Sunday, May 10, 2015

The U.S. Flag  and the Pledge of Allegiance

Every country has a flag.  When the thirteen colonies declared their independence ,  they needed a new flag.  It is believed that  George Washington designed the flag and asked a friend, Mrs. Betsy Ross, to make it for him.  

This flag has three colors: red(for courage), white(for truth), and blue(for justice).  There were thirteen stars in a circle on  a blue field and thirteen red  and white stripes.  

The number of stars and the stripes  stood for the number states of beginning  of the United States.  Today the United States have the same flag , but there are fifty stars for the fifty states.

  The thirteen stripes still stand for  the first  thirteen states.  The flag stands not only for a country (The United States of America),  but also for the people , the land , and the government – a republic.  A republic is a government elected by the people.

People show their respect for the flag and for the United States when they say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag:

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the  United states of America
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation , under god, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The National Anthem

The national anthem, or song, of the U.S. is the "Star Spangled Banner."  It was written by Francis  Scott Key and is about the U.S. flag.  He was an American who was arrested  by the English in the War of 1812, which was the  second war between England and American .  He was help captive on an English ship .  The English had already burned Washington, D.C. 

Key watched the night battle against an American fort.  He kept watching to see if the American was still flying over the fort.  In the morning ,  the flag was still there.  The Americans won the war.  He wrote this song about watching the battle from an English ship:

Oh! Say , can you see, by the downs early light, 
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad  stripes  and bright stars , through the perilous fight,
O` er the ramparts we watch  were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs  bursting in air, 
Gave proof through the night that our flag   was still there.

Oh! Say does that star –spangled banner yet wave
O'ver  the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

                   Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in the state of Kentucky . The family was very poor. They moved several times and lived  as pioneers in wild new country in Indiana and Illinois . They lived very far from cities and schools.  

When Abraham was nine years old, his mother died. His father remarried and his stepmother helped him to learn to read and write.  Since he could not go to the schools , he learned all he could from the few books  his family and friends had.

Lincoln left home when he was twenty –one years old.  He worked as a storekeeper , a surveyor  and a mailman.  He was friendly , kind, helpful, wise and very honest.  People called him honest Abe. 

 In 1832, he ran for public office.  He lost the election and tried again two years later.  In1834, he won the election and served in the Illinois state legislature.  During this time , he taught himself to be a lawyer.  He was a successful lawyer and was later elected to the U.A. Congress  in Washington D.C.

In 1860, Abe Lincoln was elected the sixteenth President to the United States. Just after he was elected President, the eleven southern states began to leave the Union.  

The south wanted to have slavery in the U.S. and the north said slavery was inhuman.  The southern states wanted to break away from the United States and form a new country so they could keep their slaves.

Abe Lincoln believed that slavery  was wrong.  He and his ideas became well-known in the United States during a series of government debates about slavery. He said: "A house divided  against itself cannot stand".  I believe this government  cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.  He also said that once state joined  the United States , it would be a state forever.  The North began  to fight against  the South in a Civil  War.  Lincoln  was the leader of the North.

From  1861-1865, the North and the South fought a bloody  and costly war.  Lincoln did everything he could to win the war of the North.  He declared the slaves free in 1863. 

  But the southern states did not  free their slaves until they lost  the war in April of 1865.

Lincoln was elected to a second term as  President.  The  war was over and the slaves were freed.  Less than a week after the war ended , Lincoln went to the Ford Theater  to watch a play   one night.  At 10:00 PM , he was shot by John Wilkes Booth , an actor who loved the south.  Lincoln  died early the next morning.’ 

Lincoln is remembered   as the President who freed  the slaves  and saved the Union.  His most famous  sentence was: '.. a government of the people , by the people, and for the people shall not perish  from the earth." 

