Lesson 1: The Early Life of Columbus

Week: 1

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy to a woolcomber. Columbus learned to draw maps and charts as a boy. He became a sailor and traveled around the Mediterranean Sea. At the time, no one in Southern Europe had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Sailors were afraid to sail the unknown Atlantic, calling it 'The Sea of Darkness.' The sailors believed the Atlantic was so hot it boiled and that monsters swam its depths. As scholars of the time believed the Earth was round, Columbus believed he could sail across the Atlantic Ocean and reach Asia. Eventually, Columbus won the financial backing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain for his voyage.

Lesson 2: How Columbus Discovered America

Week: 2

Three gentlemen named Polo returned to Venice, Italy after a voyage over land to Asia. They brought back with them beautiful fabrics and a hoard of precious stones. Marco Polo detailed his grand adventures to Asian countries and their fabulous riches in a book. However, reaching Asia over land was very arduous. Marco Polo's stories inspired Christopher Columbus to seek an ocean path to Asia. Despite the backing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Christopher Columbus had a difficult time outfitting his ship, as sailors were scared to travel the Atlantic Ocean. He eventually succeeded and sailed with his new crew to the Canary Islands before setting off into the great unknown ocean. He landed in the Caribbean Islands of North America and traded with the native people, believing he had arrived in Asia.

Lesson 3: Columbus After the Discovery of America

Week: 3

Christopher Columbus built a wooden fort and colony on Hispaniola. He wished to bring news of his success back to Spain and set sail with his crew and some of the American Indians. Persisting through storms and imprisonment by the Portuguese, he eventually arrived in Barcelona, Spain. He paraded the American Indians, decorated with paint, feathers, tropical birds, and golden ornaments, before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This was the high point in Columbus' life, which was later plagued by discord, misfortune, and sickness. His colony in Hispaniola was destroyed when the colonists mistreated the American Indians, and the Indians retaliated by killing all of the colonists. Columbus returned to North America to establish a second colony, but was not a wise governor. The next time he returned to Spain he was bound in chains for the disorder in his colony. He made four voyages to America in all, but never found a sea path to the riches of Asia. He ended up dying in Spain, broken and in ill health, never knowing he had found a new continent.

Lesson 4: John Cabot and his Son Sebastian

Week: 4

Spice caravans traversed the long, difficult path between Europe and Asia. People loved spices, for the food was coarse and unappetizing without it. Inspired by Christopher Columbus, John Cabot sought to find a sea route to Asia by crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Sponsored by King Henry of England, John Cabot set sail from Bristol, crossed the Atlantic, and reached Cape Breton, Canada, although he believed he had landed on China. There he saw no native people but noted the many fish in the sea and brought back some animal traps to England. The King was so impressed he called him "The Great Admiral." John Cabot's ego swelled, and he began handing out islands, including to his barber. King Henry outfitted John Cabot with an even larger expedition. John Cabot traveled up and down the coast of North America, going as far south as North Carolina. He was still convinced he had reached Asia, but he did not find gold or spices. John Cabot's son, Sebastian, continued his father's quest.

Lesson 5: Captain John Smith

Week: 5

Captain John Smith had an ordinary name but an extraordinary life. He was a runaway as a boy, enlisted as a sailor, was shipwrecked, was robbed, became a beggar, and was thrown into the sea by a group of pilgrims who thought he caused a storm. He fought against the Turks, was captured, and became a slave in Turkey. He escaped and made it back to England. In 1607, he joined the voyage to establish the first English settlement in America. Unfortunately, most of his fellow colonists were unacquainted with work and erroneously believed they would find gold lying around and strike it rich. They settled in Jamestown, Virginia, and were soon presented with a harsh reality. Instead of gold, the colonists found a lack of shelter and food. Some colonists were killed by the American Indians and others by starvation. John Smith traded trinkets for corn and saved many colonists from starvation. John Smith sailed up the Chickahominy River to find the Pacific Ocean and India, not knowing the ocean was three thousand miles away. Smith's men were killed by the Powhatan Indians, and Smith was taken prisoner. The chief of the Powhatan Indians, called Powhatan, attempted to trade Smith to the colonists for cannons and a grindstone. The colonists agreed, but these items proved far too heavy for the Powhatans to bring back. The Powhatans finally freed Smith in exchange for trinkets. The colonists tried to make friends with Powhatan by sending him gifts, but Powhatan would not sell the starving colonists corn. The savvy Smith saved the colonists from starvation by trading blue beads for corn.

