March 2, 2022

"Give me liberty, or give me death!" from Patrick Henry's inspirational speech to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775

Give me Liberty, or Give Me Death Litograph

In 1775 unrest bubbled through the American Colonies. Britain had severely restricted Massachusetts through the Intolerable Acts; towns were voting to boycott British goods, and British soldiers were becoming a common sight in the American Colonies.

In this lesson you will explore a famous speech by Patrick Henry (1736–1799), member of the Second Virginia Convention.

The Second Virginia Convention

Patrick Henry is not speaking in the Virginia House of Burgesses [the state legislature] in Williamsburg because it had been dissolved the year before by Royal Governor Dunmore. Resenting this British interference with local government, the members of the House of Burgesses regrouped as a state convention. In order to avoid any interference from British troops, the Second Convention of approximately 120 delegates met in Richmond, Virginia, from March 20 through March 27.

 The American Colonies were attempting to negotiate with British in 1775, and many of Henry’s fellow delegates wanted to wait until these negotiations were completed before taking action. But Henry felt that delay would be a major mistake. On March 23, 1775, he asked the Virginia Convention to take a defensive stance immediately against Great Britain by raising an armed company in every Virginia county — an action considered by many to be open treason. His speech reflected language and actions far more radical that his fellow delegates were willing to go in public, but Henry based his request upon the assumption that even more aggressive military actions by the British would soon follow. Twenty-seven days after this speech was delivered the Battles of Lexington and Concord proved Henry correct.

This speech was recreated in 1817 by William Wirt of Maryland, who published the first biography of Patrick Henry. Wirt drew upon materials collected beginning in 1808, including interviews with those who knew Henry and those who were present when the speech was delivered. 

Source: Patrick Henry and “Give Me Liberty!”, The American Humanities Center.

→ View our original designs inspired by Patrick Henry's speech, "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!". In The History List store.

The speech

St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia
March 23, 1775

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves, and the House? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask, gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free² if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable²and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!



Source: Based on a description of the speech in Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, William Wirt (1836).  The speech appears on pages 119 - 123.  The full text of Wirt’s biography of Henry is online.

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February 16, 2022

How Dolley Madison saved the portrait of Washington from British troops in 1814, with help from Paul Jennings, John Susé, Jacob Barker, and Robert G. L. De Peyster, among others


You've heard how Dolley Madison saved Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington from the British as they were approaching the President's House, as it was called then, to ransack it and set it afire.

We looked at primary and secondary sources to get a more complete picture of what happened that night, and it's even more interesting.

First, let's start with this from the National Park Service

"On August 17, 1814, 4000 British troops began landing in Maryland. In nearby Washington, President Madison, fearing for the security of the capital, but with no regular troops at hand, called out the militia.

As thousands of Washingtonians packed their belongings and left town, First Lady Dolley Madison resolved to stay with her husband and, if necessary, oversee the evacuation of the White House.

By midday on Wednesday, August 24, 1814, British troops marching from Bladensburg stood poised to attack Washington. Convinced by friends that it was time to flee, the First Lady pointed to Gilbert Stuart’s full-length portrait of President George Washington. 'Save that picture, if possible,' she instructed Paul Jennings, a 15-year-old enslaved African-American. 'If not possible, destroy it: under no circumstance allow it to fall into the hands of the British.'

Madison initially ordered Jennings to help remove the entire portrait, frame and all, from the White House wall. But with the British approaching and time running short, she ordered Jennings to break the frame apart so the canvas could be removed with a knife. Two friends of the Madison family then carted the portrait away, storing it in a farmhouse outside Washington for safekeeping.  

After the repair of the White House from fire damage, Washington’s portrait returned to the executive mansion. It is the only item currently on display that was present when the White House opened in 1800.  

After gaining his freedom, Jennings went on to publish his White House memoirs in 1865. The book, A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison, included a recounting of his frenzied escape from the White House in 1814.”

Source: Summer 1814: Dolley Madison saves Washington’s portrait, with some help

Note: We can't find any original source for the dramatic quote above. If you know of one, please let us know.

Print shows a view from northeast of the fire-damaged White House, a result of the War of 1812. On August 24, 1814, British general Robert Ross led his troops into Washington with strict orders to burn only public buildings. On August 25, a tornado blew through the city, bringing torrential rains that quelled both fires and British desire to pursue further action in Washington.

→ Check out our Dolley Madison collection, including "Remember the ladies," with five notable women in U.S. history, and our "Dolley Madison Art Storage" shirts and tote bags, with our tongue-in-cheek reference to Dolley Madison saving the portrait of Washington.

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Interestingly, Jennings’s account in his book is slightly different than what the National Park Service described

Dolley Madison
"It has often been stated in print, that when Mrs. Madison escaped from the White House, she cut out from the frame the large portrait of Washington (now in one of the parlors  there), and carried it off. This is totally false. She had no time for doing it. It would have required a ladder to get it down. All she carried off was the silver in her reticule, as the British were thought to be but a few squares off, and were expected every moment. John Susé (a Frenchman, then door-keeper, and still living) and Magraw, the President's gardener, took it down and sent it off on a wagon, with some large silver urns and such other valuables as could be hastily got hold of. When the British did arrive, they ate up the very dinner, and drank the wines, &c., that I had prepared for the President's party.”

Though unrelated the hurried removal of the painting, Jennings describes Mrs. Madison in this poignant note:

"Mrs. Madison was a remarkably fine woman. She was beloved by every body in Washington, white and colored. Whenever soldiers marched by, during the war, she always sent out and invited them in to take wine and refreshments, giving them liberally of the best in the house. Madeira wine was better in those days than now, and more freely drank. In the last days of her life, before Congress purchased her husband's papers, she was in a state of absolute poverty, and I think sometimes suffered for the necessaries of life. While I was a servant to Mr. Webster, he often sent me to her with a market-basket full of provisions, and told me whenever I saw anything in the house that I thought she was in need of, to take it to her. I often did this, and occasionally gave her small sums from my own pocket, though I had years before bought my freedom of her."

