Monday, August 31, 2009

The Whiskey Rebellion and such

Farmers and settlers in rural Pennsylvania were not happy. They hated the tax on whiskey.

They hated it because they made whiskey and they made money off of whiskey. Everyone LOVED whiskey. So their reaction was to attack tax collectors and burn down barns!

These farmers also talked of creating their own nation. And then Washington steps in [40].

Washington came with a militia, the farmers were like, wow, we made him mad....crap. The farmers gave up and the rebellion was over. The lesson was learned; Do NOT mess with George Washington.

Washington dealt with other issues in his presidency...such as what to do when there is conflict abroad.

In 1789 the French Revolution began. This was an out right mess. Lots of people died and there were 95,000 new governments established in France [41]. Then France and England were at war [43]. Both Britain and France wanted the U.S. on their side. Washington opted to stay neutral. They were a new country, they had their own problems.

After 2 terms as president, Washington was done. In his farewell address he told the country to stay out of political parties, and foreign affairs [43].

After Washington was president in comes John Adams....

[40] He said, "Oh hell no"
[41] give or take a few
[42] as usual
[43] which of course we didn't.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Dare You Tax my Whiskey and Snuff!

Alexander Hamilton proposed 2 taxes. One would be a tariff. This is a tax on imported goods, like those Persian rugs you love so much. The second was an excise tax, this taxed liquor, sugar, snuff, and carriages. This was not popular.

Eventually, there was a compromise. The nations capital would be moved from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. This made the south happy, maybe those taxes weren't so terrible after all.

Then that Hamilton had another idea. He wanted a National Bank, was there anything in the Constitution about a bank? NO! But, Hamilton said it was covered under the necessary and proper clause.

Jefferson thought that was redic. But even though Jefferson felt this way, Washington still signed the bank bill and people no longer had to burry their money in a mason jar in the backyard [38]

So, we were on our way, things were going smoothly..oh, never mind, there's a bump in the road [39].

[38] Even though its how I prefer to do it..
[39] and it smells like whiskey

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ugghh again?

Now America had a Constitution, a Bill of Rights and we need the right guy to lead our awesome country. Who should this be? Why...George Washington, That's who!

On April 30th of 1789, Washington was inaugurated in New York City. It was a party, there were ever fireworks!

Washington named members of the very first cabinet [35]. This is a tradition that still happens today. The first members were Henry Knox [36], secretary of war, Thomas Jefferson, secretary state, Alexander Hamilton, secretary of treasury, and Edmund Randolph was attorney general.

After this, Congress met and the Judicial Branch was formed. And then...taxes [37]. Yes, again, the U.S. was in debt because of the Revolution.

[35] You can't keep cereal in this cabinet!
[36] The "Knoxinator"
[37] Again?!

A Break from Stick Figures...

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.- Ted Kennedy

Rest in Peace.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Bill-o-Rights

The Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, it was a list of freedoms and said what the government could or could not do. The addition of this made the Anti-Federalists feel a lot more comfortable.

So reader, I'm sure you are wondering "what are the first 10 amendments?!". Well, lucky for you, I know and I could be delighted to tell you.

1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. This is the basis of America, we are not commies![30]

2. Right to bare arms. You can have a gun! or wear a furry suit and pretend you're a bear!!! GARRR!!!

3. Soldiers can't sleep in your house, that is, unless you want them to.

4. No illegal searches and seizures, for an example, watch Law & Order

5. You can't incriminate yourself, sort of a whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas type a deal.

6. If you commit a crime [31], you have the right to a fair and speedy trial.

7. This one is wordy, the gist is if there were legal errors in your trial, then the trial is unfair [32].

8. No excessive bail. If you stole a pack of gum, your bail will not be a million dollars. Unless the gum was attached to a person, and the said person is missing, and then the said persons body was found in your freezer. Was the gum really worth it?[33]

9. This one makes some growing room for the Constitution, things change man.

and finally...

10. Powers not given to federal government are given to states, like liquor laws, gambling, and prostitution [34].

[30] Damn Right?
[31] Shame on you!
[32] or possibly a farce!
[33] No.
[34] You don't have to admit to any of this, just plead the 5th!

A Compromise of Greatness

So what to do? How could the drafters of the Constitution possibly make everyone happy? Well, Connecticut had an idea, it was an idea to compromise, perhaps even a great compromise!

And so, The Great Compromise was born. It decided that there would be 3 branches of government! The Legislative would be bicameral! The House of Representatives would be based on population while the Senate would be equal representation! And yes, slaves would be counted as 3/5ths of people!!!!!

Then it was ratification time [29]. More debating came out of this with Federalists and Anti-Federalists. James Madison was a Federalist. Federalists wanted a strong central government. The Anti-Federalists feared a strong central government.

Because of the fear of a strong central government, the framers decided to add the Bill-o-Rights. Everyone thought this was a good idea, they were happy.

