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Dictionary of US History
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John Adams (1735-1826) was the second President of the USA, serving from 1797 to 1801. His Vice-President was Thomas Jefferson. John Adams was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 30, 1735. His father was a farmer. Adams graduated from Harvard University in 1755, and went on to become a lawyer in Boston.
Adams was a delegate to both the First and Second Continental Congresses, and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolution, in 1783, Adams went to France to sign the Treaty of Paris, and became the first US ambassador to Great Britain from 1785 to 1788 (this was a very difficult position, since the British were not pleased with the outcome of the war).
Adams died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson had died earlier that same day.
Adams, John Quincy
John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767-February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the USA, serving from 1825 to 1829. His Vice-President was John Calhoun. As President, Adams' political party was "National Republican." John Quincy Adams' father, John Adams, was the second president of the United States.
John Quincy Adams was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 30, 1735. His father was a farmer. Adams graduated from Harvard University in 1787, and went on to become a lawyer in Boston and was elected senator from Massachesetts in 1803. President James Madison appointed Adams Minister to the Netherlands and later, Russia. Adams helped negotiate the treaty that ended the War of 1812 (which was fought with Britain). Adams then became Madison's Secretary of State. He later negotiated the treaty with Canada that placed the border west of the Great Lakes at the 49th parallel. He then negotiated with Spain, obtaining a treaty that returned Florida to the USA. Adams also helped draft the Monroe Doctrine, that ended European colonization of the Americas.
After winning the presidency in 1824 (beating Andrew Jackson), Adams' term included prosperity and road and canal building (including the Erie Canal, which connected New York City and the Great Lakes). Adams lost the next presidential election (Jackson won). Adams then served in the House of Representatives until his death (1831 until 1848).
Alabama is a state in the southern United States of America. Its capital is Montgomery.
The Alamo is an old Spanish mission located in San Antonio, Texas. It was originally built to be the church for the Mission San Antonio de Valero, which was founded in 1718. The church was built by Spanish Franciscan friars in order to convert the local Indians to Christianity.
The Alamo was the scene of a pivotal battle in the fight for the independence of Texas from Mexico. In the early 1800s, Texas belonged to Mexico. During the Texas war for independence from Mexico, Spanish troops occupied the abandoned building, now used as a fortress, calling it Alamo. The word álamo is Spanish for cottonwood (a type of tree that grows in the area). In 1836, Col. William B. Travis, James Bowie, Davy Crockett, and almost 200 other Texan volunteers occupied the Alamo. After unsuccessfully defending the Alamo for 13 days against an army of thousands of Mexican soldiers led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Texans died on March 6, 1836. The phrase, "Remember the Alamo!" soon became the battlecry that was used by Sam Houston when he defeated Gen. Santa Anna a few weeks later at San Jacinto (on April 21, 1836), winning independence for Texas. Texas then became an independent republic (led by Sam Houston), and on December 29, 1845, Texas became a US state.
Alaska is the 49th state of the United States of America. Its capital is Juneau.
|Aldrin, Edwin E., Jr.
Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. (1930- ) was the second man to walk on the moon. Also known as "Buzz" or "Dr. Rendezvous," Aldrin was the Lunar Module Pilot (July 16-24, 1969) on NASA's Apollo 11 mission. He and Neil Armstrong (the first man on the moon) were on the moon for about 2 hours, collecting rock samples and doing lunar surface experiments. Aldrin's first space mission was Gemini 12, which launched on November 11, 1966; he and Command Pilot James Lovell orbited Earth for 4 days. Aldrin has written many books about his life and his career as an astronaut.
For a Buzz Aldrin coloring page, click here.
Luis Alvarez (1911-1988) was a physicist who, with his son Walter Alvarez (a geologist), hypothesized that the a huge asteroid hit Earth the Earth 65 million years ago, causing a mass extinction. The Alvarez Theory of Extinction is widely accepted. Luis Alvarez received a Nobel Prize in physics (1968) for his work on subatomic particles.
The United States of America is a country in North America. There are 50 states in the United States of America.
The windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson in 1903 to help streetcars operate safely in the rain. In 1905 she patented her invention, which allowed the car operator to control the external, swinging arm wipers from within the car. Windshield wipers became standard equipment on cars a decade later. Anderson was from Alabama, USA.
|Andrews, Roy C.
Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) was a US fossil hunter and director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews led four expeditions to Mongolia's Gobi desert between 1922 and 1925. Many important finds were made on these expeditions, including Protoceratops bones and eggs (the first dinosaur eggs found!), and the new dinosaurs Oviraptor, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides, and Velociraptor.