Source: A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison, by Paul Jennings

→ View our original designs inspired by Dolley Madison.  In The History List Store.

Dolley Madison's own account is contained in, “Extract from a letter to my sister, published in the sketch of my life, written for the National Portrait Gallery”

"Tuesday Augt. 23d. 1814.

Dear Sister

My husband left me yesterday morng. to join Gen. Winder. He enquired anxiously whether I had courage, or firmness to remain in the President’s house until his return, on the morrow, or succeeding day, and on my assurance that I had no fear but for him and the success of our army, he left me, beseeching me to take care of myself, and of the cabinet papers, public and private. I have since recd. two despatches from him, written with a pencil; the last is alarming, because he desires I should be ready at a moment’s warning to enter my carriage and leave the city; that the enemy seemed stronger than had been reported, and that it might happen that they would reach the city, with intention to destroy it. . . . I am accordingly ready; I have pressed as many cabinet papers into trunks as to fill one carriage; our private property must be sacrificed, as it is impossible to procure wagons for its transportation. I am determined not to go myself until I see Mr Madison safe, and he can accompany me, as I hear of much hostility towards him, . . . disaffection stalks around us. . . . My friends and acquaintances are all gone; Even Col. C with his hundred men, who were stationed as a guard in the enclosure . . . . French John (a faithful domestic,) with his usual activity and resolution, offers to spike the cannon at the gate, and to lay a train of powder which would blow up the British, should they enter the house. To the last proposition I positively object, without being able, however, to make him understand why all advantages in war may not be taken.

Wednesday morng., twelve o’clock. Since sunrise I have been turning my spyglass in every direction and watching with unwearied anxiety, hoping to discern the approach of my dear husband and his friends, but, alas, I can descry only groups of military wandering in all directions, as if there was a lack of arms, or of spirit to fight for their own firesides!

Three O’clock. Will you believe it, my Sister? We have had a battle or skirmish near Bladensburg, and I am still here within sound of the cannon! Mr. Madison comes not; may God protect him! Two messengers covered with dust, come to bid me fly; but I wait for him. . . . At this late hour a wagon has been procured, I have had it filled with the plate and most valuable portable articles belonging to the house; whether it will reach its destination; the Bank of Maryland, or fall into the hands of British soldiery, events must determine.

Our kind friend, Mr. Carroll, has come to hasten my departure, and is in a very bad humor with me because I insist on waiting until the large picture of Gen. Washington is secured, and it requires to be unscrewed from the wall. This process was found too tedious for these perilous moments; I have ordered the frame to be broken, and the canvass taken out it is done, and the precious portrait placed in the hands of two gentlemen of New York, for safe keeping. And now, dear sister, I must leave this house, or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it, by filling up the road I am directed to take. When I shall again write you, or where I shall be tomorrow, I cannot tell!!"

Source: Incidents in the Life of Jacob Barker, of New Orleans, Louisiana, etc., by Jacob Barker, one of the two men who carried off the painting for safekeeping.

Several years later she sought to set the record straight in a letter to Robert G. L. De Peyster, who accompanied Barker that night:

"WASHINGTON, February 11th, 1848.

Dear Sir:

I did not receive your favor containing the newspapers, and therefore is my impatience to assure you of my gratitude for the interest you take in my defence in the later narrative of the picture rescue.

You will see by the enclosed what was said at the time. The impression that Mr. Carroll saved Stuart’s portrait of Washington is erroneous. The paper which was to accompany your letter has not reached me, but I have heard that his family believed he rescued it. On the contrary, Mr. Carroll had left me to join Mr. Madison, when I directed my servants in what manner to remove it from the wall, remaining with them until it was done. I saw Mr. Barker and yourself (the two gentlemen alluded to) passing, and accepted your offer to assist me, in any way, by inviting you to help me to preserve this portrait, which you kindly carried, between you, to the humble but safe roof which sheltered it awhile. I acted thus because of my respect for General Washington—not that I felt a desire to gain laurels; but, should there be a merit in remaining an hour in danger of life and liberty to save the likeness of anything, the merit in this case belongs to me. Accept my respect and best wishes.  

D. P. Madison"

Source: David B. Mattern and Holly C. Shulman, eds., The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003), 387.

The White House Historical Association provides details on the source of Mrs. Madison’s letter and, as it turns out, the original letter no longer exists:

“The extract of the letter Dolley Madison wrote to her sister describing the events leading up to her White House escape is dated August 23 and 24, 1814. Because the richly detailed letter is unique as a record of these critical events and was written by one of the few White House witnesses present, historians have used the contents of the letter over and over again in their histories of the period and in biographies of Dolley Madison. Recent research by historian David Mattern, who is also an editor of James Madison’s papers, revealed some interesting findings. He explains that the original letter does not exist. What historians use is a transcript or extracts of the letter that Dolley Madison copied from a book, The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, published in Philadelphia, 1837-1846. Twenty years after the White House burned, Mrs. Madison was asked to select some letters from the past to be published in this book. The letter to her sister was the only one selected to be printed. At some point in time, Mrs. Madison then copied it out of the book in her own handwriting. This transcription is the only record of the letter in her handwriting.

Although the letter begins with, ‘Dear Sister,’ there is no indication which sister she meant: Lucy Todd Washington or Anna Cutts. It was customary to make a handwritten copy of a letter for the record before you mailed the original; in her haste, Mrs. Madison probably did not. Therefore, she would have had to retrieve the letter from her sister in order to send it to the publisher. Because sister Anna lived near Dolley, and it would be convenient to retrieve the letter, it is thought that Anna was the recipient. (It was not at all unusual to keep letters for long periods).

