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Answer the following questions:
1 Who were the three “ first” discoverers?
2 How did people get to North America from Asia?
3 Where did the Vikings sail to ?
4 Why did Columbus call the people on the island he had discovered “ Indians”?
5 In memory of whom was the new world named?
Read the text. Use the word given in capitals at the end of each line to form a word that fits in the space in the same line.
On the Plains of North America, tribes such as the Sioux
Roamed on horseback, (1)___buffalo. The buffalo gave HUNT
them everything they needed to live. They ate its meat and
used its skin and fur for (2) ___ and for their teepees. They CLOTH
also carved buffalo bones into knives and tools. The clothes
of the Plains Indians were (3) ___ with beads, and their hair DECORATE
with eagle feathers. These (4) ___ Indians were depicted as PRIDE
savages in TV dramas and films about the American West.
The Sioux gave (5) ___ for the wagon trains of settlers PERMIT
heading west to pass through their lands. But then the
whites began to settle in the Plains. At first, the Sioux made
treaties with the (6)___, giving up large pieces of their land. GOVERN
In return, the government promised them food, peace
schools, and fair (7)___ to all conflicts. It signed an SOLVE
(8)___ that the vast lands between the Missouri River and AGREE
the Rocky Mountains were to remain the Sioux territory, on
which the whites were (9)___ to settle. FORBID
Six years later came the (10) ___ of gold in the Black Hills DISCOVER
of South Dakota, a land the Sioux considered sacred.
The First Colonies, Two Stories
Read the text and answer the following questions:
After Columbus, colonists came to the New World from England, Spain and France. The French explored and settled in the north, what is now Canada; the Spanish went to the south, along the Gulf of Mexico; the English took the land in – between. All three countries claimed the land was theirs, and sent people to build colonies. Some colonies were successful, others were not - why?
Jamestown, located in what is now the state of Virginia in 1607, was the first colony in the New World. James, the King of England then, sent people to Jamestown to look for gold, silver and other treasures. The colonists there were lawyers, jewelers and bankers - not farmers, not carpenters. Because they had to look for gold, they had trouble building homes and raising crops. When winter came many died because there wasn’t enough food or shelter. Moreover, they had many problems with the Native Americans.
In Plymouth, located on Cape Code in 1620, in what is now Massachusetts, colonists from England, called Pilgrims, built Plymouth Plantation. The Pilgrims, unlike the colonists in Jamestown, were farmers and builders, so they didn’t have trouble building their homes and planting crops. They also made friends with the Native Americans and they taught them to grow corn and showed where to hunt. Their colony was successful. In the fall of 1621 the Pilgrims and the Indians had the first Thanksgiving .The Pilgrims wanted to give thanks for their new land and to thank the Indians for their help.
The first Thanksgiving was three days long. But in the years after the first holiday there were many problems between the newcomers and Native Americans. The newcomers killed the Indians, took their land and destroyed their way of life. Today many Americans feel ashamed about it. Some states celebrate Native American days. On these days, Americans honor Native Americans and remember the peace and friendship of the first Thanksgiving.
Most of the immigrants to America were from the lower or middle classes; they were dissatisfied people who were hoping to find in the New World opportunities of carrying their religious faith in their own way. Emigration was also due to the serious economic changes that accompanied the early stages of large – scale capitalistic agriculture; impoverished peasants had to leave their farms to seek fortune overseas while at the same time beggars, vagrants and any other kind of “ idle persons” were transported to the colonies.
In 1643 there were about 20 000 persons living in Massachusetts Bay Colony, helped by British investors and bringing them profits in return. All the people had brought with them their English ways of living and thinking.
The Boston Tea Party
Say whether the statements are true or false:
The King of England made life difficult for the colonists by many taxes and laws. But one, the Tea Act (1773), was especially bad for the colonists. All companies had to pay a tax for the tea, except for one. The East India Company was allowed to sell tea cheaper than any other in the colonies and didn’t have to pay the tax. The colonial tea merchants were very angry, and other merchants worried that the King would give other British companies the same advantage.
