History

Civil Rights: The protests and riots we’re seeing across the country right now show we still have a long way to go when it comes to getting along.  These protests are happening because African-Americans have been oppressed for such a long time. Understand that they were originally brought to this country as slaves, and that the evils of slavery existed for two hundred years—all the way until 1865. Even after it ended, for one hundred MORE years, African-Americans had no rights. It was perfectly legal to cheat them, to abuse them, and even to kill them. Consequently, many people, both black and white, worked hard to establish equal rights for everyone, regardless of their race. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the most famous. He symbolizes the Civil Rights Movement. I’m sure he would be gravely disappointed to see that fifty years later, we’re still struggling with the same issues.

No matter what politicians or protesters say, there’s one thing you can always fall back on: Kindness. If you make it your goal to be kind to everyone, things will get better in this world.  That doesn’t mean you have to put up with someone’s bad behavior or criminal actions. Rules and laws exist to deal with that. But if you personally work to treat everyone fairly and kindly, you will have a happy life.  Remember, too, that MLK preached non-violence. He believed in peaceful protests.

There are hundreds if not thousands of incidents during the Civil Rights Movement: protests, deaths, new laws, court orders, riots, speeches. There’s no way I can convey everything you need to know here. Your final entry is below, but also be sure to read the Storyworks play for a tiny glimpse into what African-Americans have put up with. You’ve probably heard Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech before, but you should listen again.

1950’s to 1970—The Civil Rights Movement works to establish equal rights for all Americans. MLK taught that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. (entry)

SPACE: The race to space was mostly a competition between Russia and the U.S. The idea that someone could install military weapons in space meant that both countries saw it as critical to “control” space before the other. Fortunately, The International Space Station exists as an agreement between these countries to cooperate “for the good of humankind.” Here are some key moments in space travel (and your entries):

1957 — Russia sends the first space craft, Sputnik 1, into orbits. This first satellite is a bit larger than a basketball and does just one thing: it pings.

1961 — Soviet (Russian) cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space.

1969 — Apollo 11 lands on the moon. “That’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,” says astronaut Neil Armstrong.

1981 — First manned space shuttle flight: The Columbia. (Any idea why it would be named the Columbia?)

1983 — Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space

2000 — The International Space Station is continuously manned by astronauts from numerous countries, including the US and Russia.

 

1950-53 The Korean Conflict – This was the Korean civil war. The U.S. and the United Nations supported the Republic of Korea (now South Korea) while China supported the North Korean People’s Republic. It was really a war between the U.S. and China, pitting “Democracy” against “Communism.”

1946 Jackie Robinson breaks the “color-barrier” in Major League Baseball. (entry) This is important because our attitudes often change through sports and entertainment. As “white society” learned to accept Jackie on the baseball field, it started to accept people of other races in society as a whole. While the current riots and protests around the country show we still have a long way to go, Jackie proved that all people need to be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Here are two videos about Jackie: The first is about baseball; The second is about his life.

1940 – Television (people had been working on it since 1880)

1942 – First “computer” (it took a room the size of our gym to house it)

1946 – The Barbie Doll and Silly Putty

1949 – Color TV (though it’s another ten to 15 years before it becomes common)

Think about that first computer. It was so big it required a giant room.  And believe it or not, it was less powerful than the computer you’re holding in your hand, that cell phone! That’s one of those common ideas about inventions…they shrink over time!  From the size of a gym (and worth millions of dollars) to the size of a cell phone (many of which can be bought for $50). Amazing!

One thing that happens during wars is that things get invented for the war effort and then get produced for use in homes. Barbie was based upon a doll they found in Germany at the end of the war. Silly Putty started out as the army’s attempt to make synthetic rubber.  If you recall, rubber comes from trees.  Charles Goodyear figured out how to “vulcanize” it into rubber that can be molded. During the war, America was worried about running out of rubber to make tires and other materials for the Army. Scientists worked to create a “man-made” rubber: rubber that didn’t come from trees. After years of trying, their experiments were a failure. But failure often creates other opportunities. A toy manufacturer took their work and packaged it up as Silly Putty. Next time you have some in your hands, think about the Army trying to make Jeep tires with that stuff!  

What finally got us out of the Great Depression? Well, it wasn’t better. It was World War 2. There’s no way I can convey all the details about World War 2 here. Fortunately you’ll study it in high school.  Here’s your entry followed by a few quick facts:

1939-1945 World War 2, the deadliest conflict in history. Up to 80 million people died, most of them civilians (non-soldiers). The Axis powers (the bad guys) were Germany, Italy, and Japan (among others) vs. the Allied Powers (England, USA, Russia, and several others).

