Monthly Archives: April 2015

If you secede we can finally pass the laws we want

Even after the United States made the Louisiana Purchase there was not a lot of movement west of the Mississippi River. The government was selling land at one dollar an acre with a minimum of 320 acres. That was eventually reduced to 160 acres but that was still too expensive for most people. One of the roadblocks to passing what was eventually known as the ‘Homestead Act’ was that fact that Southern states were worried that the settling of these lands would lead to slave free states entering the Union and upsetting the balance of power in the Senate. When the Southern states seceded the Republicans found themselves in the  majority and in 1862 the ‘Homestead Act’ was finally passed. This allowed anyone to claim 160 acres of FREE land as long as you farmed the land and built a house on it. The Homestead Act was not repealed until 1979 and Alaska had an extra 10 years. The last homestead was granted in 1976 in Alaska.

(The Great Courses – Turning Points in American History)

Justice in Rome

During the Roman Republic any official with a government position was immune to lawsuits. Once they were out of office they could (and would often be) charged with any variety of crimes (like bribery and corruption) by their political opponents. That is why Consuls made sure they had appointments to a governorship before they left office. Cicero was exiled from Rome for a while because his opponents took advantage of his not having an official position after he left office.

(Book – Cicero – Anthony Everitt)

I assume you know how to count to ten in one of the Romance languages

In the early days of Rome there were only 10 months beginning with March. The last six months were given names based on the number of the month so we had SEPTember. OCTOber, NOVember and DECember. Months five and six were eventually renamed for Julius Caesar (July) and Augustus (August). January and February were added later which moved the month numbers away from their original position in the calendar year.

(The Great Courses – Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers)

Will the Porkville Reds make it to the World Series this year?

In 1810 it cost more to move a barrel of wheat 30 miles across land than to move it 3000 miles across the Atlantic. The economic impact of the Erie canal was tremendous and caused many more canals to be built. Cities along these paths immediately grew in size. One such city was Cincinnati which was known for pork products and it had the nickname Porkville.

(The Great Courses – Turning Points in American History)

Tidbits about a pretty well known person

Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo from the town of Vinci – no last name) was born a bastard to a servant girl which means he could never hold political office and could not inherit his fathers estate. He was also left handed which was frowned on. He could and did write backwards at times but it is doubtful that this was for secrecy since it can be easily read once you know how it was written. Leonardo liked to try new things and ‘The Last Supper’ was painted ‘secco’ or oil painting on a dry wall, a style that turned out to be a failure which explains the poor state of that painting today. His painting of ‘The Last Supper’ was famous in his day but the ‘Mona Lisa’ was not known until many years after his death.

(The Great Courses – Leonardo da Vinci and the Italian High Renaissance)

It started with the 1773 Tea Act

The ‘Boston Tea Party’ in 1773 was not referred to by that name until 60 years after the event. This was also the event that really precipitated the revolution more than the Boston Massacre which in 1770 did not really create a lot of talk of Independence at that time.

(The Great Courses – Turning Points in American History)

How many others are there that we haven’t discovered yet

Most people know that Cleopatra ruled Egypt but she was a Greek who was the last Ptolemy ruler. Egyptologists have generally looked at names, inscriptions and pictures of previous rulers and assumed that they were all men. Recent discoveries have determined that the women rulers always took the title of ‘King’ and ‘Pharaoh’ just as men would so they have been misidentified for many years. We now know of other female rulers such as Merneith, Khentkawes, Neithikret the Brave, Sobekneferu the Strong, Tawosret, Hatshesput the Mighty, and Nefertiti. There were also many other female regents who ruled for a time and at least two viziers. Neithikret the Brave also happened to be a female ruler in the 6th dynasty back in the Pyramid Age.

(Book – The Search for Nefertiti – Dr. Joann Fletcher)

If you’re going to plagiarize, take the best

“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…” is a very famous line of the declaration of independence…………by Ho Chi Minh in the Vietnamese declaration of independence from the French.

(The Great Courses – Turning Points in American History)