Though slavery in America has long since been illegal in the United States, the ramifications of the African slave trade that almost broke the new nation are still felt throughout American society, politics, and culture today. While the rest of the world had long engaged in the forced servitude of people throughout history, America was introduced to the first African slaves by Dutch merchants in 1619, which spiraled into more than two hundred years of an economic reliability on slaves. However, the enslavement of Africans in the New World was just one faction of slavery in America, with the forced servitude of Native Americans throughout the American Southwest and California also being present, and resulting in the genocide of many Native Americans throughout the territories.
With the ink of the Revolutionary War Treaty of Paris documents barely dried, the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 took the fledgling American nation from being 13 colonies that stretched to the Mississippi, to a country that encompassed everything from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Not only did the land acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase doubled the small nation’s property, but it proved Thomas Jefferson’s hopes of a farming, agriculturally-led country with a thriving middle class and the dreams of a grand, progressive and democratic society would become a reality.
The very word “West” in American history has all sorts of different connotations; from cowboys and Indians to dust bowls and Davy Crockett, the American West is as diverse as it is expansive. The drive that led the Founding Fathers, and particular Thomas Jefferson, to seek agreements that would allow American soil to stretch from sea to sea, is one that shaped, and shook the very foundations of the republic. American progress has been defined by the Manifest Destiny, a 19th century belief that the growth of the American nation to encompass the entirety of the Americas was inevitable—but it also presented many strifes.
In a world popularly obsessed with the occult (the phenoms of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings come to mind), it seems hardly plausible that the past murders of American “witches” were not only accepted but encouraged in history. For those unfamiliar with the Salem Witch Trials—the killing of 14 women and six men between the years of 1692 and 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts—however, the events are no ghost story.
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Christmas may get buried under the catalogues of holiday cheer, present buying, and a lot of food prep stress, but the 2 thousand-year-old holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus has one of the most complex and interesting timelines of any holiday in the history of the world. The annual festival celebrated on Dec. 24, Dec. 25, January 7, and Jan 19 depending on denomination, is both a cultural and deeply religious occasion celebrated by billions of people around the world. From the inclusion of the Christmas tree to the annual gift-giving, the feast day that spans through modern history has many traditions, myths, and stories that resonate around the globe.