The war started when Hitler invaded Poland. Hitler, like many evil leaders before him, wanted to dominate the world.

The USA didn’t get involved until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Battles took place all over the world.

The war ended when the USA dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. This remains extremely controversial. Millions of Japanese citizens died, but it was believed that had we not done it, Japan would have continued the war indefinitely, causing the death of millions of others.

Remember, we study history so that we learn from it and can apply it to the present. I’ve noticed that during our current pandemic, Americans have been unable to follow simple social distancing guidelines for even two short months. During the four years of World War 2, Americans had to make all kinds of sacrifices such as rationing food, donating metal to the government, combining households, and shutting off all lights at night if an air raid was suspected. For four years! Real sacrifice. And we can’t handle two months wearing a mask? 

1929 – The Great Depression begins following the stock market failure. The cause of the depression was that Americans were too much in debt. (entry)

Americans have gotten spoiled. We think it’s been tough living through the “Great Recession” of 2008, or the Covid-19 pandemic, but these events are minor events compared to the Great Depression, yet they’re also all related. Debt—that is, borrowing money to buy things you really cannot afford—led to these economic disasters. In the 1920’s, people thought everything was great, so they started borrowing and spending money recklessly. When the economy soured a little, people had a ton of debt and no savings, so everything collapsed. The same thing happened in the 1990’s.  The economy was going well so people thought they could borrow and spend. Then it all collapsed in 2008.  And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s all happening all over again. Over the last decade, people thought everything was hunky-dory, so folks have been borrowing and spending like crazy. Along comes the virus, and people are unprepared. With any luck, things won’t turn out as badly as the Great Depression, but what we’re going through proves once again that people who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

For more than fifty years, people had been demanding “women’s suffrage,” but it wasn’t until 1920 that it finally happened. Suffrage is the right to vote. Prior to this time, only men were allowed to vote. Women weren’t supposed to think about “intellectual” things.  

The 1920’s is an interesting period in history for another reason, too. The Great War (WWI) had ended, so people were ready to PARTY. America was focused on having a “roaring” good time. People were making better wages so they had money to spend, electricity and the assembly line were making life easier. It was all about fun, fun, fun!

What usually happens after a big party, though, is a big mess. America partied for an entire decade, and then it all came crashing down.  What’s interesting, though, is that we keep seeing this repeated in history. Whenever people start having it so good that they just want to be entertained, it often leads to a big crash. The 1990’s were the same way. Whenever people are so well off that they just want to spend all their time YouTubing, it might be a good time to prepare for something bad to happen.

1920 – Women get the right to vote. (entry)  

1920’s – The “Roaring 20’s” were all about being entertained. (entry)

1914-1918 World War One. It involved over 30 nations. The main ones were Germany, Austria and Turkey versus Russia, France, England, and the United States. Twenty MILLION people died. (Entry)

I can’t even begin to explain World War I in this remote classroom. Know that it was an awful, nasty war. Know that, like most wars, it started because of human greed.

Another significant invention wasn’t so much a thing as it was a process–a way to do something. Prior to 1899, when a company built, say, an automobile, they went about building ONE at a time. Two or three people built the whole thing “from scratch,” and when they finished one, they then started on another. That meant it took a long time to create one car, which means the company had to charge a heck of a lot of money for it.

Henry Ford figured out a more efficient way of building things: the assembly line. As the car rolls down the line, different people install different pieces. One guy is in charge of putting in the engine block, another guy installs the transmission, and somebody else puts on the steering wheel. When the car finally reaches the end, it’s done. But wait, another one is rolling on right behind it. This process required a lot more people, but the factory could produce a lot of cars in a hurry. That meant Ford could charge a lot less, which meant more Americans could afford to buy them. Smart!

Today, almost everything is built, created, or packaged using an assembly line. Most of the assembly lines today are robotic, meaning the companies figured out that they could save even more money by replacing all the people with machines.

Ironically, when it comes to quality, most people would rather buy something that was created one at a time, like they were before the invention of the assembly line.

Here are your entries for today. After writing them down, watch the two videos about the assembly line. The second one is a comedy spoof by Charlie Chaplin. He was the first famous “silent film” star. It shows how working on the assembly line could really stink!

