HISTORICAL MILESTONES

Check Out These 10 Moments That Changed Our Nation Forever


Published on February 10, 2024


Credit: Ferdinand Stöhr

Many are the moments and people that lead to the consolidation of a nation . But some stories shine brighter than others, as they have left an indelible mark on history.

Our Nation didn't just happen; it was shaped by the strength of remarkable individuals and the convergence of special circumstances. Both glorious and unfortunate events allow us to understand many things about our present.

Today, we'd like to remember these 10 moments that not only changed the course of our history but continue to resonate in the soul of the United States .

1

The Louisiana Purchase (1803)

Credit: MJ S

President Thomas Jefferson is the artificer behind this milestone. Given the size and location of those lands, the Louisiana Purchase was a strategic move that would be key to the growth of our country.

In the early 1800s, the Louisiana Territory belonged to France. When the President's envoys set foot on French soil, ready to negotiate for the region, they were met with a proposal from Napoleon, who offered to sell the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million. Of course, we did not pass up this opportunity.

April 30, 1803, marked the signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty , a historic pact that propelled our Nation into new magnitude and significance.

2

The Gettysburg Address (1863)

Credit: Patrick Perkins

Have you ever found your palms sweating and your heart racing before facing a crowd? Well, maybe this episode of our history empowers you to wield your words confidently.

Words are not just mere talk; they can be very powerful actions, too. Abraham Lincoln knew this well when he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address in November 1863 during the Civil War . Now, that's some context, right?

After such a tremendous battle that marked a crucial victory for the Union, Lincoln's words still resonate today. They are remembered for their impact, as a timeless symbol that summarizes and represents the ideals of our country.

3

The First Transcontinental Railroad Completion (1869)

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As our Nation expanded, a compelling necessity emerged: a railway that could connect our coasts.

President Abraham Lincoln , with his visionary foresight, propelled this project by enacting the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 , granting the green light for construction to begin.

Yet, this feat was far from easy; the engineers and workers who built the railroad had to face many different challenges navigating the diverse landscapes of the United States.

The completion of the construction in 1869 , celebrated with the famous Golden Spike ceremony , radically transformed the population and economy of our country.

4

Susan B. Anthony's words at the centennial (1876)

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Let's talk about bravery. The centennial celebration of our Declaration of Independence wasn't just a patriotic party; it became a pivotal moment forthe women's suffrage movement and one of its most prominent figures, Susan B. Anthony .

This strong activist, joined by her colleague Elizabeth Cady Stanton, orchestrated a protest during the Philadelphia Fourth of July Celebration in 1876.

On that memorable day, Anthony delivered a powerful speech known as the "Declaration of Rights." It was a significant step in promoting women's rights in the United States, which paved the way for the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

5

The Wall Street Crash (1929)

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Remember the roaring 1920s? A decade of abundance, great dresses, and jazz-filled nights. But the decade that followed was nothing like it.

The dramatic turn of events occurred in 1929 . Although the stock market decline did not happen overnight, October 24 is marked as the crash day, earning its nickname: "Black Thursday."

The massive stock market crash triggered a domino effect that led to the infamous Great Depression . Of course, economic recovery wasn't a quick joyride; we're talking about more than a decade of twists and turns that undeniably reshaped the lives of thousands.

6

The creation of NASA (1958)

Credit: Jametlene Reskp

Much of our identity today has been shaped by the incredible scientific and technological advances our experts have made throughout history.

A powerful turning point in this journey occurred with the establishment of NASA in 1958 , driven in part by the space race rivalry with the Soviet Union.

The late 1950s marked the beginning of an exciting era of giant steps in space exploration and research by the United States. These breakthroughs not only filled Americans with pride but also represented monumental achievements for people worldwide.

7

The first presidential debate on TV (1960)

Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos

In the mid-20th century, TV was gaining popularity in American homes. Well, it earned the privileged spot: in front of the couch.

The TV revolution left its mark on daily life, and a prime example is the groundbreaking decision to broadcast the 1960 presidential debate .

The first-ever televised presidential debate focused the attention of some sixty to seventy million viewers on the encounter between Richard M. Nixon , candidate of the Republican Party, and John F. Kennedy , of the Democratic Party. A total game-changer that rewrote the rules on how we do and talk politics!

8

The "I Have a Dream" Speech by MLK (1963)

Credit: Bee Calder

The 1963 March on Washington stands as a turning moment in our Nation's history, and its climax was marked by Martin Luther King's iconic speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Resonating through the collective memory and hearts of all who heard it were the four words that defined the era: "I have a dream."

MLK envisioned a country that proudly stood for justice and racial equality, extending these virtues to all citizens.

MLK's powerful words and actions played a crucial role in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, forever changing the trajectory of our history.

9

The Moon landing (1969)

Credit: NASA

By 1969 , TV was already part of everyday life in most households. This widespread adoption of television enabled millions of people in the United States and across the globe to witness one of the most monumental achievements in human history from the comfort of their homes: the Moon landing.

On July 20, 1969 , NASA's Apollo 11 successfully landed on the Moon . Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on our natural satellite, leaving indelible footprints there.

This victory set the stage for NASA to keep venturing into the vastness of outer space, contributing to the continuous progress in space exploration.

