: U.S. GOVERNMENT
By Clamping Down on the Indian Ghost Dance, the U.S. Government Sparked a Tragedy
The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 appears in many history textbooks as the “end of the Indian Wars” and a signal moment in the closing of the Western frontier. The atrocity had many causes, but its immediate one was the U.S. government’s effort to ban a religion: the Ghost Dance, a new Indian faith that had swept Western reservations over the previous year.
The history of this episode—in which the U.S. Army opened fire on a mostly unarmed village of …
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What Began as an Informal Means of Introduction Became the Ultimate Government-Sanctioned Authenticator
It was originally a European tradition, not ours. But in 1780, needing a more formal way to send former Continental Congressman Francis Dana from France to Holland, Benjamin Franklin used his own printing press to create a new document. The single-sheet letter, written entirely in French, politely requested that Dana and his servant be allowed to pass freely as they traveled for the next month. Franklin signed and sealed the page himself and handed it off to Dana, creating one …
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