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August 27, 2001:
Q: What is the Louisiana Purchase? (Simon from Des Moines)
A: In 1803, Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, bought a huge tract of land west of the Mississippi River from France's Emperor Napoleon which doubled the size of the then-United States. This is known as the Louisiana Purchase. The next year, Jefferson sent the famous explorers, Lewis and Clark, to map the new land, called the Louisiana Territory. Sacagawea was a guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Read more in Report #4.
Photo: Abe, Robert E., Ulysses, and Sacagawea on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River at the start of their adventures on the Great River Road. Read more in Report #6.

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August 20, 2001:
Q: When was the Lincoln Memorial built?
(Jeff W.)
A:
The ground breaking for the Lincoln Memorial was on February 12, 1914, the 105th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. After eight years of construction, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1922, to honor the 16th President of the United States. Two of Abraham Lincoln's speeches -- the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address -- are carved inside the Memorial. Did you know the Lincoln Memorial is surrounded by thirty-six columns, one for every state in the reunited Union at the time of Lincoln's death? Read more about Abe Lincoln.
Photo:
Abe in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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August 13, 2001:
Q: Did Mozart influence Beethoven or did Beethoven influence Mozart? (Carmen from Wisconsin)
A: Mozart influenced Beethoven's music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from 1756 to 1791, and Ludwig van Beethoven lived from 1770 to 1827. Wolfgang's music influenced many composers. He affected the later works of Joseph Haydn and the next generation of composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven. Read a book about Wolfgang A. Mozart or Ludwig van Beethoven.
Photos: Wolfgang A. Mozart (left) and Ludwig van Beethoven (right).

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August 6, 2001:
Q: When was the Declaration of Independence signed?
A: The Declaration of Independence was signed by all the delegates of the Second Continental Congress on August 2, 1776. The United States, however, celebrates its Independence on July 4 because that is the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by all the colonies. Here are some important dates regarding the signing of the Declaration of Independence:
July 2, 1776: The text of the Declaration of Independence was approved
July 4, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was adopted by all the colonies
July 8, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was read publicly in the State House Yard in Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell was rung
.
August 2, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was signed by all the delegates of the Second Continental Congress
Read more about the birth of the United States.
Read a book about the American Revolution.
Photo:
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin drafting the Declaration of Independence.

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July 30, 2001:
Q: Was Ben Franklin born in Philadelphia or Boston?
A: Boston. Ben Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Josiah and Abiah Franklin. He came from a big family -- he had 16 brothers and sisters! His father was a candle and soap maker. At age 10, Ben helped his father. Ben's older brother, James, published the newspaper, The New England Courant. At age 12, Ben was an apprentice for James. When Ben was 17 years old, he left Boston and moved to Philadelphia. Soon, Ben started his own print shop, met his wife Deborah, and went on to accomplish so much more. Read a book about Ben Franklin and Read more about the times in which he lived.

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July 23, 2001:
Q: How did William Shakespeare get the nickname "The Bard of Avon?"
A: William Shakespeare's nickname is "The Bard of Avon." A bard is another word for poet, and William is one of the greatest poets in the world. Therefore, he is known as "The Bard." "Of Avon" is added to this name because William was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. When the two names are put together, William's nickname becomes "The Bard of Avon." Read a book about William Shakespeare.
Photo: William Shakespeare

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July 16, 2001:
Q: What is the difference between the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions?
A: When President John F. Kennedy stated on May 25, 1961, "I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth," NASA responded with Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Project Mercury was the United States' first man-in-space program, and it had been underway since 1958. The spacecraft was designed for one person. On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard, Jr. became the first American in space aboard Freedom 7; it was a suborbital flight lasting 15 minutes, 28 seconds. Project Gemini, announced in January, 1962, was the second U.S. manned space program. It was designed for a two-man crew and named after the constellation Gemini (composed of twin stars). Gemini consisted of 12 flights, including 10 manned flights. In June, 1965, aboard Gemini 4, Ed White performed the first American "space walk," lasting 22 minutes. And finally Project Apollo consisted of 11 manned flights, including Apollo 11 which in July, 1969, landed a man on the Moon and returned him safely to Earth, just as President Kennedy had envisioned.
Photo: Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., the second human to walk on the moon, July 20-21, 1969.