Lesson 6: More About Captain John Smith

Week: 6

Captain John Smith was never idle and never gave up. He failed to find the Pacific via the Chickahominy River, so next he tried to find a path via the Chesapeake Bay, but found it was not the way. Smith and his men suffered many hardships while sailing, including storms, damage to his ship, tainted food, lack of drinking water, cold weather, and wary American Indians. Smith did a lot of trading with the Powhatans and tried to remain friendly. By 1609, many newcomers came to Jamestown and took over the settlement. Smith was sent home, but returned again in 1614 to New England, again trading with the American Indians and exploring. He also made maps of the coast and brought furs back to Europe for sale. The captain of his second ship, Hunt, also brought captured American Indians back to Spain and sold them as slaves. Some monks freed the American Indians and tried to convert them to Christianity. One of the slaves, named Squanto, made his way back home to America. Smith tried to establish a colony in New England but failed. He was taken prisoner by a French ship, but eventually made his way back home to England. He died in 1631, at the age of 52.

Lesson 7: The Story of Pocahontas

Week: 7

While John Smith was Powhatan's prisoner, he met Powhatan's young daughter, Pocahontas. Legend has it that Powhatan decided to kill Smith, but Pocahontas intervened and saved Smith's life. Smith and Pocahontas became friends, and she often visited him and played with the children in Jamestown. When newcomers from England arrived, they accused Smith of plotting to marry Pocahontas to gain possession of Jamestown and forced Smith to return to England. With Smith gone, the newcomers mismanaged the colony, and many colonists starved or were killed by the Powhatans. An old Indian chief named Japazaws tricked Pocahontas onto the boat of an English captain named Argall in exchange for a copper kettle. Captain Argall imprisoned Pocahontas and refused to release her until the Powhatans returned some guns that they stole. An Englishman named John Rolfe fell in love with Pocahontas. With Powhatan's blessing, Rolfe and Pocahontas were married. This marriage brought peace between the English and the Powhatans. Pocahontas had a baby boy and traveled to England, where she was shocked to see John Smith alive, as the colonists had told her he was dead. Pocahontas died of smallpox, leaving her son in England. Captain Argall, made governor of Jamestown, hatched a scheme to claim the colony in the name of Pocahontas' son. After both Pocahontas and Powhatan were dead, the American Indians attacked Jamestown and killed 300 people in one day. The strife continued between the colonists and the Powhatans, but Jamestown persisted.

Lesson 8: Henry Hudson

Week: 8

Like many before him, Englishman Henry Hudson sought a new sea path from England to China. The Portuguese had discovered the path south, around Africa, and Hudson sought to find a path north from England. Hudson first sailed on a ship called the Hopewell. The Hopewell did go farther north than anyone else at the time, opening new trade with the Russians and discovering whales in the cold Arctic seas, but did not make it all the way to China. The Dutch East India Company, who greatly profited off the southern path to China, still worried Hudson would discover a northern path to China. The Dutch East India Company hired Henry Hudson to find the path for them, outfitting him with a ship called "The Half Moon." The ice was too great an obstacle, and they could not find a path. Hudson turned his attention toward America when he received word from Captain John Smith that there was a path to the Pacific north of Virginia. Hudson explored the bays and waterways of the east coast of America. He sailed up the river we call the Hudson while skirmishing and trading corn, pumpkins, beans, and tobacco with the American Indians. When Hudson reached Albany, the water became shallow. Hudson determined this was not the way to reach the Pacific and returned to Holland. The Dutch established a colony where New York now stands. Hudson made another voyage to America, this time discovering Hudson Bay. After Hudson and his crew wintered in the bay, he wanted to continue to explore, but his crew wanted to return home. The crew mutinied, setting Hudson and several others adrift in the Hudson Bay in a small, open boat. Hudson and the men set overboard were never seen again. Many of the remaining crew died of starvation on the trip across the Atlantic, but some were saved when they encountered another ship.

