US History

Home/US History

The History Behind Memorabilia from the American Civil War

The United States is one of those places in the world where freedom is not taken for granted. This does not mean we do not have our struggles trying to ensure that freedom is not taken for granted.

However, there are constant efforts by policymakers, law enforcement agents, and the public to make sure we all live free. This is why refugees from war-torn regions can come over and make something worthwhile of themselves over the years.

We have even seen some of them go on to become political administrators in this beloved nation of ours. This is a land that gives a chance to everyone regardless of tribe, color, religion; to make something reasonable out of life. It is the American dream!

However, it was not always like this. The freedom that America guarantees to everyone did not come on a platter of gold. It had to be fought for. By fighting, we mean literally warring to ensure people’s right to freedom was not threatened.

This is the story of the American civil war which will be discussed in this article. We advise everyone to keep reading as this is the ugly side behind the many civil war memorabilia that people are eager to see and have for themselves.

The Story Behind the American Civil War

There was a political and human rights undertone behind the well-told civil war that this country experienced between 1861- 1865. It broke out after dialogue yielded no result. This is considering how both warring parties could not/no longer make compromises.

It started with 7 states in the southern territory deciding to secede. Beyond their claims, they went ahead to seize military bases in their region. The reason was that they were opposed to the new president’s and administration’s stance on slavery.

The new executive administration under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln was bent on abolishing slavery in every part of the country. The northern region did not have so much of a problem with this, however, the same could not be said about many parts of the south. This is because they relied heavily on the activities of slaves to sustain their economy at that time. Especially seven states in these regions were not going to play by the federal government’s rule. As a result, they made visible plans to succeed.

Along the line, some 4 other states in this region joined the secessionist movement. But before then, all hell broke loose when these secessionist-driven states (known as the south or confederacy) attacked Fort Sumter. This is a part of South Carolina, and this act was the height of it for the other party (the North or the Union).

They came with their full wrath and attacked the military arm of the south or confederacy. However, many civilians lost their lives as well.

At the end of it all, the North, Union, or Federal Government as you might like to call them had the upper hand. This led to the abolition of the slave trade and slavery in every part of the country.

Although this did not bring an abrupt end to the racial prejudice African Americans (in particular) went through, it was a way to progress. For more on this subject, you can click here.

The Positive Effects of the American Civil War

The word “war” can be very frightening for many. This is because of the untold hardship and unpleasant memories it brings. However, some have changed the course of things for the greater good. One of such is the American civil war. So, we can all hold on to this positive fact every time we see civil war memorabilia. Some of the reasons for this include the following:

The Legal End to Slavery

African Americans went through a lot and are still going through a lot. However, things are better by the day. This is why people like Jesse Jackson could even attempt running for the presidency and Barack Obama winning it years later. However, the American Civil war was the road map to all of these. It also triggered the 13th amendment which is a breakthrough for human rights. In all sincerity, there were notable actions by people before the war that helped as well.

The activities of the fearless Harriet Tubman as an abolitionist are an example. For more on this subject, you can visit:

Unity and Industrial Development

The general notion is that war divides us. Well, the civil war is one of the few exceptions considering how things have turned out. America in the years after learned to accommodate ethnic differences but accept rulings by the federal government. Additionally, the years after the war saw industrial growth.


Civil war memorabilia are desired by many people. Some do this so that they can make huge gains by selling these prized possessions. Some do it so that they can derive pleasure from seeing their collection. There are other reasons as well.

Well, you should know that civil war memorabilia tell a story of how our change came at a cost. We have told that story here and hope you have learned a thing or two about our past as a nation.

By | 2021-07-20T15:50:23+00:00 July 17th, 2021|History, US History|0 Comments

Racism in History

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, Racism is:  “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” And then there is another meaning: “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

Unfortunately, there has been racism since the beginning of history. And if you really get into it you will find facts that you did not want to know, for example, when you realize that even one of your favourite philosophers like the Greek Aristotle said that Greeks are free by nature while Barbarians (non-Greeks) are slaves because they are more willing to submit to a despotic government! This statement is published in a book by Kevin Reilly called ‘Racism: A Globar Reader’.

Just imagine how popular Aristotle would be if he had said that in 2019, he would probably lose all his credibility or would only be supported by the few racists that mingle with us in the 21st century. Or ar they not so few? Many people think that the United States of America, Spain or even Great Britain are still racist countries…

Racism in the United States has been there since the very beginning, we are talking about the Colonial Era. Only white Americans had privileges and rights while all other races had no rights at all. Education, voting rights, citizenship, land acquisition, etc, were exclusive privileges for white Americans. These kind of things remind us that we are true animals indeed, and that we don’t know anything about humans and how we really are. Racism in history still makes black people want revenge in America, let alone native Indians.