One night in Boston Harbor a group of men dressed like Native Americans boarded ships from England carrying the cheaper tea. They dumped the tea into the harbor. ( Perhaps they should have thrown in muffins, so the fish could have something with the tea).
When the King heard about the Boston Tea Party, he sent warships to Boston. The warships formed the blockade around the harbor. No ships could come in or go out until the tea was paid for. The Tea Party and the blockade led to the Revolutionary War with England.
The American Revolution 1775 – 1783
1775 Preparing to Rebel
After the Boston Tea Party King George III wanted to make life difficult enough for the colonists that they would behave - instead he made them angry enough to fight back. He sent the soldiers, called Redcoats, to the colonies. Everywhere militia were organized and weapons collected. In 1775 British troops and colonial militia clashed at Lexington and the first shots were exchanged. The second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. It appointed George Washington Commander - in – Chief of the Continental Army and voted Independence. The colonists created an official army of Patriots. The American Revolutionary War began.
1776 Declaration of Independence
Young Thomas Jefferson, then 33 years old, and Benjamin Franklin were appointed to write a document telling King George and other European countries why America wanted independence from England. The document gave the principles of a democratic government:
1781 The Fighting Ends
After six long years of war in America the colonists and their ally, the French, the British surrendered. The British, though greater in number, had trouble with the sly fighting style of the Americans: the British fought from formations, usually two long rows of Redcoats; each would take turns firing while they marched ahead, but Patriots would shoot from behind trees, rocks, walls.
1783 The Peace of Paris
In the end England recognized independence of the 13 colonies and granted them a large territory between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Diplomats from England and America met in Paris to sign a peace treaty, officially ending the war. The Americans had the difficult task of forming a new government elected by the people. It had brought a new nation into the world.
Pick up the right answer among those given below:
a) New York
a) George Washington
b) Thomas Jefferson
c) Samuel Adams
a) 30 colonies
b) 40 colonies
c) 13 colonies
Brother Against Brother:
The Tragic Civil War
In mid 19 th century, differences about slavery between the North and the South led to a bloody civil war. The South wanted slavery to be extended into new western territories. The South needed slaves for its large- farm economy, and it was afraid the North would try to abolish slavery in the South too. Abraham Lincoln became president in 1860. He wanted to keep the country unified. But eleven southern states seceded from, or left, the US and formed the Confederate States of America. The Civil war that followed tore the country apart. In some cases it tore families apart, too. This story is about two brothers from the southern state of Virginia, fighting on opposite sides at the Battle of Gettysburg. The story is in their letters written during the battle.
From the Confederate Side
June 29, 1863
My dearest Mother,
I know we’re right. We must defend our homeland and our way of life. We have no choice. We are Virginians first, and Americans second. My dear big brother Jed does not feel this way. He does more thinking than I do. I follow my heart and my home. Oh, how I wish we were fighting side by side, instead of against each other. I miss him so. God be with him in this awful hour.
Tonight we are sitting around our campfire cooking supper: beans, salt pork and hard bread. We are so sick of this war. We talk about home all the time. But we talk about food even more. Having enough food is our first worry. After food, the biggest comfort is coffee, at any time of day or night. Now my friends are singing “ The Girl I Left Behind Me.”It cheers us to sing about going back to a pretty girl. Thoughts of home and those we left behind keep us going. I hope to continue this letter tomorrow .
Love from your son Beau.
From the Union Side
July 1, 1863
Dear sister Rose,
Will you and Mother ever forgive me for joining the Union side? I tried to explain before I left. Maybe I think about morality more than most men do. I cannot accept slavery. I believe with all my heart that it is immoral, and that is what forced me to join this side. I hope you can make Mother understand.
We all fear the battle tomorrow. Still, the men sit around the campfire singing and writing letters.
They’re singing a song about going back home “ The Girl I Left Behind Me.” WE need songs to cheer our weary hearts.
The younger boys talk about their fears. They fear being separated from the unit; they fear dying alone; they fear not being identified if they die. A boy seeping next to me is only 15. Tonight he told me” as the bullets were flying over me today, I thought what a foolish boy I was to run away from home and get into this mess. I would be glad to see my father come after me now.” He said he marched off with 34 soldiers from his town, and now, two years later, only four are still alive.
