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2003 | Apr-Dec, 2002 | Jan-Mar, 2002 | Sep-Dec, 2001 | Jun-Aug, 2001 | Feb-May, 2001

 

 
December, 2001:
Q: What was Benjamin Franklin's perspective on The Bill of Rights?
A: Ben Franklin was pleased with the Congress and the Bill of Rights, stating, Congress had done its work "with a greater degree of temper, prudence and unanimity than could well have been expected, and our future prospects seem very favorable." Franklin believed in the freedom of the press which is guaranteed in the First Amendment. He was also against slavery. Although the Bill of Rights does not address the issue of slavery, the Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery in the United States. Read a book about Ben Franklin. Read more about the The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.
Photo: Ben Franklin.

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November 26, 2001:
Q: What does ratify mean when people say, "The Constitution was ratified?" (Jill from Arizona)
A: Ratify means approve. Therefore, when people say "the Constitution was ratified" what it means is the Constitution was approved. After the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution of the United States in the summer of 1787, three-fourth of the states had to ratify (or approve) the Constitution for it go into effect. That meant 9 out of the 13 states had to ratify it. On July 2, 1788, New Hampshire was the ninth state to do so, and in 1789, the Constitution became the basis of the government of the United States of America. Read a book about the Constitution.
Photo: Constitution of the United States.

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November 19, 2001:
Q: Why does the United States celebrate Thanksgiving? (Shelby A.)
A: The United States' tradition of Thanksgiving goes back to 1621. The year before, 102 Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, to Massachusetts on the Mayflower. They arrived on December 21, 1620, and established the Colony of New Plymouth. Unfortunately, only half of the Pilgrims survived the cold winter. Luckily, the Pilgrims had been given seeds by the Native Americans, and their first harvest in 1621, yielded plenty of food. The Pilgrims had a great feast and celebration to give their thanks. Soon, all the colonies were celebrating thanksgiving days following the harvests. This grew into the tradition celebrated today by the United States. Read a book about Thankgiving.
Photo:
The First Thanksgiving in 1621

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November 12, 2001:
Q: What is a patent? (Nic R.)
A: A patent gives an inventor the exclusive right over the invention, usually for a period of time. A patent excludes other people from producing or making use of the invention without the inventor's permission. Did you know Thomas Alva Edison holds 1,093 patents for his inventions? This is the largest number of patents held by any one person. Read a book about Thomas Alva Edison.
Photo: Thomas Alva Edison and the Light Bulb.

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November 5, 2001:
Q: How many Supreme Court Justices are there? (Shannon P.)
A: There are nine Supreme Court Justices. William H. Rehnquist is the Chief Justice. The eight Associate Justices are John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, David Hackett Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen G. Breyer. Read a book about the Supreme Court.
Photo: United States Supreme Court

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October 29, 2001:
Q: Who is Tony Blair? (Jenica from Ohio)
A: Tony Blair is the British Prime Minister. In Britain, the prime minister's office evolved in the 1700's. The prime minister is the chief executive and the head of the British government. Tony Blair was elected Labour Party leader in 1994, and became prime minister in 1997. Did you know the two previous British Prime Ministers were John Major (1990-1997) and Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990)? Winston Churchill was the prime minister during World War II.
Photo: Parliament and Big Ben in London, England.

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October 22, 2001:
Q: When did Guglielmo Marconi invent the radio?
A: Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian physicist. He invented the wireless telegraph when he was 21 years old. This led him to develop the radio around 1897. Marconi sent the first radio communication between England and France in 1899, and the first transatlantic radio signal in 1901.

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October 15, 2001:
Q: Where was Thomas Edison born?
(Colby K.)
A:
Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847, to Samuel and Nancy Edison. Today, his boyhood home is a museum called the Edison Birthplace Museum. At the Edison Birthplace Museum's web site you can learn the History of the Edisons, Milan, and Edison's home, read a list of Edison's inventions, take a Tour of the Birthplace Museum, visit the Museum Shop, and become a Member. Read a book about Alva.
Photo:
Alva visiting his birthplace in Milan, Ohio.

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October 8, 2001:
Q: Did Christopher Columbus really discover America?
(Bobby C.)
A: Yes and No. When Christopher Columbus landed in the New World on October 12, 1492, other people had already been living there for thousands of years. Therefore, Christopher did not discover it in the perspective that he was the first person to reach the land. However, Christopher is credited with discovering the Americas from the European point of view. Before Christopher's discovery in 1492, the Europeans thought the world consisted only of Europe, Africa, and Asia. They did not know North and South America existed. This is why when Christopher discovered these lands, the Europeans called it the New World. Christopher's voyage opened the minds of Europe to other parts of the world and discovered the Americas for the Europeans. Read more about the times Christopher lived.
Photo: Christopher Columbus takes his pals, Sacagawea, Florence, and Galileo to the ocean for an afternoon cruise on the Santa María.

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October 1, 2001:
Q: How many Space Shuttles are there?
(Diane A.)
A: Four: Columbia, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. The Space Shuttle was designed to be a reusable spaceship. Columbia is the first Space Shuttle. Its first mission was launched on April 12, 1981. It was named after a small sailing vessel that explored the Columbia River in the 1790's. Did you know the command module for the Apollo 11 lunar mission was also named Columbia? Discovery is the third Space Shuttle, named after two sailing ships (one by Henry Hudson in 1610-1611, and one by James Cook who discovered the Hawaiian Islands). Its first mission was launched on August 30, 1984. Atlantis, named for a ship operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from 1930 -1966, is the fourth Space Shuttle. Its first launch was on October 3, 1985. Did you know the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter was launched from Atlantis? The fifth Space Shuttle, Endeavour, is a replacement for Challenger (the second Space Shuttle which exploded on January 28, 1986). Endeavour was named for the first ship commanded by James Cook.
Photo: Space Shuttle

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September 24, 2001:
Q: Who was Patrick Henry?
(Colin M.)
A:
Patrick Henry was a U.S. patriot and statesman who lived from 1736 to 1799. He was a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776. Henry is well known for his statement, "Give me liberty or give me death!" which was a call to arms of the Virginia militia a month before the start of the American Revolution. Read a book about Patrick Henry.
Photo: Patrick Henry

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September 10, 2001:
Q: Who was Marco Polo?
(Alexis from Atlanta, Georgia)
A:
Marco Polo was a traveler from Venice. He lived from 1254 to 1324. From 1271 to 1274, Marco Polo traveled with his father and uncle to Asia and established a trade route over land from Europe to the Far East. The Far East is made up of the countries of India, China, and Japan. Did you know this trade route was thousands of miles long and took months to travel? Read more about Marco Polo or read a book about Marco Polo.
Photo:
Marco Polo

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September 3, 2001:
Q: Who was Copernicus? (Marc from San Francisco, CA)
A: Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who lived from 1473 to 1543. Copernicus was the first person to challenge the belief the earth was the center of the universe. In 1543, Copernicus published his book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. It established the theory the earth revolved around the sun. This theory was called the Heliocentric theory. Heliocentric means "sun-centered." It is also known as the Copernican theory, after Copernicus.
Photo: Nicolaus Copernicus

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