While Mrs. Madison regularly corresponded with friends and family, this particular letter differs in its tone and formality. She provides details that do not seem to be necessary to add, if she were simply writing to her sister. Did she re-write it later, for a broader audience? What is not in question, however, is the accuracy of the information. Another Madison letter written to Mary Latrobe, December 3, 1814, does not contradict the details.”

Source:  The White House Historical Association

The portrait that was saved was likely not the original

Gilbert Stuart - George Washington (detail of book labels)"But whether the portrait saved by Dolley Madison and Paul Jennings was painted by Stuart’s hand or that of a lesser known artist, it was still just a copy of the original Lansdowne portrait. That original is usually on display at the National Portrait Gallery, not far from the version of the painting that was saved from the British—that copy is still displayed in the East Room of the White House. There’s one easy way to identify this particular iteration: The artist included a “typo” to set it apart from the others. If you look closely at the books by the table leg, you can see [photo below] that one is titled The Constitution and Laws of the United Sates."  

Source: Mentalfloss

In closing

Did it happen exaclty as commonly described?  

My sense is that it didn't, but what I take away from the primary sources is that it was an even more daring, chaotic escape, which reflects very positively on all involved, from Dolley Madison, wife of the president, to Paul Jennings, a 15 year old boy enslaved to President Madison. It is thanks to their efforts that this painting, even if it is a copy, hangs in the White House today.  

— Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp  | The Pursuit of History

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December 1, 2019

17 Days of Christmas: Gift Ideas for History Lovers

17 Days of Christmas

Our list of 17 gift ideas for every kind of history lovers. This list includes gift ideas for the Revolutionary War fan, gifts for Civil War buffs, presents for supporters of the Suffrage Movement and Women's Rights, gifts for World War II enthusiasts, and Space Age fans.


1. "Eagles over the Pacific" Series

"Eagles over The Pacific" Books series

South West Pacific theatre of World War II

According to an entry in Wikipedia:

"The South West Pacific theatre, during World War II, was a major theatre of the war between the Allies and the Axis. It included the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies (except for Sumatra), Borneo, Australia and its mandate Territory of New Guinea (including the Bismarck Archipelago) and the western part of the Solomon Islands. This area was defined by the Allied powers' South West Pacific Area (SWPA) command.

In the South West Pacific theatre, Japanese forces fought primarily against the forces of the United States and Australia. New Zealand, the Netherlands (mainly the Dutch East Indies), the Philippines, United Kingdom, and other Allied nations also contributed forces.

The South Pacific became a major theatre of the war following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Initially, US war plans called for a counteroffensive across the Central Pacific, but this was disrupted by the loss of battleships at Pearl Harbor. During the First South Pacific Campaign, US forces sought to establish a defensive perimeter against additional Japanese attacks. This was followed by the Second South Pacific Campaign, which began with the Battle of Guadalcanal."

Source: Wikipedia

The Eagles over the Pacific book series takes the reader on an unforgettable journey with America's young airmen across the war zones of the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II. Starting from the 345th Bomb Group, the famous Air Apaches, up to the story of the 43rd Bomb Group in 1943. The series has become a classic, the standard by which combat aviation literature is judged. Top aviation historians consider it to be the best book on an air combat units ever produced. Exhaustively researched both from archival sources and through interviews and correspondence with hundreds of unit veterans, Larry Hickey has created in Eagles over the Pacific, a book that reads like an exciting adventure novel, but that is actually the most carefully researched and written history possible.

Get your "Eagles over the Pacific" books


2. "History Nerd" with World War II Paratrooper Crewneck Sweatshirt

About the Operation Overlord

According to the Naval History and Heritage Command website:

"Operation Overlord included the largest seaborne invasion in history. Code-named Operation Neptune, nearly 160,000 troops and more than 5,000 vessels crossed the English Channel. They had been preceded by a 1,200-plane airborne assault that dropped more than 23,000 paratroopers and pathfinders over Normandy. Eleven months later, on May 8, 1945, the Allies formally accepted Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender, ending the war in Europe that had begun on September 1, 1939.

At dawn on 6 June, nearly 7,000 U.S. and British ships and craft carrying close to 160,000 troops lay off the Normandy beaches, surprising German commanders, who had overestimated the adverse weather’s impact and were also expecting landings to the northeast, in the Pas-de-Calais area. Following assembly, and a 24-hour delay, the invasion fleet had proceeded across the English Channel along five lanes cleared by minesweepers toward the French coast. The waters off of the U.S. (Utah, Omaha) and British-Canadian (Gold, Juno, Sword) landing beaches had been divided into transport off-loading areas, fire-support channels and areas, and lanes for the assault craft. Cruisers and battleships bombarded enemy coastal fortifications and strongpoints,  followed by tactical air strikes. In each of the initial attack waves, LCTs (landing craft, tank) carried specially configured amphibious tanks that were to serve as immediate infantry fire support once ashore. Patrol boats served as control vessels off of each beach. Destroyers and other small combatants stood by to provide gunfire support, and loaded landing craft proceeded from their line of departure (“Dixie line”) toward the beaches.

Operation Neptune, the naval component of Overlord—mine sweeping, the massive cross-Channel movement, the amphibious landings, and fire and logistics support—and subsequent hard-fought Allied breakout from the Normandy beachhead into German-occupied France set the stage for the liberation of western Europe and final victory in May 1945."

Source: Naval History and Heritage Command

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3. When the Irish Invaded Canada: The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans Who Fought for Ireland's Freedom

When the Irish Invaded Canada: The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans Who Fought for Ireland's Freedom

The outlandish, untold story of the Irish American revolutionaries who tried to free Ireland by invading Canada

Just over a year after Robert E. Lee relinquished his sword, a band of Union and Confederate veterans dusted off their guns. But these former foes had no intention of reigniting the Civil War. Instead, they fought side by side to undertake one of the most fantastical missions in military history: to seize the British province of Canada and to hold it hostage until the independence of Ireland was secured.