1912 – The greatest cookie ever is invented. (Google “What cookie was invented in 1912?” to find out)

1912 – The Titanic sinks.  (Humans thought they could outsmart nature.)

1913 – Ford “pioneers” the assembly line.

Imagine a world without plastic. Would the world be better or worse? All the desks in our classroom, that cell phone you’re carrying around, maybe even the mattress you sleep on at home…were it not for plastic, many things either wouldn’t exist or they’d be made out of something else such as wood or steel. Imagine how heavy the device you’re using to read this would be! Watch this video about the invention of plastic, and then the video about exploring the North Pole. 

1907—Bakelite, the first commercially-made plastic, is invented (entry)

1909 Hensen & Peary are the first to locate the North Pole (entry)

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” This proverb is demonstrated in the invention of the ice cream cone. When a person selling waffles at a fair saw the ice cream vendor run out of dishes, he quickly figured out a solution. (You’ll read about it in Classwork today.) That’s often the way inventions come to be.

1904: Ice Cream Cone is invented. (Entry)

1906: The San Francisco earthquake kills 3,000 people and destroys 28,000 buildings. Nearly everyone—250,000 people—lose their homes. (Entry)

Watch the video about the SF earthquake of 1906.  On the left it shows footage from a street car before the quake, and on the right it shows it after the quake.  It’s quite a contrast. Like the Chicago fire and other disasters, the quake reminded people that human safety is most important when constructing buildings and cities.

1903 – Wright Brothers are the first to successfully fly a motorized airplane. (Entry)

Like other inventions, lots of people were working on developing an airplane, but the Wright Brothers were the ones who made it work. Also like other inventions we’ve talked about, later inventors built of the Wright’s work. Jumbo jets, military jets, and even the space shuttle owe their existence to the Wright Brothers.

 

The paper clip shows almost perfectly the nature of invention. First, it was the solution to a simple problem. Second, people were already using a variety of versions. Third, the man who gets credit for “inventing” it was simply the first person to “patent” it (that means he filed the paperwork claiming it as his). Finally, the original invention has been improved upon over the decades. Almost all inventions follow these four steps.  By the way, the most common paperclip in use today is called the Gem paperclip. It’s been around since about 1870.

Another invention that went through the same process was the automobile. As early as 1830, lots of people and companies were working on a “horse-less carriage,” but most people give Karl Benz (you know, of Mercedes-Benz fame) the credit in 1893. And obviously, it has gone through a lot of improvements. No one invention has more changed our world than the car (although these days the Internet might rival it).

1900 (or so) – The invention of the paper clip (supposedly)

1900 (or so) – The invention of the automobile

The Spanish-American War is kind of complicated. It started when the U.S.S. Maine exploded and sunk in Havana Harbor in Cuba, which was owned by Spain. Newspapers were anxious for a big story so they reported that the Spanish government had done the sinking. That became an excuse for the U.S. to invade Cuba. In reality, the Maine sank because of a boiler accident on board, but American businesses wanted the U.S. to take over Cuba because they had so many investments there. In other words, it was all about money.

One good thing that came from the war was that Teddy Roosevelt became famous and as a result, eventually the president of the U.S. If you recall from our Mount Rushmore play, he did a lot of good things while president. Write the entry into your journal and then watch the videos. (The second one is here.) They’re both pretty complicated for fifth grade, but you’ll hear a handful of important things.

1898 – The Spanish-American War in Cuba gives the United States new territories including Guam, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and The Philippines. Theodore Roosevelt rises to fame after leading the charge up Kettle Hill in the Battle of San Juan Hill. (entry)

 

 

Your learned earlier in our studies about the Civil War being the bloodiest war in American history–even today! Well, Clara Burton worked as a battlefield nurse. She saw first hand all that bloodshed. She dedicated herself to helping all those wounded men, earning the nickname “The Angel of the Battlefield.” After the way she starts the American Red Cross, an organization dedicated to helping people during disasters (and war). The second entry is about the invention of basketball. It’s the only sport where we know for sure who invented it (well, other than District 6 Floor Hockey, that is). Watch both videos (they’re short). 

1881 – Clara Barton, a Civil War battlefield nurse, sees the need starts the American Red Cross.

1891 – James Naismith invents basketball.

