History Bytes: 37 People, Places, and Events that Shaped American History

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9781329219205: History Bytes: 37 People, Places, and Events that Shaped American History
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Don't like history? You're probably reading the wrong books.
Read this book, and you're gonna think, wow! Why didn't somebody tell me that? American history is full of strange paradoxes, and that's what makes it so interesting. 

The truth is much of what we learn about history is a series of little white lies that over time have grown into tall tales. 

  • Why doesn't everyone know the Boston Massacre wasn't really a massacre? Subsequent testimony proved the soldiers fired in self-defense. The King Street riot was started by a group of four street thugs who got their rocks off attacking lone British soldiers. Sam Adams and Paul Revere twisted it into a massacre.
  • And, if you think the Boston Tea Party was a response to British taxes that raised the price of tea in the colonies, think again. The Tea Act of 1773 actually reduced the price of tea paid by the colonists. The people hurt by the Tea Act were the smugglers. The lower price of tea undercut their business, and ensured that the East India Company would have a monopoly on tea.
  • The South Carolina Nullification Congress of 1832 was a harbinger of things to come. The question was if a state disagrees with a federal law, does it have the right to nullify it, and disregard that law? Vice-president John C. Calhoun argued state's rights superseded federal laws. President Andrew Jackson believed to his dying day that Calhoun was a damned traitor, and that he should have strung him up from the nearest branch.
  • The Black Hawk War was a mix-up of frontier madness, mayhem, and murder. Illinois Governor John Reynolds called out the militia and raised thousands of volunteer troops. General Winfield Scott marched his regulars half way across the country to Fort Armstrong at Rock Island. Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Taylor led a group of infantrymen in the fighting. In the end, it was a massacre that nearly wiped out the Sac tribe.
  • In the fall of 1845 President Polk offered Mexico five million dollars if they would recognize the Southwestern Boundary of Texas at the Rio Grande. When Mexico refused his offer Polk decided to force the issue - virtually starting the Mexican War. He sent General Zachary Taylor and 3,000 troops to Corpus Christi, Texas. In March of 1846 General Taylor moved his forces into the disputed territory between the Rio Grande and Nueces Rivers. Soon after that, Mexico was provoked into a war with the United States.
  • It has been said that James Buchanan was a "weak, timid, old man" who didn't do anything to prevent the Southern states from seceding. Some historians have even gone so far as to declare Buchanan was an "accessory after the fact." He was a president, Southern sympathizer, and traitor. But, was he?
  • Imagine what it would be like to wake up, flip on the morning news, and discover Bradley Cooper or Ashton Kutcher assassinated President Obama. That's what happened in 1865. People were shocked when they learned John Wilkes Booth killed President Lincoln. Booth was one of the most popular actors of his day. He was young, just twenty-six years old, considered one of the most attractive men in America. At the time he killed Lincoln, Booth was pulling down $20,000 a year as an actor (that's roughly $300,000 in 2015 money). And, yet--he sacrificed it all for his political beliefs. What was going on in the mind of John Wilkes Booth?
I could tell you more, but you get the idea. 
  • Things aren't always what they appear to be. 
  • There are two sides to every story. 
  • All that stuff your teacher told you in school--it may, or may not be true. 
Read this book, and decide for yourself which version you should believe.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

Sample Chapter Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was a man possessed by demons. He had the temper of a saltwater crocodile, was fiercely independent, and quick to pull a gun when angered. History tells us he was a man of the people, but one thing is certain, Jackson lived his life like he was destined for greatness.

Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaw settlements of the Carolinas in 1767. He served as a courier in the Revolutionary War and was taken prisoner at age thirteen. A British officer slashed him across the face with his saber for refusing to polish his boots. He wore the scar from that incident for the remainder of his life.

Albert Gallatin described Jackson as "a tall, lank uncouth-looking personage with long locks of hair hanging over his face." Thomas Jefferson said, "His passions are terrible...he was senator, and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings." Marie Emily Donelson Wilcox described Jackson like this. "Tall, angular, reddish bristling hair, face badly freckled and pock-marked, he was awkward and constrained, unattractive in person and repulsive in manner."

