Archive for the '1800s' Category

Vibrators were Sold in the Sears & Roebuck Catalogue

While today many people feel like vibrators are as commonplace as they ever been, they actually used to be sold as a medical treatment device. Today you’ll sometimes see them online or in the Brookstone catalog marketed as neck and back massagers instead of their true intended purpose of providing sexual pleasure. But vibrators were […]

The “States’ Rights” Term Conservatives Frequently Use Has a Dark, Racist Origin

During the 2008 presidential election, both members of the Republican ticket, John McCain Sarah Palin, said that they were advocates of “states’ rights.” This was not terribly surprising, considering that every Republican elected to the White House for the past 30 years has extolled the virtues of states’ rights at one point or another. But […]

The 9th US President Died of a Cold… Which he May Have Caught at His Own Inauguration Ceremony

The president who served the shortest period of time after being elected to office was William Henry Harrison. Harrison was president for only 30 days, 12 hours and 32 minutes before keeling over at age 68. The circumstances under which President Harrison, the first ever to die in office, died are disputed until this day. […]

At One Point in Time, up to 50% of US Dollar Bills Were Estimated to be Counterfeit

The year was 1865, and just months earlier the US Civil War had ended with the surrender of the Confederacy. With the war over, the problem of counterfeiting had become rampant, with one third to one half of all American currency judged to be fake. The reasons for this were twofold: first, spending due to […]

White Supremacists Once Overthrew a US City Government

Although it’s hard to believe now, in 1898 a group of white supremacists seized power of the municipal government in Wilmington, North Carolina following a bloody coup d’etat. The incident, which followed reconstruction in the South after the Civil War, is the only time in American history that any form of US government has been […]

23 African Americans Were Elected to Congress Before the Civil Rights Movement

Although there is a common misconception that African Americans only held elected office federally since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, a number of blacks were elected to national office from Southern states during the 1870s as reconstruction took place. However, when reconstruction from slavery was halted due to the compromise of […]