By the time that these invasions--known collectively as the Fenian raids--began in 1866, Ireland had been Britain's unwilling colony for seven hundred years. Thousands of Civil War veterans who had fled to the United States rather than perish in the wake of the Great Hunger still considered themselves Irishmen first, Americans second. With the tacit support of the U.S. government and inspired by a previous generation of successful American revolutionaries, the group that carried out a series of five attacks on Canada between 1866 and 1871—the Fenian Brotherhood—established a state in exile, planned prison breaks, weathered infighting, stockpiled weapons, and assassinated enemies. Defiantly, this motley group, including a one-armed war hero, an English spy infiltrating rebel forces, and a radical who staged his own funeral, managed to seize a piece of Canada--if only for three days.

When the Irish Invaded Canada is the untold tale of a band of fiercely patriotic Irish Americans and their chapter in Ireland's centuries-long fight for independence. Inspiring, lively, and often undeniably comic, this is a story of fighting for what's right in the face of impossible odds.

Get a signed and inscribed copy of the book, When the Irish Invaded Canada: The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans Who Fought for Ireland's Freedom


4. History Nerd with Ben Franklin Caps

History Nerd with Ben Franklin caps

On this day in December 4, 1777: News of the Victory at Saratoga reaches Paris

According to the Revolutionary War and Beyond website:

Earlier in 1777, British General John Burgoyne had embarked on a strategy to split the American colonies in two by invading from Canada. The plan worked fine at first, but then, the American resistance began to mount effective resistance in various skirmishes. The American forces began to swell as Indians allied with the British began to attack civilian settlers and the fall of Ticonderoga stirred up American resolve. 

General Burgoyne's strategy began to be plagued by desertion from his Indian allies, news that General Howe would take his main force to Philadelphia instead of sending them to Albany; and the loss of 1,000 men at the Battle of Bennington. Meanwhile, the American troops swelled to nearly 15,000 men as militia and Continental troops arrived from all over New England. Burgoyne had only half this number.

Two main battles, which together are generally called the Battles of Saratoga, took place. One at Freeman's Farm on September 19 and the second at Bemis Heights on October 7. Over 1,000 British soldiers were killed or captured in the battles, while the Americans lost only a third of this number. General Burgoyne was forced to draw back to Saratoga where his troops were quickly surrounded. On October 17, he surrendered his army of over 6,000 men.

While Americans celebrated and London scrambled to reassess its strategy, word of the victory arrived in Paris on December 4, 1777. Benjamin Franklin received the news from the Continental Congress and went immediately to the French government. France desperately wanted to enter the war against its archrival, Britain, but believed it should wait until the American colonists first proved they could resist or even defeat the British without outside assistance. The victory at Saratoga gave the world proof that the Americans had the tenacity and resolve to stand up to Great Britain and two days after the word arrived in Paris, King Louis XVI announced his intention to join the war on the side of the Americans.

Get your "History Nerd" with Ben Franklin caps and explore our complete collection of "History Nerd" with Ben Franklin items.


5. "Knox Moving Co."

Knox Moving Co.

On December 5, 1775 Henry Knox wrote to George Washington:

“The garrison at Ticonderoga is so weak, the conveyance from the fort to the landing is so difficult, the passage across the lake so precarious, that I am afraid it will be ten days at least before I can get them on this side. When they are here, the conveyance from hence will depend entirely on the sledding; if that is wood, they shall immediately move forward; with out sledding, the roads are so much gullied that it will be impossible to move a step.”

Bookseller turned soldier Henry Knox and his men moved 59 cannon and mortars more than 300 miles in 56 days, arriving outside of Boston on January 25, 1776. The largest canon were mounted on Dorchester Heights and aimed down at the British fleet. On March 17, the British loaded their ships and withdrew to Halifax, Nova Scotia, ending an eleven-month siege.

Henry Knox was 25 years old.

Take a close look at the shirt and you'll see several references to those historic achievements. It's the perfect shirt for someone who loves history.

Each shirt includes a hang tag with an excerpt of another letter Knox wrote Washington, a map showing the route, and a portrait of him later in life.

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6. "Declaration of Independence" from the Printing Office of Edes & Gill

The Declaration of Independence

"The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of The United States of America. Written by Thomas Jefferson, (one of the five members of the Committee that Congress had appointed to draft the document. Other members being: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman) between June 11th and June 28th 1776.

Congress voted for Independency on July 2nd and then took up Jefferson’s draft for the next two days. Eighty-six alterations were made to the draft and congress approved the document on July 4th, 1776.

Congress then ordered the committee that drafted the Declaration to oversee the printing of the Declaration. A fair copy was made of the amended draft and hand carried by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to the printing office of John Dunlap in Philadelphia on the afternoon of the 4th. The Declaration was printed that night into the early morning of July 5th. John Hancock, President of Congress began to send out “official copies” on the 5th and 6th of July to all thirteen Colonies, ordering them to print the Declaration in their newspapers and generally distribute the news as they saw fit.

The first printing of the Declaration in Boston

According to The Printing Office of Edes & Gill website:

"The 'official' copy of the Declaration arrived about July 15th in Boston. The patriot printer John Gill set it in type on the 16th and printed on the 17th ready for distribution on the 18th of July. On the 18th, the Declaration was read from the balcony of the Old State House for the first time. Large crowds gathered to hear the address.

Just two editions of the Boston Printing of the Declaration broadside were published by Gill and then it disappeared from history. Only three copies from this John Gill edition have survived. In June 2009 Christie's auctioned a rare Boston imprint of the Declaration.

One original copy was located in the collection of the Bostonian Society by Gary Gregory, founder and Shop Master of the recreated Edes & Gill. Gary then had all 9.000 characters of type meticulously cast in lead to match the original document.