Of course, how you saw Jackson depended upon the mood you found him in, and he was a man of many moods. To women, children, and his slaves, Jackson was helpful and compassionate. To his enemies and those who crossed him, the general was ruthless. His one saying that best described him was, "to the victor go the spoils." If you were unfortunate enough to tangle with Jackson, the best advice was to get out of his way.

Andrew Jackson met the love of his life shortly after he moved to Tennessee. Her name was Rachel Donelson Robards, and according to all accounts, she was a real beauty. One of her relatives wrote, she "had a sweet oval face rippling with smiles and dimples and bright with intelligence--just the style of beauty irresistible to Jackson's type."

At the time, Jackson, and his friend Judge Overton boarded in a cabin owned by Rachel's mother, Mrs. John Donelson. Rachel and her mother lived in the cabin next door, and the two soon struck up a friendship.

Rachel recently separated from her husband, Lewis Robards. According to Rachel, Robards had a violent temper and was physically abusive. Lewis Robards said the couple had been experiencing temporary marital difficulties and when he came back to claim his wife he found her cavorting with Andrew Jackson.

Robards applied to the Legislature of Virginia for a divorce on December 20th, 1790. As grounds for divorce, he stated Rachel had committed adultery with Andrew Jackson. Fearing Robards might come after her and drag Rachel off with him; the couple made their way to Natchez, Mississippi and married in the spring of 1791.

During a 1793 visit to Jonesborough, Jackson learned the divorce was never finalized until September 27th, 1793. Shortly after that Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards re-said their vows before a justice of the peace. That was on January 18th, 1794.

That was the end of the story for thirty-four years. It was something the couple could joke about with friends and family over a jug of corn whiskey or a pipe of tobacco until the presidential campaign of 1828 raised its nasty head. Unfortunately for Jackson, and John Quincy Adams, that campaign opened a whole new can of worms in electioneering. Political mudslinging, dirty tricks, and outlandish accusations became the new norm in politicking.

No one knows for sure who started it.

Bad feelings lingered from the campaign of 1824. Andrew Jackson was sure John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay stole the election from him. Jackson received the majority of the electoral votes, but political maneuvering by Henry Clay cost him the election. Jacksonians called it the "corrupt bargain." In return for delivering Adams, the presidency Henry Clay was appointed Secretary of State, a position that at the time was considered a stepping-stone to the presidency.

From that point on Jackson made it his business to build the alliances he needed to win the election in 1828. 

Political slurs circulated fast and loose on both sides. Jackson's supporters accused John Quincy Adams of having premarital sex with his wife, pimping out his chambermaid to the Czar of Russia while he was the Russian Ambassador, and having gambling devices in the White House. It said Adams purchased a billiards table and chessboard with public funds. 

There were so many damning incidents to use against Jackson it is hard to determine exactly where to begin. Jackson's violent temper and fierce independence had helped him so much in his rise to power and greatness, but it gave his enemies unlimited fuel to use against him. 

The worst part of it for Jackson was the accusations leveled against his wife and mother. Adams' men labeled Jackson's mother a filthy whore who prostituted herself to the British during the Revolution, and his beloved Rachel a bigamist and adulteress. Jackson himself stood accused of being an adulterer and stealing another man's wife. As soon as Jackson won the election, many newspapers proclaimed Rachel "unfit to be allowed in the White House."

Philadelphia printer John Binns issued what was called the "coffin handbill." It pictured six black coffins that referred to Jackson's actions in the War of 1812 when he ordered the execution of six soldiers for desertion. 

When it was all said and done Jackson won the election by a landslide. However, what should have been a happy time for the old general turned sour. Rachel died suddenly just before Christmas in 1828. She was buried in the old garden of the Hermitage on Christmas Eve.

Andrew Jackson was heartbroken. 

The doctors said it was a heart attack, but Jackson knew better. He blamed her death on John Quincy Adams, and the smear campaign his people ran against her. When he arrived in Washington Jackson refused to visit the outgoing president. For his part, John Quincy Adams left town before Jackson's inauguration and refused to pass the torch to the incoming president.

Such is politics.

From the Inside Flap:

Sample ChapterDalton Brothers
Bob Dalton had this crazy idea. 