But black people and Indians weren’t the only ones who’ve suffered from racism throughout history, what about Jews after World War I ? Anti-semitism “was successfully exploited by the Nazi Party, which seized power in 1933 and implemented policies of systematic discrimination, persecution, and eventual mass murder of Jews in Germany and in the territories occupied by the country during World War II (see Holocaust)”, according to

Did you know that even National Geographic had a Racist Coverage for decades? And how do we know it? Because they have acknowledged it in an article by Susan Goldberg (Editor in Chief). This is what she wrote: “It is November 2, 1930, and National Geographic has sent a reporter and a photographer to cover a magnificent occasion: the crowning of Haile Selassie, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah. There are trumpets, incense, priests, spear-wielding warriors. The story runs 14,000 words, with 83 images. If a ceremony in 1930 honoring a black man had taken place in America, instead of Ethiopia, you can pretty much guarantee there wouldn’t have been a story at all. Even worse, if Haile Selassie had lived in the United States, he would almost certainly have been denied entry to our lectures in segregated Washington, D.C., and he might not have been allowed to be a National Geographic member.”

Henry M. Stanley, explorer and journalist

Henry M. Stanley, explorer and journalist

Stanley with a bearer carring his favourite shooting stick /

Stanley with a bearer carring his favourite shooting stick /

One is not too sure that modern schoolchildren are taught about persons like Henry Stanley, or for that matter Dr. Livingstone, with whom Stanley is inextricably connected. It is supposed that vast changes in syllabus are responsible for this, just as in the Classics, neither Latin or Greek are these days awarded much importance. At my school we were unfailingly taught that Henry Stanley was American; he was a naturalized American citizen for a period, but he was born British – Welsh in fact – son of a farmer from that region. He was also illegitimate, and was first called John Rowlands.

Stanley lived a life so adventurous it seemed to be fiction stemming from the Boys Own Paper. Born in 1841 he existed, somehow, in a poorhouse from 1847 to 1856, got away and managed to get himself on a ship sailing to the United States. Here he was luckily befriended by a merchant in cereals who adopted him. Young Henry also took the merchant’s name – Stanley, and after adoption automatically became an American citizen. (more…)

By | 2019-10-15T08:34:10+00:00 September 23rd, 2015|African History, British History, US History, World History|0 Comments

The reputation of Benedict Arnold



Even in 2015, some two hundred and fourteen years after his death, the name Benedict Arnold can inspìre in thinking Americans either an adverse or admiring reaction. “Traitor!’ “Outcast!” some will cry, curling the lip as if he were something disgusting: whereas some will say, “Brave man!” or “Good fellow!”. It seems to be automatic reaction, not necessarily based on fact.

Benedict Arnold was born in 1741; when the American Revolution(q.v.) broke out he chose to fight for the colonists against the British, and at the siege of Quebec distinguished himself for his courage and tenacity in battle. His reward was promotion to Brigadier-General – an essentially American army rank which means a field officer in command of a brigade. (more…)

By | 2015-08-17T09:53:00+00:00 August 17th, 2015|A History of North America, US History, World History|0 Comments

Further thoughts on the Ardennes Offensive

US soldiers fighting in typical Ardennes winer weather /

US soldiers fighting in typical Ardennes winter weather /

Shakespeare has generals dancing together in a suitably stately manner, on board ships in his play Antony and Cleopatra. The Battle of the Bulge, a nickname, properly called the Ardenne Offensive, was Hitler’s last and most surprising offenivfe in World War II. It was the greatest ptiched battle in American history, putting up more than 600,000 American soldiers, mostly young and inexperienced, against a mixture of battle-hardened German troops with a heavy admixture of the infamous Waffen-SS, some Hitler-Jugend regiments (boys from 16 – 19 years of age). Together they reached half a million ferocious fighting men who believed their battle must be won against the Allies because the massive and callous Red Army was closing in from the East. The battle between the opposing soldiery was one thing, while the consistent bickering, jealousies, and outright hatred between the US generals and the newly created Field Marshal Montgomery was another. These men were not dancing together, on board ship or knee deep in the snows of Belgium. (more…)

By | 2015-09-18T10:09:43+00:00 August 4th, 2015|German History, US History, World History|0 Comments

The importance of being Okinawa

Yamato goes to war! /

Yamato goes to war! /

In April, 1945, the 2nd World War was very far from over. A huge invasion of the French mainland was planned for June. Japan, however, was seen by the Americans as being equally important as Europe. Tokio must be vanquished too if the Allies were to succeed in the destruction of Axis Powers.

Okinawa is a Japanese island some sixty miles long and very narrow – at certain strategic points only two or three miles wide. But it could prove to be the springboard for a massive invasion of the enemy mainland. It is the largest island of the Ryukyu archipelago, and it was that there that the worst, hardest and bloodiest battles of the Pacific War took place between the beginning of April and 22 June, 1945. The Japanese had carefully built and preserved defence lines already built and manned, and had sworn to their Emperor that their resistance would be fanatical. The latest artillery was concealed behind camouflage, and munitions were ample. (more…)

The dry martini cocktail

The green olive properly speared / noilly

The green olive properly speared / noilly

The history of this cocktail is not without incident. It is a potentially lethal mixture of a raw spirit – gin – with a distillation of the vine, and you were always taught never to combine the two in one glass. The invention was American, perhaps taking place during the years of prohibition and after, again perhaps in New York City, where the Three Martini Lunch soon became fashionable, though it never really disturbed the good American tradition of hard work and commercial success. Manhattan spies tell me it first appeared in either the Algonquin hotel, or the St. Regis, both ultra fashionable with what used to be termed ‘The Upper Class’ US citizen, usually male.

