Topic: United States History
Black cowboys in the American West accounted for up to 25 percent of workers in the range-cattle industry from the 1860s to 1880s, estimated to be between 6,000 and 9,000 workers. Typically former slaves or born into the families of former slaves, many black men had skills in cattle handling and headed West at the end of the Civil War. Though the industry generally treated black men equally to white men in terms of pay and responsibilities, discrimination persisted, though to a lesser extent than in other industries of the time.
- "Black cowboys" | 2018-08-11 | 48 Upvotes 40 Comments
The Burr conspiracy was a suspected treasonous cabal of US planters, politicians, and army officers in the early 19th century. The alleged cabal was led by Aaron Burr, the former Vice President of the United States (1801–1805). According to the accusations against him, his goal was to create an independent country in the center of North America including the Southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. Burr's version was that he intended to farm 40,000 acres (160 km2) in the Texas Territory which had been leased to him by the Spanish Crown.
President Thomas Jefferson ordered Burr arrested and indicted for treason, despite a lack of firm evidence. Burr's true intentions remain unclear to historians; some claim that he intended to take parts of Texas and the Louisiana Purchase for himself, others, that he intended to conquer Mexico, and yet others, that he planned to conquer most of the North American continent. The number of men backing him is also unclear, with accounts varying from fewer than forty to over seven thousand. He was acquitted of treason, but the trial destroyed his already faltering political career.
- "Burr conspiracy" | 2018-04-20 | 70 Upvotes 23 Comments
COINTELPRO (syllabic abbreviation derived from COunter INTELligence PROgram) (1956–1971) was a series of covert and, at times, illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting American political organizations. FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations, the Communist Party USA, anti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party), environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups like the Young Lords), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left. The program also targeted the Ku Klux Klan in 1964.
In another instance in San Diego, the FBI financed, armed, and controlled an extreme right-wing group of former members of the Minutemen anti-communist para-military organization, transforming it into a group called the Secret Army Organization that targeted groups, activists, and leaders involved in the Anti-War Movement, using both intimidation and violent acts.
The FBI has used covert operations against domestic political groups since its inception; however, covert operations under the official COINTELPRO label took place between 1956 and 1971. COINTELPRO tactics are still used to this day and have been alleged to include discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination. The FBI's stated motivation was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order".
Beginning in 1969, leaders of the Black Panther Party were targeted by the COINTELPRO and "neutralized" by being assassinated, imprisoned, publicly humiliated or falsely charged with crimes. Some of the Black Panthers affected included Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, Zayd Shakur, Geronimo Pratt, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Marshall Conway. Common tactics used by COINTELPRO were perjury, witness harassment, witness intimidation, and withholding of evidence.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued directives governing COINTELPRO, ordering FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the activities of these movements and especially their leaders. Under Hoover, the agent in charge of COINTELPRO was William C. Sullivan. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy personally authorized some of the programs. Although Kennedy only gave written approval for limited wiretapping of Martin Luther King's phones "on a trial basis, for a month or so", Hoover extended the clearance so his men were "unshackled" to look for evidence in any areas of King's life they deemed worthy.
- "COINTELPRO" | 2013-06-15 | 147 Upvotes 38 Comments
This is a list of mass shootings in the United States that have occurred in 2019. Mass shootings are incidents involving multiple victims of firearm-related violence. The precise inclusion criteria are disputed, and there is no broadly accepted definition.
Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that tracks shootings and their characteristics in the United States, defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people, excluding the perpetrator(s), are shot in one location at roughly the same time. The Congressional Research Service narrows that definition, limiting it to "public mass shootings", and defined by four or more victims killed. It excludes counting wounded survivors. The Washington Post and Mother Jones use similar definitions, with the latter acknowledging that their definition "is a conservative measure of the problem", as shootings with fewer fatalities occur. The crowdsourced Mass Shooting Tracker project defines a mass shooting as "an incident where four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree. This may include the shooter themself, or police shootings of civilians around the shooter."
There were 434 mass shootings in 2019 that fit the inclusion criteria of this article. This averaged 1.19 mass shootings per day. In these shootings, 1,643 people were injured and 517 died, for a total of 2,160 victims.
- "There have almost been as many mass shootings in the US as days this year" | 2019-06-01 | 10 Upvotes 8 Comments
Phillis Wheatley, also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.
On a 1773 trip to London with her master's son, seeking publication of her work, she was aided in meeting prominent people who became patrons. The publication in London of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral on September 1, 1773, brought her fame both in England and the American colonies. Figures such as George Washington praised her work. A few years later, African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in a poem of his own.