He wanted to make the Dalton Gang more famous than Jesse James. The only problem was to do that he had to do something spectacular, something never tried before, something so bold, so daring the newspapers could not help but take notice.

When he told his brother Emmett what he wanted to do, Emmett thought he was nuts. Rob two banks, in the same town, at the same time, in a town where everyone knew you. It did not make sense. The only reason Emmett said he went along was, "he was damned if he did, and damned if he did not." Even if he stayed out of it, he was sure the law would hunt him down.

The best account of the daring robbery was published in the Coffeyville Journal shortly after the robbery took place. "Between 9:30 and 10:00 on Wednesday morning, [the Dalton Gang] armed to the teeth and apparently disguised, rode boldly into [Coffeyville]."

The boys hitched their horses in an alley and quickly made their way to the two banks. Grat Dalton, Bill Powers, and Dick Broadwell entered the C. M. Condon Bank; Bob and Emmett Dalton hurried into the First National Bank. 

Grat disguised himself with a black mustache and side whiskers. He ordered the clerk to hand over the cash, "and be quick about it." When one of the robbers told the cashier, C. M. Ball, to grab the money from the safe, he told them he could not. It was on a time lock, and no one could open it for another three minutes. By that time gunfire erupted outside the bank, and the robbers made a rush for the alley.

At the First National Bank, Bob Dalton disguised himself with a mustache and false goatee. "They covered the teller and cashiers with their Winchesters...and directed [the cashier] to hand over all the money in the bank." When they heard gunshots outside, Bob and Emmett hurried out the back door and opened fire. Lucius Baldwin, George Cubine, and Charles Brown fell dead. 

By this time all five bandits were in the alley attempting to make their way to their horses. "A dozen men with Winchesters and shotguns made a barricade of some wagons. The robbers had to run the gauntlet of three hundred feet with their backs to the Winchesters in the hands of men who knew how to use them." A murderous fired poured through the alley for three minutes. "Three of the robbers were dead, and the fourth helpless." Dick Broadwell made it to his horse but was discovered dead on the ground about a half mile outside of town.

Emmett Dalton was the only member of the gang to survive. Bystanders carried him to Slosson's Drug Store, and later to Dr. Wells' office. There was talk about lynching him, but what probably saved his life more than anything, was the doctor did not give him a chance in hell of surviving.

The bodies of the dead gang members were carted to the sheriff's office and later placed in four varnished black coffins where they were displayed and photographed so everyone would know what had happened. Some people touched the bodies as if that would make the experience more real. It is said, "Whenever Grat Dalton's right arm was lifted a little spurt of blood would jump from the round black hole in his throat."

The next day the town watched as the undertaker shooed flies away from the bodies, and nailed the lids on the caskets down. The coffins were planted two to a grave in Potter's Field.

The Galveston Daily News headline on October 6th, 1892 read, "The Dalton Gang has been exterminated--wiped off the face of the earth."

The only survivor, Emmett Dalton, received a life sentence in the Kansas State Penitentiary at Lansing. He was pardoned by Governor Ed Hoch in 1907 and lived until 1937. He later became a policeman, and actor, and wrote the story of his life, When the Daltons Rode, published in 1931.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781514373743: History Bytes: 37 People, Places, and Events that Shaped American History

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ISBN 10:  1514373742 ISBN 13:  9781514373743
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Book Description Lulu.com. Hardcover. Condition: New. 168 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 6.0in. x 0.6in.American history is full of strange paradoxes, and thats one of the things that make it so interesting. Heres one of the 37 stories youre going to read. Imagine what it would be like to wake up, flip on the morning news, and discover Bradley Cooper or Ashton Kutcher assassinated President Obama. Thats what happened in 1865. People were shocked to learn John Wilkes Booth had killed President Lincoln. Booth was one of the most popular actors of his day. At just twenty-six years old, he was considered one of the most attractive men in America. Booth stood five feet, 8 inches tall, had a lean, athletic build, ivory skin, and curly, jet black hair. Women mobbed him on and off stage. At the time he killed Lincoln, Booth was pulling down 20, 000 a year as an actor (roughly 300, 000 in 2015 money). What was going on in the mind of John Wilkes Booth What was it that turned this mild mannered actor into one of the most hated men of his generation This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Seller Inventory # 9781329219205

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