Lesson 9: Captain Myles Standish

Week: 9

The Pilgrims left England for Holland so they could be free to practice their religion. They decided to make a new home in America, where they could continue to be free. Captain Myles Standish was a soldier who sailed with the Pilgrims to America in a ship called the Mayflower. The Mayflower landed at Cape Cod, and the pilgrims looked for a good place to build a settlement. Captain Standish explored the coast by boat, seeing wigwams and skirmishing with American Indians. Eventually, he found Plymouth, which had a safe harbor, fresh water, and abandoned corn fields. The pilgrims established their settlement at Plymouth. However, they suffered terribly from bad food, the cold, and pestilence. Half of the pilgrims died the first year. After his wife died, Captain Standish asked his much younger friend, John Alden, to ask a young lady named Priscilla Mullins to marry him. However, Priscilla wished to marry John Alden instead, so Captain Standish married another woman.

Lesson 10: Squanto and Myles Standish

Week: 10

An American Indian named Squanto lived with the Pilgrims at Plymouth. He had learned English, having been earlier kidnapped and taken to Europe to be sold as a slave by English explorer Captain Thomas Hunt. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive by showing them how to catch eels with their feet, how to hunt and fish, and how to plant Indian corn as the Indians did. Squanto's chief, Massasoit, was an ally of the Pilgrims and an enemy of the Narragansett Indians. Massasoit warned the Pilgrims of a Narragansett plot to attack Weymouth, a nearby English settlement. The little but brave Captain Myles Standish and his men killed the Narragansett leaders before they could attack Weymouth.

Lesson 11: William Penn

Week: 11

William Penn was the son of Admiral Penn, a rich man. William Penn was educated at Oxford, where under the influence of the Puritan Loe, he refused to wear the traditional student gowns as directed by King Charles II and the English Church. He even tore the gowns off other students and was expelled. Admiral Penn sent William to France, fearing his son would join the Friends or Quakers. When William returned from France he had forgotten his Puritan ways. William studied law, but when the plague broke out, he began to turn once more to religion, so his father sent him to Ireland, where William served as a soldier. Despite his father's efforts, in Ireland, William heard the Puritan Loe speak, and he became a Friend. William was arrested at a Friend meeting, thrown in jail, and disowned by his father. When William began preaching and writing as a Friend, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. After his release, he continued to speak and was arrested again. When the jury refused to convict him, the corrupt judges fined the jury and sent them to jail along with William. After William was released from jail and his father died, he began to travel around preaching. Seeking to escape religious persecution, William convinced King Charles II to give him land in America in repayment for a debt owned Admiral Penn. King Charles II named the land Pennsylvania in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn traveled to Pennsylvania and established the city of Philadelphia, which means "Brotherly Love."

Lesson 12: Metacomet (King Philip)

Week: 12

At first, the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims were allied against the Narragansetts. However, relations between the Wampanoags and Pilgrims soured over cultural misunderstandings regarding what it meant to "sell" land. In addition, some Wampanoags began to adopt the Christian religion and customs of the colonists, upsetting the Wampanoag leaders. When the Wampanoag chief, Wamsutta, or King Alexander, showed ill-feeling toward the colonists, the colonists arrested him. King Alexander died and his brother, the new Wampanoag chief, Metacomet, also called King Philip, began sharpening hatchets and knives. King Philip refused to give up his guns as the colonists demanded, and war broke out in 1675. When the colonists attacked a Narragansett fort for harboring Wampanoag fighters, the Narragansetts joined the Wampanoags in the war against the colonists.

Lesson 13: Captain Church in Philip's War

Week: 13

Captain Benjamin Church knew how to fight the Wampanoag and Narragansett Indians using their own tactics. Church also knew how to make friends with the Indians, and convinced Awashonks, chief of the Sakonet tribe, to join the colonists in the war against King Philip. With the help of the Sakonets, Captain Church and the colonists defeated the Wampanoags and Narragansetts. King Philip killed a man for telling him he should make peace with the colonists. In retaliation, the dead man's brother told the colonists where to find King Philip in the swamps. Captain Church and his fighters chased down King Philip, who was killed by the brother of the dead man. Soon after, Philip's chief captain, Annawon, surrendered to the colonists and ended King Philip's war.