[29] Ratify, pas it, yay!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Jersey v. Virginia

At the convention many important things were discussed, such as what the national bird should be. Benjamin Franklin suggested the turkey[23]. Yes...the turkey, or as you may call it, Thanksgiving dinner.

After much debate, Ben had to give in and it was decided that the Bald Eagle would be a better option.

After they got the important stuff out of the way they had to figure out the minor details of how to run their government.

One plan was the New Jersey Plan! This plan called for a unicameral[24] legislature, and representation to be determined by population. The small states thought this was a dandy idea. New Jersey had never been so proud[25].

The small states were a go, but the bigger states weren't having it.

In comes the Virginia Plan. This called for a bicameral legislature [26], one house would be represented equally while the other would depend on population of state or how much money it had. The bigger states thought this was fantastic, they hoisted Virginia on their shoulders while others stood in awe and slow clapped.

The small states were alert and on their toes. They wanted to know how the slaves would factor in.

Slave states said they should be counted, non slave states said it wasn't fair. The slave states said of course it was fair, after all, the slaves were people too![27] Eventually a compromise was met, the Three Fifths Compromise.

The decision was made that for every 5 slaves, only 3 of them would be counted in population. Or three out of 5 slaves were considered to be real people! [28]

[23] I'm sure the turkey was a good idea, especially, because Ben was probably drunk at the time.
[24] Uni is a prefix for one, such as a unicorn or a unicycle!
[25] Except for when Springsteen and Bon Jovi made it big
[26] and Bi is a prefix for 2, like bicycle so we would have two legislative houses!
[27] This was sort of a double standard, a sad double standard
[28] Cue America the Beautiful

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hark! A Convention!

The young country realized it needed to stick together so a Constitutional Convention was called.

In 1787 delegates from the states[19] gathered in Philadelphia to figure out what to do about the Articles. It was decided that there was nothing that could save the Articles, it was better to start over. And so they did...

Now, lets introduce some of these famous men that would Frame our Constitution.

Meet Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin...

And...James Madison and George Washington!

[19] Except Rhode Island, they had a busy social schedule.

Articles of Not Good-eration

Now the new Americans had to figure out what to do with their government. They did know what they didn't want...

They decided on a Confederation, and their government was found in the Articles of Confederation. The idea was that the states would be a league of great friendship. They would giggle into the night, play truth or dare, and light as a feather stiff as a board.

They would be 13 best friends, sharing hopes, dreams, and fears. They of course would have absolutley no problems at all...

The problem was, since the Americans didn't want a King, they made the central government pretty weak and left the states to run things. This method ran into trouble...

such as, states coining their own money...

Other issues with the Articles were the central government could not tax, or regulate trade, or listen to Yanni.

The Artcles would not last, the friendship of states were becoming frenemies [18].

The United States Government needed a change before things got worse...

[18] A friend who is also an enemy. i.e. Cady Heron and Regina George in Mean Girls.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome to America

Finally after years of struggle, General Cornwallis surrendered to the Colonists at Yorktown.

The Colonists had won their war of independence. People were dancing in the streets [16]

The war was officially over with the Treaty of Paris [17]. This recognized America's independence, set America's boundaries and the colonists and British were at peace.

Now the United States was free from those lame taxes, it was time to party like it was 1699, but, now its time to figure out what to do with America.

[16] But not the Keith Richards/David Bowie version
[17] One of the 7000 Treaties of Paris

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What Goes Up...Must Come Down..

After the Christmas night attack the morale of the Colonists was boosted.

The Colonists experienced defeat and triumph during this time, but they were determined.

The Colonial victory at Saratoga proved to be most important for the Colonists. The French had agreed to be their ally and help defeat the British.

There was more and more fighting, hardships, despair, the usual. The British gained momentum, then the Colonists did, then the British, then the Colonists, it was like a roller coaster...

Or like tug of war!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not so Silent Night

The war raged on but the British were making mistakes. They underestimated the Continental Army, their uniforms were bright red, and the colonists were fighting for a cause, fighting to be free.

Winter came, and it was cold. The Colonists were hungry and freezing. They camped out outside of Trenton (which is New Jersey) and huddled up for the winter.

General Washington knew something had to be done and he decided on a Christmas present for the British.

His first thought about getting them all sweaters with reindeer on them and then another thought occurred to him.

And so, Washington and his men crossed the icy Delaware River on Christmas night.

The surprise was a hit, 1000 Germans fighting for the British had no idea what was happening.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When in the Course of Human Events

The American Revolution had a lot happen in it. A lot of prominent early U.S. figures came out of this time. I propose that we hit the highlights on this journey.

Thomas "Bring on the" Paine was a Colonist who wrote a pamphlet known as "Common Sense". It called for a complete break from England. He denounced the King and wanted to be able to elect their own government.