So Chicago burned down because people had to use kerosene lanterns for light. If only the invention of the light bulb had come a bit sooner!  Thomas Edison is credited with “inventing” the light bulb, but lots of people all over the world were working on such a thing. He was just the first inventor to get it to work. Also, Edison himself was the “boss” of a small laboratory of inventors. In reality, his employees were the ones who actually made the bulb work. He was the “brains behind the business” of inventing, and became wealthy and famous as a result. That’s often how “inventing” works.

1879 – Thomas Edison “invents” the light bulb. (entry)

While all those little towns were being built in the Wild West, on the East Coast there were already big cities such as Philadelphia and New York that had already been around for over 100 years. A ramshackle building might have been super in Central Point, but in Chicago, people were building skyscrapers. The first was just 10 stories tall, tiny by today’s standards, but it was built using a new technique called the “internal skeleton.” Part of what made it happen was the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Because most of Chicago had been built out of wood, a catastrophic fire burned down half the town! Consequently, smart people looked for new ways to build using steel and brick.

After writing down these two entries, watch the videos (one of them stars Lauren Tarshis) and click on the graph.

1871- The Great Chicago Fire burns a third of the city, kills 300 people, and changes how cities are built.

1883 – First skyscraper is built in Chicago. It’s a whopping 10 stories tall

 

 

Just like Jacksonville, a lot of Southern Oregon towns didn’t start out with the names they have today. Ever heard of Gasburg or Tailholt? Sure you have. You just know their modern names.

1852—Ashland Mills grows up around a flour mill.

1853—First public school in southern Oregon. One room school house.

1856—Eden Precinct founded. People start calling it Gasburg (presumably because people there were braggarts), so it later changes its name to Phoenix.

1872—Eagle Point

1876—Tailholt (later becomes the City of Rogue River)

1883—Medford is formed near the railroad. The station was there, so people start moving there instead of Jacksonville. It’s why Medford became the biggest city.

1884—Gold Hill

Southern Oregon had all kinds of different little “Wild West” towns. Cities like Spikenard, Antioch, Climax, and Beagle have all disappeared. Here is the basic history of the ones that survived and grew into the towns you know. There is so much more about Rogue Valley history I’d be able to share were we back in class, so many interesting stories, but this will have to do. For your journal entry, copy in everything that isn’t (written in parentheses).

1840’s –Settlers begin arriving here via the Applegate Trail. (Most had been on the Oregon Trail but either veered off toward the Rogue Valley, or when they found Oregon City too crowded, headed south).

1851 – Table Rock City is founded around a mining camp. Despite being a true “Wild West Town,”  it becomes the county seat and the area’s most important city. (That means the courthouse, the jail, and most of the people were there.) Today it is called Jacksonville.

1851 – Central Point is founded at the crossroads between the road from Jville to Sams Valley and the California/Oregon “highway” (the road from Oregon City to Sacramento—today it is the I-5 freeway).

You’ve heard about a few Wild West towns. How did those towns end up where they were? As the west was being “settled,” what caused towns to spring up out of nowhere? Here’s your entry for today:

Six Reasons Cities Sprang Up: 1. At the beginning, end, or along the routes taken by wagon trains and settlers. Oregon City, for example, is at the end of the Oregon Trail. Dodge City was at the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail. (The picture below is along the Oregon Trail. The town of Kansaspedia, Kansas grew up around the place where wagons were ferried across the river).

2. Along the route of the rapidly expanding railroad. Medford became a “boomtown” because the railroad put a depot there. Because Pendelton had a depot, cattle drives ended there, which caused business to boom.

3. Around gold and silver mines. Tombstone, for example. Jacksonville, too.

4. Where two rivers met. Water was essential to civilization, and if the waterway was navigable, that was even better.

5. Around military forts. The military could put a fort in the middle of nowhere and a town would grow up around it. People wanted to be close by for safety.

6. Due to homesteading. When settlers got free land and developed their farms, other people moved in to sell them supplies.

1872 – Dodge City, Kansas, is founded on the site of Fort Dodge, which had been built to protect the Santa Fe Trail. (Entry #1)

1879 – Tombstone, Arizona, grows up around a silver mine. Becomes known as a “wicked” town of quick wealth, gun fights, gambling, and corrupt police. (Entry #2)

I suspect Dodge and Tombstone are about as famous as they come when it comes to Wild West towns. You know that phrase, “Get out a Dodge”? Well, they’re talking about Dodge City. Things got so wild there that the people finally made some rules. You had to turn in your guns at the sheriff’s office when you came to town, and you got run out of town if you caused any trouble. Dodge City was where the trail to Santa Fe, New Mexico started, so to protect people coming and going, the Cavalry built a fort there. The town grew up around the fort.