Lesson 14: Bacon and his Men

Week: 14

Corrupt governor Sir William Berkeley levied unjust taxes to steal people's lands and wealth for himself and his friends. When the Susquehanna Indians attacked people on the frontier, Governor Berkeley refused to fight back, worried it would disrupt his profitable trade with the Susquehannas. Englishman Nathaniel Bacon pleaded with the Governor to let him take troops to protect the frontier people, but the Governor refused. Bacon disobeyed the Governor and attacked the Susquehannas. The Governor retaliated by trying to hang Bacon, but the people rose up and protected Bacon. Bacon became a general and fought for laws, called Bacon's laws, to help and protect the people. Governor Berkeley tried again to raise a militia and fight General Bacon, but he failed and had to flee Jamestown. Undeterred, Governor Berkeley recaptured Jamestown, but General Bacon and his men blocked the narrow path that connected Jamestown to the mainland with armed troops and cannons. Governor Berkeley and his men abandoned Jamestown in ships, and General Bacon burned the town down. Soon after, General Bacon sickened and died. Governor Berkeley came back into power, but the king of England eventually ordered him removed in disgrace.

Lesson 15: Boyhood of Franklin

Week: 15

Benjamin Franklin's father, fearing his son would go to sea, apprenticed Benjamin as a printer and paper-carrier to his older brother, James. Benjamin liked being a printer, for it enabled him to borrow and buy books to read and to write poetry and articles for a newspaper. James was thrown into prison for printing something offensive to the government. Upon his release, he was banned from printing newspapers any longer. James printed the paper in the name of Benjamin and released Benjamin from his apprenticeship. Benjamin and James often quarreled and eventually Benjamin abandoned his apprenticeship, for which he was later sorry.

Lesson 16: Franklin, the Printer

Week: 16

After leaving his brother and apprenticeship, Franklin traveled first to New York and then Philadelphia looking for work. Franklin found work in Philadelphia with a printer called Keimer. He still loved books and continued to read and study. One day, Sir William Keith, governor of Pennsylvania, asked Franklin to set up his own printing office. Franklin had no money to buy a printing press, so Governor Keith promised him money to buy a press in London. However, Governor Keith did not keep his word and Franklin became stranded in London. Franklin got work as a printer in London and continued to read books. Franklin made his way back to Philadelphia and went to work for Keimer again. Franklin was fired after falling out with Keimer, but Keimer begged him to return as he needed Franklin's expertise in making engravings.

Lesson 17: The Great Doctor Franklin

Week: 17

Benjamin Franklin eventually started his own printing office. He went deeply into debt to purchase the printing press and types. When people saw how hard he worked, they brought him more and more business. Franklin paid off his debts and became a wealthy man. Franklin started his own newspaper, married Miss Deborah Reed, and published "Poor Richard's Almanac," popular for its wise sayings about saving time and money. Franklin started the first public library in America where anyone could check out books. Franklin kept reading and studying and learned many foreign languages. Franklin invented the open stove, which heated houses better. He founded a high school which later became a university. He raised troops and money during the French War. He became well-known for conducting experiments with electricity and lightning and invented the lightning rod. He served as negotiator and peacemaker before and during the Revolutionary war. He became a member of Congress and helped write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. After a lifetime of accomplishments, he died in 1790, at the age of 84.

Lesson 18: Young George Washington

Week: 18

From a young age, George Washington seemed destined to become a great leader. As a young boy, he played soldier, leading his friends to arrange marches and parades and bloodless battles. As he grew, he showed great physical strength and quickness and could ride the wildest horses. He was so just and fair, his schoolmates asked him to settle their disagreements. Washington stayed in school until he was sixteen, learning arithmetic, reading, writing, bookkeeping, and surveying. Washington was hired as a surveyor of wild land owned by Lord Fairfax and was paid very well. This job required crossing high mountains and raging rivers, interacting with the American Indians, and sleeping outside on the cold ground. However, this harsh life helped to prepare Washington to serve as the major of a militia in Virginia. The governor of Virginia sent Washington on a frontier mission to warn the French that they were on English ground. Washington achieved this mission, using his wits and brawn to make it back to Virginia.

