Unusual facts in American history

Originally Published May 29, 2009

As I’ve been going back through the books on my shelf, as well as this lovely stack from the library, I’m finding some unusual facts that I didn’t know before. I thought I’d share a few of these with you today.
Early Settlement – Did you know that the vast majority of our ancestors didn’t come over and immediately own land? Most came over as indentured servants; their service here in the “New World” for a period of four to seven years paid for their passage over. During their service, they were fed, clothed and housed. At the end of their service, they were given land, tools, and seeds – everything to get started on their own. This applied to men and women, blacks and whites equally- slavery didn’t get into full swing until later. This was very common practice throughout the 1600s and completely voluntary.
In the early days of the Virginia Colony, six out of every seven immigrants died within MONTHS of joining the colony, due to the much different conditions between here and England. So if you can trace your ancestors to the Virginia Colony, be proud that they were clearly very hearty and healthy folk!
The United States has been put on trial for war crimes, not just once, but several times, and found guilty as well; from the Revolutionary War up through World War II. However, no serious sanctions were ever rendered against the U.S.
Future President Van Buren warned President Andrew Jackson that putting a railroad system into place in the U.S. would have dire consequences; rampant unemployment and provide a national security breach in wartime.   Not only did Jackson ignore the warning, he hired Van Buren as his Secretary of State. Van Buren became our 8th president, and the railroads progressed, finally reaching coast to coast in 1869. Van Buren’s fears were unfounded; railroads helped the country prosper and were of great use during wartime.
The Civil war should have never happened, if calmer heads had prevailed, on sheer numbers alone. The Northern states had a population of 23 million; the males between ages fifteen and forty and eligible for military service numbered 4 million. The population of the Southern states was just nine million, of which three and a half million were slaves. That left them with a potential military force of just one million, and much less actually served.   But the South was indeed tenacious –the Civil War lasts four years.

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