Tombstone grew up around a silver mine. Fellas would go out to the mines, find silver, and come into town to spend it. Just like in the Gold Rush, the miners weren’t the ones who got rich. It was the saloon owners who charged a fortune for a drink. It was the gamblers who took all the silver in card games. And it was the gunslingers who simply took whatever they wanted. Bullies ran the show. Tombstone was so bad that even the sheriff and his deputies were gamblers and gunslingers. 

Wild West Towns. No doubt you’ve heard of wild west towns like Tombstone, Arizona, and Dodge City, Kansas, but two of the toughest towns were right here in Oregon!

1845 – Portland founded on the site of a Chinook Indian campground. By a flip of the coin, it was decided that it would be named after Portland, Maine, rather than Boston, Massachusetts. The town had been called “Stumptown” because settlers had cut down just about every tree in the area to build houses for all those folks completing the Oregon Trail. (Entry #1)

1869 – Pendleton grows around a railroad stop. To get cattle shipped back east, Cowboys would drive their cattle to the rail yard. Once there, the cowboys got paid, so people started businesses nearby where cowboys could spend all there money. Places like taverns (bars) did well, and pretty soon, Pendleton had more taverns than just about any place in the west. Imagine all those drunken cowboys! Pendleton was a wild and dangerous place! (Entry #2)

1890—After Sitting Bull is killed while being arrested, fighting breaks out. It leads to the Wounded Knee Massacre. Nearly 300 Natives are slaughtered by the U.S. Cavalry. The Indian Wars end. (Entry)

Sitting Bull, if you recall, fled to Canada after the Battle of Little Bighorn. He later joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and because Bill took responsibility for him, the Government didn’t try to go after him. Later, though, when he was no longer part of the show, he returned to the reservation in South Dakota where his people now lived. When the Sioux Indians started practicing some of their old ceremonial dances, the Government became worried that they were planning something. They decided to arrest all the chiefs. They sent 40 “Tribal Police Officers” to arrest Sitting Bull. They killed him during the arrest. The Sioux people knew this would lead to more violence, so they headed for a neighboring reservation where they thought they’d be safe. On the way there they were intercepted by the Cavalry, who had been sent to take their weapons. In what history describes as a botched operation, the scene became ugly and in a matter of minutes, almost all of the Indians had been killed. Across the country, all other Indians saw that there was no hope of standing up to the Government.

1877 – Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians refuse to be sent to a reservation. They try to escape to Canada where the hope to join with Sitting Bull and the Sioux. After a 108 day, 1,700 mile journey, they are captured 40 miles from Canada. (Entry)

The Nez Perce (which means “pierced nose”) lived in the Wallowa region of NE Oregon. The land there is rich farm land, so the United States wanted it for white settlers. They demanded the Nez Perce move to a reservation, but the tribe refused. Rather than fight, they attempted to flee to Canada. They circled around in the mountains with the Cavalry in pursuit, defending themselves when attacked but evading capture for more than three months. Finally, though, just a few days from Canada, Joseph saw that his people were starving and freezing in the mountain snow, so he surrendered. His speech is among the most famous in American history. It shows how unfair the United States was to the native people. Watch the first video. It is a Hollywood dramatization of Joseph’s surrender and speech, but it is a powerful and fairly accurate portrayal. The second video is optional. It gives a short history of what happened AFTER Joseph surrendered, including the reading of a speech he gave in Washington D.C.


1876- After settlers find gold on Indian lands, the U.S. violates its treaty with the Sioux Indians and demand they move to a smaller reservation. Sitting Bull refuses, so U.S. troops begin attacking Indians. Sitting Bull’s warriors respond by attacking and killing General Custer and all his troops at the Battle of Little Big Horn. (Entry)

Nasty stuff, these Indian wars. The U.S. would frequently make treaties (agreements) with tribes in which the tribe would give up most of its land and agree to live in a smaller (and usually worse) place. But later on, somebody would decide that the tribe’s newer space was valuable to settlers, so the U.S. would come back and kick the tribe out again. Sitting Bull finally had enough. Sitting Bull was chief of the Sioux (Soo) tribe. The Cavalry went looking for them but came across the Cheyenne tribe. The Cheyenne (Shy-Ann) tribe was following orders to move to a new reservation, but the Calvary attacked them anyway, killing hundreds. The U.S. perspective was that all Indians were the same and they were all bad.  At Little Big Horn, General Custer rode his troops into a trap. The Sioux, and now the Cheyenne too, killed every single soldier. Of course, once that happened, the U.S. was that much more determined to capture the Indians.  Stay tuned…