Lesson 19: Washington in the French War

Week: 19

The French were settling west of the English in Virginia, preventing them from expanding westward. Washington was sent to take the French lands. Washington tried to build a fort at the crux of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers, but the French drove them out and built their own fort, Fort Duquesne, there. Washington battled with the French, losing and retreating again and again. The next year, British troops under General Braddock came to fight the French. General Braddock was overconfident, refusing advice from Washington to send scouts and turning down help from Captain Jack and his fighting men. The French and Indians ambushed the English as they marched on a narrow path through the woods. The British made easy targets due to their fancy red coats, while the Americans, French, and Indians wore clothes that blended in with the woods. The Americans hid among the trees and fired back, but General Braddock made his British soldiers stand in line, where they were easy prey. General Braddock was mortally wounded, and the English lost the battle. George Washington fought bravely and was put in charge of the Virginia troops. Eventually, he recaptured Fort Duquesne. Years later, when the war was over, the English had won all land east of the Mississippi. Washington retired to Mount Vernon and married Mrs. Martha Curtis, a widow.

Lesson 20: Washington in the Revolution

Week: 20

Happy at Mount Vernon with Martha, George Washington never intended to become a soldier again. Then the English Parliament tried to tax the colonies. The English taxed the tea, and when some tea arrived by boat at Boston harbor, the American people threw the tea into the sea. The colonists further protested by refusing to buy or use things made in England. America's thirteen colonies united against the British, and each colony sent one member to join a Congress. George Washington was a member of the Congress. The Congress sent a letter to the English King demanding the same rights as the people in England. The English King refused and sent troops to quell the Americans. In 1775, the Revolutionary war began with a battle at Lexington, near Boston. George Washington was chosen to be a general and commander-in-chief of all armies. Washington and his men drove the British out of Boston. On July 4th, 1776, Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence, announcing America's independence from England. Washington battled the English, but suffered defeats, losing New York and retreating to New Jersey. English troops, reinforced with one thousand Hessian soldiers were in Trenton, New Jersey, and Washington was on the other side of the Delaware River. Washington and his troops launched a surprise attack on Christmas morning and took one thousand prisoners. British General Cornwallis tried to attack Washington in Trenton, but Washington and his troops snuck off and attacked the British in Princeton. The British had to give up much of their gains in New Jersey.

Lesson 21: The Victory at Yorktown and Washington as President

Week: 21

America had little money for a war, while England was the richest country of the time. Consequently, American soldiers suffered terribly during the Revolutionary War, marching on bare bloody feet and sleeping in the bitter cold with no blankets. America was helped by France, who sent troops to fight with the Americans. The war officially lasted seven long years. The battle at Yorktown was a decisive battle that led to the end of war. British General Cornwallis had won several victories in the south and was now in Virginia. General George Washington pretended to launch an attack against the British in New York, while marching down to Virginia to take General Cornwallis by surprise. The Americans surrounded Cornwallis and his troops, and the French ships blocked the sea path. Cornwallis eventually surrendered, and Washington took Yorktown. When the war ended, Washington returned to his farm at Mount Vernon, thinking himself finally retired from public life. However, Washington was called to lead a constitutional convention in Philadelphia, where he and others wrote the American constitution that called for the thirteen new states to bind together under the rule of a President and a Congress. Washington was chosen to be the first President and was re-elected for a second term. He refused to be considered for a third term. He finally retired to Mount Vernon, where he died at the age of 67.

Lesson 22: Thomas Jefferson

Week: 22

Thomas Jefferson inherited a large plantation at the age of fourteen. Even though born into comfortable circumstances, Jefferson worked extremely hard in college, studying up to 15 hours a day. While a student, Jefferson heard impassioned speeches against England's Stamp Act. Jefferson married, increasing his wealth, and built a house on a hill that he called Monticello (little mountain). Jefferson was sent to the Virginia Legislature and then to Congress. Although Jefferson was not a great speaker, he was a great writer, and he wrote the Declaration of Independence in which he asserted, "all men are created free and equal." Jefferson worked to overturn unfair laws, including the "law of entail" that required land to only go to the eldest son. Jefferson also worked to pass a law separating Church from State in Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War. He had to flee Monticello when the British marched in. Jefferson served as Minister to France and became George Washington's Secretary of State. He later became Vice-President and then President of the United States. As President, Jefferson was more interested in simplicity than pomp and ceremony. He also oversaw the Louisiana Purchase from France, which extended America from "sea to shining sea." He was re-elected President and then retired to Monticello, where he lived out the rest of his life.