Anthony, Susan B.
Susan Brownell Anthony (1820-1906) campaigned against slavery in the USA and, after the Civil War, worked for women's rights, including the right to vote. She also fought for temperance (preventing people from drinking alcohol). Women were given the rigth to vote (the 19th Amendment to the Constitution) in 1920, fourteen years after her death.
|Anza, Juan Bautista de
Captain Juan Bautista de Anza (1736-1788) was a Mexican-born trailblazer and explorer. He was the first person of European descent to establish an overland trail from Mexico to the northern Pacific coast of California (then called New Albion). He found a corridor through the desolate Sonoran Desert. His expeditions brought hundreds of settlers to California. He founded the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. De Anza was the commander of the presidio at Tubac.
Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974), a professor of anesthesiology at the New York Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, devised the Apgar Scale in 1953. The Apgar scale is a simple, easy-to-perform, standardized scale that is used to determine the physical status of an infant at birth. The Apgar scale is administered to a newborn at one minute after birth and five minutes after birth. It scores the baby's heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. This test quickly alerts medical personnel that the newborn baby needs assistance.
Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845) was a legendary man who spread apple trees through the USA. His real name was John Chapman, but he was called Johnny Appleseed because of his love for growing apple trees.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern United States of America. Its capital is Phoenix.
Arkansas is a state in the United States of America. Its capital is Little Rock.
Daniel Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 - July 6, 1971) was a great jazz trumpet player, composer, and singer. He was nicknamed Satchmo because some people said that his mouth was like a satchel. Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and soon became a well-known cornet player in clubs and on riverboats along the Mississippi River. He became world famous for his incredible musical talent, especially his improvised solos. Armstrong also sang "scat," a style in which nonsense words are used in a song. Armstrong was featured in many recordings, television shows, and movies. Armstrong celebrated his birthday on July 4.
Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012) was the first person to walk on the moon. He piloted NASA's Apollo 11 mission, which took off on July 16, 1969. Armstrong and Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, in the lunar module (landing in the Mare Tranquillitatis), while Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module. Upon his first step on the moon, Armstrong said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin explored the Moon's surface for about 2 hours. Years earlier, in 1966, Armstrong and David R. Scott performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space on the Gemini 8 mission.
For a Neil Armstrong coloring page, click here.
Chester Arthur (Oct. 5, 1829-Nov. 18, 1886) was the 21st President of the USA (serving from 1881-1885). Before he was President, Arthur had been the Vice-President of the USA, serving under President James A. Garfield. After Garfield was assassinated, Arthur was elected President. During his term as President, tried to reform the civil service system. Early in his career, Arthur worked as a lawyer and as the customs collector for the Port of New York City (but arthur was ousted from that office for doing political favors for his party supporters).
Audubon, John James
John James Audubon ( April 26, 1785-January 27, 1851) was an American artist who drew birds, plants, and other subjects from nature. Audubon's father was a French sea captain; his creole mother died when he was six months old. John James Audubon was born in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo (now Haiti) in 1785. Audubon grew up and studied art in Nantes, France, then settled in Pennsylvania, USA, as a young man. There, he married Lucy Bakewell and had two sons (Victor and John Woodhouse, who eventually became his assistants). His two daughters died in infancy. Audubon tried operating different types of businesses to support his family, but they all failed. Audubon was sent to debtors prison in 1819. He then returned to art; his passion was painting wildlife in watercolor - especially birds. In 1827, he published the first of the color plates of "Birds of America." The 435 plates were completed in 1839. The first edition was known as the "elephant folio" because it was so big (39.37 inches high). Audubon then began the series on mammals, "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America," which he worked on with his friend, the Reverend John Bachman; the first folio of mammals was completed in 1845. Illness prevented Audubon from completing mammals. He died in 1851.
|Aviles, Pedro Menendez de
Captain Pedro Menendez de Aviles (Feb. 15, 1519-Sept. 17, 1574) was a brutal Spanish sailor, soldier, explorer, and conquistador. The King of Spain sent Aviles to Florida in the New World, to start a Spanish settlement (St. Augustine, in northeastern Florida), and to decimate a nearby French settlement (Fort Caroline).
|Ayllon, Lucas Vazquez de
Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón (1475-1526) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who tried to start a colony in North America in 1526. He was the first European colonizer of what is now South Carolina. His attempt to settle the coast of the Carolinas (near the mouth of the Peedee River at Winyah Bay) was unsuccessful.
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