Lincoln greatest speech was the Gettysburg Address.  He gave it in a soldiers' cemetery  in the state of the Pennsylvania at one of the great battlefields  of the Civil War.  Another great speech was the Second Inaugural Address.  He gave this speech at the beginning of his second term as President .  It was full of hope of the defeated  Southerners  and promised the help of the North.  

Lincoln greatest hope was to keep all the states together under one government.  He freed the slaves to try to save the Union.  He fought a long, hard war to save the Union.  He lived and died to save the Union.

Lincoln is buried in Springfield  ,  Illinois , where he lived most of his live.  His picture is on our five dollar bill ($5.00) and on our penny.  In Washington, D.C there is a beautiful monument in honor of Lincoln.   There is another beautiful monument in honor of Washington.  These two presidents  are remembered for their courage and honesty.  Their birthdays  are both in February and are celebrated together on President's day.  It is a legal holiday.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The California Gold Rush

In 1848, shortly after the war with Mexico ended , James Marshall accidentally found gold in a stream  while building a saw mill.

 John Sutter , the owner of the land , wanted to keep it a secret . But the word quickly spread across America and even to the old World and China.  Within a year , one hundred  thousand people came to Sutter land .  These people were  called the Forty  - Niners . 

Many of then found gold and got rich. Many  mining towns  were started and many people got rich selling supplies  to the gold miners at high  prices .  

San Francisco went from a sleepy little town on the Pacific to one  of the most important cities in the west.  

The first comers had it easy because the gold was near the top. But most of the others Forty-Niners had to dig deep for their gold.  Many spent almost as much to get the gold as the gold was worth.  

The owner of the land, John Sutter , died penniless as he tried to get his land back from the Forty –Niners.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The  War with Mexico

For the next ten years, the Mexicans and Americans could not agree on a border where Texas ended and  Mexico  began.  In 1845, Texas joined  the United States.  

A year late, the border fight between  Texas and Mexico grew into and war  between Mexico and United States.  The war lasted two years .  Battles took place all the way from Mexico city to Northern California.  The Mexicans lost the war and they were forced  to give up all their land north of the Rio Grande. This included  California and New Mexico.

Some American leaders were greedy and wanted to continue the war and take  over  of the Mexico.  Others felt that the United States had already taken to much. They said that the war had started over Texas and that it was unfair to take  California   as well.  But they never gave Mexico their land back. 

The states and territories of America stretched from the Atlantic  to the Pacific, and from Canada to Mexico.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trouble with Mexico

The price of new land in the states  was becoming  very high.  Farmers  heard that there was plenty  of cheap land in the Mexican  territories.  The land seekers  from the southern states moved west to buy cheaper land from Mexico.  

At that time, Mexico owned land from the edge of the Louisiana Territory  to the  Pacific Ocean.  Many Americans settled in a  large Mexican territory called Texas and the territory soon had more Americans that  Mexicans. The Americans did not like the Mexican laws and said that the president of Mexico ,  Santa Ana, was worse to them than King George was to the settlers in Boston.  The Americans in Texas decided to declare  their independence from Mexico.  

Santa Ana did not want to lose  this large territory , so he brought 3.000 soldiers to San Antonio, Texas.  They went to the Alamo , which was an old Spanish church that the Americans  used as a fort.  There were 187  men in the Alamo.  The men of the Alamo held off the Mexicans  for six days.  But in the and , all the Americans  were killed. 

When an American leader named Sam Houston heard  about the battle ,  he formed  an army  and trapped  Santa Ana and his soldiers .  In less than twenty minutes  , the Mexican army fled.  The  Americans caught Santa Ana  and forced him to sign  a paper that said Texas was free from Mexico.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

                               Pioneers Move West

By 1836, the United States had grown to twenty-five states.  Many became restless and wanted to move west.  People heard how beautiful  Oregon  was and many  groups of people  traveled west in groups of covered wagons pulled by horses or oxen.  

These  group of covered wagons were called wagon trains.  The people who moved to the west became known as pioneers.  

The road  the pioneers took  was called the Oregon Trail.