Category Archive: Modern History

Books and Curriculum relating to 18th, 19th and 20th century history.

Jan 27

American Liberties from the Outside, Looking in

The execution of Louis the XVI initiated a period of murderous anarchy in Revolutionary France.

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. “

Apr 29

Famous Inventors and Their Amazing Inventions

Thomas Edison

Edison was instructed at home by his mother and worked far above grade level. By age twelve he was finished with most of his formal studies and decided to see something of the world by working as a newsboy on a local train circuit. Unable to remain idle for any period of time, he set up shop in an unoccupied train-car and ran both a vegetable market and a newspaper business out of it. Using his own funds, he purchased a second hand printer, and began publishing the Weekly Herald, the first newspaper ever written, printed, and sold on board a moving train.

Apr 09

Hell on Earth: A Million “Casualties” at Verdun

Thousands of shells were fired on the fortifications, day and night for months on end.

Under the weight of superior numbers and superior artillery the French troops, brave as they were, were gradually cut to pieces. Except for two brigades, which came in toward the end, they were without reinforcements of any kind. Their mission was to hold to the very last, and right nobly had they fulfilled it. Their duty was to exact the greatest possible price for each yard of German advance, and right powerfully had they exacted it. For every Frenchman who went down, it is said at least four Germans did likewise. The slaughter was great. Verdun thus gained, almost instantly, the place it was to hold for many months as the graveyard of the contending armies.

Feb 27

“Victory or Death” at the Alamo


“I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword . . . I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls I shall never surrender or retreat. . . . . I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country VICTORY OR DEATH.” —William Barret Travis

Feb 12

Fight for Freedom of the Seas: Stephen Decatur

“As the Americans swarmed over the rails and came upon the deck the pirates gathered in a panic-stricken, confused mass on the forecastle. Apparently they thought themselves assailed by an opponent many times more numerous than themselves, whereas, in truth, the odds were all on their own side had they but known it. . . . .The pirates, terrorized from the beginning, stood before the fierce onslaught only long enough to see scores of their number go down under the unerring pistol shots and cutlass thrusts of the Americans, and then those of them who could, fled to the rails and jumped madly overboard. . . .”

Jan 19

The Massacre of a British Regiment


The battery was reached; but too late! All around it lay the dead gunners, and a goodly number of Zulus. With startling rapidity the foe had fallen upon the battery, surrounding it so that escape was impossible, and rushing upon the gunners with cruel ferocity. Hand to hand they fought, but the British were appallingly outnumbered, and at last not a man of them remained alive; rifles and assegais had done their work.

Jan 15

Targeting Civilians: A Zeppelin Attack on Britain

On January 19, 1915, Zeppelins crossed into Britain over the Norfolk coast and headed towards the British towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. The initial raids used both bombs and incendiary devices intended to start fires. Unprepared to deal with such a threat, the British military scrambled to build their defenses while terrified civilians wondered where to hide.

Nov 06

Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite History Series

Lincoln reading with his son Tad.

“I want to thank you and your brother for Abbott’s series of Histories. I have not education enough to appreciate the profound works of voluminous historians, and if I had, I have no time to read them. But your series of Histories gives me, in brief compass, just that knowledge of past men and events which I need. I have read them with the greatest interest. To them I am indebted for about all the historical knowledge I have.” —Abraham Lincoln.

Oct 22

The Hero of Trafalgar: The Story of Horatio Nelson

They have done for me at last, Hardy . . . . my backbone is shot through.

His object was, as ever, destruction, and complete destruction, of the enemy, no matter what loss he himself might sustain. “In cases where signals cannot be seen or clearly understood, no captain can do wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy.” were his orders to the fleet. . . Before entering …

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Aug 16

New Book! Stories of South America


This book provides an excellent introduction to the history of South America, with special attention to the 19th century. It introduces all the major heroes of South American independence in insightful detail, including Miranda, San Martin, Bolivar, O’Higgins, and Don Pedro of Brazil, and provides a more thoughtful critique of the various republican factions that embroiled the continent than some other histories.

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