When Greed Interferes With One’s Duty

War at sea during the American Revolution, as it is today, is a dangerous business. One tactic governments increased the crew member pay was by allowing prize money to be distributed amongst the crew.

Read More

Marines First Raid

John Paul Jones, the first lieutenant (or executive officer) on Hopkins’ flagship Alfred strongly pushed blockading the harbor, but Hopkins refused. Instead, the landing was made the next morning about a mile from the harbor under the command of Captain Nicholas.

Read More

The Shores of Tripoli

With camels as pack animals, the column followed the coast reaching the port of Bomba on April 17th, 1805. Along the way, Eaton and O’Bannon put down a mutiny, deal with truculent soldiers as well as dwindling supplies. For the last few days, each man was subsisting on a bowl of rice and two biscuits.

Read More

First American Women in Combat

To serve on the front lines, they had to disguise themselves as men because the “norms” of the day held that woman were not fit for combat. Those that enlisted were more afraid of being found out if they were wounded or became sick than of being killed.

Read More

Jefferson’s Piracy Problem

From a foreign policy perspective, Jefferson’s choices vis a vis the Barbary Pirates were limited. He couldn’t approach England or France or their allies for help because they were at each other’s throats. Luckily, he still had the navy created under the Adams administration which was sent to the Mediterranean.

Read More

Alexander Hamilton, Continental Army Officer

Captain Hamilton’s battery made the trek to the winter camp at Valley Forge and on the night of December 24th, it was ferried across the Delaware River. Hamilton positioned the battery so it could fire on the German soldiers as they tried to form in ranks. His guns rapid and accurate fire killed many German cannoneers and prevented them from firing on the attacking Continental Army soldiers.

Read More

H.M.S. America(s) as in Plural

Launched in 1777, the third H.M.S. America had 64 guns – twenty-six 24-pounders on her lower gun deck and 18 on its main deck. The ship participated in the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781 in which the Royal Navy’s defeat paved the way for Cornwallis’ defeat and ultimately independence.

Read More

America’s Birth Certificate

The Ringmann/Waldseemüller chart was made from 12 sections using wood cut blocks that have amazing detail. Only 1,000 charts were printed today, only one original copy survives housed in the U.S. Library of Congress.

Read More

Political Hot Buttons from the 1790s

When the United States of America was founded, there was no book or instruction manual on how to run a republic. Yes, most of our Founding Fathers schooling had included studying the Greeks and Romans. There was John Locke and 17th and 18th Century philosophers. Back then, our Founding Fathers couldn’t go to the local Barnes & Noble and browse the shelves for books on how to run a republic. Our Founding Fathers were, to use two overworked platitudes “breaking new ground” and “creating it on the fly.”

Read More

The Ultimate Civics Course Project

Madison’s proposed amendment was still in legal purgatory until Gregory Watson, a University of Texas undergraduate, wrote a paper in 1982 on the proposed amendment for a political science course. Watson posited that since the Constitution does not apply a statute of limitations on any amendment, any proposed amendment can be voted on at any time.

Read More