Category Archives: Pre-1800 America

The birth of our nation was not without its growing pains.

The Brief Existence of Franklin, America’s Craziest State

“Fine, if you won’t let us be a state, we’ll do our own thing.”

~Citizens of Franklin       

franklin map

Americans (ourselves absolutely included) are garbage at geography.  Our hypothesis for this is that we’ve had to learn the name and (relative) location of 50 states, and that’s just a lot of names and places to process.  America’s pretty big, you know.  People from other countries should learn to give us a break.  But this is not an article about geography (thank God), but rather, about how we very nearly had 51 states that we would have been forced to memorize in grade school.

This is the story of Franklin, the almost-14th state of the United States of America, who paid government officials in deer pelts.

The Brief Existence of Franklin, America’s Craziest State

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Bermuda Gunpowder Plot

“Well, we’re not NOT stealing gunpowder.”

~Colonel Henry Tucker

bermuda stamp

Bermuda is a small island nation some 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina  primarily known for the fact that planes and boats historically like to disappear around it.  But, it also has impacted history with America more than just being responsible for the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly (that was a Bermuda Triangle thing, right?).  Bermuda was colonized with the British around the same time we were, and while they’re still technically a British Overseas Territory, they have a shared history with America, and have even been known to help us out on occasion.

One such occasion was the Bermuda Gunpowder Plot of 1775, where America’s young revolution was aided by some Bermudians who decided to shout, “Fuck you, dad” to all of the United Kingdom.

The Bermuda Gunpowder Plot

Continue reading

The 1778 American Invasion of Whitehaven, England

“Yeah I’ll invade England, whatever, I do what I want, you ain’t the boss of me.”

~John Paul Jones

whitehaven

Considering that we wouldn’t have ended up becoming a country if the end result had gone a different way, it’s surprising how little about the Revolutionary War the average American is aware of.  We know about the Declaration of Independence, and Concord and Lexington at the start of things.  We know Bunker Hill.  We know that Benedict Arnold was an asshole, and that Nathanael Greene was a badass, and that Yorktown pretty much sealed the whole deal for us.  But apart from the founding fathers, and some iconic imagery of George Washington, when we think of the American Revolution we think of the early battles up until, say, Saratoga…and then, us eventually winning.

There were four years of war between Saratoga and Yorktown, and in general our history books kind of gloss over that period.  Pretty much the only people talking about that time period were, say, the screenwriters for The Patriot, and even with that you’d not immediately recall that the climax of that movie was 1781’s Battle of Cowpens.  We bring this up not to shame our history teachers—we get it, there’s a lot of important stuff to get through, and you might as well focus on the greatest hits—but rather to remind America that there was a lot of badassery going down in the American Revolution that gets swept under the rug.  We’re here to lift up that rug and show you those awesome, awesome dustballs.

Let’s talk about the time America invaded England.

The 1778 American Invasion of Whitehaven, England

 statue of whitehaven Continue reading

Get Your Hands Off My Bottle: A Short History of the Whiskey Rebellion

“Do.  Not.  Fuck.  With.  Our.  Whiskey.”

~18th Century Americans/19th Century Americans/20th Century Americans/You Get The Gist

whiskey rebellion

America was founded under a few core principles.  Now, it’s been a while since we’ve skimmed through the Declaration of Independence, and if you put a gun to our head we’d still not be able to tell you what the Third Amendment of the Constitution does, but we’re pretty sure America is all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through the imbibement of alcohol.  Nope, that’s right, we nailed it on the first try, don’t even try to ask Google if that’s right they’ll just steal your cookies and put them on boat servers and sell them to Nigerian Princes (besides being keen historians, we’re also internet experts).

We bring this up because we’d like to tell you about a very important history tale, from America’s distant past.  Imagine, if you will, a time when America’s very existence could be threatened by even the smallest of threats.  Picture a government trying to tax our booze to pay for war debts.  And imagine people rising up and saying, “Get your hands off our fucking booze” with enough anger and violence that it marks the only time that an acting President led troops to battle.

Yes, that’s right, we’re here to talk about the Whiskey Rebellion, the relatively minor yet strangely important hiccup in American history that, naturally, was centered around our nation’s love of alcohol.

Get Your Hands Off My Bottle:  A Short History of the Whiskey Rebellion

washington Continue reading