This recreation was first printed by the Printing Office of Edes and Gill on July 3rd 2012, marking the first time since July 1776 that anyone had printed the Boston Broadside of the Declaration of Independence.
This print was printed by hand on the Wooden Common Press using 100% Cotton Linen, Very-Fine Crane paper in the Printing Office of Edes & Gill.

The Printing Office of Edes & Gill is non-profit 50(c)3 corporation funded entirely by donations, gifts, and the sale of materials printed on their historic press. A portion of the proceeds of this sale will go to them."

Source: The Printing Office of Edes & Gill

Get your own copy of the "Declaration of Independence" from the Printing Office of Edes & Gill in Boston


7. "She's a W.O.W."

'She's a W.O.W."

The history of the Women Ordnance Workers insignia

Acording to the US Army website:

"In 1942, Westinghouse Company's War Production Coordinating Committee created a series of posters to encourage support for the war effort. One of these posters became the 'We Can Do It' poster. This image was based on a United Press International wire service photograph taken of Ann Arbor, Michigan, factory worker Geraldine Hoff who worked as a metal-stamping machine operator. In later years, this image would be associated with the Rosie the Riveter legend, however this image only appeared for a few weeks to Westinghouse employees in the Midwest in 1943. An Ordnance Department Women Ordnance Worker (WOW) bandana is clearly visible on her head. This image has largely replaced the Norman Rockwell's image of Rosie the Riveter. . . .

The "Rosie the Riveter" movement is credited with helping push the number of working women to 20,000,000 during four years of war, a 57 percent jump from 1940. About 300,000 women were employed in War Department activities in November 1943. The WOW bandanna became a well-known symbol of the 85,000 women who worked directly for the Ordnance Department. . . .

From an advertisement in the July-August 1943 issue of Army Ordnance:

"... and she wears the WOW bandanna. Water Repellent. Washable. Dust Proof. The "WOW" Bandanna, designed in accordance with U.S. Army specification, is an attractive, safe, and unifying head covering to identify Women Ordnance Workers. About 27" square, it is available either in Ordnance red with white Ordnance insignia, or in white with red Ordnance insignia. Every woman in your plant will want one--it's a "WOW" for morale! $3.75 per dozen, net F.O.B., New York. Manufactured under authorization from the Army Ordnance Department. We invite your inquiry. BRIAN FABRICS CORPORATION, 1441 BROADWAY, NEW YORK CITY."

Source: US Army

Get our "She's a W.O.W." Shirts, sticker, and magnet


8. "History Nerd" with Civil War Soldier and "History Nerd" with Abraham Lincoln

Civil War

This day in history on 1863, Lincoln Issues Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

According to the Civil War Book of Days website:

In his December 8, 1863 annual message to Congress, President Lincoln offered, as historian Harold Holzer explained, “a new policy that looked past the fighting to the eventual restoration of the Union. Lincoln’s Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction proposed to re-establish state governments in the rebellious states upon approval of only 10 percent of all voters who had participated in the 1860 election. And it offered to pardon all rebels who took an oath of loyalty to the Union. But Lincoln’s magnanimity went only so far. The proclamation specifically excluded high-ranking Confederate military and naval officers, ‘officers or agents of the so-called confederate government’ (small ‘c’ intentional), and ‘all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons or white persons . . . unlawfully as prisoners of war.'”

Get our "History Nerd" with Abraham Lincoln and "History Nerd" with Civil War Soldier


9. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" Tote bag

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" Tote bag

According to Wikipedia:

"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and then edited by the Committee of Five, which consisted of Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. It was then further edited and adopted by the Committee of the Whole of the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The second paragraph of the first article in the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

These powerful words and the concepts behind them helped to establish a platform for democracy in the United States of America and elsewhere in the world.

At The History List, we have adopted these powerful words with a slight edit to embody our passion. Our rallying cry and our credo, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of history."

Get your "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" Tote bag - available in several colors


10. History Camp Gift Certificate

History Camp Gift Certificate

About History Camp

The name “History Camp” is an adaptation of “BarCamp,” which is the name many in the tech industry use for events with this “unconference” format. One of the principles that defines an unconference is that anyone can present. You don’t have to submit papers months in advance. No committee screens submissions. There is no specific theme. The topics that are presented are the ones of interest to the presenters. The sessions that are well-attended are the ones that are of interest to the attendees. It’s an incredibly democratic way to gather and share information. 

History Camp started in late 2013, when Lee Wright approached three authors and bloggers in the Boston area and proposed that they adapt the format that he’d seen work at Boston BarCamp to the topic of history. John BellSam Forman, and Liz Covart got things started by posting sessions they would present to a wiki so that others could get an idea of what to expect. Things came together fairly quickly, and on March 8, 2014 they held the first History Camp. It took place in Cambridge at a facility that IBM donated for the day. One hundred twenty-nine people attended 23 sessions and two panels.

This year, History Camp took place in six cities, with more cities in the works for next year.

History Camp brings together adults from all walks of life who have a passion for history. They come to share what they’ve learned and to learn from others. You don’t have to have a particular degree or occupation, or belong to a particular organization. Sessions cover all aspects of history, plus ways to communicate and engage others with history. If you love history, History Camp is for you.

Your gift to them will cover their full registration and more.  Because the costs for the different locations vary, they’ll receive a credit at The History List Store for the difference between the $100 value of your gift and the cost of the registration for the History Camp that they choose.  They can select one in 2020 or in any future year, at any of our locations.  There is no expiration date.

Get a History Camp Gift Certificate

11. "History Nerd" with Apollo 11 Astronaut

"History Nerd" with Apollo 11 astronaut

According to the NASA website:

"On the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop another Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The three-stage 363-foot rocket will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history.

At 9:32 a.m. EDT, the engines fire and Apollo 11 clears the tower. About 12 minutes later, the crew is in Earth orbit. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and begin the descent, while Collins orbits in the command module Columbia. 