There are many receipts for the making of this explosive sip. Ben Schott says it is Dry Vermouth one third, two-thirds Dry Gin, shaken, garnished and served on or off the rocks. Professional barmen will disagree with the words in italics. ‘Ginger’ Taylor, for half his life chief barman at the Connaught Hotel in Carlos Place, W.I. Had a different method: Half fill your cocktail shaker with fresh ice cubes; pour gently over the ice either Gordon’s or Beefeater’s best gin while you count four seconds out loud: then pour Dry Vermouth just as gently, also counting four seconds. Close the coctelera and shake vigorously as if you are playing the marracas; pour into a special martini-glass (see illustration) and add an unstoned green olive speared with a wood toothpick (or you may own your own pure silver implement). The ice cubes must be prevented from entering the glass by a special filter in the top of the shaker. Sip slowly and do not smoke while sipping, as the tobacco spoils the unique taste.

Shaker with detachable, filtered top /

Shaker with detachable, filtered top /

On the market there are many shapes and sizes of Martini glasses. Edith Sitwell had her own glass at her ladies only club in London. According to Gore Vidal, the glass was a small goldfish bowl, which meant that poetess and eccentric Edith would have to be helped a little later into her dining chair to enjoy her ‘Red Luncheon’ – lobster, strawberries and a bottle of red Burgundy.

Some restaurants cheat by employing those horrid bowl-like glasses into which champagne should never be poured. This wine must be served in tall, thin tulip glasses, or those wonderful bubbles escape and the taste is lost. As I was saying, some eating houses cannot be bothered with proper martini glasses. If so, you should withdraw your custom.

Should you feel a bit like James Bond, you will prefer the Vodka Martini, also shaken not stirred, and made with Smirnov vodka. In fact Smirnov is not Russian at all, it is made in America, to a recipe by a Russian. The cocktail is made in exactly the same way, though some like a Maraschino cherry in the glass instead of a green olive. On the subject of olives, do not use one stuffed with anchovy, for obvious reasons or taste and good manners.

One last word: actually they were the last words spoken by Humphrey Bogart the film actor, who was born into an upper-upper-class American family, and spent his working life playing growling bum gangsters. It is said on good authority that when ‘Bogey’ was dying, he whispered, “I knew I should not have changed from whisky to dry martinis”.

The father of Winston

Lord Randolph Churchill /

Lord Randolph Churchill /

Few people have any other mind’s eye image of Winston Churchill than that of a very old man, with a big cigar and perhaps an even bigger ego.

Young Winston / winston

Young Winston / winston

But Winston too had a father, and not an insignificant one either. He was Lord Randolph Henry Spencer, third son of the Duke of Marlborough, who lived in the great palace of Blenheim, given to the family ‘by a grateful nation’ of the first Duke, with grateful thanks for his outstanding military qualities, shown across Europe in battles at Donnauwórth, Blenheim, Ramillies, and Oudenarde. John Churchill won all these, after defeated the rebellious bastard son of Charles II – The Duke of Monmouth. He had a split personality too, which he demonstrated by betraying his one-time friend, the brother of King Charles II – James II. It was Marlborough and others who orchestrated the de-throning and voluntary banishment of James, who had pronounced Catholic tendencies disliked by Marborough and other magnates. (more…)

More thoughts on that Yalta Conference

The 'Big Three' from l. to r. 'Exhausted', 'Dying', and 'Exuberant' /

The ‘Big Three’ from l. to r. ‘Exhausted’, ‘Dying’, and ‘Exuberant’ /

In February, 1945, the second ‘Big Three’ conference took place at Yalta in the Crimea. The first had been in Teheran in Persia. What was agreed at Yalta changed the face of Europe, prepared the ground for the Cold War, and put millions of ordinary people into a condition of near-slavery. The three major protagonists were the respective leaders of the United States, Great Britain, and Russia – Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. The first was dying slowly but certainly, the second was old and exhausted, and the third was younger, fitter, and unable to see any point of view that was not his. He was also a fully-qualified dictator. (more…)

The American Federation of Labor

Samuel Gompers /

Samuel Gompers /

‘Socialism’ or ‘Socialist’ are unclean words in the United States. This is why the other part of their two-party political system is called ‘The Democratic Party’ as opposed to ‘The American Labour (labor) Party’ or the ‘US Social Democratic Party’. Socialism has always been regarded by loyal Americans as ‘un-American’. And yet the divisive word ‘labor’ crept into mainstream language when the craft unions got together in 1881 to found the AFL, and then re-organized it in 1886. (more…)

Load More Posts