10 Surprising Facts About American History

10 Surprising Facts About American History

#10 Lake Superior is Superior

Lake Superior contains a whopping 10% of the earth’s total fresh surface water. There is so much water in Lake Superior – an amount of 3 quadrillion gallons – it could cover all of South and North America in one foot of H20.

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#9 The Civil War is Not Over

The American Civil War ended officially in 1865, but the U.S. Government is actually still paying a Civil War pension! Irene Triplett, an 86-year-old daughter of a Civil War veteran, receives $73.13 each month from her father’s military pension. Her father, Mose Triplett, was born in 1846. A Confederate soldier at the beginning of the war, Mose deserted and joined the Union. Mose was 87 years old when his daughter was born!

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#8 The U.S. was Bombed by Japan

The U.S. was bombed by Japan, and not just at Pearl Harbor! A few months before the U.S. unleashed hydrogen bombs, Japan launched its Fu-Go campaign, which attached bombs to hydrogen balloons. Of the 9,000 balloons, 342 are known to have reached the U.S., with one bomb killing an Oregon family. There are believed to be unexploded bombs still present on the American west coast.

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#7 George Washington Whiskey

George Washington operated many businesses, including one of the biggest distilleries in America. By 1799, Washington was producing 11,000 gallons of whiskey. Washington’s rye whiskey is still produced at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

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#6 Texas German

Texas German is an actual dialect that is still spoken in America. In the Texas Hill Country, many Germans immigrated to towns like Boerne, New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. The strong German influence extended to language in newspapers. Anti-German hysteria led to English-only laws in the early 20th century. As a result, this original language is nearly extinct.

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#5 The Most Dangerous Job in America Is President

Statistically, there is no job in America that is as dangerous as President of the United States. Over 9 percent of presidents have died in office. The next deadliest job is logger. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 111 deaths for every 100,000 loggers.

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#4 The Star Spangled Banner’s Racist Third Verse

Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became the American national anthem during the War of 1812. “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” Key wrote. Key likely referred to the terror of the black Marines who were fighting for the British. Key was a slaveholder who prosecuted abolitionists.

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#3 A Woman Almost Ignited the Revolution

In February of 1775, a battalion of British soldiers invaded Salem to search for colonial weapons. A firey nurse named Sarah Tarrant taunted the soldiers from an upstairs window. “Go home and tell your master he sent you on a fool’s errand, and has broken the peace of our Sabbath. Do you think we were born in the woods, to be frightened of owls?” A soldier aimed his musket at her and threatened to fire. “Fire, if you have the courage, but I doubt it.” The soldier did not fire, and thus the first shots of the Revolution would wait another year.

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#2 The State of Franklin

In school, children are taught about the 13 colonies, however, there were briefly 14 colonies at one point in America’s history. An area in what is now North Carolina and Tennessee once voted to secede from the Carolinas. The colony was named after Benjamin Franklin. Although Congress refused to admit Franklin to the Union, it existed for four years, until it attempted to sign a treaty with Spain. Its governor was arrested and the colony was subsumed into Tennessee.

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#1 Ronald Reagan, Life Saver

Ronald Reagan was an actor, president of the Screen Actors Guild, Governor and president. However, most people don’t know he was also an outstanding lifeguard. After seven years as a lifeguard, Reagan saved 77 people from drowning!

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