1873—Captain Jack, whose real name was Kintpuash, and fifty Modoc families refuse to share a reservation with their enemies, the Klamath Indians. They fight the US Cavalry from the Lava Beds. After 6 months they finally surrender. Jack and some of his warriors are executed for killing General Canby. (Entry)

You guys already know a lot about Captain Jack from our field trips to the Lava Beds. That the US wanted the Modoc and Klamath to live together showed that the Government saw all Indians as the same, a racist attitude. That they wanted the Modoc’s territory once again showed that white settlers believed they had the right to take whatever they wanted from the Indians. The six month Modoc War was the most expensive war in the history of America, which shows that our Government is often foolish with tax money. It spent far more money fighting Jack than the land was worth.

Two things to think about regarding how Jack killed Gen. Canby: First, newspapers and magazines all over the country were following the Modoc War. Americans were starting to say that the Government needed to leave the Indians alone. Had Jack held out a little longer, the Government probably would have given in to public pressure and retreated.  However, Jack was surrounded by some bad dudes who convinced him to choose violence. They talked him into killing the General.  Once he did that, public opinion shifted from being in support of Jack to being against him.

1853: Chief Sam signs the Table Rock Treaty, giving the Indians “ownership” of the Table Rocks. Three years later, the Government takes the Table Rocks and sends the Natives to a reservation elsewhere. By 1860, almost all Indian lands in the U.S. have been claimed by settlers and most Indians have been sent to reservations. The “Indian Wars” continue through 1878. (Entry)

Another thing that made the West wild was the existence of Native Americans. As the natives watched settlers move in and take over their land, many of them grew angry. Some tribes became aggressive and attacked settlers. Other Indians simply moved out of the way, but eventually there wasn’t any place left to go! Whatever the case, the U.S. Government wanted the Natives removed so the United States could grow as white settlers took over the land.

In Sams Valley, the government made a deal with what they called the “Rogue River” Indians. They gave them the land around Table Rock and called it a reservation. In reality, they took all the Native lands—all of southern Oregon and Northern California. The four tribes involved were limited to just Sams Valley. They also built Fort Lane between Jacksonville and Sams Valley to keep settlers from bothering the Indians.

When some gold minors from Yreka captured and murdered an Indian boy in Jacksonville, tensions grew. There were battles, called “The Rogue River Wars.” The Army decided to move the Indians out, but Chief Sam and his people were able to hide themselves on the Table Rocks.  Eventually, though, the Natives were captured and sent by boat from Port Orford to yet another reservation near Siletz, Oregon.

Chief Sam of the “Shasta” Indians.

1882—The outlaw Jesse James is killed by members of his own gang for the $10,000 reward. James became a folk legend, but make no mistake: he was a cold-blooded killer. (Entry)

James and his brother Frank were Confederate Bushwackers during the Civil War. (That means they fought for the South, raiding towns and killing innocent civilians to spread fear.) When the war was over, they put all that violence training to use as outlaws.  Over 16 years they were credited with 11 bank robberies, 7 train robberies, and 3 stage robberies. They killed a lot of innocent people along the way. People like to pretend James was some kind of Robin Hood, but he was just another nasty Wild West creep.

There were a lot of famous outlaws in the Wild West, such as Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch (shown below), but almost all of them met their fate of death or imprisonment. As laws were put in place and enforced, it became harder for outlaw bullies to get away with their crimes, which made the West a lot less wild–and a lot safer.

1881- The outlaw known as Billy the Kid, who’s real name was Henry McCarty, is killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. He was a 21 year old, cold-blooded killer who thought a life of crime would make him happy and rich. Instead it mad him miserable and dead. (Entry)

Outlaws were part of what made the West Wild. There were few lawmen, so the law was rarely enforced. What happens when there aren’t rules and laws? The bullies take over.