When it comes time to set Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong improvises, manually piloting the ship past an area littered with boulders. During the final seconds of descent, Eagle's computer is sounding alarms. It turns out to be a simple case of the computer trying to do too many things at once, but as Aldrin will later point out, "unfortunately it came up when we did not want to be trying to solve these particular problems."

When the lunar module lands at 4:17 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew "You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we're breathing again."

At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: "magnificent desolation." They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.

They leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle's legs. It reads, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

Over the next three and a half years, 10 astronauts will follow in their footsteps. Gene Cernan, commander of the last Apollo mission leaves the lunar surface with these words: "We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind."

Get your "History Nerd" with Apollo 11 Astronaut shirt, sticker, and magnet


12. Women's Suffrage

Women's Suffrage

According to The National Museum of American History website:

"In January 1917, discouraged by President Wilson’s continued opposition to the suffrage amendment, Alice Paul, the leader of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) posted pickets at the White House gates—the first people to ever picket the White House. These 'silent sentinels' stayed on duty in all weather and in the face of threats, taunts, and physical violence. Using their banners and their quiet courage they asked, 'Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait for their Liberty?' and "'Mr. President What Will you do for Woman Suffrage?' Hoping to provoke a response, the language on the banners became more inflammatory.

"They used the president’s own words against him and pointed out the hypocrisy of his leading the country into the First World War to defend freedom while denying it to the women of his own country. Crowds who believed the pickets’ activities were disloyal in a time of war attacked the suffragists and destroyed their banners.

"In July the police began arresting the pickets for 'obstruction of traffic.' When they refused to pay fines they were imprisoned. When they went on hunger strikes to demand the rights of political prisoners they were forcibly fed—a painful and invasive procedure. The pickets continued despite the risk. Paul had endured such treatment while she was in England. Although she knew what lay ahead and that she, as the organizer of the picketing, would receive a harsher sentence, she insisted on taking her place on the picket line. She was arrested in October. While in jail she was forcibly fed and threatened with commitment to an insane asylum. Reports of the long sentences, abuse, and the courage of the suffragists became public and all prisoners were released in November.

"In a December ceremony the imprisoned suffragists were awarded with small silver pins in the shape of prison doors with heart-shaped locks. The 'Jailed for Freedom' pins were designed by Nina Allender. 

The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution enfranchising women was ratified in August 1920."

Source: The National Museum of American History

The ceremony where the pins were awarded

According to the book "Jailed for Freedom" by Doris Stevens:

"The Woman’s Party conference came to a dramatic close during that first week in December [1917], with an enormous mass meeting in the Belasco Theatre in Washington. On that quiet Sunday afternoon, as the President came through his gates for his afternoon drive, a passageway had to be opened for his motor car through the crowd of four thousand people who were blocking Madison Place in an effort to get inside the Belasco Theatre.

'Inside the building was packed to the rafters. The President saw squads of police reserves, who had been for the past six months arresting pickets for him, battling with a crowd that was literally storming the theatre in their eagerness to do honor to those who had been arrested. Inside there was a fever heat of enthusiasm, bursting cheers, and thundering applause which shook the building. America has never before nor since seen such a suffrage meeting.

'Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont, chairman, opened the meeting by saying: 'We are here this afternoon to do honor to a hundred gallant women, who have endured the hardship and humiliation of imprisonment because they love liberty.

'The suffrage pickets stood at the White House gates for ten months and dramatized the women’s agitation for political liberty. Self-respecting and patriotic American women will no longer tolerate a government which denies women the right to govern themselves. A flame of rebellion is abroad among women, and the stupidity and brutality of the government in this revolt have only served to increase its heat.

'As President Wilson wrote, "Governments have been very successful in parrying agitation, diverting it, in seeming to yield to it and then cheating it, tiring it out or evading it. But the end, whether it comes soon or late, is quite certain to be the same." While the government has endeavored to parry, tire, divert, and cheat us of our goal, the country has risen in protest against this evasive policy of suppression until to-day the indomitable pickets with their historic legends stand triumphant before the nation.' Mrs. William Kent, who had led the last picket line of forty-one women, was chosen to decorate the prisoners.

'In honoring these women, who were willing to go to jail for liberty,' said Mrs. Kent, 'we are showing our love of country and devotion to democracy.' The long line of prisoners filed past her and amidst constant cheers and applause, received a tiny silver replica of a cell door . . . .

"The amendment passed the House January 10, 1918, by a vote of 274 to 136—a two-thirds majority with one vote to spare-exactly forty years to a day from the time the suffrage amendment was first introduced into Congress, and exactly one year to a day from the time the first picket banner appeared at the gates of the White House."

From: Jailed for Freedom, Doris Stevens (1920)

Explore our complete Women's Suffrage collection


13. "History Nerd" with Ben Franklin

"History Nerd" with Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. He was one the most accomplished American minds, not only of the 18th century, but possibly of all time. He made a major contribution in drafting the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He negotiated the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War. He was paramount in obtaining support from King Louis XVI of France and was largely responsible for his signing the important military alliance of 1778. A known polymath, Franklin was a printer, a writer known for his wit and wisdom, and the publisher of Poor Richard’s Almanack. He also pursued investigations into electricity, mathematics, mapmaking, invented bifocal glasses, and organized the first successful American lending library.

1787, in his final significant act of public service, he was a delegate to the convention that produced the U.S. Constitution.

Get your "History Nerd" with Ben Franklin shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs, stickers, and magnet


14. "Revolutionary Superheroes"

"Revolutionary Superhereos"

Abigail & John Adams An inseparable couple. We know this because John’s political work separated them for years at a time and they wrote wonderful letters to each other.

George Washington Colonel of the Virginia regiment, generalissimo of the Continental Army, chairman of the Constitutional Convention, President of the United States.