Lesson 23: Daniel Boone

Week: 23

Famous pioneer, explorer, and woodsman Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1735. As a boy, he disappeared for several days, and a search party found him outside a hut he'd constructed, toasting meat over a fire. When Pennsylvania became more settled, Boone and his family moved to the wilderness of North Carolina. Boone enjoyed 'shining deer,' hunting the shining eyes of deer at night by torchlight. When he grew up, he married and built his own log cabin in the wilderness. He explored over the mountains into Tennessee and hunted bears. He pushed further, exploring Kentucky, where he hunted Buffalo and was captured by local American Indians. Boone escaped the Indians while they slept, and he survived. Once American Indians tracked Boone through the woods, but Boone escaped them by swinging on a grapevine to obscure his tracks. Boone built a Fort in Kentucky, called Boonesborough, where he and other men brought their families. Boone's daughter and two other girls were captured by American Indians, but the girls were able to leave clothing shreds and break branches, enabling Boone and his men to track the girls and free them. Boone engaged in many skirmishes with the Indians, and eventually he was captured. He lived with the Indians for a long time, before finally escaping. His family had abandoned Boonesborough, thinking him dead, so Boone rebuilt his fort, fetched his family, and brought them back to Kentucky. When Kentucky became settled, Boone set off again for the wilderness of Missouri. He lived a long life, dying at age 85.

Lesson 24: Robert Fulton and the Steamboat

Week: 24

As a boy, James Watt pondered the power of the steam that rattled his mother's tea kettle. Watt once repaired a steam pump, used to take water out of mines. This led to Watt's invention of the first useful steam-powered engine. Many tried to use the steam-powered engine to move boats and failed. Robert Fulton of Pennsylvania was a poor student, but an avid inventor, creating his own fireworks as a boy. At fourteen, he invented a paddle wheel that could be turned with a crank to move his small flat boat through the water. Fulton combined the ideas of his paddle wheel with steam power to make the first useful steamboat. His first boat broke in two on the Seine in Paris, France. His second, also made in Paris, ran slowly. Fulton returned to America and ordered one of James Watt's steam engines to be built according to Fulton's plans. With it, Fulton built a boat called the Clermont. Others thought Fulton would fail, and called the Clermont, 'Fulton's Folly.' People gathered to laugh at Fulton, but their mocking laughter turned to wonder when Fulton's ship moved quickly through the water without sails. When some people first saw Fulton's ship belching and billowing steam, they thought it was a monster. Many more steamboats were built, and steam was eventually used to power trains.

Lesson 25: William Henry Harrison

Week: 25

William Henry Harrison became an army officer at 19 and traveled to the Western country to fight. Harrison fought many battles with the American Indians. One of his greatest nemeses was the Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh. Tecumseh wished to drive the people of the United States back east, opposed the American Indians selling their lands, and wished to gather all of the Indian tribes into one to better fight the United States. Although the American Indians and people of the United States tried to find peace, war broke out. Harrison, now a general, fought and defeated Tecumseh's warriors. When the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain, Tecumseh fought on the side of the British and was made a general. Tecumseh was killed in battle, and the United States defeated the British and continued their expansion west. Harrison later left the army for a life of farming and became President of the United States but died of pneumonia just 31 days into his term.

Lesson 26: Andrew Jackson

Week: 26

Andrew Jackson grew up rough and tumble and with very little schooling on the border of North and South Carolina. Although he was only thirteen when the Revolutionary War started, he made his own weapons and fought in some of the skirmishes. He and his brother were taken prisoner by the British and contracted small pox, but their mother managed to get them back home. At age eighteen, he went to the wild lands of Tennessee to practice law. Jackson was brave, but quick tempered and had many duels. Other people were scared of him. He later became a judge, a congressperson, and a senator. When the "War of 1812" erupted, Jackson served as general of the Tennessee volunteers and earned the nickname "Old Hickory." In a battle with the English at New Orleans, the English lost 2600 soldiers while Jackson only lost 8 with 13 wounded. Jackson's victory at New Orleans led to the end of the War. As a result of his victory, he obtained great popularity and became President of the United States in 1828.