10

Woodstock (1969)

Credit: Haley Lawrence

The rebellious spirit of the 1960s counterculture played a pivotal role in the promotion and consolidation of some positive changes in society.

Woodstock , the legendary festival held from August 15 to 18, 1969, in New York , fully embraced the ideals of this transformative cultural movement. Amazingly, the festival attracted over 400,000 people! Something truly revolutionary for the time, marking the profound significance of music in shaping culture and enriching people's lives.

It symbolized a moment of idealism and optimism that contrasted with the conflicts of the time. After Woodstock, no music festival was ever the same again.


UNVEILING LANGUAGE

9 Captivating Quirks Of The English Language


Published on February 10, 2024


Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos

Most native speakers tend to underestimate the diversity and intricate complexities of their mother tongue. English is a fascinating language with a rich history and a vast - and expanding - vocabulary. Its global influence has also kept it ever-changing, transforming on par with society, culture, and technology.

With hundreds of regional dialects, a plethora of borrowed words, and numerous other linguistic anomalies, English stands out on its own as a remarkably diverse and endlessly fascinating language. That being said, join us to explore nine interesting aspects that make Shakespeare's language a linguistic marvel!

1

Languages without a navy

Credit: Asael Peña

A popular saying among linguists states that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy . While there is little doubt that English is a well-equipped language regarding that matter, there are still over a hundred English dialects currently spoken in the world. Each of these dialects carries its own unique nuances, accents, and colloquialisms, enriching the language in diverse and fascinating ways.

Most varieties can be found, as one would expect, within the British Isles. But even in North America, there are many regional variations, like the Cajun Vernacular or New England English.

2

Too many words…

Credit: Andreas Fickl

English is a living language, constantly evolving to adapt to the changing times. And while it is not a precise measurement of the real size of the language, the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes up to 273,000 words. Considering that most native speakers only have a range of 20,000 to 35,000 words, this is quite impressive!

Also, thousands of new words are added each year to reflect the evolving lexicon of contemporary society, and this adaptability allows English to remain a dynamic and relevant means of communication.

3

A playful language

Credit: Susan Holt Simpson

English has a rich tradition of wordplay and games of language. Pangrams, for example, are sentences expressly constructed to contain every letter of the alphabet, like the typing lesson favorite, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Palindromes, like "racecar," "civic," or "madam," are words that read the same backward as forward. Paronomasia, on the other hand, exploits words with multiple meanings for humorous effect, popularly known as puns. Since English has a lot of homophones, or words that sound alike but don’t share the same meaning, there is plenty of room for this kind of wordplay!

4

Capitalization of first-person pronouns

Credit: Clay Banks

Did you know that the practice of capitalizing first-person pronouns - like I - is unique to the English language? While this convention is confined to the written form, it still distinguishes it from other linguistic systems.

The origins of this peculiar practice are somewhat murky, but some philologists seem to think that it stems from the evolution of the singular first-person pronoun, closely related in origin to its German counterpart, "ich." As the -ch was dropped, the one-letter pronoun likely needed a little push to stand out better on its own, thus requiring the emphasis of capitalization. Also, this practice gives more weight to the individual writer, in most cases the author of the text.

5

A question of length

Credit: Clay Banks

Some languages, like Finnish or Japanese, concatenate words to add up meaning. German and English can do this too, to a certain extent, but are by no means based on this characteristic. However, this trait often allows speakers to build mammoth-sized words that are still meaningful and intelligible. For example, one contender for the longest English word is "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis," a term coined to describe a lung disease caused by inhaling pulverized silica particles. Try and remember it for your next Scrabble session!

6

Boo! Ever heard of ghost words?

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Despite their spooky name, ghost words are–more often than not–just typos or misspelled words that made their way into dictionaries or other books, eventually taking on a life of their own. An oft-quoted example of this phenomenon is the word "dord", found in the dictionary as a synonym for density, despite being a result of a typographical mistake.

In a language where words are seldom pronounced the way they are spelled, this is quite a common phenomenon, making it very susceptible to quirks and personal idiosyncrasies. Although at first glance this may seem like a problem, it helps keep English young and growing, as with time, many of these words acquire new meanings and connotations.

7

Air travel's lingua franca

Credit: Suhyeon Choi

English has been the official language of air travel since 2008 (and unofficially since the 50s), fostering global communication and ensuring safety in aviation. Nowadays, pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide communicate in English, emphasizing its role as a universal language for crucial sectors such as transportation and safety.

8

Pronunciation and accents

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The pronunciation of English words can vary widely, not just across regions but also among individual speakers. Diverse accents, influenced by geographical, cultural, and social factors, contribute to the richness of the language. From the Received Pronunciation of the British Isles to the distinct accents of different American regions, English showcases a wide spectrum of spoken styles.

9

Latin and Romance Language Influence

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English, a Germanic language at its core, has borrowed extensively from Latin and Romance languages. From legal terminology to everyday vocabulary, the influence of Latin is deeply embedded in the language. For example, words like enthusiasm , democracy , or juvenile all come directly from Latin. This fusion of linguistic roots adds complexity and richness, greatly expanding the possibilities of speakers.

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day

quibble

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