Pop Quiz: Who invented Lincoln Logs?

Answer: John Lloyd Wright, son of the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Learn more at the National Park Service Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Parkkids_lincolnlogs-285_2

Read more about Lincoln in Don’t Know Much About History and Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents.

Don't Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don't Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Don’t Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Kenneth C. Davis-Speaking Calendar

List of Upcoming Speaking Engagements:

2016

•Friday April 29 Rutland Free Library  5 PM

10 Court Street Rutland, Vermont “Tables of Content”

Tuesday May 3 Oregon Historical Society  “Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum” 7 PM

First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon  

In paperback May 2016 THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

In paperback May 2016 THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

TUESDAY JUNE 28   BELFAST, ME 

Belfast Free Library (Time TBA)

106 High Street, Belfast, Maine
Telephone: (207) 338-3884

•Thursday September 22   Fraunces Tavern Museum (Time TBA)

54 Pearl Street New York City

Thursday October 6 Northshire Bookstore (Saratoga Springs, NY) TIME TBA

424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Friday October 7  Northshire Bookstore (Manchester, VT) TIME TBA
4869 Main ST, Manchester Center, VT 05255

 

 

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR-In Paperback May 2016

Coming in paperback in May 2016

The Hidden History of America At War: Untold Tales From Yorktown To Fallujah

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah is a unique, myth-shattering, and insightful look at war—why we fight, who fights our wars and what we need to know but perhaps never learned about the growth and development of America’s military forces.Read more about the book and critical praise here

 

In paperback May 2016 THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

In paperback May 2016 THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

“Inventing the American Presidency” (A Ted Ed video)

It is George Washington’s birthday. In his honor, a brief, animated video explaining why and how we invented the office back in the summer of 1787.

Inventing the American Presidency via Ted EdScreen Shot 2016-02-11 at 8.28.35 AM

Read more about presidential history in Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents.

Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

 

The Oddities of the First American Election (A Ted Ed Video)

In honor of Washington’s Birthday, which is February 22 but celebrated on February 15 this year, here is a brief animated video explaining just how George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.53.17 AM

The Oddities of the First American Election

Don't Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don’t Know Much About® Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

February 12 used to mean something special  — Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. It was never a national holiday but it was pretty important when I was a kid and we got the day off from school in my  hometown.

The Uniform Holidays Act in 1971 changed that by creating Washington’s Birthday as a federal holiday on the third Monday in February. It is NOT officially “Presidents Day.”

But it is still a good excuse to talk about Abraham Lincoln, especially since his real birthday is on the calendar.c

“Honest Abe.” “The Railsplitter.” “The Great Emancipator.” You know some of the basics and the legends. But check out this video to learn some of things you may not know, but should, about the 16th President.

Here’s a link to the Lincoln Birthplace National Park

This link is to the Emancipation Proclamation page at the National Archives.

And you can read much more about Lincoln in Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents,

Don't Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion paperback-April 15, 2014)

 

Don’t Know Much About History,

Don't Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Don’t Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Don’t Know Much About the Civil War 

 

Don't Know Much About the Civil War (Harper paperback, Random House Audio)

Don’t Know Much About the Civil War (Harper paperback, Random House Audio)

 

 

and The Hidden History of America At War.

In paperback May 2016 THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

In paperback May 2016 THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

It is NOT Presidents Day. Or President’s Day. Or Even Presidents’ Day.

So What Day Is it After All?

Okay. We all do it. It’s printed on calendars and posted in bank windows. We mistakenly call the third Monday in February Presidents Day, in part because of all those commercials in which George Washington swings his legendary ax and “Rail-splitter” Abe Lincoln hoists his ax to chop down prices on everything from mattresses and linens to SUVs.

But, it is officially still George Washington’s Birthday –federally speaking that is.
The official designation of the federal holiday observed on the third Monday of February was, and still is, Washington’s Birthday.

I wrote My Project About Presidents in 3rd Grade when I was 9. Even then I was asking questions about history and presidents

I wrote My Project About Presidents in 3rd Grade when I was 9. Even then I was asking questions about history and presidents

But Washington’s Birthday has become widely known as Presidents Day (or President’s Day, or Presidents’  Day). The popular usage and confusion resulted from the merging of what had been two widely celebrated Presidential birthdays in February —Lincoln’s on February 12th, which was never a federal holiday– and Washington’s on February 22, which was.