Benjamin Franklin Printer, essayist, bureaucrat, scientist, lobbyist in London. And at the age of 69, he started a new career as an American statesman.

Alexander Hamilton Most famous native of the island of Nevis, first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Had great powers of perspicuity and persuasion but was not bullet-proof.

Thanks to J.L. Bell of Boston 1775 for his help on this project and his notes about these Revolutionary Superheroes.

Explore our "Revolutionary Superheroes" collection


15. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History"

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" Collection

The image is based on a wood carving in the collection of the Newport Historical Society in Newport, Rhode Island, where this carving is on display. The Society attributes the carving to Alexander Swasey (1820-1860), boat builder, and explains that it is made of mixed woods, paint, and gilt. It is used under license.

Read more about the wood carving and see more pictures in our blog post: Patriotic Carving by Alexander Swasey from the collection of the Newport Historical Society

See all products from our "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of History" Collection


16. "1773 Boston Tea Party"

"1773 Boston Tea Party"

The historic event behind the design

"The Tea Act of 1773 gave the British East India Company a monopoly on tea sales in America.

On the evening of December 16th, 1773, Bostonians, following the lead of the Sons of Liberty and disguised as Narragansett or Mohawk Indians (sources disagree), boarded three ships and destroyed 342 chests of East India Company tea, which they dumped in the harbor.

The destruction of the tea was the final straw for Parliament and led to the Intolerable Acts of 1774. These closed the port of Boston, instituted a military government, quartered troops among the population, and allowed all British officials charged with a crime to stand trial in Great Britain instead of the Colonies.

Many years later George Hewes, a 31–year–old shoemaker and participant, recalled "We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard. And we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water."

Get your "1773 Boston Tea Party" Shirt and sticker


17. "History Nerd" with WWII Soldier

"History Nerd" with WWII Soldier

According to the National WWII Museum website:

"America's isolation from war ended on December 7, 1941, when Japan staged a surprise attack on American military installations in the Pacific. The most devastating strike came at Pearl Harbor, the Hawaiian naval base where much of the US Pacific Fleet was moored. In a two-hour attack, Japanese warplanes sank or damaged 18 warships and destroyed 164 aircraft. Over 2,400 servicemen and civilians lost their lives.

Though stunned by the events of December 7, Americans were also resolute. On December 8, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan. The declaration passed with just one dissenting vote. Three days later, Germany and Italy, allied with Japan, declared war on the United States.

The United States faced a mammoth job in December 1941. Ill-equipped and wounded, the nation was at war with three formidable adversaries. It had to prepare to fight on two distant and very different fronts, Europe and the Pacific.

America needed to quickly raise, train, and outfit a vast military force. At the same time, it had to find a way to provide material aid to its hard-pressed allies in Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

Meeting these challenges would require massive government spending, conversion of existing industries to wartime production, construction of huge new factories, changes in consumption, and restrictions on many aspects of American life. Government, industry, and labor would need to cooperate. Contributions from all Americans, young and old, men and women, would be necessary to build up what President Roosevelt called the "Arsenal of Democracy."


The primary task facing America in 1941 was raising and training a credible military force. Concern over the threat of war had spurred President Roosevelt and Congress to approve the nation's first peacetime military draft in September 1940. By December 1941 America's military had grown to nearly 2.2 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.

America's armed forces consisted largely of "citizen soldiers",men and women drawn from civilian life. They came from every state in the nation and all economic and social strata. Many were volunteers, but the majority,roughly 10 million,entered the military through the draft. Most draftees were assigned to the army. The other services attracted enough volunteers at first, but eventually their ranks also included draftees.

The Draft

By late 1942 all men aged 18 to 64 were required to register for the draft, though in practice the system concentrated on men under 38. Eventually 36 million men registered. Individuals were selected from this manpower pool for examination by one of over 6,000 local draft boards. These boards, comprised of citizens from individual communities, determined if a man was fit to enter the military. They considered factors like the importance of a man's occupation to the war effort, his health, and his family situation. Many men volunteered rather than wait to be drafted. That way, they could choose their branch of service.

Potential servicemen reported to military induction centers to undergo physical and psychiatric examinations. If a man passed these exams, he was fingerprinted and asked which type of service he preferred, though his assignment would be based on the military's needs. After signing his induction papers, he was issued a serial number. The final step was the administration of the oath. He was now in the military. After a short furlough, he reported to a reception center before being shipped to a training camp. New recruits faced more medical examinations, inoculations, and aptitude tests.


The training camp was the forge in which civilians began to become military men and women. In the training camps new servicemen and women underwent rigorous physical conditioning. They were drilled in the basic elements of military life and trained to work as part of a team. They learned to operate and maintain weapons. They took tests to determine their talents and were taught more specialized skills. Paratroopers, antiaircraft teams, desert troops, and other unique units received additional instruction at special training centers.

World War II on the Homefront

Raising an armed force was just part of America's war effort. That force had to be supplied with the uniforms, guns, tanks, ships, warplanes, and other weapons and equipment needed to fight. With its vast human and material resources, the United States had the potential to supply both itself and its allies. But first the American economy had to be converted to war production.

The war production effort brought immense changes to American life. As millions of men and women entered the service and production boomed, unemployment virtually disappeared. The need for labor opened up new opportunities for women and African Americans and other minorities. Millions of Americans left home to take jobs in war plants that sprang up around the nation. Economic output skyrocketed.

The war effort on the "Home Front" required sacrifices and cooperation. "Don't you know there's a war on?" was a common expression. Rationing became part of everyday life. Americans learned to conserve vital resources. They lived with price controls, dealt with shortages of everything from nylons to housing, and volunteered for jobs ranging from air raid warden to Red Cross worker."