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July 9, 2001:
Q: Was Yosemite National Park the first national park?
A: No, the first National Park was Yellowstone National Park established on March 1, 1872. Yosemite National Park was established on October 1, 1890. Yosemite contains 747,956 acres or 1,169 square miles. Did you know Yosemite is about the size of Rhode Island? The park ranges from 2,000 feet above sea level to more than 13,000 feet. Did you know Mt. Lyell (13,114 feet) is the highest point in the park? Yosemite has beautiful waterfalls including Yosemite Falls (2,424 feet), Bridalveil Fall (620 feet), Nevada Fall (594 feet), and Vernal Fall (317 feet). These waterfalls reach their maximum flow in May and June.
Photo: Bridalveil Fall and the Merced River.

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July 2, 2001:
Q: When was the Declaration of Independence signed?
A: The Declaration of Independence was signed by all the delegates of the Second Continental Congress on August 2, 1776. The United States, however, celebrates its Independence on July 4 because that is the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by all the colonies. Here are some important dates regarding the signing of the Declaration of Independence:
July 2, 1776: The text of the Declaration of Independence was approved
July 4, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was adopted by all the colonies
July 8, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was read publicly in the State House Yard in Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell was rung
.
August 2, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was signed by all the delegates of the Second Continental Congress
Read more about the birth of the United States.
Read a book about the American Revolution.
Photo: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin drafting the Declaration of Independence.

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June 25, 2001:
Q: What does the Tudor Rose on the King Hal Bear represent?
A: A little history of the War of the Roses is needed to understand what the Tudor Rose represents. The War of the Roses (1455-1485) was fought between the House of York (represented by a white rose) and the House of Lancaster (represented by a red rose) for control of the throne of England. The War of the Roses came to an end when Henry VII (representing the Lancaster family) and Elizabeth of York (representing the York family) were married. The families were united, and Henry VII became the first Tudor King of England. The Tudor family is represented by the Tudor Rose - a rose which combines both a red and a white rose as a symbol of unification of the Lancaster and York families. The union of the two families was reaffirmed when the son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York became King. This King was Henry VIII. Read a book about King Hal.
Photo: Tudor Rose

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June 18, 2001:
Q: What is so important about the summer solstice? (Valerie from Chicago)
A: The summer solstice is on June 21. It is the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and is the longest day of the year. This occurs because of the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun. In the summer, the North Pole is tilted toward the sun which means the sun is higher in the sky, the weather is warmer, and the days are longer. Did you know the seasons are opposite in the Southern Hemisphere? If the North Pole is titled toward the sun, then the South Pole is titled away from the sun. This means it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere which brings colder weather and shorter days. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice is December 21. It is the first day of winter and is the shortest day of the year. Did you know there is little temperature changes between seasons for areas near the equator? Read a book about the sun.

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June 11, 2001:
Q: Why did the Emancipation Proclamation only free slaves in areas controlled by the Confederacy?
(Mia W.)
A: The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, and freed the 4 million African-Americans held as slaves in the Confederate States of America. For political and military reasons, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves in the border states: Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and Delaware. These states, located between the North and the South, were the only slaves states still in the Union. To win the war, the Union needed the support from the border states. If slavery were banned in all states, the border states may have seceded and joined the Confederacy which may have given the Confederacy enough momentum to defeat the Union on the battlefield and become its own country. If the Confederacy had won the war, slavery would have continued in the border states and the southern states. Read a book about Abraham Lincoln.
Photo: Abraham Lincoln.

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June 4, 2001:
Q: Why did the King and Queen of Spain finance Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas if Columbus was Italian? (Peter)
A: Christopher Columbus wanted to find a new trade route from Europe to the Far East by sailing west. This was considered a dangerous voyage in the 1400's, and it took him many years to acquire a financial backing for his adventure. Many people denied Christopher's request, including John II of Portugal, Charles VIII of France, and Henry VII of England. In 1486, Christopher asked King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to finance his voyage. At this time, Spain was fighting a war with the Moors, and the royal treasury did not have any money to spare. Finally Spain won the war, and in January, 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to finance Christopher's voyage. Christopher was given 90 men and 3 ships (Niña, Pinta, and Santa María). Read a book about Christopher.
Photo: Christopher Columbus

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