An Independent Country

  • Getting to the West: Trains, Railways, and the Pony Express

    Getting to the West: Trains, Railways, and the Pony Express

    The mid-to-late 1800s marked a time of great growth as settlers, looking for better opportunities, forged west. Forward thinking businessmen and politicians worked to develop a network of railways that would stretch across the United States. Towns sprung up along the railways. Farmers and ranchers could send wheat, potatoes, cattle,…


  • Cowboys, Outlaws, and Heroes

    Cowboys, Outlaws, and Heroes

    The wide, open west meant acres and acres of land for ranching. Once the railway came, ranchers could make huge profits by shipping their cattle to large cities, such as Chicago. During cattle drives, cowboys drove cattle from Texas to cattle towns, which sprung up near the railways. These cattle…


  • America’s Centennial

    America’s Centennial

    General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox marked the official end of the Civil War, but it didn’t mean an end to the nation’s troubles. Bitter disagreements about how the South should rejoin the nation followed. As America’s Centennial (100 years as a nation) approached, people were glad for a reason to…


  • The Reconstruction Years

    The Reconstruction Years

    At the end of the Civil War, America was bitterly divided. In his second inaugural address, President Lincoln asked Americans to “bind up the nation’s wounds.” He hoped Americans would forgive each other and work for peace. After Lincoln’s assassination, Vice President Andrew Johnson became President. He also wanted to…


  • Lincoln’s Assassination

    Lincoln’s Assassination

    As the Civil War ended, Lincoln pleaded with Americans to be gentle with each other and to work toward peace. This was not to be so. Five days after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, President Lincoln attended a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. At 10:15, John Wilkes Booth, an…


  • The Gettysburg Address

    The Gettysburg Address

    In November of 1863, President Lincoln came to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to dedicate the Gettysburg War Cemetery, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. As he came to Gettysburg on the train, he wrote a simple speech. This speech was only about four minutes long. Many…


  • How the Civil War Was Fought

    How the Civil War Was Fought

    The Civil War killed more men than all other U.S. wars combined – over 600,000 soldiers. New technologies such as the telegram and railway made communication and the delivery of supplies and weapons more efficient. The weapons themselves were more powerful, more accurate, and more lethal. Fun Facts Although the…


  • The Civil War: Facts and Figures

    The Civil War: Facts and Figures

    The Civil War lasted four years. At its end, over 600,000 soldiers were dead. Much of the South lay in ruins. Yet, the Union had been saved and the practice of slavery abolished. Fun Facts On July 20, 1861, Union troops moved toward the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, just…


  • Civil War Leaders

    Civil War Leaders

    The Civil War was often called the “Brother’s War” because it pitted states, towns, villages, and even families against each other. For example, Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, had three brothers who fought for the Confederacy and were killed. Many of the soldiers and officers for both sides had…


  • A Nation at War: The Civil War

    A Nation at War: The Civil War

    Trouble between the North and the South over the issue of slavery had been brewing for over 50 years, but finally exploded in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Seven Southern states left the Union, forming a new country. Fort Sumter, a fort controlled by the Union, sat on…