Explore our collection of World War II-era items including our "History Nerd" with WWII Soldier and World War II on the Homefront Print



Order by December 17 for Christmas delivery. Orders placed by this date are highly likely to get to destinations in the US in time for Christmas, but are not guaranteed.

If you want guaranteed delivery by a certain date, please let us know and we’ll tell you the additional charge for that class of service from FedEx or UPS.

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November 23, 2019

Preview of our 2019 special offers for the holidays

Last night we made a video announcing our holiday offer of a choice of six different gifts for orders made before midnight Eastern on Monday, December 2. This coming Monday, November 25, we'll post the video and send out email to everyone, but I wanted you to know in advance.

In fact, we made a second video for you, our biggest supporters.  I wanted to tell you not only about those holiday offers, but also highlight four special products that we're almost out of so you'll have the first chance at them: 

So watch the video, and you'll find additional details on the six free gifts here.

And finally, our newest gift: The gift of History Camp with a gift certificate good for any History Camp. Next year History Camps will be held in Boston, Holyoke, MA, Philadelphia, Fairfax, VA, Des Moines, and Denver. The gift recipient can pick their camp and the year they want to attend. They will get a History Camp t-shirt, full registration to any one of these History Camps or any History Camp in the future, and merchandise from The History List store.

Thanks for your continued support of The History List. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

— Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp













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January 1, 2020

Notable anniversaries in US history this month

March 2020

  • 55th anniversary of Operation Rolling Thunder beginning on March 2, 1965.  The operation was a sustained aerial bombardment lasting over three years
  • 200th anniversary of the Missouri Compromise being passed by Congress on March 3, 1820 
  • 75th anniversary of Finland declaring war on Germany on March 3, 1945 
  • 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770 
  • 200th anniversary of President Monroe signing the Missouri Compromise on March 6, 1820 
  • 55th anniversary of Marines landing at Da Nang on March 8, 1965 
  • 75th anniversary of the Firebombing of Tokyo on March 9, 1945 
  • 90th anniversary of Gandhi starting his 241 mile march on March 12, 1930 
  • 70th anniversary of the first ever FBI “10 most wanted list” is published on March 14, 1950 
  • 200th anniversary of Maine entering the Union on March 15, 1820 
  • 170th of Nathaniel Hawthorne publishing The Scarlet Letter on March 16, 1850
  • 75th anniversary of Victory at Iwo Jima on March 16, 1945
  • 95th anniversary of the Tri-State Tornado, one of the deadliest tornadoes in US History on  March 18, 1925 
  • 155th anniversary of the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina on March 19, 1865
  • 55th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March begins on March 21,1965
  • 255th anniversary of the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765
  • 75th anniversary of the Arab League being formed on March 22, 1945 
  • 245th anniversary of “Give me Liberty or Give me death” uttered by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 
  • 45th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Campaign (under the 1975 Spring Offensive) launched on March 24, 1975 
  • 255th anniversary of the Quartering Act on March 24, 1765 
  • 100th anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald publishing This Side of Paradise which launched him to fame on March 26, 1920 
  • 245th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress, March 27, 1775 
  • 155th Appomattox begins on March 29, 1865 
  • 75th anniversary of General Patton securing Frankfurt on March 29, 1945 
  • 150th anniversary of 15th Amendment being adopted on March, 30, 1870 
  • 55th anniversary of U.S. Embassy in Saigon attack on March 30, 1965 
  • 245th anniversary of the New England Restraining Act on March 30, 1775



  • 320th anniversary of April Fool’s Day taking off (this is not a joke) on April 1, 1700 
  • 75th anniversary of Combat troops landing on Okinawa on April 1, 1945 
  • 160th anniversary of the The Pony Express beginning on April 3, 1860 
  • 155th anniversary of the capture of Richmond on April 3, 1865 
  • 65th anniversary of Churchill retired as Prime Minister on  April 5, 1955 
  • 75th anniversary of Allies sinking the Yamato, a major Japanese Battleship on April 7, 1945 
  • 85th anniversary of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act signed on April 8, 1935 
  • 155th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender on  April 9, 1865 
  • 80th anniversary of Germany invading Norway and Denmark on April 9 1940 
  • 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 launch on April 11, 1970 
  • 75th anniversary of Buchenwald liberation on April 11, 1945 
  • 75th anniversary of the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 12, 1945
  • 250th anniversary of the Townshend Act repeal on April 12, 1770 
  • 150th anniversary of the MOMA (Museum of Metropolitan Art) opening on April 13, 1870 (150 years)
  • 155th anniversary of President Lincoln assassination on April 14, 1865 
  • 85th anniversary of “Black Sunday” Dust Bowl on April 14, 1935 
  • 230th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s death on April 17, 1790 
  • 245th anniversary of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride on April 18, 1775 
  • 245th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775 
  • 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995 
  • 75th anniversary of Operation Corncob, which was an Allied bombing missing to destroy bridges in Italy on April 20, 1945 
  • 50th anniversary of the First Earth Day on  April 22, 1970 
  • 105th anniversary of Germany’s first major use of Chlorine Gas on April 22, 1915 
  • 220th anniversary of the Library of Congress on April 24, 1800 
  • 155th anniversary of the killing of John Wilkes Booth on  April 26, 1865 
  • 105th anniversary of the Treaty of London signed on April 26, 1915. The Treat of London was a secret treaty between Italy and France, Britain and Russia to bring Italy into WWI
  • 215th anniversary of Marines landing on Tripoli on April 27, 1805 
  • 155th anniversary of the steamboat Sultana explosion, killing mostly Union soldiers returning home from the Civil War April 27, 1865. Many Confederate veterans living on the banks of the Mississippi offered aid. 
  • 75th anniversary of Mussolini’s execution on April 28, 1945 
  • 75th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau on April 29, 1945 
  • 75th anniversary of Hitler’s suicide on April 30, 1945 
  • 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and South Vietnam surrenders on April 30, 1975



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