Lesson 27: Morse and the Telegraph

Week: 27

Long ago, mail took weeks to traverse the country via horseback or stagecoach. The locomotive sped mail delivery, but the electric telegraph transmitted news almost instantaneously. The inventor of the electric telegraph, Samuel Finley Breeze Morse, was born in Charleston, Massachusetts in 1791. Morse attended college at Yale where he studied about electricity. He became an artist but couldn't earn a living. During a cross-Atlantic voyage from Europe to America, Morse met a doctor who talked of an experiment in which electricity was sent through a long length of circled wire. The conversation inspired Morse to begin sketching and working on an invention. He was extremely poor and accepted a job as a professor. One of his wealthy students, Alfred Vail, saw a version of Morse's invention and was impressed. Alfred Vail became Morse's partner, and his father, Judge Vail, funded their work. Vail was far from a silent partner and helped to improve the telegraph, changing the zig-zags it made to dots and dashes.

Lesson 28: How the Telegraph Became Successful

Week: 28

Samuel Morse and his three students continued to work on the telegraph. Close to running out of money and time, they started avoiding their benefactor and funding source, Judge Vail, for fear he would cancel their work. Judge Vail wrote a sentence on a slip of paper and asked that his son transmit the message. Judge Vail was overjoyed when it worked. It took some time and effort, but eventually the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bill, allocating thirty thousand dollars to the project. Morse first tried to lay the lines in pipes under the earth, but the electricity escaped into the ground and the signals failed to reach the destination. Morse next put the wires on poles, and the telegraph worked. The first message transmitted was "What hath God wrought!" Eventually lines were put down under water and across the Atlantic Ocean.

Lesson 29: Early Life of Abraham Lincoln

Week: 29

President Abraham Lincoln was born in a cabin in the wilderness of Kentucky. His family later moved to Indiana. His family was very poor and lived in a half-faced camp. Lincoln learned to write by attending backwoods schools. These schools were taught by stern schoolmasters who hit their students with switches. Abraham did not have many books available to read, but had access to the Bible, Aesop's fables, and a few others that he read again and again. Lincoln went on long walks in woods to think and form his own opinions. When he was 19, Lincoln led flat boats down the Mississippi river. At 21, Lincoln was six feet four inches high. He moved again with his family to Illinois, where Lincoln split rails and helped his father build a farm. Lincoln worked in a store and was very honest, always rectifying any mistakes he made.

Lesson 30: Lincoln in Public Life

Week: 30

Lincoln worked at many jobs over his lifetime. He served as captain in the Black Hawk War, although he fought no actual battles. He co-owned a store which went out of business. He served as postmaster and a surveyor. His honesty and good nature got him elected to the Illinois Legislature. He worked on his law degree and became a lawyer, often working for free for the poor. He was elected to Congress, earned the nickname "Old Honest Abe," eventually became the President of the United States. Lincoln was an anti-slavery president during the Civil War. After the war ended, Lincoln was assassinated at a theater, but his legacy endures. He remains admired by many to this very day.

Lesson 31: Something about the Great Civil War

Week: 31

The Northern and Southern states bitterly disagreed over slavery, the rights of States, and the government of the Territories. Due to these disagreements, seven Southern states announced their withdrawal from the Union, forming a new government called 'the Confederate States of America' and electing Jefferson Davis President. President Abraham Lincoln refused to recognize the Southern states' right to withdraw. War broke out when the North tried to send supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina and the South opened fire to prevent the delivery. Four more states joined the Confederates in fighting the North. After four years of fighting, the South surrendered, keeping the Union intact, and slavery was finally abolished.

Lesson 32: How the United States Became Larger

Week: 32

At one time, the United States only consisted of the thirteen states stretching up and down the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Georgia. In 1778, George Rogers Clark and his men captured a British Fort at Kaskaskia. Combined with additional victories by Clark over the British, the United States now claimed all land to the east of the Mississippi. In 1803, President Jefferson bought from France the land then known as Louisiana, a large region beyond the Mississippi reaching to the Rocky Mountains. Between 1791 and 1805, adventurers Captain Robert Gray and Louis and Clark explored land west of the Rocky Mountains, giving the United States claim to what is now Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming. In 1821, the United States bought Florida from France. Texas, part of Mexico, rebelled and formed an independent republic before being annexed to the United States in 1845. Between 1847 and 1851, the United States paid Mexico for the territory consisting of present day California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and part of Colorado. Next, the United States bought Alaska from Russia in 1867. Finally, Hawaii became a state in 1959.