1870’s Buffalo Bill Cody starts his “Wild West Show.” He toured big cities presenting re-enactments of what was going on in the Wild West. Among the stars were Annie Oakley, famous for being a woman marksman, and Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief. (Entry)

Bill Cody was an entertainer, and he knew that people in places like New York and Philadelphia would pay big money to experience life in the Wild West without having to actually go there. Watch this real footage from one of his later shows to see what it would have been like. Near the end, they re-enact a battle between the U.S. Calvary and the Sioux Indians.

If you moved out west back in the Wild West days, how’d you get your mail?  Watch my hokey little video to find out.

1860’s Pony Express operates. Hardy young riders rode 75-100 miles a day, changing horses every 15-25 miles. Route from Missouri to Cali took 15 to 17 days.  In 1861, the Express is put out of business by the telegraph. (Entry)

The telegraph, by the way, was kind of the beginning of that fancy cell phone you have in your hands. Telegraphs eventually became the telephone Alexander Bell invented, which eventually led to the Internet (over the phone lines), which eventually got to where we are today. So, when you’re texting with your own Uncle Mel back in New York, be thankful for ol’ Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse Code, which made the telegraph possible.

Use Morse Code to figure out this message: 

— ꔷ ꔷ       — — —        — ꔷ        —     

ꔷ — — ꔷ       ꔷ — ꔷ ꔷ        ꔷ —        — ꔷ — —

ꔷ ꔷ — ꔷ      — — —      ꔷ — ꔷ     —      — ꔷ      ꔷ ꔷ     —       ꔷ   

Now try to spell your own first name using Morse code.    It’s easier using a pencil. You can share a pic in Docs.

Morse Code

“Git along there, little doggie!” Cowboys added more wildness to the West. Rustling (stealing cows) and range wars (fighting over places to graze the cattle) caused lots of problems. Cowboys had the task of “driving” their herds to railroad towns so they could sell their cattle in big cities. It took days and weeks and covered hundreds of miles. Imagine if you were in charge of getting 500 cows from someplace like the other side of Crater Lake all the way down here to the train depot in Medford?  That’d be some challenge, wouldn’t it? Imagine if it were three times that far, or even five hundred miles? That’s what cowboys had to do all the time. Watch the video for some great details.

1850’s-1890’s: Cowboys (actually called cattlemen) become common, especially in Texas where longhorn cattle are raised. (Entry) (Click on the image for video)

Yee Ha! It’s Wild West Week in Room 15 (Say that three times fast, Elmer)

All those folks who followed the Oregon Trail west to California, Oregon, and states in between soon discovered that the west was as wild as all get out. One of things that made it wild was the invention of the Colt 44. Remember when we talked about those old muskets in the Revolutionary War, how you got one shot and then you had to do all that work to reload? Well, when Samuel Colt invented his pistol, all of a sudden you could fire off six shots in just a few seconds. A fella could do a lot of damage in a hurry. Guns are dangerous and scary. Put one of those in the hands of somebody looking for trouble, well, no wonder the West was so wild! In the movies they have gunslingers whipping their Colts around like they’re super light, but the 44 weighed four and a half pounds! That’s like a 2 liter bottle of soda. Imagine lugging that around on your hip all the time!

1836 – Samuel Colt invents the Colt 44 revolver. (Entry)

1862-The Battle of Antietam, 23,500 men are killed or wounded in the bloodiest day in US history.

1862—Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, which declares all slaves free. It isn’t until 1865 that the 13th Amendment is added to the Constitution

1865 — General Lee surrenders. The war is over.

1865 – Five days later, Lincoln is assassinated.

1868 – 14th Amendment gives former slaves citizenship. (Entry)

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, April 9, 1865.

Copy down this T-chart exactly as shown. Note that the rebel flag is now considered a racist symbol. Also, note that the Southerners were called “rebels.” A rebels is someone who is rebelling against authority. In the case of the South, they were rebelling against the United States. By attacking Fort Sumpter, they were committing an act of treason. That is, they were turning against their own country. Look up rebel, treason, and patriot on Google.

1860-61 U.S. Civil War: War to prevent the southern states from “quitting” the U.S. and becoming their own country, which was called “The Confederate States of America.” It was mostly about slavery.  (Entry) It was the bloodiest war in American history. Almost 700,000 people died. It left the South in ruins. But it made slavery illegal and kept the country whole. The video is a quick look at the Civil War. Though it’s made for kids, it includes some disturbing images.

