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Martin Kelly

Martin's American History Blog

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John F. Kennedy's Birthday

Thursday May 29, 2014

If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he would be turning 97. He was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. Kennedy was the youngest person to be elected president at the age of 43. He was also the first Roman Catholic to become president. Click here to read some of his most famous quotes.

Memorial Day History

Monday May 26, 2014

We celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May. This holiday was originally called Decoration Day due to the practice of decorating graves of soldiers. It is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving America. Traditionally, many families gather and enjoy the outdoors with picnics and cookouts. While having fun with our families we should still remember the sacrifices that have made this freedom possible.

What is the Monroe Doctrine?

Thursday May 22, 2014

The Monroe Doctrine is one of the key foreign policy doctrines in the history of the United States. It asserts that  there would be no European colonization in the Americas or any interference with independent states. Learn more about this key doctrine with this FAQ:

King George's War and the War of Jenkin's Ear

Monday May 19, 2014

On the road towards the American Revolution, the American colonists were pulled into a number of wars that began in Europe. King George's War was the American name for the War of Austrian Succession that lasted from 1740-1748. Coinciding with and then subsumed into this war was the War of Jenkin's Ear (1739-1743) fought between Spain and England over shipping concerns. As with the other wars before these (King William's War and Queen Anne's War), the results of the war did nothing to solve the serious boundary disputes between England and France. The two countries would meet again in the French and Indian War. The monetary costs of carrying out warfare on both continents would result in taxes being raised and the introduction of more direct supervision of the colonies. These in turn would lead to the rise of individuals such as Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine would lead the charge against these actions. Ultimately, the colonists would air their grievances with the Declaration of Independence.

Key Supreme Court Cases of the Fourteenth Amendment

Sunday May 18, 2014

The Bill of Rights was added to the US Constitution as a way to ensure that individual rights would be protected. However, these only applied to the federal government. It was not until the passage of the fourteenth amendment that these rights have been one-by-one applied at the state level through decisions made by the US Supreme Court. The following  list highlights a few of the major court cases in which the Supreme Court has extended these rights:


Top 10 Founding Fathers

Friday May 16, 2014

The founding fathers were political leaders who took part in the American Revolution and helped found the new nation after independence was won. There were many founding fathers and mothers. However, these ten were chosen because of the huge impact they had on the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.

Old Kinderhook

Thursday May 15, 2014

Martin Van Buren, Eighth President of the United StatesMartin Van Buren, "Old Kinderhook," served as the eighth president of the United States. Heavily involved in the Democratic Party, he helped form one of the first political machines. He was also part of Andrew Jackson's famed Kitchen Cabinet. Learn more about this president whose only major foreign policy issue was the anticlimactic "Aroostook War."

Deep Throat and the Use of Sources

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Every presidential scandal since Watergate including the newest ones over Benghazi, the First Amendment and the press, and IRS abuses is compared against Watergate. Leaks to the press and whether a reporter in doing his job could be considered a co-conspirator are at the heart of the current AP and James Rosen controversies. Woodward and Bernstein used many sources as they investigated the coverup that occurred after the break-in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. In May, 2005, W. Mark Felt revealed that he was the person codenamed Deep Throat during the Watergate investigations. Watergate led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon while greatly increasing a serious mistrust in American politics and politicians. Learn more about Watergate through this FAQ.

Election of 1800 - Jefferson vs. Burr

Monday April 28, 2014

Even though the Election of 1800 is heralded as an example of how the US government was able to peacefully transfer power between two opposing political parties when Federalist John Adams was defeated by Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson, the actual battle for the election was between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Alexander Hamilton was a key player in the election, first supporting the defeated Charles Pinckney (Federalist) and then shifting to Jefferson after the election became a contest in the House of Representatives. Learn more about this fascinating election that resulted in the passage of the 12th amendment with this profile.

Gideon v. Wainwright

Sunday April 27, 2014

In 1963, the US Supreme Court ruled on Gideon v. Wainwright, a landmark decision requiring states to provide defense counsel in all criminal cases on the basis that it would be a violation of the sixth amendment rights. Due to this, the number of public defenders in the country exponentially rose. Learn more about this important case and its significance:

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