This seemed like a grand idea! More and more Colonists agreed and so it would be.

Enter July of 1776 and a man named Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had the task of writing something to say "Hey England...we're done."

He toiled over the perfect name and finally realized exactly what he was writing.

It was a declaration of independence...and so it would be called....The Declaration of Independence!

Jefferson wrote and wrote. He listed complaints against the King, he said all men were created equal and were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [13].

It was signed on July 4, 1776 and sent to the King. Then they shot off fireworks and grilled out.

[13]And by men he meant white men, not black men, or Native American men. Women? Please, that’s ridiculous. So even though when the constitution was first written it didn’t mention anything about black people, but it didn’t stop Will Smith from starring in the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You say you want a Revolution

After the shot was fired, even more shots followed. Eight Colonists were dead and the British marched towards Concorde. On their way back through they were met by the Colonists, they fired and over 200 British soldiers were dead, the Colonists meant business.

The Colonists joined together and named George Washington[12] the Commander of the Continental Army. Washington was from Virginia and had wooden teeth, I bet that was creepy when he smiled.

Fighting continued and the colonists decided to send an "Olive Branch" petition. This petition said they would be loyal to the King but the taxes were redic.

The King rejected it and sent more troops to Boston.

[12] He was called G-Dubs by his friends

The Shot Heard Around the World

The British were going to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, notable men of the Sons of Liberty. After that they would go to Concorde for a drink, no...wait, it was to seize gun powder.

Because Revere, Dawes, and others are good at what they do, Minute Men were ready for the British [11]. The British and the Colonists met at Lexington Green and starred at each other.

Well, evidently the awkwardness of the starring contest proved to be too much and a shot was fired. It was the shot heard around the world.

The American Revolution had begun.

[11] They got pumped by listening to Eye of the Tiger.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Minute Men eat minute rice..?

Minute Men were colonists who could be ready to go at a moments notice. The Colonists knew something was going to happen, but not when so they were always ready to hear the call of the messengers.

Listen my friends and you shall hear the midnight ride of William Dawes...that doesn't flow well, ok, how about midnight ride of Paul Revere.

William Dawes, and Paul Revere were both messengers, and it was their job to alert people of the British's movements. On the night of April 18, 1775 it was time to spring into action.

The British were mobilizing towards Lexington and Revere and Dawson were off...

They rode through towns yelling and alerting the other Colonists. Minute Men prepared to leave..well except the ones that just figured the town crier was drunk again.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How about a spot of tea?

Well, things had not gotten any better, the Colonists were angry, then another tax, a tax on dare they!

On December 16, 1773 a group who called themselves the Sons of Liberty, dressed up like Indians[9] and went aboard ships docked in Boston Harbor.
[9] How convenient…

They then threw the shipments of tea overboard. They were clever ad dubbed this the Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Tea Party didn't exactly make the British happy[10]. They retaliated by issuing the Intolerable Acts, they were just intolerable. Some of these were the closing of Boston Harbor, all town officlials were appointed by the King, and allowed trials of royal officals be moved to England.

There was more and more anger on both sides, more British soldiers were present in the area and revolution was in the air.

[10] You know how people can get when they aren’t invited to parties

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh no they didn't...

Speaking of tense...March 5, 1770 was a day that bubbled over and blood was shed. this was the day of the Boston Massacre.

It started out with Colonists heckling and throwing snowballs at British soldiers.

And then the soldiers responded by firing their muskets into the crowd....snowballs, bullets, seems reasonable.

Five people lost their lives, which really isn't a massacre, but massacre is a great word for propaganda.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Colonies

The Colonies were pretty interesting and there are many interesting stories about them. Such as the lost colony of Roanoke, or the crazy high jinks in Salem Massachusetts, where the very first "New World" >Your mom joke[8] came from. These are some examples that have made America America...lost people and accusing innocent people of witchcraft..ok, well maybe not what makes it America, but gives it some pizazz(?).

The 1700s though was a huge time for the colonies and so it is the next stop on our journey.

In 1754 there was a war, the French and Indian War. This was not between the French and Indians, but the French an dIndians and the British and the colonists, makes sense right? This was a fight for Canada and long story short, the British won.

The land in Canadian control went into the British hands. This is important because that was pretty much the end of French colonization in the New World. This made England super happy, because they hated France. A lot.

After the war with France, England had a bit of a problem, that problem was called debt, no one likes debt. So they decided to tax the colonies, they first started out with the Sugar Act. This was not popular, especially around Tea Time. You know those British and their tea. Fights would often break out in the colonies...weapon of choice? Spoons.

Other Acts and taxes followed such as the Stamp Act which taxed printed materials, like this blog if it were in a paper form. Then there was the Quartering Act, this required colonists to house and feed British troops.

After this there were more and more stipulations. The Colonists were tired of a King who didn't even live near them telling them what to do. Things were tense.

[8] “Your mom’s a witch”