For your entry, copy all this down (unless it’s in parentheses):

1860 – Abraham Lincoln elected the 16th president of the U.S.
* Lost many political races before becoming pres (he never gave up)
* Known as “the common man’s leader” (means he was a regular guy)
* Six feet 4 inches tall (that’s like Mr. Davenport)
* Born in a log cabin (that means he grew up poor)
* Turned down governorship of Oregon * Known for his sense of humor (liked to crack jokes)
* Said, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” (Meaning, slavery is wrong)
* Said, “A house divided cannot stand.” (Meaning, the U.S. will not survive if it splits in two)

1857 – The Dred Scott Case. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that slaves, such as Dred Scott, were NOT U.S. citizens and therefore were not protected by the Bill of Rights. (Entry)  

One of the consequences of this decision was that even if a slave escaped to freedom in the North, slave hunters from the South could capture them and drag them back to the South (where they were typically beaten or even killed). Another consequence is mentioned in this video:

1852–Harriet Beecher Stowe, the daughter of an anti-slavery preacher, publishes her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which tells about the evils of slavery. It sells 300,000 copies. When Lincoln meets her he says, “So you’re the little lady that started this great big war.” (Entry). Those of you who want to be writers, this shows how powerful writers can be!

1849 — Harriet Tubman escapes slavery and becomes a “conductor” on the “Underground Railroad,” a secret system used to help African-Americans escape to freedom in the North. (Entry) Watch the video and then tell me why you think Harriet’s two brothers would RETURN to the plantation after they’d escaped?

1848—Henry “Box” Brown mails himself to freedom inside a crate, then starts speaking out against slavery. (Entry) Although this Kevin Hart video about Henry is meant to be humorous (it is), there was nothing funny about Henry’s escape. He nearly died inside the box (he was in there for 27 hours), and had he been discovered he no doubt would have been hanged.

1847—Frederick Douglass starts the North Star anti-slavery newspaper. Like many former slaves, he traveled around the North speaking about the evils of slavery. An abolitionist is someone who worked to abolish (or end) slavery. (Entry)

Watch this 3 minute video about the man. He’s a model of our character trait, perseverance.

frederick-douglass-quote-about-knowledge-and-slavery | Goalcast

h1830’s–An escaped slave who went by the name Sojourner Truth travels around the northern U.S. speaking about the evils of slavery. (That was your entry).

Sojourner means “traveler.” Her most famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” is read here by Maya Angelo. Listen to it at least TWICE. It’s beautiful.

What would you have done had you been a slave? In 1831, a slave named Nat Turner decided to fight back. By this time in history there were more slaves than white people in the South, but it didn’t matter. The slaves were powerless against well-armed masters. This incident shows how violent history can be.

1831 – Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion. He and his followers kill more than 50 white people but they are eventually caught. Turner and more than 50 other participating slaves are executed. Because Turner was educated, new laws are then passed that make it against the law to teach black people how to read and write. (that’s your entry)

Also note that because of Turner’s rebellion, more than 100 additional slaves who HADN’T participated were murdered by angry mobs.

Nat Turner - Rebellion, Movie & Death - Biography

Slavery & The Civil War (Write this heading in your Composition Journal)

1619 — The first slaves are brought to Jamestown (this shows that slavery was a part of American history from the very beginning). By 1830, the slave population in the United States was already at 2 million. These people were all taken at gunpoint from their homes in Africa, stuffed on ships, and sold to Americans. (Entry)

1875–Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone. It shows how initially simple inventions grow and change over time. (Entry)

Think about the cell phone you have in your hand. It started there with cans and a string!

  • Cans and a string? The first telephone!
  • Look at all these phones.
  • Here’s Bell calling his assistant, Watson (who’s in the next room).

1869 — Birth of professional baseball. First mention of “baseball” in the US was in 1791, but no one is certain about who invented it or when it was first played. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first team to get paid for playing.

(Here’s a bit of baseball fun.)

This illustration shows men playing baseball at a resort in New York in 1843.

1853 — Invention of the potato chip in Saratoga Springs, NY. (entry)

The potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum, the chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. Fried potatoes, like “jojos” today, were popular at the restaurant and one day a diner complained that the fries were too thick. Although Crum made a thinner batch, the customer was still unsatisfied. Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy – and potato chips were invented!

Crum’s chips were originally called Saratoga Chips and potato crunches. They were soon packaged and sold in New England. In the 1920s, a salesman named Herman Lay sold potato chips from the trunk of his car. In 1926, Laura Scudder invented a wax paper potato chip bag to keep the chips fresh and crunchy, making them even more popular.