Wheatley was emancipated (set free) by the Wheatleys shortly after the publication of her book. She married in about 1778. Two of her children died as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into working poverty and died of illness. Her last infant son died soon after.
- "Phillis Wheatley" | 2018-10-29 | 50 Upvotes 4 Comments
Rain follows the plow is the conventional name for a now-discredited theory of climatology that was popular throughout the American West and Australia during the late 19th century. The phrase was employed as a summation of the theory by Charles Dana Wilber:
God speed the plow. ... By this wonderful provision, which is only man's mastery over nature, the clouds are dispensing copious rains ... [the plow] is the instrument which separates civilization from savagery; and converts a desert into a farm or garden. ... To be more concise, Rain follows the plow.
The basic premise of the theory was that human habitation and agriculture through homesteading effected a permanent change in the climate of arid and semi-arid regions, making these regions more humid. The theory was widely promoted in the 1870s as a justification for the settlement of the Great Plains, a region previously known as the "Great American Desert". It was also used to justify the expansion of wheat growing on marginal land in South Australia during the same period.
According to the theory, increased human settlement in the region and cultivation of soil would result in an increased rainfall over time, rendering the land more fertile and lush as the population increased. As later historical records of rainfall indicated, the theory was based on faulty evidence arising from brief climatological fluctuations that happened to coincide with settlement, an example of the logical fallacy that correlation means causation. The theory was later refuted by climatologists and is now definitively regarded as pure superstition.
- "Rain Follows the Plow" | 2020-01-12 | 22 Upvotes 1 Comments
The Strauss–Howe generational theory, also known as the Fourth Turning theory or simply the Fourth Turning, which was created by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, describes a theorized recurring generation cycle in American history. According to the theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–22 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate exists. They are part of a larger cyclical "saeculum" (a long human life, which usually spans between 80 and 90 years, although some saecula have lasted longer). The theory states that after every saeculum, a crisis recurs in American history, which is followed by a recovery (high). During this recovery, institutions and communitarian values are strong. Ultimately, succeeding generational archetypes attack and weaken institutions in the name of autonomy and individualism, which ultimately creates a tumultuous political environment that ripens conditions for another crisis.
Strauss and Howe laid the groundwork for their theory in their 1991 book Generations, which discusses the history of the United States as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584. In their 1997 book The Fourth Turning, the authors expanded the theory to focus on a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras to describe the history of the United States, including the Thirteen Colonies and their British antecedents. However, the authors have also examined generational trends elsewhere in the world and described similar cycles in several developed countries.
Academic response to the theory has been mixed—some applauding Strauss and Howe for their "bold and imaginative thesis" and others criticizing the theory as being overly-deterministic, non-falsifiable, and unsupported by rigorous evidence, "about as scientific as astrology or a Nostradamus text." Strauss–Howe generational theory has also been described by some historians and journalists as a "pseudoscience" "kooky", and "an elaborate historical horoscope that will never withstand scholarly scrutiny."
Academic criticism has focused on the lack of rigorous empirical evidence for their claims, and the authors' view that generational groupings are far more powerful than other social groupings such as economic class, race, sex, religion and political parties.
- "Strauss–Howe Generational Theory" | 2020-03-23 | 33 Upvotes 5 Comments
Unethical human experimentation in the United States describes numerous experiments performed on human test subjects in the United States that have been considered unethical, and were often performed illegally, without the knowledge, consent, or informed consent of the test subjects. Such tests have occurred throughout American history, but particularly in the 20th century. The experiments include: the exposure of humans to many chemical and biological weapons (including infection with deadly or debilitating diseases), human radiation experiments, injection of toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests involving mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of others. Many of these tests were performed on children, the sick, and mentally disabled individuals, often under the guise of "medical treatment". In many of the studies, a large portion of the subjects were poor, racial minorities, or prisoners.
Funding for many of the experiments was provided by the United States government, especially the United States military, the Central Intelligence Agency, or private corporations involved with military activities. The human research programs were usually highly secretive, and in many cases information about them was not released until many years after the studies had been performed.
The ethical, professional, and legal implications of this in the United States medical and scientific community were quite significant, and led to many institutions and policies that attempted to ensure that future human subject research in the United States would be ethical and legal. Public outrage in the late 20th century over the discovery of government experiments on human subjects led to numerous congressional investigations and hearings, including the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission, both of 1975, and the 1994 Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, among others.
- "Unethical human experimentation in the United States" | 2016-09-29 | 24 Upvotes 1 Comments
- "Unethical human experimentation in the United States" | 2013-10-08 | 36 Upvotes 5 Comments
- "Unethical human experimentation in the United States" | 2013-02-19 | 5 Upvotes 14 Comments