Created under the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, which gave us three-day weekend Monday holidays, the federal holiday on the third Monday in February is technically still Washington’s Birthday. But here’s the rub: the holiday can never land on Washington’s true birthday because the latest date it can fall is February 21, as it did in 2011.

There is a wealth of information the First President at Mount Vernon.

Washington’s Tomb — Mt. Vernon (Photo credit Kenneth C. Davis 2010)

Read More About the creation of the Presidency, Washington, his life and administration in DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT® THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS. Washington’s role in the American Revolution is highlighted Chapter One of THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR.

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The Hidden History of America At War-May 5, 2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

The Hidden History of America At War (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)


 

Whatever Became of Thomas Paine?

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Thomas Paine ©National Portrait Gallery London copy by Auguste Millière, after an engraving by William Sharp, after George Romney oil on canvas, circa 1876

As noted widely this week, one of the most significant pieces of writing in American history was published on January 9, 1776. It was Thomas Paine’s essay Common Sense and is widely credited with helping to rouse Americans to the patriot cause. Its sales were extraordinary at the time; given the American population today, current day sales would amount to some 60 million copies.

The pamphleteering Paine is best known for Common Sense and The Crisis, among other works that supported the cause of independence. But after the Revolution, Paine returned to his native England and later went to France, then in the throes of its Revolution. Paine was caught up in the complex politics of the bloody Revolution there, eventually winding up in a French prison cell, facing the prospect of the guillotine.

After eventually being freed, Paine wrote an open letter in 1796 angrily denouncing President George Washington for failing to do enough to secure his release. 

“Monopolies of every kind marked your administration almost in the moment of its commencement. The lands obtained by the Revolution were lavished upon partisans; the interest of the disbanded soldier was sold to the speculator…In what fraudulent light must Mr. Washington’s character appear in the world, when his declarations and his conduct are compared together!”

Source: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

This was a serious case of bridge-burning and Paine swiftly fell from grace in America. But apart from dissing the Father of the Country, Paine had also fallen from favor for his most famous work after Common Sense. In 1794, he had published The Age of Reason (Part I), a deist assault on organized religion and the errors of the Bible.  In it, Paine had written:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

(Source: USHistory.org)

After returning to the United States, which owed so much to him, Paine was regarded as an atheist and was abandoned by most of his friends and former allies. He died in disgrace, an outcast from the United States he had helped create. The Quaker church he had rejected refused to bury him after he died in Greenwich Village (New York) in 1809. He was buried on his farm in New Rochelle, New York. A handful of people attended his funeral.

An admirer brought this remains back to England for reburial there, but they were lost.

You can read more about Thomas Paine, his relationship with Washington and his ultimate fate in Don’t Know Much About History  and Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents.

Don't Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Don’t Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

dkmap

Who Said It? (1/11?16)

 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Farewell Address to the Nation” (January 17, 1961)

 

President Eisenhower (Courtesy: Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum)

President Eisenhower (Courtesy: Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum)

 Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle–with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Eisenhower’s farewell is more famous for his use of this phrase:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Complete Text and Source: Teaching American History

Pop Quiz-Which Presidents Were Quakers?

Answer: Two Presidents were born and raised as Quakers: Herbert Hoover and Richard M. Nixon

Hoover, the 31st President, was born on August 10, 1874.  Read a brief biographical post here.

Description: Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover in their Washington, DC home the morning after he was nominated to run for president (1928). (Courtesy: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum)

Description: Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover in their Washington, DC home the morning after he was nominated to run for president (1928). (Courtesy: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum)

 

Nixon, the 37th President, was born January 9, 1913. Read a brief biographical post here.

Richard_NixonRead about both men and their administrations in Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents and Don’t Know Much About History® 

Don't Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Don’t Know Much About® History: Anniversary Edition (Harper Perennial and Random House Audio)

Don't Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)

Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents (Hyperion Paperback-April 15, 2014)