by Alexander, Piper & Sydney
Dad here. During our trip, we visited some of the most important sites in US History, and as we went, we talked a lot about what happened at each and when. It became a “homeschooling habit” for us to sit at dinner and go around-the-table with each kid describing one of the major events in American history, one at a time, trying to remember the order, key people, reasons, etc.
After we got home we decided we’d do one more round of this– in writing! So, we assigned events round-robin-style from youngest to oldest and then the kids sat and wrote what they knew/remembered about each key event.
Alexander played moderator helping the girls fix up their prose… and below is the result. Here is “American History as told by the Belfiore Kids!!”
Sydney: The American Revolution
First some English people came to the 13 Colonies. They were ruled by the King of England. The 13 Colonies were not happy because of the stamp act. The stamp act was a thing where you had to have stamps on everything. You had to pay for the stamps so it is like paying extra money for nothing. If you didn’t have a stamp on something you would get arrested. The King made them pay taxes like crazy. The stamp act was the last straw.
In 1776 the 13 Colonies declared independence, we wrote the Declaration of independence. That says that we are our own country. We are free from England. Ben Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson were some of the people who signed it.
England said no so a war started. It was the USA against the Redcoats. George Washington was a General. If he was not in the war we could have lost the war. He was on the USA side. He became the first president later.
8 years 8 moths and 26 days later the war ended and the USA won the war. The USA is now their own country. About 6 years later they wrote the Constitution and started a new Government the three parts are Congress, President, and Supreme Court. The Constitution is a document that says the laws to the Government.
Piper: The Civil War
Before president Lincoln was elected, the north did not like slavery but the south was getting a lot of money for slaves so they liked slavery a lot. So when Lincoln was elected president of the United States, the south was not happy.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States and everybody knew that he did not like slavery. Lincoln was elected president in 1860.
South Carolina said that they were not part of the United States of America and called themselves the Confederacy.
The war started when the Confederate forces attacked the Union at Fort Sumter. The Confederates were against the Union because the Confederates wanted slavery and their own country. Robert E. Lee was the General for the Confederates. It began in 1861 and ended in 1866, lasting five years.
The Union won the last battle which means no more slavery. My favorite battle was the Battle of Gettysburg.
Alexander: Industrial Revolution and Great Depression
The Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression were some of the most important times in US history. While the Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression were basically opposites, they were long periods of time that changed the country we live in today.
The Industrial Revolution was a time when we could start to manufacture machines that could change the world. Starting in the 19th century, these new machines could do everything from making cars to making other better machines. There was a huge growth in salary throughout the country, and the stock market exploded. Much of the huge changes to the world didn’t actually come from the US as the revolution began in Britain. Most of the important innovations actually came from Britain.
The Great Depression was just as big of a deal, though. In October of 1929, the stock market crashed, and millions of investors lost all of their money. The Depression peaked four years later, and as many as 15 million people were unemployed. The situation was so bad that President Franklin D. Roosevelt put the crisis into his own hands and started “The New Deal” which would help Americans get jobs, especially with the upcoming World War II. Many credit Roosevelt with ending the Great Depression and leading America into a new era.
Both the Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression were things that changed America, and with all the experience, we will never forget the best of the Industrial Revolution and the worst of the Great Depression.
Sydney: World Wars
World war I, also known as the first world war or the great war was a global war centered in Europe. it started in 1914 and lasted until 1918.
World war II started in 1939 and lasted until 1945. The Nazis started taking over the world.
Adolf Hitler was the leader for the Nazis. The Italians were helping the Nazis. The Japanese were also helping the Nazis but they were in Asia attacking and taking over.
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, and when that happened the Americans entered the war. First we attacked the Nazis on a day called D-day. D-day happened on Christmas Day. They chose that day because it was the day that the Nazis were most unprepared. They attacked Normandy. As a result, the French got their country back. We ended the war by defeating the Japanese.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor we said that we will put all the Japanese Americans in internment camp. It is a camp to make sure that none of the Japanese Americans would attack. At the end we dropped two atomic bombs and that is how we won the war.
Piper: Civil Rights Movement
The year is 1960. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King are in action. Any thing can happen any time. Oh no! Rosa Parks is being arrested for not getting up and moving on a bus. Martin Luther King is making a new speech called I HAVE A DREAM. Yay! Martin Luther King is doing a another march.
I wonder what it would be like to be somebody discriminated back then? It would be scary. Just think about it, violence everywhere. I bet that would be different and difficult.
Did you know about segregation? For example a school for whites and a school for blacks or a drinking fountain for blacks and a drinking fountain for whites.
The Civil rights movement still goes on today.
Alexander: How our Government Works
It’s September 3, 1783, just the day after the end of the Revolutionary War, the British are hurriedly getting their troops out of New York City, and many important Colonists are hard at work deciding how their government is going to work. Many people want to have a king, but some of the most important Americans of the time wanted to have a different government. A government with a president ruled by the people. What they came up with was a government with three parts with equal power, each making sure the others are in check.
The first branch is the Legislative branch. Congress makes up the Legislative branch. Congress is made up of two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 435 members while the Senate has 100 totaling to 535 people. All of the Representatives represent a district in a state, so that they can make decisions that benefit their districts when Congress votes on new laws to be passed. The senators, on the other hand, are like representatives, but they represent the whole state. This all happens in the Capitol building.
The second branch is the Executive branch. The President, the cabinet, and the military make up most of the Executive branch. The Executive branch enforces the laws that Congress makes. They make sure people are following these laws. The president lives in the White House, which is also where he does most of his work.
The third branch of government is the Judicial branch. There are nine court justices that make up the Judicial branch, three of which are women today. They work in the Supreme Court building just east of the Capitol building. Many famous cases have been brought to the Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the most famous court cases in US history about the rights of black kids and if they could go to the same school as white kids.
The US government was the first government to not put all of its power into one person and to limit how long they could be in power for with term limits, and success has followed in many different ways. Sure, there were a few bumps along the way, but we’ve popularized capitalism, and almost all of the countries in the world today have followed our path to success.