason. When the American Revolution ended in 1783, the United States government was in a state of change. The founding fathers knew that they did not want to establish another country that was ruled by a king, so the discussions were centered on having a strong and fair national government that…

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    Inventing the American presidency – Kenneth C. Davis

    Translator: Andrea McDonough Reviewer: Bedirhan Cinar The Oval Office, Inauguration Day, Rose Garden signings, and secret service agents with dark sunglasses and cool wrist radios. For a moment, forget all of it. Toss out everything you know about the President. Now, start over. What would you do if you had to invent the President? That was the question facing the 55 men who got together in secret to draw up the plans for a new American government in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, in the same place where the Declaration of Independence had been written eleven years earlier. Declaring independence had been risky business, demanding ferocious courage that put…

  • The Making of the American Constitution – Judy Walton
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    The Making of the American Constitution – Judy Walton

    Translator: tom carter Reviewer: Bedirhan Cinar It is the spring of 1787. The Revolutionary War has been over for only six years, and the young United States is still struggling in its infancy. Uprisings, boundary disputes and the lack of a common vision all plague the newborn country. In an effort to steady this precarious ship, the Confederation Congress calls on states to send delegates to the grand Convention, to begin on May 14 in Philadelphia. The delegates must draft revisions to the Articles of Confederation, which would then be considered by the Congress and approved by the states. Under the terms of the Articles, all 13 states had to…

  • How one piece of legislation divided a nation – Ben Labaree, Jr.
    Articles,  Blog

    How one piece of legislation divided a nation – Ben Labaree, Jr.

    Today when people complain about the state of American politics, they often mention the dominance of the Democratic and Republican Parties, or the sharp split between red and blue states. But while it may seem like both of these things have been around forever, the situation looked quite different in 1850, with the Republican Party not yet existing, and support for the dominant Democrats and Whigs cutting across geographic divides. The collapse of this Second Party System was at the center of increasing regional tensions that would lead to the birth of the Republican Party, the rise of Abraham Lincoln as its leader, and a civil war that would claim…

  • A 3-minute guide to the Bill of Rights – Belinda Stutzman
    Articles,  Blog

    A 3-minute guide to the Bill of Rights – Belinda Stutzman

    Translator: tom carter Reviewer: Bedirhan Cinar The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution — also known as the Bill of Rights — were ratified or passed over 200 years ago. But even though they’re a bit, well, old, these first 10 amendments are still the most debated and discussed section of our Constitution today. So, can you remember what they are? Let’s take a look. The First Amendment is the freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition. This may be the most revered of the amendments. The First Amendment protects our rights to say and write our opinions, worship how we please, assemble together peacefully and petition our…