Many young boys joined to escape the boredom of farm life. They expected a good time, an adventure. Not much talk about glory or honor now. We talk about going home. Who would have thought it would last this long, two years. After this is over, I want to go home to Virginia. I hope you will accept me back. I will finish this letter tomorrow.
Love from brother
The battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the war. It weakened the Confederate side, but they still fought on for two more years. It was the war’s bloodiest battle, with 7,000 men killed and 42,000 wounded on the two sides.
The weapons in this war had 10 times the killing power of those in the Revolutionary War. On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln gave one of his most famous speeches, the Gettysburg Address. Here, dedicating a cemetery at the battlefield, Lincoln asked his countrymen never to forget the dead soldiers, who gave their lives “ that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.
After Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain was wounded six times and rose to Major General, but went on to be Governor of Maine for four terms, and president of Bowdoin College.
From the Confederate Side
July 2, 1863
I’m lucky I can continue this letter. I want you to know everything, but I don’t want to frighten you. Today was the worst ever. It was the second day of fighting here at Gettysburg, a town in Pennsylvania. General Lee has most of our army here. We came so far north to bother Mr. Lincoln and to show those Yankees they must let us go.
We have been marching since I started this letter. Before Gettysburg, our men were ready for a fight. Before this battle, those Union Yankees were running away more than they were fighting. Now we are deep in their territory and they are fighting harder.
Today we fought on Cemetery Hill. We attacked going uphill, with the light in our eyes. They were hiding behind a stone wall and shooting down on us as we came through the trees. It was terrible to see so many men fall on that hill. My group charged, then fell back. For a while, the Yankees quit firing on us, so we thought they had retreated. But just as we went up through the trees, a Yankee officer yelled,” Charge! Charge!” And all those Yankees came down on us with bayonets. Half my regiment was killed, wounded or captured. I don’t know how I survived.
Have you heard which regiment Jed is in? I pray he is not here.
Love from the battlefield.
Your son Beau.
From the Union Side
July 2, 1863
Dear sister Rose,
We’re still camped outside a small town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. We are on Cemetery Ridge, the hill we held yesterday. Tonight I feel the heaviness of this terrible war more than ever. I am so afraid brother Beau is across the field from me, camped in the trees. Instead of sleeping across this deadly battlefield. I can see the light of the Rebel campfires. They must see ours. It was bound to happen, that we would meet in a battle. Brother fighting against brother is wrong. I know his regiment, the First Virginia, is there. I pray I don’t see him tomorrow. I pray they don’t attack again.
Do wonder which regiment I joined? Since I’m not from the North, I can join any one. We southerners are welcomed. I’m in a regiment from Maine. I have a spectacular commander, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. He is a professor and a graduate of Harvard University, but he is as good a fighting man any West Point man. Before the battle, he talked to us and said “ All the men who have died in the past are with you today.” That was inspirational.
During the battle, the Rebels kept coming, even though it was uphill. They’d appear through the trees, stop behind one and fire. We’d fire back, then re-load. They’d shoot again. Men were falling all around me. Finally we ran out of ammunition. Most commanders would retreat from the battle at that point, but not Chamberlain.
He said, “Fix your bayonets, boys. We’ll charge on them.” And so we did. When they attacked again, we charged down the hill at them. They were so surprised to see us come charging with our bayonets, most of them ran away or they gave up and we captured them. That was a masterly thing for Chamberlain to do. Unfortunately, we lost half our regiment in the battle.
When this cruel war is over, I hope to continue my studies. I’d like to be a college professor like Colonel Chamberlain. He gives fine speeches. He sounds like a preacher. I can see why women fall in love with preachers. A professor is something like a preacher.
From your loving brother Jed.
The next day, the Confederate charge ended in disaster for General Lee’s army. Jed searched the battlefield and found his brother Beau dying. Beau asked him to make sure his mother received his letters. Jed held Beau until he died.
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